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From Mystery Unfolding to Living Into Mystery, the Sisters move Forward

February 09, 2014

The Sisters give thanks for the prayer and support they received from so many during 2013 as they entered into their General Chapter journey. On March 1, 2014 Sister Anne Derwin and her Team finish their term of office and share with us here a reflection on the past 6 years. 

It’s time for us to say goodbye as we finish our 6 years as the Congregational Leadership Team. We finish with grateful hearts for the privilege of being in leadership during a very historic time for the Sisters of St Joseph.

We remember the energy around World Youth Day in 2008, the honour of Pope Benedict’s visit to the Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel, the celebrations in the 2009 centenary year of Mary MacKillop’s death, the excitement of the Holy Father’s acceptance in early 2010 of Kath Evans’ cure as the second miracle required for Mary’s canonisation and then the exhilaration of the Canonisation itself in October 2010 with all the accompanying festivities.

We remember the wonder of the movement of the Spirit in bringing together Congregations of Sisters of St Joseph - no longer separated as ‘black’ and ‘brown’ Josephites - and the new joy and energy of this unity. As Sisters we cherish this oneness as a special grace of the Canonisation for us as Josephite women.

We remember the solemnity of the recent celebrations of January 2014 marking the centenary of the blessing and opening of the Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel in North Sydney and the re-interment of Mary’s remains there.

We remember with affection and continue to be inspired by our Sisters in ministry across the world, in cities and rural towns, many isolated by distance from each other, but all so generous in their commitment among the people. We remember with great love our Sisters whose active ministry days are over and who in their ageing and suffering continue their life of prayer as Josephite women. We remember the faith-filled lives of the 185 Sisters who died in these 6 years. They were for all of us mentors, companions on mission and our Sisters.

We remember with deep gratitude the many people including Josephite Associates, those in covenant and affiliated relationship with us, our Josephite ministry colleagues and staff, family and friends, parishioners and benefactors, who encouraged and supported us, and all our Sisters, over these years.

We remember the blessings of the 26th General Chapter held in November 2013 which called us as Sisters to recognise that ‘at the heart of life God draws us into a new communion’. We remember the joy and great confidence we felt when Sisters Monica Cavanagh, Catherine Shelton, Marion Gambin, Louise Reeves and Maryellen Thomas were elected as the new Congregational Leadership Team. They will begin their leadership term on 1st March.

We feel so very blessed. We thank God for calling our Congregation into being through Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods all those years ago, for sustaining us until now and for promising to be with us and provide for us into the next wonderful phase of our life as Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.
Goodbye and thank you all.

Anne Derwin, Eileen Lenihan, Ann Gilroy, Sheila McCreanor and Annette Arnold

Sister Monica Cavanagh, Congregational Leader Elect shares her reflection at this time of the handover of Leadership.

Let us be joyful and thank God. 19.3.1874 - Mary MacKillop

On 1 March, the Sisters of St Joseph will participate in a ritual that marks the completion of the term of office of the current Congregational Leadership Team, Sisters Anne Derwin, Sheila McCreanor, Eileen Lenihan, Ann Gilroy and Annette Arnold and the taking up of office of the Congregational Leadership Team elect. On this occasion we give thanks for the wonderful Leadership that this group of Josephite women have given during a significant time in our history when we have witnessed the canonisation of our Foundress, Saint Mary MacKillop.

This group of women have known both the joys and sorrows, the blessings and challenges of being in Leadership in this time in history. They have given wholeheartedly of themselves to this ministry of service and have enabled the Sisters of St Joseph to move to this new moment in our story - a time when everything in our universe is inviting us into a deeper communion with God and with one another. It is a time when the Mystery of God continues to unfold in new and challenging ways.

The Congregational Leadership Team elect looks forward to walking this next stage of the Josephite journey with the Sisters, our partners in mission and all those who choose to live the Gospel in a Josephite way. Let us take up the challenge of Pope Francis to live the Gospel with joy.

Sister Monica Cavangh, Congregational Leader Elect pictured above with her Team - L to R: Louise Reeves, Catherine Shelton, Monica Cavanagh, Maryellen Thomas and Marion Gambin.