How sad and shocking to see the terrible scenes of destruction and loss in Manila as a result of the recent floods. One of our houses in Quezon City was badly damaged by the flood. The people living in the house were badly frightened and they lost everything on the ground floor as it was either washed away by the flood or totally ruined by water, mud and dirt. One of our sisters, Yuni, has a room on the ground floor. She was relieved to escape unharmed and to save the Master’s thesis she is in process of writing but she lost everything else. Yuni is one of the fortunate ones – we have another house in the city and therefore she still has a place to go to. Some people lost everything – their homes and all their belongings were washed away. Sadly, some people even lost members of their family.

This tragedy has made me reflect on how fortunate I am – and yet – how easily I build my life on comfort and possessions – me with my vow of poverty. I wonder how I would cope if everything I had was washed away? Hopefully I would be grateful to survive and if those I loved and cared about survived too. Realistically, I need so little to live on and yet I WANT so much. It is time I reviewed my lifestyle, my wants, my choices.

I am consciously going to reduce the amount of possessions I have. I am going to begin by reducing the number of clothes I have. Does anyone else want to join me in this? Perhaps we can share on what new insights we get and on what we discover we can live without. Can we encourage each other to live more simply, more gratefully, more aware of the daily gifts that God gives us?


  1. Anouska fcJ Says:

    I too have been deeply touched by the devastating affects in Manila, and then Samoa and Indonesia – how do people who lose so much keep beleiving in a God of love? I have been drawn to refelct and pray on ‘through the open door, we are invited into our world… In spite of losing everything else I am very glad to hear that Yuni managed to save her Masters Thesis. I could try and join you in living more simply, and more gratefully, more aware of God’s daily gifts.

  2. aura Says:

    I guess you have to think rather about attachment to things and not about how many things you possess. It’s not the latter ones which are important because things sometimes come without us intending to get them. Well, yes, it is very important to stay committed to poverty vow but… If you are attached to them that’s the key point I think! …On the other hand, if you could give them away any minute to anyone who would ask then I guess there’s nothing to worry about.

  3. clarefcj Says:

    I am very challenged by the idea of being able to give my things “away any minute to anyone who would ask for them”….I am not sure that I am that free…In fact I am certain I am not! You have given me something to think about and to aim for…Thank you!

  4. Madeleine, fcJ Says:

    I am swept into silence when I imagine the hard work people are now plunged into, to clean up from the recent tsunamis, earthquake, and flooding in southern Asia… It’s hard work to continue to hope. It’s hard work to keep an emotional equilibrium when the pressures keep increasing. It’s hard work to look towards a future when the present in such disarray. I find myself praying multiple times during the day, for the mom who can’t give her child a clean, safe place to live, for the dad who has just lost his job, for the woman who is tired of trying to clean up after a natural disaster, for each family that has lost loved ones……. I find myself wanting to send spiritual energy, loving concern, and abundant caring to each one in distress….. Our God is an awesome God, in whose hands we live and move and have our being…. May the tenderness of God’s love become real for all those who are thirsting for a different tomorrow…..

  5. Claire Sykes fcJ Says:

    I say ‘Amen’ to what you have just written, Madeleine. I also feel swept into silence in the face of it all. I pray for all who have lost so much … and I pray for our sisters helping in whatever way they can. I add my prayer to yours, ‘May the tenderness of God’s love become real for all those who are thirsting for a different tomorrow…..’

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