There will be no such thing

Photo by Timur Garifov.

Sr Mary-Ann shares a reflection on her favourite quote from Julian Tenison Woods.

Father Julian Tenison Woods’ writings are sprinkling with delightfully lyrical and sometimes pithy pieces. I find myself returning to words he penned in 1880:

There will be no such thing as sameness in the objects, no such thing as tameness in the beauty. (Tenison-Woods 1880, p. 102)

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Reflecting on illness and death

Life blooms and suddenly…

Monthly, weekly, and sometimes daily, we hear news of the death of yet another treasured, loved, Sister and friend. Sadness grips our hearts and minds. It feels as though our dreams and visions for the future are slipping away. Could it be that this Congregation, founded by Julian and Mary, is undergoing transformation? Is something new emerging?

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The Legacy of Julian Tenison Woods and the Earth Charter

In every generation, voices of prophets remind us that God has charged humans with the care of our common home, Earth. The examples of our first peoples, and of individuals like Francis of Assisi, Meister Eckhart and the Medieval Women Mystics come to mind. In our day, too, we cite Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si’ as synthesising world-wide awareness that our treatment of creation has repercussions for good or evil.

Similarly, can we claim Julian Tenison Woods as a nineteenth-century Australian prophet, a precursor of the current call to respond to the health crisis of our planet, Earth?

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The Struggles and Gifts of Father Julian Tenison Woods

A young Julian Tenison Woods.
Bear in mind what struggles our life has come through and what opposition it has had.
Julian Tenison Woods 1887

This is the instruction on the first page of the 2022 Josephite Calendar and was written by Fr Julian Tenison Woods, two years before his death. I wonder what struggles of which he had been thinking.

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Father Julian Tenison Woods – Migrants and Refugees

Pope Francis meets refugees in Lesbos, Greece 2021 (Vatican Media)

Father Julian Tenison Woods understood the plight of the refugee.

Strange as it may seem, many of the early immigrants to Australia were what we might call ‘forced refugees’. As criminals exported to the new colony in the eastern states, they came against their will, leaving the country of their birth and settling in a new land. The schools which Father Julian and the early sisters established were often catering for the children of these parents and other migrants. In poverty they struggled to feed, clothe and educate their children and grandchildren – much as refugees do today.

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Father Julian Tenison Woods: A Passion for Education

St Joseph’s schoolhouse in Penola, SA commissioned by Father Woods in 1866.

Into the heart of Julian Tenison Woods, God placed a passion for learning.

From his earliest years, Julain thoroughly enjoyed rambling at the seaside, in forests, over rocks or anywhere there was a discovery experience. He was reared in an environment where all lived a productive life with a strong work ethic and where knowledge led to high achievement. This ethic inspired Julian’s priestly ministry until his death.

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Living in Harmony: The Wellbeing of Father Julian Tenison Woods

Father Julian Tenison Woods

Ill health, travel, negative media reports, lack of support and apparent failure can all have an adverse effect on our wellbeing. Julian Tenison Woods was subject to all these.

Family history suggests he may have suffered a form of hereditary immune deficiency. He travelled extensively, was the subject of gossip and innuendo, appeared sensitive to real and imagined slights, and tried unsuccessfully to join several religious congregations. All this was more than enough to threaten his sense of wellbeing. So how did he remain so motivated, productive, and connected throughout most of his life?

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The Friendship of Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods

Julian Tenison Woods and Mary MacKillop mural located at Mary MacKillop Memorial School, Penola SA.

Each year we recall Julian Tenison Woods on the 7 October anniversary of his death and laud his talents and deep spirituality. While Mary and the early sisters didn’t readily express their attachment to Julian’s eco-spirituality in writing, I am certain that his vision brushed off on them and that they shared his wonder at God’s creation.

We read that, “Mary took a broad view of his activities, not restricting her interests to his spiritual ministry. Her selection of quotations from his writings reveals not only his fine literary style and the variety of his interests, but also her own eye for colourful detail and the natural works of creation.” [1]  Mary, like Julian, enjoyed the outdoors and was a fine horse rider.

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