Recently I kept seeing a particular quote and couldn't seem to get it out of my head. "Remember we are but travellers here" seemed to be everywhere. Believing it's best to listen to what is stirring in my heart, I became curious and started to research the quote. As I attempted to understand the time and place, I discovered this was written very early in St Mary MacKillop's religious life (27.11.1866). This was just after she started our first Josephite school in a disused stable in Penola, South Australia. She also used the same word "travellers" in a letter to her Mum (Flora) only three months before: "Bear in mind that we are only poor travellers, that our home is not here" (14.8.1866).
- What would have led to this line of thinking? -
At that time Mary was entering into a new way of life by starting the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart. She was taking her first steps on a new journey with Julian Tenison Woods. It’s easy to see how her use of the word “travellers” was relevant at this time; her heart was surely raised in hope and trust as she travelled with others into the future unknown. Perhaps in her youthful exuberance she thought something akin to 'lets give it a crack, what have we got to loose' - O how Australian of her! She reminds us that our time on earth is short, we must trust in God, and trust in the whisperings we hear stirring in our hearts. "We" is also a key word as this would link with her understanding of what Jesus teaches us through the Gospels (Mk 12:30-31) - love all, there is no otherness.
- The spirit works in mysterious ways -
All the while I felt drawn to create a new cartoon based on this quote, so I started working away on it. And it really is amazing how the spirit works, I recently experienced a remarkable connection at school (where I am fortunate to be in ministry). I was sitting with our Principal (Mrs Narelle Archer) and she told me about her speech for our St Mary MacKillop day - she was planning to use the fearless girl statue and a focus quote... would you believe which quote? Yes, you guessed it!
Narelle quoted in her speech what I said to her next...
“Wow, this in incredible and providential. We are all interconnected! We have no need to fear when we trust in God. Would you believe I have been working on an image of Mary because I kept hearing “remember we are but travellers here”, and couldn’t get it out of my mind. As I was driving to Year 11 retreat the letter from Mary with that quote randomly played with my phone on shuffle, and when I arrived Ms Layton told me that “remember, we are but travellers here” was the theme of the retreat. It’s amazing... We are travellers together. We are fearless when we are together. Serving God together.”
And wouldn't you believe it, when our head girl (Joelle Sassine) gave her speech on that day she too focused on how Mary would be with us today, how she would travel with us today, and yes, she used the same quote too.
- Listening and responding -
After receiving such a positive response from the cartoon I created for Mary's feast day, I also realised there is a real spiritual hunger /poverty for many people who seek spiritual connection through contemporary artwork. I hope to serve God and our community with this new cartoon - I've done my best to do as Mary suggested and "listen to the whisperings of God to your own heart." Hopefully helping others, reminding us in a Josephite way that God always travels with us, we are all included (no matter our age, country of birth or background), we are only here for a short time and our journey on this earth is best shared. I hope this drawing brings joy and connection and be sure to check out the 30 second time-lapse video below too.
We especially remember Our Lady with several feast days this month - Happy Birthday to her on the 8th!
And if you are interested in religious life be sure to read this incredible reflection from Sr Colleen Gibson: Final Countdown to Final Commitment
May 'we' travel together with gratitude, listening with fearless love and deeply trusting in God as both Mary's did.
Much love and prayer fellow travellers, Jane .
News Flash for September >> HERE
September 8 — Birth of Mary, September 12 — The Most Holy Name of Mary
September 15 — Our Lady of Sorrows, September 24 — Our Lady of Mercy
Jane Maisey rsj