March 19, 2017
Celebrating 150 years! Josephites give thanks for all that has been, and by listening to the heartbeat of the world, say yes to all that will be.
The Sesquicentenary year officially ends on 19 March 2017. The past year has been a special time for us to give thanks for the many blessings which have come our way and a time to look to the future with hope, believing that the small seed of new life planted 150 years ago in Penola continues, and will continue, to make a difference for so many.
We are all grateful to those who wrote a book, an article, a song, a speech or a poem, or who created inspired art pieces, provided a story and a recipe, prepared the liturgies and beautiful Novena prayers. Our lives are richer for your contributions.
What did the cemetery rituals, the prayer days for Women in Rural Australia, the Justice Conference, making donations to MMI and MMF mean to you?
Did you see the opportunities which presented themselves with renewed eyes of hope, energy and gratitude?
Are you inspired by the continuation of Mary and Julian’s legacy by lay men and women in places where we once ministered?
Are you surprised, delighted, encouraged by their commitment?
Did you celebrate, encourage and support them?
Did you enjoy the Sesquicentenary Wine bottled and labelled at Sevenhill? (It is still available via the Sevenhill web site.)
Did you wish for something different as you listened to the Heartbeat of the World?
As you are reminded of your involvement in an event, a celebration, or a time of reflection, prayer or retreat throughout the year, what emotion does it evoke in you?
For each of us the experience was different, depending on our own particular circumstances. I hope that for all, there were life-giving moments, which continue to energize us into action.
The calendar was drawn up and across Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Peru, East Timor, Ireland, Scotland with events with particular meaning to the country, region, area. Many were invited, some with a strong Josephite connection, others who may have been on the border, or with us for a short period of their lives, or were just beginning to connect with us. These were the opportunities you created in order to enable many to experience the kingdom of God.
I give thanks for everyone’s involvement throughout this particular period in our history. To name one would be to name all. I thank you for your input in holding to the principles of simplicity, ordinariness, big-heartedness and inclusion in representing the charism for our time.
Holding on to the message that we are grateful to so many, that lovingly we want to reach out, to celebrate Mary and Julian’s dream by responding to the challenges of today.
As 19 March 2017 passes, we shall continue our ministry. Many will be visiting parishioners, prisoners, the sick. Others will be involved in chaplaincy, pastoral care, education, spirituality and prayer ministry. Some will be activists, writing to and meeting with politicians, involved in protest marches, working for justice and peace for all, including our indigenous peoples.
The work of Mary MacKillop and Julian T Woods began over 150 years ago and their legacy continues to inspire us as we move into the 151st year of the Congregation’s life.
Brigette Sipa rsj
Congregational Anniversary Co-ordinator
Provided below is a photo gallery of some highlights from the year of the Sesquicentenary...