March 13, 2017
One of our Companions in Mission groups in the UK met together yesterday for a day of walking. It is a group who live in different parts of the UK and so we met in the middle of the country and found a nice route for a walk and a picnic. It was a time to laugh together, to relax, to enjoy nature and to talk about the things that matter to us. We aren’t a group that is able to meet frequently due to distance, ministry and other commitments, but when we do meet we give quality time and presence to each other.
I always come away from our meeting feeling renewed, challenged and inspired!
March 9, 2017
“…save us by your hand, and help me, who am alone and have no helper but you, O Lord.” Esther:12
I love this line from the book of Esther because it speaks to me of an understanding of God’s presence that goes way beyond feeling and emotion. Esther feels ALONE, and yet she knows that God is her helper. No matter how alone she appears, no matter how hopeless the situation seems, there is an underlying sense of God who is present even in her isolation and helplessness.
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!
February 28, 2017
Recently I was directing a retreat for young adults in Malta. We stayed at a retreat centre called Dar il-Ħanin Samaritan . The Centre is in Santa Venera in a built up area surrounded by industry, and when we first arrived I wondered where people would find space and silence in this urban landscape!
Entering in to the retreat house was quite something! Large walls, not visible from the outside, drop the Retreat Centre down two storeys into a sheltered and secluded space unlike any other retreat space I have visited. We were met by brightly coloured concrete and natural stone, by water features and prayer spaces.
Over the next few days I came to realise that this easily accessible place was an oasis of calm in the midst of urban life. The unusual and dramatic architecture highlighted the urban reality whilst enabling solitude and peace.
February 22, 2017
I recently had the great good fortune to visit our FCJ sisters in Australia and a group of RSCJ sisters in New Zealand. I saw some amazing scenes of natural beauty and enjoyed the warmth of summer. But by far the most impressive and touching part of the whole experience was the welcome and the hospitality I received in each community. I enjoyed great companionship and hour upon hour of deep conversation. What a sheer gift!
February 6, 2017
One of our sisters died on Saturday 4th February. She was 93 years old and had been an FCJ for more than 70 years. She was still active and her death was sudden and unexpected despite her great age. The Gospel for Sunday that week was taken from Matthew 5: 13-16. “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world.” How well it captures the life of this solid, well grounded and totally dedicated woman who was well able to laugh at life and herself. Even though we now gaze at God from different angles I hope she continues to be our companion, friend and inspiration as we continue the mission God has given us…
February 1, 2017
The news this week has been so breathtakingly shocking that it is hard to know how to begin to express anything about it that makes sense.
This video clip really moved me it is worth taking the time to watch it and to wonder:
How am I called to stand in compassionate solidarity with people?
What does my faith dictate?”
January 23, 2017
I recently made a train journey lasting almost three hours. I was sitting with three other people. Even though at first we were silent and busy with our own thoughts it wasn’t too long before we started to talk. How amazing as the three strangers I began my journey with turned into kind, thoughtful and amazing people. By the end of the journey we knew enough about one another to have had a real encounter. What lovely people I met that day. Each one of them was bringing so much goodness into our world. I left the train feeling blessed and enriched. God was truly with us -the people on the train…
January 14, 2017
To help with my prayer I am currently using a book called ‘Christ in a grain of sand’by Neil Vaney SM. Vaney describes this as ‘An Ecological Journey With The Spiritual Exercises.’One question that has challenged me is the following “With what sort of eyes do I view the world around me: as pragmatist, farmer, scientist, poet?” (Vaney, p 40) I realise that I am too much of a pragmatist for my own liking. I am hoping that little by little I can learn to view the world more as a poet and less as a pragmatist…
January 11, 2017
I enjoy New Year. Mainly because I enjoy new starts. I don’t usually make a load of ‘resolutions’ but I do usually settle slowly on one or two actions or choices that I think will have a positive impact on my life. Generally sometime mid-January I have worked out what they are going to be.
This year my dad gave me an idea – he was talking about #walk1000miles – advertised in a magazine he enjoys. The idea is simple -try to walk 100 miles in the course of the year. Initially I thought it was ridiculous, but then when I looked into it I realised it was actually quite possible and I decided to do it!
We are only on 11th January… but here are some positives already (apart from the obvious health benefits):
- In order to walk 2.75 miles per day I need to go for a walk even when working from home. So I am meeting my neighbours a lot more.
- Others have joined me and been inspired by the challenge.
- A group of students I know are joining me to raise money for charity.
- Walking clears my head and gives me reflective space.
So watch this space – or join me and #walk1000miles!