Walking around the World

January 15, 2020 by

This year a group of FCJs, Companions in Mission and friends are planning to walk 1000 Miles in solidarity with so many people across the world who are forced to leave their homes and journey across countries, oceans and continents in search of a place to build a life that is secure. An activity which for so many of us is a pleasant pastime and a luxury is far from that for so many in our world.

What difference does walking make? Well, honestly, not much! But in walking together we are building unity across our Society and encouraging others to build community. We are from many different countries; Myanmar, Romania, England, Ireland, Belgium, Indonesia, Malta, Spain, USA, Philippines, Canada… the walking is fun, a bit of a challenge and a talking point – it brings us together even whilst we are so geographically spread. We will share photos, stories, encounters along the way.

There will be at least 17 of us walking – so that will get us more than twice around the world!!! If you would like to join in, message us on Facebook.

It’s our Bicentenary year, and our General Chapter calls us to do all we can to offer compassion and solidarity to Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, and so we are supporting Jesuit Refugee Service by sharing a Just Giving page – click on the link or image below to visit our page and find out more, or to make a donation to this worthwhile charity. Our target is £2020!

https://t.co/NVHH0tDdDE

We will keep you updated on progress.

God intervenes in our life?

January 14, 2020 by

This morning at community prayer I was really struck by the two readings from today’s liturgy; the story of Hannah and the healing of the man with an unclean spirit from Mark 1. In both of them God intervenes in their life in a really practical, physical, tangible way. We maybe don’t always expect God to get so hands on in our own life – I know I can fall into praying that God will change minds and hearts but do I really trust in the possibility of miracle?

There are many people, places and situations in need of a miracle today – perhaps the invitation is to pray with confident hope.

FIRES AND FLOODS

January 6, 2020 by

Sadly, the weeks marking the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 have been marked by terrible tragedy. The fires in Australia and the floods in Jakarta have wreaked havoc and made tens of thousands of people homeless. It is sobering to think of what it must mean to flee with only a few belongings and we can hardly begin to estimate the long term cost to the environment. I am called to reflect deeply on my lifestyle, on our collective lifestyle. I ask myself “What can I do to live more simply, more gratefully? What can I do to ease the pain of those who are suffering? What can I do to help heal the environment?”

Prayers at Christmastime…

December 28, 2019 by

I find myself often drawn to sit in chapel and gaze at the crib in these days following Christmas when the pace of life slows a little. I pray for our world in thanksgiving for all that is good and I pray for the many, many needs facing us. I pray for all those I know, I pray for all of you. May peace fill our hearts, may peace fill our world…

Health walk: Celebrating 21 years as a parish.

December 15, 2019 by

This morning Merici, Meita and I took part in an activity called “Jalan Sehat” which means health walk. This is one of the ways in which we are celebrating twenty one years since our local church became a parish. We walked to church at 5am and attended Mass before the walk began. The car park was transformed by the addition of a large outdoor stage and a number of food stalls. One of the parishioners led us in a lively areobic session which certainly warmed us up before the walk began. Eight hundred and forty people took part in the walk: adults; young people, children and ‘babes in arms’. It was lovely to see that a number of our Muslim neighbours took part as well. Fr Sabto, our parish priest, said a prayer and then the walk began. We took about an hour and fifteen minutes to walk the route set out for us. We arrived back to the church in time for a delicious soup breakfast. There was dancing, singing and games. It was a lovely start to the day which celebrated our existence both as a parish and as an important part of our larger interfaith neighbourhood.

The coming of Light

December 9, 2019 by

As we in the northern hemisphere approach the shortest day, it can feel as though the sun never really rises, the light never fully comes. In Advent we are waiting – for the one who is the Light of the World.

Richard Rohr, in his book The Universal Christ, points out that Jesus refers to this title in the scriptures twice. Once in reference to himself; ‘I am the Light of the World’ (Jn 8:12), and once in speaking to his disciples; ‘You are the light of the world’ (Mtt5: 14). For Rohr, there is a deep meaning to be found here – an understanding of the presence of Christ within humanity.

As we wait, in darkness, we are called to bring forth light. To BE light. To BECOME light for the world.

The world is longing for light:

Light of the World – Lauren Daigle

The world waits for a miracle
The heart longs for a little bit of hope
Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel
A child prays for peace on Earth
And she’s calling out from a sea of hurt
Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel
And can you hear the angels singing
Glory to the light of the world
Glory, the light of the world is here
The drought breaks with the tears of a mother
A baby’s cry is the sound of love
Come down, come down, Emmanuel
He is the song for the suffering
He is Messiah, the Prince of Peace has come
He has come, Emmanuel
Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
For all who wait
For all who hunger
For all who’ve prayed
For all who wonder
Behold your King
Behold Messiah
Emmanuel, Emmanuel
Glo-glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
Behold your King
Behold Messiah
Emmanuel, Emmanuel
The world waits for the miracle
The heart longs for a little bit of hope
Oh come, oh come Emmanuel
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Lauren Daigle / Paul Duncan / Paul Mabury
Light Of The World lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Capitol Christian Music Group

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!