The Vocation of being a Josephite Associate.
From being educated in Josephite schools and spending nearly 40 years as an educator in them I have truly been immersed in Josephiteness! I can’t recall who invited me along to an Associates’ gathering; I just seemed to slide into this movement and have remained deeply involved ever since.
To have a vocation is to have a mission in life, an inclination to follow a particular path. From a young age I felt drawn to teaching. Being a teacher in Catholic schools provided me with opportunities to deepen my own faith as I shared my knowledge and belief with the children I was teaching and through my involvement in school and parish life.
When I became an Associate, this added a further dimension and focus to my faith life. It provided me with the opportunity to meet and share my Catholic faith with others, enabling me to become more aware of Mary MacKillop’s story and learn about her legacy through the sisters who continued this legacy through their lives of commitment and service. Being a Josephite Associate has given me a sense of belonging, of feeling connected to like-minded people who share a spirituality that gives me focus and energy. There is great value in being surrounded and supported by others, both sisters and Associates, who share a common bond, namely that of living the Gospel with a Josephite Heart.
This connectedness has allowed to arise other opportunities that have given meaning and sustenance to my life and faith and have enabled me to feel valued and able to contribute to the wider Josephite story and so, ‘to further the reign of God’ (Associates’ Mission Statement). My involvement made it possible for me to develop my skills in leadership within SA Associates and beyond; it has helped to shape my contribution and leadership in schools in the Josephite tradition so as to ensure that those communities came to know and hopefully be inspired by the example of Mary MacKillop. In later years I have also felt drawn to become further immersed in the Josephite story through becoming a Covenant Josephite.
Now as a part of our International Josephite Associate Leadership Team (IJALT) I am very aware of the privilege and responsibility that I and others who are Associates have in enabling others to know and share in the Josephite charism. I feel strongly that I carry this tradition in my heart and the challenge for me is to make a difference in the lives of others because of it and to assist our Associates to recognize this gift within themselves.
Two years ago I was invited to travel to Peru to meet up with Associates there. At that time, one of the Associates from Lima was the person who took Mary’s story to a distant town and showed me how, from that encounter an Associate group was established. Prior to Maria’s going there, no sisters had been to Cajabamba. It was Maria who carried the story and shared the charism in a new place to enable others to share in it. Happenings such as this provide me with the impetus to keep encouraging Associates to know that we too can make a difference. I truly have been blessed to be ‘caught up in the Josephite net’!