Easter Reflections 2023

We share with you four reflections for Palm (Passion) Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday provided by Sr Michele Shipperley rsj.

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Mary MacKillop goes to Rome

To celebrate 150 years since Mary MacKillop embarked on her first overseas journey (March 1873 – December 1874), the Sisters of Saint Joseph share reflections and details from Mary’s travels to and from Europe – sourced from Mary’s letters and Congregational Archives as she visits Italy, Germany, Scotland and Ireland.

“I am going to Rome… and I go full of hope!” Thus, wrote Mary MacKillop to her sisters on 25 March 1873. It reads like a simple statement but hides a wealth of grief, anxiety, hope and a profound trust in the Providence of God, her good God whose “adorable will” she encourages her sisters to accept in “humble submission… and in all circumstances whether pleasing or not to your natural inclinations”.[1]

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Queensland Josephites Support Uluru Statement from the Heart

The Josephites in Queensland have been on a journey for a number of months. On Tuesday 14 February, we reached an important milestone.

This journey has led us to a deeper understanding of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and its significance for our Indigenous brothers and sisters. Previously, in order to show our support, we placed our thumb prints around the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

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Earth Hour – 25 March 2023

Image by Earth Hour.

This year marks the 15th year of Earth Hour. What began in the Sydney CBD has spread across the nation and the globe. It is estimated that one in three people will participate in the symbolic action of turning off lights in their homes and some places of work for one hour.

Earth Hour is not about saving energy. The amount of energy this action conserves globally is negligible. The simple act of turning off the lights serves to remind us that Earth is a single planet sharing the one source of light. Looking down your street, across the suburbs, or at the dim city skyline during Earth Hour creates a sense of solidarity with others. At least one in three of your neighbours across all the continents cares enough about Earth to engage in this symbolic action. We are not alone in our concerns. The cumulative effect of everyone’s small actions and heightened awareness emits powerful messages to politicians, investors, influencers and policymakers.

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Josephite Justice Network Gathering – March 2023

The Josephite Justice Network (JJN) gathering was held at Kincumber South, New South Wales from 10-12 March 2023. Josephite Sisters, Companions as well as young Josephite volunteers from throughout Australia, were all present.

The theme for the gathering was The Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37:5). We realised during the course of the weekend, that getting together and listening to each other was a breath of fresh air, and a chance for us to recharge and prepare for all our forthcoming opportunities.

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International Women’s Day in Canberra

Sr Jo Brady next to a statue of her grandmother Dame Enid Lyons.

On International Women’s Day (8 March), I was fortunate to be invited to the unveiling of the statues of the first two women to enter federal parliament 80 years ago in 1943. The two women were Dame Dorothy Tangney from Western Australia who entered the Senate, and my grandmother Dame Enid Lyons from Tasmania who entered the House of Representatives. Dame Enid Lyons became the first woman in cabinet.

At the time of entering parliament, my grandmother had 11 children, five of whom were still in boarding school. As the wife of Joe Lyons, Tasmanian Premier and tenth Prime Minister (1932-1939), my grandmother was familiar with politics, having stood for the Tasmanian Parliament with her mother in the 1920s and having been involved in campaigning with her husband. In her maiden speech she had observed that a woman in the public sphere must “justify herself not as a woman, but as a citizen”. [1]

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JJAMM (Joseph, Julian and Mary MacKillop) 2023

And that’s a wrap on JJAMM 2023! What a fun, empowering, and faith-filled ride it was. Our Josephite student leaders journeyed across Australia and New Zealand to join forces in their collective pursuit for justice in the name of the Josephite tradition. It was a privilege to watch these gifted and insightful young leaders reinvigorate the dormant light within them and channel their newly kindled charism into the world of social justice.

As we laughed, dreamed, learned, prayed, strategised, and JJAMM-ed together, we truly felt the spirit of St Joseph, Fr Julian Tenison Woods, and St Mary MacKillop with us. The days we shared with each other not only enriched our understanding of what it means to be a creative, vision forward Josephite leader, but highlighted the importance of connection within community to achieve our just visions.

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Illness – a Painful Process of Defoliation

World Health Day 2023 by World Health Organization.

What amazing, spectacular creations our bodies are! Out of all the wondrous things that our Creator God brought into being, surely how we are structured is the most magnificent. We are made up of many living cells, neurons, chromosomes, hormones and DNA that all work together and enable us to exist, function and change over the life span. As if this is not impressive enough, we are also able to think, choose, create and experience emotion.

But what if this function goes wrong and our bodies don’t perform as they should? We have all suffered the effects of not feeling well or not feeling ourselves. At these times, we tend to wrestle with the condition that has laid us low and reach for the ambition of soon getting back to normal again so that we can carry on with our lives as we did before.

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