Author Archive

DO NOT JUDGE – TAKE THE LOVING OPTION

June 26, 2017

Today’s Gospel (Mathew 7:1-5) spoke to me about so much more than not being judgmental. It was a call to me to continue to promote peace with justice and to go on doing so – especially in the light of recent violent and tragic events. In my understanding this does not mean that we have to suspend intelligent thought or spirit led discernment. I am reminded of the importance of thinking reflectively and of seeking to understand others even though we hear many divisive voices calling us to stand apart with hostility and enmity. May we seek to respond to others with love and understanding. May the measure we use be that of love, the measure of the Gospel.

 

LINA’S VOWS ON MAY 27TH THE GREAT DAY!

May 30, 2017

It began with the great exodus. Over a series of several days the FCJs in Yogyakarta left for Ende. The joy of the whole experience was enhanced by the fact the fact that Beta had just returned from tertianship, Meita from Manila, Judith, our Province Leader, joined us and Riska, our ever faithful Muslim friend, came too! Next came the great arrival in Ende as each day saw more people arriving. Even though we used all the beds and most of the floor space in the community house it was still necessary to accommodate some FCJs in a nearby convent. There was so much joy and excitement in the air it was possible to feel it. The days before the vows were filled with activity as we worked together to make sure that everything was ready. At 11am on Friday 26th May we gathered in the chapel for a special ceremony which was both a Welcoming and Missioning Ceremony. One important feature of this ceremony was the specially woven Selendang (stole/scarf) that Lina received. When Judith gave Lina her new mission she pinned her letter to the Selendang. We all pinned a blessing to it later in the prayer. The prayer was followed by lunch. The Vows Ceremony took place on the morning of the 27th May, when the day was still fresh. It was delightful to welcome Lina’s family to the house. Lina is one of the younger members of her family and so a good number of her nieces and nephews attended the ceremony also. Other guests included our neighbours and friends and also religious from other congregations. Lina looked radiantly happy throughout the ceremony. She was calm and composed and spoke with great confidence. Lina’s vows were received by Judith and witnessed by Dewi and Clare. The celebrant, Fr Hermann Sina SVD, is the person who first introduced Lina to the FCJs. In his homily Fr Hermann spoke of the way God was weaving Lina’s life with a thread of love. After the ceremony we enjoyed a delicious meal of home cooked food. Meanwhile the choir exchanged their repertoire of religious music for songs of a lighter nature. Some of the guests even enjoyed a bit of dancing. Before the guests left we joined together in two big groups for the ‘Gawi’, a traditional dance here in Ende. Our guests and neighbors were delighted to join us in this ultimate sign of rejoicing. In the cool of the evening we gathered once more to celebrate together and to help Lina enjoy opening her cards and gifts. It was particularly touching to hear the greetings from FCJs all around the Society. We had much to thank God for at the end of the day. Lina’s vows’ day was indeed a great day!

FCJ SCHOOLS – FULL OF LIFE!

May 11, 2017

Yesterday a group of FCJs and I had the good fortune to pay a visit to one of our FCJ schools in Australia. We had the great pleasure of being escorted around the school bya number of very friendly students. The school was bustling with life and energy. Everywhere we went we met bright young people who said a cheery “Good morning.” We were so inspired being present in the school for even a few hours. We were reminded of the amazing mission those who minister in schools have. Thanks to all those who minister in FCJ schools – in any capacity. Thanks to the students and their families. You are an inspiration to us!

GABI’S FINAL VOWS

April 22, 2017

Today in Romania one of our FCJ sisters made her final vows. Gabi made her vows in front of family, friends and her FCJ companions. I have thought of her and prayed for her throughout the day. How lovely to think of any young person standing up in faith and making a permanent commitment to someone or something she or he believes in. The fact that Gabi has made her final commitment today strengthens me in mine and hopefully all other FCJs and people of faith too. No doubt a great celebration followed the religious ceremony. How great to have something good to celebrate. Indeed, Gabi’s act of love is a gift to each one of us as well as to the whole of God’s creation.

THOUGHTS IN THE HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM

April 9, 2017

As I sit and wait for the various tests associated with a routine medical check up it strikes me that hospitals are places to sit and wonder. I wonder what all the other people are waiting for. I scan their faces and try and imagine why they are sitting alongside me. Some are clearly not well and awaiting relief from their obvious suffering. Others, anxious and solicitous, are accompanying loved ones. There are those who leave the consulting room with faced gripped by tension. Others leave laughing and relieved by receiving good news. We represent a wide  spectrum of age, ethnic group, religion and personality.  I am especially struck by the children who are weary and listless and with little understanding of why they are in pain. I am also deeply touched by the elderly people who have come from their villages to seek help. Dressed beautifully in traditional clothes they wait patiently for the doctor, their faces, hands and feet telling of years of toil. I find myself praying for all of us. May this day bring us all a good diagnosis. I give thanks for the gift of life and the simple signs of health I take so much for granted. May God grant us all health and zest for life.

 

A TRUE FAITHFUL COMPANION OF JESUS

April 5, 2017

A few days ago our sisters in Australia said goodbye to one of our sisters in a beautiful funeral Mass. Margaret Mary was just a few months short of both her ninetieth birthday and of the seventieth anniversary of her first profession. She gave the whole of her life in service of God in many and diverse ways. She was a great educator, a creative thinker and an inspiring leader. In her mid-sixties Margaret Mary was missioned to Romania to begin a new mission there. She was deeply committed to Romania and after her return to Australia she continued to raise funds for the mission. She was involved in a fund raising event only a few days before her death. There are saints who are proclaimed from church lecterns and written about in dusty tomes – and there are those we have known and loved. Margaret Mary with her eyes asparkle with joy and life, her great sense of humour, her energy and her big heart was surely one of the latter. Walk with us and be our companion from your parallel dimension dear Margaret Mary. Pray for us and pray that we continue the mission in service of God and God’s people.

A LITTLE GIRL CRYING

March 29, 2017

The other day I saw the face of a little girl on the news that has haunted me ever since. There was no name with the picture. The child is a refugee. She and her family had only just reached safety after their home in Iraq had been destroyed by ISIS. She looked to be aged about eight or nine. Her clothes were ill-kempt and her hair was bedraggled and coated in dust. Her face was streaked with dirt. She had the most striking brown eyes that seared into mine. Her eyes were clouded with confusion and tears. Two fat tears made their way down her right cheek. My own tears joined hers. I wanted to pick her up and hold her tight and tell her that everything would be alright. But will everything be alright – and when – and what can I do to make this happen? May we never rest in peace and comfort until this world is a safe and happy place for all of God’s children.

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS

March 24, 2017

In the face of yet another act of wanton violence it is difficult to know how to respond. Words seem so inadequate. I am trying to take time to pray – and reflect on the ways I too contribute to the cycle of violence. My other response is do at least one act of random kindness each day– that to me is the best way to counter random acts of violence. By working together we can keep on investing more love in our world…

OIL-BASED BIBLE QUIZ: FOOLISH OR WISE?

March 15, 2017

The other day I misread the reference for the Gospel of the day and instead of praying with Matthew 23:1-12, I mistakenly used Matthew 25:1-12 (The parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids). I really enjoyed teasing out that Gospel story. I couldn’t help sympathizing with the unfortunate five whose oil supply couldn’t quite last the time spent waiting for that tardy bridegroom. I wondered to myself what happened that they had a less than full supply of oil. Obviously they were partly prepared – being suitably attired for their role as bridesmaids and they did have their lamps and a certain amount of the light-giving liquid. So what went wrong I wondered? Perhaps they were busy beforehand helping with the other preparations, or doing someone a good deed, or even taking care of the bride. They surely hoped they had enough oil till disaster in the form of delay plunged them into gloom and darkness. What a shame all their hopes were gone – and they missed the party! I don’t need to ask myself which of the bridesmaids I would be. I know already. Most likely I too would have been one of those knocking on the closed door. We each of us know what it is that we are lacking. It could be one or more of many things – time, for example, or prayer or rest or? I’m not so sure it is foolishness that causes the lack as much as the sheer pressure of trying to be a decent human being. For me that locked door is not the end of the story. I can’t help believing that the bridegroom is still waiting – for surely the wedding party is not complete without us – oil or no oil!

Forty Things in Forty Days

March 1, 2017

Several days ago I read a blog written by one of my friends in which she expressed her hope that this Lent she and her family would declutter in a big way. She was hoping to fill one bag with things to give away each day in Lent! Forty bags in forty days. I liked the spirit of the idea – that I could try and reduce my possessions at the rate of one a day. To my amazement two days ago my niece shared a post from the Salvation Army on Facebook in which they suggested that very thing  – fill a bag with forty things that can be given to others. Both the Salvation Army and the St Vincent de Paul are willing to accept and distribute the donations. That’s one of my challenges this Lent. I want to try and go a step further and as well as let go of forty things I am also going to try and let go of something unhelpful each day – like a negative attitude or an angry thought or a selfish impulse…All of a sudden I feel as if this Lent is going to be something of an adventure. I hope you have an adventurous Lent too!