Reflecting back, the last month feels like a time of joy of movement and of many new surprising firsts. It reminds me of when you’re travelling in a car and things seem to whizz by in an array of colours and lights … zoom…
In preparation for my first profession on the 13th January I had a strong sense that this was a journey that I did not take alone. Therefore the theme for the Mass was Joyful Communion. Believing that we are all called to live life and live it abundantly (Jn 10:10). No one is greater than another, we are all loved by an endless love, we are all parts of one body in relationship (1 Cor 12:12-27)
As relatives, friends and Sisters gathered on the day my joy increased (as well as my nerves!). But the overwhelming sense of home, community and joy was what rang out most in my heart.
From setting up the sacred space display, printing of the booklet, organising the Mass, amazing musicians, welcomers, organising cold water (because God seemingly turned the heat and humidity along with the joy!), to our priest (Fr. Brendan), CLT and all who helped with the Mass, it was a community day, a day when we all remembered that we are parts of the one body and we are all nourished by the love that Christ gives us (Matt 15: 32-39). I am too absolutely filled with gratitude for all who helped with the day and for fall who have journeyed with me; may we have many more adventures to come...
As part of the preparations Sisters can also choose a name as part of our vow formula. I chose ‘…. of Joyful Solidarity’. I chose this because as I continue to listen and journey I admit my madness and my magnificence.
Promising to walk sharing Joy:
Joy that comes from surrender to God.
Joy that deepens when shared.
Joy not in things and stuff, but it is in us, in our body of Christ.
And walking in Solidarity:
Being with as Jesus lived.
Listening with as Jesus listened.
Walking with as Jesus walked.
As Mary MacKillop lovingly showed us with her life; “Remember, WE are but travellers here.”
And now as I venture out into my first community as a Sister of St Joseph and my first full time ministry in a High School I walk in joy and solidarity knowing with full heart that I am not walking alone. The peace and gratitude that flow from my heart reminds me that I walk as part of a whole, walking the path that gives me life, and I thank our God.
And I ask you as I did on the 13th January; please don’t pray for me, but please pray with me. And I promise you that in joy, solidarity and prayer I am always with you as part of this body too.
I am finite candle
You hold the infinite match
With you I shine
Let us shine
Let us shine
Let us shine
(Prayer written for First Profession)
13th January 2018 was a very special day. On this day I professed for the first time the vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience and I will now live as a Sister of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart!
I feel absolutely filled with joy and gratitude. Thank you to all who were there and all who supported me in solidarity with prayer. I will post some photos and info when the dust has settled....
Over the past year I have continued to discern if I feel that God is calling me to live fully alive as a Sister of St Joseph. This discernment has gone hand in hand with prayer, ministry placements and study.
I have and still feel strongly called to pastoral care / counseling for people that are young. So, I was over the moon to be recently given the opportunity to experience school life in a high school in NSW (MacKillop College). I will admit that I felt like the apprehensive new kid at school when I first, arrived, plus when I was asked to speak in front of 1500 students on my first visit I’m pretty sure my jaw actually hit the concrete!
But, I said Yes… I flourished and ‘yes’ became my mantra. With embrace of fears and a lot of ‘yes’ moments I found an absolute sense of home. I felt myself become more and more alive with students, teachers and parents.
While at MacKillop College I had many opportunities for immersion and experienced a variety of things from sport days, leading classes, school events and even said ‘yes’ to doing a reflection for three Sunday masses. I used balloons and a bit of humour to talk about forgiveness in my reflection – figuring that it’s best to be your true self, full of joy (or… full of helium!). Thank you to all who journeyed with me in Warnervale – you are a beautiful group of humans.
I am now also past the two year point on my Emmaus journey (novitiate). When I travelled to Australia in August 2015 I really didn’t know what I was getting myself in for. It may sound cheesy to say, but I feel in many ways like I really am a different person now. The Sisters have been very patient; it’s not an easy transition from secular life into religious life. Sure, it’s not a different world, but it is a different way of living, the ‘thawing’ process takes time. I have been given many opportunities for learning, including CPE, which really humbled me and started me on a new path to self-awareness (which I get the feeling I’ll always be working on!).
At the two-year point I completed a seven day silent retreat. This was a very intense time, the retreat focused on if this path to religious life is what God is calling me to, or if there is another pathway that would help me to best live out John 10:10? It is also a time when the congregation looks more deeply into my call. It is a mutual relationship, almost like dating in a way. It requires a lot of trust – negative “what if” moments can creep in. But, I have discovered that with deep discernment, listening and total surrender to God that there is no need to worry – letting go makes way for pure grace, peace and joy to flow.
Through the retreat I also had a huge realisation… it was time for me to stop running! Wowsers. I had been running pretty much every day for 7 years. But for the past 4 months I have been walking every morning instead of running. And I must say, I feel calmer, my hip and knee are much happier with my mind and in general I feel more peace.
“When I could not see my way