ADVENT WEEK I: Planting seeds of hope and peace

December 1, 2019 by

I was very much touched by today’s first reading in Mass: Isaiah 2: 1-5. The thought of looking forward to a future full of peace resonnated deeply within me. How much we need peace in so many places in today’s world. How much we need hope to enlighten our way. One of my resolutions this Advent is to try and plant small seeds of hope and peace each day. Imagine the harvest we will one day reap if we work together planting seeds of hope and peace in our daily lives.

Welcoming new teachers

November 26, 2019 by

Last weekend I was involved, alongside a group of FCJ Sisters, in a Staff Induction Training for new staff across our schools in England and Jersey. About 30 new staff attended the two day conference from across the five schools.

It was such a wonderful meeting – staff new to FCJ Ethos and yet so clearly open to learn, to reflect, to share their experiences and to listen to the experience of others as we worked together to look at different ways in which each member of our school communities influences the school ethos.

Our FCJ School values are expressed in England as Companionship, Dignity, Excellence, Justice, Gentleness and Hope. It was so refreshing to hear how our new staff had experienced these values already within our school communities, and their insights into how these values can be witnessed to even in the most challenging of situations.

One member of staff said “there is something so different here, this is about something much deeper and personal.” Another said “I feel so happy, God feels really present.”

I felt it was a real privilege to be a part of this, to share something of Marie Madeleine’s vision with them and to look together at how that might be lived now.

PRAYING FOR THE DEAD, SUPPORTING OUR COMPANION

November 17, 2019 by

This evening we went to the home of one of the FCJ sisters who comes from Yogyakarta. We joined a large group of people for a special Mass to mark one hundred days since her mother’s death. We were there because our sister’s mother was a lovely person, her family are part of our ‘extended family’ and also to offer her our support and companionship. The Mass was lovely, the choir sang heartily and the priest spoke beautifully of the hope of eternal life. I was glad to be there and grateful to be part of an encouraging and comforting service.

A vocation filled with joy

November 14, 2019 by

Recently I was asked by a young woman why I thought religious life was a good life choice for women. It’s something I think about often and has answers on many levels.

I think objectively it is a way of life that broadens and stretches us in ways that we could never expect; to meet others from very diverse backgrounds, cultures, faith perspectives etc and to learn to be open to them and welcome the diversity of God; to live with little and rely on God whilst also accepting all as gift and enjoying the good things that come our way; to travel and live in new places, open to being uprooted and trusting that wherever I am I will find God, and therefore home….

Encountering difference isn’t always easy. As we open ourselves up to other perspectives, our own views can be challenged or shaken and that can seem scary. We see so often in society how people close themselves off from people who are different from themselves, building barriers and retreating into isolation. Religious life encourages us to be stretched and to trust that we are never diminished by a broader perspective.

For me religious life is also a place of depth. I am invited and challenged to enter into a personal relationship with God and to let that shape the direction my life will take. It calls me to a place of interior openness and trust in God, and to constantly seek interior freedom. Again this isn’t easy! I don’t think we ever ‘achieve’ it – we might have tiny glimpses of what it could be like, but we are influenced by some many things both external and internal. Recognising and acknowledging our prejudices, vulnerabilities and limitations and seeking not to let them dominate our choices and decisions is in itself a freeing step!

It’s a place of community where the interaction with my sisters calls me to be my best self and yet accepts me when I’m not. Community helps me to grow in self awareness, generosity, love and service. Sometimes community isn’t easy – living with others can ‘knock the corners off us’ a bit, we learn to compromise and we see others accommodating our needs and wishes too. We learn to disagree without it rupturing relationship. We discover that we can be connected to each other in a profound way through our common faith. Community frees me to take risks, knowing I am loved and supported.

But most of all, when it is what you are called to, religious life frees you for joy! It is just great!

Let’s circle our world with prayer…

November 12, 2019 by

For all of us, wherever we are, even the briefest look at the daily news tells us of the great need to pray for our world. From continent to continent, country to country we hear of natural disasters, civil unrest, acts of violence and stories of personal loss and suffering. We can’t solve every problem but there are small actions we can take at the local level to make life a little better for some of those in need. Of course, we all know there is much to give thanks for, there are times when thanksgiving is the most appropriate prayer. Today, however, I feel called to pray, and to invite you to pray, for all those many places and people who are struggling, suffering and even fighting for their lives. Let’s pray, wherever we are, for our world. At this time of great need let’s circle our world with prayer.

Beauty in the changing seasons.

November 7, 2019 by

I went out for a walk in the Forest a couple of days ago, it was a rainy day and we were tempted to stay at home, but the forecast suggested it might clear up so we headed out. It was stunning! The trees were beautiful with their autumn colours, and as the light changed towards the evening, the fallen autumn leaves seemed to glow along the path. There was nothing unusual or artificial in this beauty, just nature quietly responding to the change of season.

This morning in our community prayer we listened to the reading from St Paul’s letter to the Romans (14:7-12) which begins ‘The life and death of each of us has its influence on others’. It made me think of the individual influence of every person, whether quiet and hidden, or public and well known. Each person, with their joys and sorrows, has value and purpose and that their life has its own unique beauty which shines out.

Somehow there seems to be a connection here – the beauty of the forest and the beauty of a person, seen so clearly as each responds to the changing seasons of their life.

Celebration and Farewells at the End of the Chapter

November 5, 2019 by

#GeneralChapter #IThirst

On the evening of October 30th, the closing day of the 2019 General Chapter, we gathered for a final social—time to relax, to sing and share stories. We also had the opportunity to give special thanks to the various committees who worked hard to ensure the smooth running of the Chapter. Special acknowledgement was given to those sisters from the Sacred Heart Community who facilitated arrivals, departures and welcoming accommodation.

Throughout the next day, Sisters began their journeys home (some leaving at 4.00am), to take up their ministries again in more than ten countries.

We rejoiced that we were on mission in the third century of our Society Faithful Companions of Jesus and looking to the future as Women on Mission with Christ in the world.

A Companion for Our Journey

November 1, 2019 by

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During our time in Calgary at the FCJ General Chapter 2019 we had the joy of welcoming Fr Peter Bisson SJ  He led us in the 6-day pre-Chapter retreat. Fr. Peter’s talks during our retreat helped us to move from a stance of “I” to “WE” so that we could enter more easily into communal discernment.  Fr. Peter celebrated Eucharist for us each day and his reflections at the homily were entertaining, insightful, helpful and hopeful. He was generously available to anyone who asked.  We enjoyed his company at meals, and he entered into our times of joy and celebration. We are grateful for Peter’s sensitive and respectful presence among us.

Fr Peter Bisson SJ

THE FCJs REJOICE!

October 26, 2019 by

#GeneralChapter #IThirst

We rejoice at the election of Sr Bonnie Moser fcJ as the next General Superior of our Society and of Sisters Patricia Binchy, Ruth Casey and Judith Routier as members of the general council. Sr. Bonnie (General Superior Elect) and the three general assistants will take up office in a few months, on a date still to be decided.

From left: Srs Ruth Casey, Bonnie Moser, Patricia Binchy, Judith Routier

GENERAL CHAPTER – WE ASK YOUR PRAYER…

October 21, 2019 by

#GeneralChapter #Ithirst

We are entering into a special phase of our work together as a Chapter, here at the FCJ Christian LIfe Centre in Calgary.

In the coming days we will be discerning together to elect the General Superior and her Assistants.

We are doing this in a spirit of prayer and reflection, as we try to listen deeply to what God is saying to us at this time.

Please pray for us and with us….