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Sr. Marjolein Bruinen: A respectful coexistence is needed in and for a Europe in diversity

[Vienna, 28.02.2019] The Dominican and General Secretary of the Union of European Superiors of Orders (UCESM) in Brussels, Sr. Marjolein Bruinen, stressed on 27 February 2019 on the margins of the Women’s Religious Conference in Vöcklabruck (A) the important contribution of the Orders for “a respectful coexistence in and for a Europe in diversity”.

What challenges does Sr. Bruinen see at the moment? “It is said that Europe consists of two parts, East and West. That’s not true. It consists of three parts: East, West and Center. And Austria is part of this center. Not really East and not really West. The first major challenge is to accept and appreciate one another. That those from the West do not judge the East and vice versa. For example, those in the East are so boring, so backward, so conservative, and those in the West have already lost faith. What is important in all areas of society is that one can leave one’s mark, accept one’s own position and be able to say something like: Yes, it is different for us, but not better and not worse. It is about accepting diversity and being different. We need this respectful coexistence in and for a Europe of diversity”.

The Secretary General has good contacts in all member countries and at the same time an accreditation in Brussels with which she has access to all meetings and events of the European Union, “in order to bring in the concerns and suggestions, the opinions and the work of the religious”. On the fringes of the Women’s Religious Conference in Vöcklabruck, she tells of many initiatives of the various orders, such as the Jesuits or Salesians, “which promote cross-border understanding and cooperation”. “We are a fan of Europe” is the name of one of the networked initiatives in which Sr. Marjolein herself participates time and again.

Call for participation in the European elections

Sr. Marjolein leaves no doubt that participation in the European elections is very important and decisive: “It is also important that religious work to ensure that people all go to the European elections. Many say it is far away, but Europe is close for all those who live in the European Union. That is why it is important to exert influence and participate in shaping Europe by participating in the elections”.