Posts Tagged ‘vocation’

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

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.

 

 

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…

TYAS’ RECEPTION….

July 6, 2013

This evening – the “eve” of her first vows – Tyas was welcomed into the FCJ Society. We had a a beautiful prayer service during which we all blessed  Tyas and her future life as a professed FCJ.  The prayer was followed by a lovely meal together.  We then all changed into “work clothes” and finished preparing our house for the actual vows.  The vows take place at 11am tomorrow…Please keep on praying…We pray for you too…

TYAS…PREPARING FOR FIRST VOWS…

June 29, 2013

In just a week Tyas will be making first vows.  She has already made her pre-vow retreat and is now having a few days of quiet before her special day dawns…This is such a big moment for Tyas and for all of us – when a new FCJ makes her vows it a joy and a blessing for all of us.  Please keep Tyas in your thoughts and prayers…as we keep you in ours.

Holy Thursday – The day the FCJ Society was founded

March 28, 2013

Holy Thursday is a special day for all of us who live the FCJ Charism  – it’s the day when the Society began. After years of questioning and discernment Marie Madeleine knew in her heart that this was what God was asking of her. And she said YES.

That YES is significant – without her choice, her agreement, her willingness to take the consequences, the Society would have remained only a holy idea. In any discernment there comes a point where we have to CHOOSE, we have to have the COURAGE to take a step. We may not be certain, the way may seem hidden or difficult, but like Marie Madeleine there comes a moment of trust that God is with us, that Jesus is our companion, and we are called to respond.

 

the_washing_of_feet

‘That night, Holy Thursday, 30th March 1820, holy in its moving commemorating of the institution of the Eucharist, Marie Madeleine watched before the Altar of Repose. As she dwelt on the great love of her Lord on the mysteries of his paschal meal, passion and death, she gave him her heart, her soul and her entire being, consecrating herself at the foot of the cross to the work for which God had been so long preparing her. In this hidden way, in the silence of her heart, the Society of the Faithful Companions of Jesus was born. 

(Marie Madeleine) and her future companions would be women Jesuits, companions of Jesus, sharing by divine gift his spirit, his heart ad his mother. The Lord himself would be their founder and director, Mary their mother and superior. In complete self forgetfulness they would spend their lives for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Their rule would be that of St. Ignatius. Poverty, humility, obedience and gentleness were to be their inseparable companions leading them to  reflect, in so far as human weakness allowed, the life of Jesus. (God’s Faithful Instrument – P Grogan fcJ)

God’s gentle presence through the Sacrament of the Sick…

February 7, 2013

Recently we were called to the bedside of a dear friend of our community who is seriously ill in hospital.  We were asked to be present when she received the Sacrament of the Sick.  Within ten minutes of being called we were on our way to the hospital.  I found it deeply moving to be present at such a solemn time as our friend prepared herself for the final stage of her journey of life.  God’s presence in the room was tangible and so comforting.  Despite our sadness there was consolation in the knowledge that God was there tenderly drawing this brave, faith-filled woman home…