Pentecost 2024

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe.

When Mary MacKillop wrote to Monsignor Kirby in October 1873 on The Necessity of the Institute, she begins by writing, “May the Holy Spirit, my God, direct me in what I am about to write.” In doing so, she invokes the outpouring of the Spirit on this important missionary work that needs to be undertaken in Australia. The fruits of the Spirit were abundant in Mary MacKillop’s life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.

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Laudato Si’ Week 2024: 19-26 May

Laudato Si’ Week 2024 logo with image by Francesco Gallarotti.

This year marks the ninth anniversary of the publication of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical to every person living on this planet. Seeds of Hope is the chosen theme of the weeklong Laudato Si’ celebration. We are invited to be seeds of hope in our lives and our world, and to be rooted in the Christian virtues of faith, hope and love.

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Mothering Today

Janette (right) with her mother (left).

Mother’s Day (12 May) has taken on new meaning for me this year. My wonderful mother is still very much alive and well, but we are beginning a new relationship.

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At home among the poor

The Vision artwork by Jan Williamson.

On 31 May 1867, Father Julian Tenison Woods sent to Mary MacKillop the first Rule of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. This became the founding document, encapsulating the vision for the order and providing the Sisters with important guidelines for their ministry.

It had arrived! Here was the fruit of their discussions. Sister Mary MacKillop opened it carefully, her heart filling with joy as she read Father Julian Tenison Woods’ words in his letter of 31 May 1867:

Dear Sister Mary

I enclose the Rule. You must without delay copy it out into a small neat book, smaller than this note paper, and written only on one side and enclose it back to me.

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Celebrating 70, 75 and 80 Years of Religious Life

Jubilarians gather at Mary MacKillop Place, North Sydney.

Sisters of Saint Joseph from across Australia, in Ireland and in Aotearoa New Zealand recently celebrated their Tanzanite (80 years), Tourmaline (75 years) and Platinum (70 years) Jubilees of Religious Profession.

Seven Jubilarians from this group of 21 Sisters gathered at Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney where they were welcomed by Sisters of Saint Joseph Congregational Leader, Sr Monica Cavanagh, fellow Sisters, family and friends. The Most Reverend Terry Brady presided at the Mass and congratulated the Jubilarians on their vowed commitment.

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St Joseph the Worker

St Joseph and Jesus working.

For the feast of St Joseph the Worker (1 May), Mary Cresp rsj shares about the work and life of St Joseph which has been adapted from her book, In the Spirit of Joseph, 2005 (North Sydney, Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart) pp. 94-96.

Joseph, we are told, was a tekton – a person who works with hard substances. Archaeological evidence tells us that the bulk of these substances was most likely stone, since timber was not plentiful and there was ample use of the limestone and basalt deposits in the area. Public works such as water systems in neighbouring Sepphoris and domestic constructions such as grinding stones and storage areas used these materials excavated out of the hills. Ovens were made out of brick. Wood would have been used for ploughs, door frames and small items of furniture. A more accurate description of Joseph’s trade, then, would be ‘builder’ since there was no such thing as a specialised ‘carpenter’.

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ANZAC Day Reflection

Poppies on the Wall of Remembrance at Australian War Memorial by Raelle Gann-Owens.

ANZAC Day (25 April) is a day of remembrance in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. In these times when church attendance is waning, the public liturgies of remembrance are becoming popular. Crowds gather for the dawn service, services at cenotaphs, the parade of returned service men and women and the laying of wreaths. Many more families are remembering members who were shipped overseas during WWI, WWII, the Korean War or the Vietnam War. Many of these soldiers and support staff did not return, while many others returned damaged in body and mind.

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Window on Creation

“Living in harmony with nature and with God gives us full happiness and purpose,” thus said Father Julian Tenison Woods in 1887.

For Fr Julian, fullness of life meant the integration of science and religion. He sensed that the future of Earth depends on the realisation that all creation is in relationship, and that we human beings are irrevocably inter-connected with the natural world. In this he echoed the sentiments of St Francis of Assisi whom Pope Francis brought to our attention in 2015 when he gave the world Laudato Si’. Pope Francis showed us that St Francis’ way of living simply and sustainably was in solidarity with Earth and her peoples.

Today we know our Earth is in trouble.

A new resource has been created as an invitation to all who care about the future. The reader is invited to look at our world, as if out a window, with St Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis, and Fr Julian.

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