Photo by Robert Cheaib.

For the Josephite Companion Movement, 2021 has been a year of new beginnings: a new name and structure, and new ways to “Gather Together”.

We have surmounted many obstacles and climbed many hills. We have had meetings and prayer sessions via email, video, phone, Zoom and, in some lucky cases, in person. All this has enriched our Movement and opened our minds and hearts to new ways of being community.

The Josephite Companions Leadership Team (JCoLT) has made the most of these new times by organising our inaugural Zoom Conference, Be Courageous and Full of Hope, which will be held on 4 September 2021, Father’s Day weekend. The conference will focus on where our movement has come from, where we are now and how we move forward.

Congregational Leader Sr Monica Cavanagh rsj is the keynote speaker and will provide inspiration for our members to discern ways to grow and develop our movement now and into the future.

Be Courageous and Full of Hope is a bold statement and a challenge to most of us in these uncertain times. History, however, reminds us that though we have had many challenging times, they are small when we consider Joseph’s challenges in taking on the mantle of “foster father” to God’s Son, or Mary and Julian embarking on their new venture.

I remember the excitement and trepidation when commencing a family; the blossoming of a child from a dependent newborn to a confident young adult has been a tremendous milestone in my life. There were, however, many highs and some lows along the way, but with Saint Joseph as my Spiritual adviser, I was able to face each challenge.

As I read letters between Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop and Fr Julian Tenison Woods, I am always amazed at the love that Mary and Julian had for each of “their children”. They considered what was best for the “family” as a whole, even when they were considering the placement of sisters across Australia and New Zealand.

The placement had to be for the betterment of the community and the sisters, as they considered the spiritual and physical wellbeing of all.

Some of these decisions would not have been easy but I feel Mary and Julian, like St Joseph, would have had this conversation, through prayer, with our God. The decision Joseph faced to move a family to a new country would have taken courage, hope and trust in God.

As Josephite Companions carrying the Josephite Charism in the 21st century, we must take heart that St Joseph, St Mary of the Cross and Fr Julian Tenison Woods will walk with us, guiding us in God’s mission.

Ken Theodore
Josephite Companion