Congratulations to the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart who have celebrated 60 years of Religious life!
The Diamond Jubilee celebration for the Sisters of Saint Joseph who made their first vows to God sixty years ago was joyous. The whole time of their gathering at Mary MacKillop Place, Mount Street, North Sydney, was a time of being on ‘Holy Ground’, from the arrivals and reunions on 9 January to the finality of departures on 15 January.
Twenty-four Sisters from among those who were professed in 1960, have lived to celebrate the journey of those years. Nineteen members of this closely bonded circle of Sisters were able to travel to the celebration and, throughout their time together, they kept in frequent contact with the remaining five Sisters by way of telephone and internet.
On the evening of 12 January, the vigil of their Jubilee Mass, the Jubilarians gathered around Mary MacKillop’s tomb in the darkened chapel. They prayed, spoke of their memories of the thirteen members of their profession group who have gone before them into death, lit the Paschal candle and placed candles on a Remembrance Table. The felt strongly that:‘The special people we have lost are always with us’.
Monday 13 January, the day of celebration dawned clear and blue. The circle widened to include women who had been members of this group for part of their lives, had left it to live in the gospel spirit in a different way, and had not lost contact. The circle widened further, gathering into the celebration families and friends who have supported these Jubilarians through the years.
As they had done sixty years before the Sisters were ready to renew their vows. The Jubilarians, who were together once more after having ministered in many different ways and in many distant places, filed slowly down the aisle following the cross and singing with the backing of choir, congregation, organ and flute. The theme of the Mass was one of joy, of living water, of fruitfulness, and of gratitude. Those present acknowledged the First Peoples of our nations and prayed over the terrible bushfires and the realities of pain, suffering and loss. The Presider, Bishop Patrick Power honoured the lives of the Jubilarians, and the Congregation prayed a blessing on them.
They remembered with gratitude the co-founders of their Congregation, St Mary MacKillop and Fr Julian Tenison Woods and the many Sisters who had revealed the compassionate love of God through the years and prayed for the grace to meet the challenges of the future.
At the conclusion of the Eucharist the Bishop and five Concelebrants, the Diamond Jubilarians and the guests left the Chapel to an Organ Voluntary and gathered in the Josephites’ Auditorium for a celebratory meal.
On their last evening together, the circle of Jubilarians gathered once more with the Congregational Leadership Team around the tomb of Mary MacKillop. They concluded their prayer with the song:
If I could tell the love of God. If I could tell the love of God.
You’re also invited to watch parts of the Diamond Jubilee Celebration Mass in the videos provided below:
Welcome and the Introductory Rites
Renewal of Vows