Father Julian Tenison Woods

On 16 July 2022, the Sisters of Saint Joseph celebrated 150 years of the Congregation’s presence in New South Wales since their arrival in Perthville in 1872.

What would it be like for Fr Julian Tenison Woods to speak to us in this year of sesquicentenary?

150 years on, this is what I imagine he might say:

Continue to look deeply into the heart of God, to find your home and your way. It’s vital to continue cultivating a heart that has the capacity to listen with profound care for the voice of God amongst the tumult and cacophony of noise within the world, to decipher what is of importance and what is not. A heart that has the courage to keep going when the way forward is veiled and unclear. Open your heart and learn the touch of God.

Know that God walks with you and lean into this belief when temptation and struggles come. Learn to recognise the footsteps of your Beloved, in good times and in difficult, for your Beloved is always with you, in darkness and sunshine, in quietness and rowdiness, in routine and spontaneousness. Waiting for your noticing and acknowledgement.

Be aware of the changing world around you, the new and beautiful ways that the Creator displays life, hope and resilience. Search for goodness and new life in the heartaches that happen. The glimmers of light that shine forth from broken promises and shattered dreams. The new life that springs from those seemingly ‘dead’ times. The call to be prophetic; to act with integrity, honesty, truthfulness is always present. Allow your God to shine through your transparent being so that life and hope touch vulnerable others with renewing love. Trust that God is forever present no matter what happens.

Accept the challenges of each day as beacons of invitation and inventiveness, allowing the innovative to spring forth into creative unfolding of new and vibrant life. Your challenges are means of life for others and the universe. So, “bring what you have”, place your small contribution at the feet of our vulnerable God and watch the miracle that takes place, touching and making an impact on the entire world.

Be brave and step out of your comfort zone, so that others may come to believe and recognise the God within them calling them forth.

  • Speak honestly, with gentleness and graciousness, so that those hurting may be healed and come to wholeness.
  • Love tenderly with compassion and mercy and watch newness spring forth into being.
  • Tend lovingly your own suffering, that hostility may not grow from it, instead, allow a deeper personal understanding of our living together as sisters and brothers to shine brightly.

You have a choice in this moment of time in which you live. Hold it lightly and affectionately, allowing truth to grow. In this way you shape your life’s meaning with integrity and honesty. Lift your heart in praise and thanksgiving to the Creator of us all.

Within all, cultivate a prayerful spirit, openness and clarity of heart, gentleness of being, allowing God’s power to flow through you. Continue to pray earnestly from the depths of your life.

Ann Morrison rsj
NSW Region