Archive for the ‘Religious life’ Category

PLEASE PRAY FOR MEI’S FIRST VOWS…

June 5, 2015

“I will give you a new heart”

The Society of the Faithful Companions of Jesus
Province of Asia – Australia

Warmly invite you to join with them in spirit
and in prayer
on the occasion of
the First Profession of

Regina Meily Setiawati Sulaiman (Mei)

As a Faithful Companion of Jesus

Mass of Profession will be celebrated
on Sunday, 07 June 2015
at Susteran FCJ
Soropadan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

POPE FRANCIS ON CONSECRATED LIFE…A FEW WORDS

December 6, 2014

What follows are a few extracts from the Pope’s video message at the prayer vigil to begin the Year of Consecrated Life.  There are some amazing phrases in it!  It seems to me that this message is for all women and men who are committed to spreading the Gospel.  I’ve posted the phrases that struck me as I read it.  I wonder what will strike you?

I repeat to you today what I have said at other times: “Awake the world! Awake the world!”

How?

Put Christ at the center of your existence.  The essential norm of your life being to “follow Christ as taught by the Gospel” (Perfectae Caritatis, 2), consecrated life consists essentially in personal adherence to Him.

And, with Christ, begin always from the Gospel! Assume it as a way of life and translate it into daily gestures marked by simplicity and coherence, thus overcoming the temptation to transform it into an ideology.  The Gospel will keep your life and mission “young,” and it will render it timely and attractive.  May the Gospel be the solid terrain where you advance with courage.  Called to be “living exegesis” of the Gospel, may that be, dear consecrated, the fountain and ultimate reference of your life and mission.

Come out of your nest to the fringes of the man and woman of today! Therefore, let yourselves be encountered by Christ.  The encounter with Him will drive you to encounter others and will lead you to the neediest, to the poorest. Reach the fringes that await the light of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium, 20). Inhabit the frontiers. 

Dear brothers and sisters: presented before you are many challenges, but these exist to be surmounted. “Let us be realistic, but without losing joy, audacity and dedication full of hope! Let us not be robbed of the missionary force! (Evangelii Gaudium, 109)

Celebrating St Stanislaus – The Patron Saint of Novices

November 9, 2014

On November 13th we will celebrate St Stanislaus’ Day. This is a lovely feast for us because we especially give thanks for our novices and, of course, spoil them a bit too! It’s special to us also because it is a feast that all FCJs have celebrated at some point in their lives – given that we’ve all been novices! For the novices themselves one big highlight of the day is reading the letter that the General Superior sends to them. This is always inspiring and encouraging and fills them with great enthusiasm. Here in our formation community in Indonesia one of the ways we prepare for this feast is to say a novena in the days leading up to it. This helps to keep us focused on the meaning of St Stanislaus’ Day for today and also ensures that we gradually harvest the “spiritual fruit” that is being offered to us.

If you want to join us in praying in preparation for the feast of St Stanislaus we have posted an adapted version of our novena below…You can adapt it further and use it in any way that suits you.

The Life of St Stanislaus
Stanislaus was born in Poland in the year 1550 the second of six children. When he was fifteen Stanislaus and his elder brother Paul were sent by their parents to study in a Jesuit college in Vienna. Stanislaus was a studious youth who was also cheerful, innocent and gentle. He was deeply religious. attended Mass every day and had great love for Our Lady. Stanislaus’ character was in total contrast to that of his elder brother. Paul was often frustrated and angry with Stanislaus and he sometimes gave his younger brother a severe beating. Stanislaus bore his suffering with patience and humility. At one time he said “Ad maiora natus sum” “I was born for greater things.” These words became his motto and he lived his life by them.

Stanislaus became critically ill and he asked for a priest. The family who owned the house would not allow a priest to enter it. As Stanislaus was praying to God through the intercession of St Barbara she appeared to him accompanied by two angels and gave him Holy Communion. Several days later he saw a vision of Our Lady holding the child Jesus and Stanislaus was healed.

In thanksgiving for his miraculous healing Stanislaus decided to enter the Society of Jesus. In August 1567 Stanislaus crept out of the house in tattered clothes and began his long walk to Rome. His brother and tutor gave chase but were unable to find him. Stanislaus’ family was shamed by his behavior and disowned him. He arrived in Augsburg, Germany, having covered 600 kilometers in fifteen days. He went to meet Peter Canisius, the Provincial of the German Jesuits. With a letter of recommendation written by Peter Canisius he walked a further 1,200 kilometres within a month and finally arrived in Rome. He was received into the novitiate on 28th October, 1567.

During the ten remaining months of his life, according the testimony of the master of novices, Father Giulio Fazio, “he was a model and mirror of religious perfection. Notwithstanding his very delicate constitution he did not spare himself the slightest penance”.
In August 1568 Stanislaus fell critically ill with a high fever, and he knew he was dying. He hoped to die on the Feast of the Assumption so he could celebrate this feast with Mary in heaven. His desire was granted and he died on 15 August, towards four in the morning. The entire city proclaimed him a saint and people came from all parts to venerate his remains and to obtain, if possible, some relics. He was beatified in 1605 and canonized in 1726. St. Stanislaus is a much loved Polish saint. He is especially loved because he is the patron saint of novices.
St Stanislaus…pray for us.

 
In thanksgiving for our vocations…
Oh God,
From a young age St Stanislaus left everything to follow his call. He lived his vocation with deep joy. We too give you thanks that we have been called to leave everything and follow you.
We pray in gratitude with and through Jesus.
Amen

For a great desire to serve God
Loving God,
You loved St Stanislaus because he wholeheartedly consecrated his young life to you.
Renew us with your Spirit and strengthen our desire to live fully for you.
May we always run in the path of your Gospel.
We make this prayer in the name of Jesus your Son.
Amen.

For the awareness that we are born for greater things…
God of mercy, God of love, you form us to send us out on mission.
Renew in our hearts, O God, the awareness that we, like Stanislaus, are born for greater things.
May all that we do proclaim the Good News that you are God with us.
In Jesus’ name.
Amen

That we always seek to live fully for God…
Most gracious God, we long to love you with all our heart and mind and soul.
Strengthen us and keep our ideals strong for the whole of our lives.
Grant this in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

For our older sisters…
Gentle God, our older sisters have served you faithfully for many years as FCJs.
We ask you to bless them with health and joy and many more years of peace and contentment.
May they continue to serve you through their ministry of prayer.
We ask this mindful of your love and care.
Amen.

For the gift of Companionship…
True Christian community is never free from the tensions of daily life and because of this deep companionship is needed to preserve union of minds and hearts.

We pray that we may value and nurture the companionship we enjoy in our various communities.
We ask this through Jesus who showed us the way to build community in the Reign of God.
Amen.

For young people who haven’t yet discerned their way in life…
God our creator,
We pray through the intercession of St Stanislaus that today’s young people will have the courage to offer themselves to you for your glory and service. We especially ask that you send many young women to serve you and your people as Faithful Companions of Jesus.
We ask this in union with Jesus our Companion.
Amen.

Rejoicing in St Stanislaus
All holy, ever present God, we rejoice in the glory of your saints and all holy women and men.
At this time we give thanks for St Stanislaus, the patron saint of novices.
May his good example inspire us and his prayers strengthen us.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord,
Amen

Reflections of a novice director…

October 25, 2014

I have been novice director for quite a number of years now – and what a blessing that time has been!  I have had the great privilege of being the companion of an amazing group of women all of whom have been really serious about their vocations as FCJs.  What an irony that the one who has most probably gained the most from this experience is me!  In walking alongside young women who are so totally serious about every aspect of their religious life I myself have been “formed” and challenged time and time again to be the best FCJ I can be!  Each one of those FCJs is special to me and I carry her in my heart and in my prayer every day.  Thank you my dear companions for teaching me more than I could ever teach you – and may you grow daily ever closer to your Companion and ever more willing to be of service to God’s people.

Clare Fcj

Mei sharing on Life as a Novice – FCJ Formation Continued

October 7, 2014

This time of novitiate formation is going so quickly. To my surprise I’m already in the second year of my novitiate! So far I have experienced and learned many things as a novice. Some of the things I have learned are as follows: I have learned about transition which helped me to adapt to my new situation; day by day I am learning to know and to love Jesus through prayer and through the people surrounding me; I am also learning to know and to accept myself. I have received a great deal of input from so many sources. I am increasingly aware that the more I learn, the more I feel I knew nothing before!

In fact as a woman who was used to determining my own life, I have repeatedly found that our life can be very challenging. Yet I am grateful because the sisters always support and encourage me. Slowly but surely I can deal with the situation. I believe things happen as God lends His hand to me

Every day I have something to do. I feel that the days pass like an arrow. I make an effort to balance my activities with prayer. I always start and close my days with God. Even though I am not always in an ideal situation I am trying to serve God faithfully. As a result, I have a sense of knowing how God always goes along with me and of how God loves me.

Photo of Mei.

Mei  NFCJ

Life as a Novice – FCJ Formation

September 29, 2014
Novitiate is a fairly intense time of formation. It comes after postulancy and is a formal step into the Society. During novitiate we live in community and are accompanied by a named sister (novice director). We do study of the FCJ Constitutions, learn more about our spirituality, have an opportunity to deepen our prayer life and live reflectively. We also do apostolic work in situations which are different to our normal ministry or job. As an Ignatian congregation we also do the Spiritual Exercises – a 30 day silent retreat. Here are some reflections from Rowena, one of our current novices. Rowena is from the Philippines but is doing her novitiate in Indonesia. rowena
REFLECTIONS ON NOVITIATE BY ROWENA JAMBARO NOV FCJ
Novitiate is a great invitation and it is the most challenging phase of the journey of my life so far.  For me it is a precious time in which I am so much closer to God.  It’s a school of new beginnings made up of many elements: welcoming; learning; growing; exercising; living; deepening and letting go.
 
I am learning so many things during this special time: how to grow the love of Jesus in my heart; how to live with Jesus as the centre of my life; how to know myself better; how to stretch myself more in love for others; how to be a woman at the foot of the cross and go beyond it; how to be a contemplative in action, particularly in my daily living.
 
I have valued and enjoyed my apostolic ministries: visiting and accompanying the sick; teaching children and working with youth.  I have been inspired and helped by all those I have worked with and for.
 
Lots of questions come into my mind to ponder???  How to give myself fully to Jesus? How to love him faithfully, to follow him tenderly and serve him lovingly?  It is not always easy but bit by bit and through prayer I am aware of how to respond and I go on learning day by day.  Throughout this pilgrimage of my life Jesus is indeed my faithful companion. It is his everlasting love that strengthens my faith, hope and love.
 
I have been helped by the unconditional love and endless support of our novice director throughout this journey.  She has helped me and directed me as I have been moulded and shaped through God’s love.  I am grateful too to the many companions who have loved and supported me in so many ways.  God’s grace is always there for me.  Thanks be to God for love always in all things.  United in mind, heart and prayer with all those who read this.  God bless each one of you.

CELEBRATING TWENTY FIVE YEARS AS AN FCJ – THANK YOU GOD AND THE FCJS!

September 8, 2014

I recently celebrated my 25th anniversary as an FCJ.  As the day drew close I found myself getting excited and it felt as if there was a secret joy in my heart that bubbled up and out now and then.  In my community we had a prayer service on the actual day – 26th August and on Saturday6th September I had a celebration Mass with our two FCJ communities in Yogyakarta plus four young women who know us well.  I was surprised to find my eyes fillling with tears on several occasions – at the sheer joy and beauty of God’s love.   It was so good to celebrate with the group here – we have lived so much FCJ life together.  I was asked what gift I wanted…What gift do I want??? I should be asking the FCJ Society and God  “What gift do YOU want from me?”  To be an FCJ – what a gift and a blessing.  Thank you God.  Thank you to all FCJs.  Thank you to my family and friends and to all who have ever touched my life in any way.

 

 

THE GIFT OF COMMUNITY

July 7, 2014

My feet are just beginning to walk on solid ground again after a spell of ten days in bed with a bad dose of flu.  How grateful I am to my very loving community who took care of me so kindly and generously in recent days.   How very beautiful community life can be when we do our best to live it!   My little group has lived its companionship to the full these days…Thank you God for my dear companions!

How can I make sense of this piece of scripture?

March 7, 2014

(All comments and insights gratefully received)

One of my favourite passages of scripture is the first reading of today’s liturgy: Isaiah 58:1-9

feeding-people“Shout for all you are worth, do not hold back, raise your voice like a trumpet. To my people proclaim their rebellious acts, to the House of Jacob, their sins.They seek for me day after day, they long to know my ways, like a nation that has acted uprightly and not forsaken the law of its God. They ask me for laws that are upright, they long to be near God:’Why have we fasted, if you do not see, why mortify ourselves if you never notice?’ Look, you seek your own pleasure on your fastdays and you exploit all your workmen;look, the only purpose of your fasting is to quarrel and squabble and strike viciously with your fist. Fasting like yours today will never make your voice heard on high.Is that the sort of fast that pleases me, a day when a person inflicts pain on himself? Hanging your head like a reed, spreading out sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call fasting, a day acceptable to Yahweh?

Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me: to break unjust fetters, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break all yokes?.Is it not sharing your food with the hungry, and sheltering the homeless poor; if you see someone lacking clothes, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own kin?.Then your light will blaze out like the dawn and your wound be quickly healed over. Saving justice will go ahead of you and Yahweh’s glory come behind you.Then you will cry for help and Yahweh will answer; you will call and he will say, ‘I am here.'”

My ministry is vocations accompaniment and university chaplaincy (as well as basement digging as previously explained!). I find myself wondering how I am actually involved in ‘breaking unjust fetters’ or ‘sharing my bread’, ‘sheltering the homeless poor’. There is a big part of me that feels pulled in this – I would love to be in a more ‘hands on’ ministry and yet I also believe that where I am missioned is where I am called to be at this point in time. So how do I make sense of it all? How best to live with the tension between the desire to somehow be MORE involved and the demands of my current ministry?

All things give praise and service

February 21, 2014

distraction

My work varies widely – from the intent listening and privileged space of spiritual direction and vocation accompaniment to the mundane tasks of dealing with contractors and workmen. I think this constant change of task has helped me to realise in a new way what it means to find God in all things. At times I long for my life to be less ‘bitty’ with fewer distractions and interruptions – perhaps part of me still imagines drifting around a convent somewhere being holy! The reality is that there are numerous pulls on me – chaplaincy, vocations ministry, local leadership, accompaniment, digging a basement, doing the shopping… the list goes on! As I prayed this morning with the gospel text:

“Jesus called the people and his disciples to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let them renounce themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8)

I was aware of that call to go beyond myself, to respond to each person, each situation with generosity, openness and availability. The self renunciation isn’t about forgetting myself, putting my needs to one side, but about recognising where the focus needs to lie. When the focus is on God, and on the needs of the other I am more free, more able to respond, and more loving in my interactions. Its then that I can really meet God who is present in each situation, and really allow all the different aspects of my everyday life to give praise and service to God.