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Our Foundress Mary MacKillop
Julian Tenison Woods
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March 19, 2017
Greetings for the feast of St Joseph.
May Joseph's courage and gentleness inspire you to be compassionate risk-takers. On this feast of Joseph, the Sisters of St Joseph bring to completion the celebration of their Sesquicentenary. We give thanks for the many celebrations, words of gratitude and love that were shared with us during this year. Our hearts were truly moved by the many expressions of appreciation that we received and by the way in which so many joined to celebrate with us. The small beginning which took root in Penola on 19 March 1866 has indeed blossomed.
You, our people, have called us once again to be risk-takers like Joseph our Patron and to be women whose hearts are in tune with the heartbeat of the world.
On this feast of Joseph, let us recall how Joseph set out on three significant journeys - one to Bethlehem, one to Egypt and one to Nazareth. None of these were planned. Each came about because Joseph was able to listen to the whispering of God to his own heart. Each journey took Joseph to the edge of his existence, into an unknown situation. Our life too takes us on many journeys which broaden our horizons, challenge our securities, and open for us new possibilities.
In response to the call of a census, he takes the pregnant Mary to Bethlehem where he will witness the birth of the Child Jesus. Imagine the joy and delight Joseph experienced at the sight of the newborn. This experience Joseph shares with so many fathers. May we like Joseph rejoice in the gift of children whose gift of wonder and delight opens our mind to new imaginings.
In the midst of these joys Joseph dreams. The dream awakens him to the call to flee from the dangers that surround him. He, like so many refugees in our world today, begins an arduous journey through the desert into Egypt. Joseph's heart stands with those fleeing the realities of war, starvation and violence as they face the perils of what it means to be a refugee.
May Joseph be a protector for them and inspire us to reach out and be a welcoming face.
Joseph sets out to return with Mary and the child to his homeland. In doing so, he cannot return to the village of his childhood for he must seek a new place to call home - Nazareth. In Nazareth, Joseph's hospitality becomes the place where Jesus learns the value of inclusion. It is here in this home with Mary, Jesus grows in wisdom and insight.
May Joseph be with us when we need to find a new place to call home.
In the words of Mary MacKillop:
I do hope you will have a truly happy St Joseph's day.MMK 1894
Sr Monica Cavanagh rsj
First image source: commons.wikimedia.org
Second image source: bjornolav.blogspot.com.au