Posts Tagged ‘religious sisters’

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

THE PROVINCE ASSEMBLY ASIA-AUSTRALIA (DAYS 5-6)

January 5, 2014

The last two days of our Assembly continued in the same vein as the first four – being times of deep sharing, great interaction and producing some creative thinking.  Day Five was entitled “The Call to Inclusion”. On that day we welcomed some of our Companions in Mission and other colleagues from a number of our ministries.  We formed new groups  for both faith sharing and discussion. I was touched at the quality of our faith sharing and as we worked to unpack our Chapter Directions together I was amazed at the number of suggestions that were made!  There is no shortage of ways forward!  That evening we had a vigil Mass for the feast of The Holy Name of Jesus followed by dinner and a great “quiz night”.  Day Six was our “Call to Commitment”.  We moved into “country groups” and began to turn our ideas into workable strategies.  We ended the Assembly by committing ourselves to our Chapter Directions.  We blessed each other and were missioned out – to live what we had promised.

THE PROVINCE ASSEMBLY ASIA-AUSTRALIA (DAYS 2-4)

January 1, 2014

We have had a busy few days here in Melbourne.  We moved from the first day: The Gift of the Chapter to successive themes: The Call of the Chapter, The Call to the Province and The Call of Now. The group has been hard at work discussing and sharing on our new Chapter Directions.  Today we were working on some ways to bring our Chapter Directions alive in our Province – and in the process re-energising ourselves! We still have two more days in which to work.  Tomorrow we will welcome some of our Companions in Mission and other colleagues to as we continue to “unpack” the Chapter Directions.  On the third of January we will respond to “The Call to Commit” as we commit ourselves to fully living out the call from our Chapter to “Re-imagine” our life for the sake of the Reign of God.  It has been a great process so far.  One of the special joys of this time has been the way we work and interact so easily together despite our vast age range and our diverse cultures.  What delight to be a group of loving companions.

THE PROVINCE ASSEMBLY – ASIA-AUSTRALIA

December 29, 2013

We had a great first day today beginning with a beautiful opening ceremony.  Our sacred space incorporated the nativity scene which already spoke to us us one of the themes of our new Chapter Directions: “God is with us.”  We worked in “Base Groups” of seven or eight people.  Our groups became the place where we engaged in some initial sharing.  In the coming days our sharing will increase in depth and quality.  Our main task today was to bring the Chapter “to life” as the background to the work we will do on our Chapter Directions over the coming days.  We prayed for our whole Society and for all those we love and care about.  In fact, we prayed for our whole world!  We will keep on praying as our Assembly continues…

TRAVELLING HOME FROM THE CHAPTER

November 6, 2013

Barbara, Beta and I are in process of travelling back to Indonesia from the Chapter.  We are probably the last members of our group to return home.  I am aware that there is a “rightness” about returning.  After all the time of preparation and the intense work of the Chapter it is time for the most important part of all – that is to LIVE out of our Chapter Directions.  We are called to live more fully our call as FCJs and to be increasingly creative in the way we respond to the needs of our time.  May we move forward together – always in the service of God and of God’s people.

SMALL ACTS OF KINDNESS…

August 28, 2013

Two weeks ago I had the misfortune to fall and break my right wrist.  Even though I wouldn’t recommend it I have been blessed in many ways since my little tumble.  I am learning to be more flexible in the way I do things and I am now at a stage when I am getting quite proficient with my left hand.  More importantly I have been helped in so many ways by so many people -some of whom were complete strangers to me.  I have been deeply touched both by the kindness of my community and also by the  thoughtfulness of  many people who have helped me over the last two weeks.  On reflection my broken wrist has turned out to be less of a misfortune and more of a blessing!

TYAS’ VOWS – A GREAT DAY!

July 8, 2013

By 10.55am we were lined up in the entrance procession and enjoying the choir as they sang a few hymns to set the atmosphere.  To our relief nearly all of our guests were in their seats.  Our main room was looking nicely filled with a few empty seats wisely placed for latecomers.  Tyas’ family and friends were seated in the front left rows and FCJs to the right with FCJ Companions in Mission, friends and colleagues taking up most of the other available seating. As the choir sang out the first words of the Entrance Hymn we began to process in and we were drawn into the ceremony moment by beautiful moment.  Tyas looked lovely.  She was so composed and sure of herself.  As Tyas pronounced her vows her voice resounded loud and clear.  There was a glow of joy about her – which is still with her!  The ceremony was followed by a delicious lunch.  The food was just right, it tasted good and there was plenty of it without it being too luxurious.  At 6pm the FCJs gathered together for Tyas’ missioning.  We had a simple meal together as we shared our memories of the day.  It was lovely to be FCJs together at the end of such a special day for all of us – and especially for Tyas.  Thank you for keeping us in your prayer…I assure you of ours…

EARLY MORNING ON THE DAY OF TYAS’ VOWS…

July 7, 2013

At 5am this morning I walked around our house enjoying the cool air and the silence that pervaded everything.  The main room of our house looked lovely – like a chapel – all set up for the vows.  Gradually other FCJs appeared and continued their part of the final preparations.  At this stage no further instructions are needed – we work as one body with one heart and one mind – helping each other in a true experience of companionship.  Tyas meanwhile – is radiant – she’s ready…This is a happy day for all  – for FCJs, for Tyas’ family and friends, for our Church and World…You all are included in our prayers of intercession…Thank you for your prayers…