Author Archive

Walking around the World

January 15, 2020

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

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.

The coming of Light

December 9, 2019

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

Welcoming new teachers

November 26, 2019

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.

A vocation filled with joy

November 14, 2019

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!

Beauty in the changing seasons.

November 7, 2019

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.

The future’s name is Hope

September 12, 2019

“To Christians, the future does have a name, and its name is Hope. Feeling hopeful does not mean to be optimistically naïve and ignore the tragedy humanity is facing. Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn’t lock itself into darkness, that doesn’t dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but is able to see a tomorrow.”

Pope Francis 2017

We are surrounded by goodness and beauty, by people striving for the good of others, by a million small gestures of kindness and love. Yet if we listen to the news channels we can easily feel somewhat overwhelmed as we hear story after story of suffering, self-seeking leadership, climate crisis… How then can we find hope and not be paralysed? Perhaps it is by recognising the truth of both – there is much that is suffering in our world, and yet still, in the face of it all people still choose goodness, still strive to do what is right, still forgive, console, love.

Fruitfulness

September 4, 2019

 

rowan-flowers-paul-sterry-NPL

Outside my window a tree full of berries is blowing in the wind. All summer, bees were feeding from the nectar of the flowers, and now, thanks to their efforts, birds are delighting in the rich fruit.

I am at my desk, working – collating information for our General Chapter and planning events for Young Adults. I find myself inspired by the summer bees, who, in gathering what they needed, provided a fruitful space for others. May each of us find meaning and purpose in what we do, and in doing it may we benefit others. berries

A Million Blessings

August 28, 2019

gratitude

The last few days have seen a mini heat wave in the UK (2 days!!) and today the showers are back. I love to watch the leaves dripping in the sunshine after the rain has passed. It makes me feel hopeful. 

Today I realise that the summer has brought a many blessings to me – of laughter, peace, rest and friendship. Space and freedom, joy and reflection….beauty, calm, gratitude… These blessings came quietly, without ceremony or planning: a bud opening on a rose bush, ripe tomatoes on the vine, rain and sunshine on my face, sharing deeply with friends.

Magnificat of Gratitude  – Ann Johnson (adapted)

Count them, my spirit, and be grateful.
Count the wonders one by one,
each drop of rain, each kiss,
each kindly word, each rose and garlic bud.

Observe them, my soul, and give thanks.
How many times have you been redeemed?
How many breezes blew clouds away?
How many seeds burst into life?

For all your universal wonders, we praise you.
For all your showering benefit, we thank you.
For all your daily miracles,
we murmur gratitude.
Generation after generation you continue blessing.

Blessed are you, Giving God,
Benefactor of heaven and earth in every age.
Your name is Generosity.
You convey wonder and miracle
day after day to the earth and its people.
To you we lift our hearts and voices
in this prayer of gratitude.

 

Divine Synchronicity

June 5, 2019

Having just written the previous post about loneliness and isolation, I left my desk and went to a meeting with a group of our FCJ Sixth form students. They wanted to talk about volunteering.

The area they highlighted as a need that they felt they wanted to respond to was loneliness and isolation among elderly people.

God does that.