On 2 February every year the Catholic church celebrates World Day for Consecrated Life. It is a day for Women and Men Religious to celebrate the gift that is theirs for the church and the world. This year Pope Francis focussed on the scene in the gospel of Luke 2:22-38 with Anna and Simeon in the temple and asked three important questions:
- What moves us? Simeon goes to the Temple, ‘moved by the spirit’ v 27
- What do our eyes see? Simeon moved by the Spirit sees and recognises Christ. And he prays, saying: “My eyes have seen your salvation” v 30
- What do we take into our own arms? Simeon took Jesus into his arms v 28
You can read Pope Francis’ full homily at the World Day for Consecrated Life Mass here.
At the 2019 Josephite Chapter, the Sisters committed themselves to ‘rejoice in our vowed way of life and to recognise the challenges emerging as it evolves across the world and to deepen our response to these inspirations of God’. A day such as World Day for Consecrated Life provides us with such an opportunity.
As Josephite-vowed women we commit ourselves to serve in a variety of ministries with a particular attention to those living in rural areas and those living in challenging realities.
Over the recent Christmas/New Year period six of our fellow Sisters died. As I reflected on each one’s life, I marvelled at who they ‘had taken into their arms’ over many years. Sisters like Sister Catherine Shelton who had served both in leadership in the Congregation and in the wider church and served on the Congregational Leadership Team 2013-2019; Sister Marion Liddy who among other ministries lectured to student teachers in the area of Religious Education; Sister Angela Hynes who served in many rural communities in educational and pastoral activities; Sister Pat Harrison who served in the ministry of stewardship of our resources; Sister Joan Barry’s commitment to education and love of the people in Port Lincoln; and the most recent Sister Louise O’Kane who celebrated her 100th birthday in November and 80 years of Religious Life after having lived and worked among the Maori people of Aotearoa New Zealand for over 30 years. Each of these women bear witness to a life lived attentive to the movement of the spirit and responding to the call of God by seeing a need and doing something about it. Let us rejoice in the gift of their lives.
Pope Francis dedicated his Prayer Intention for the month of February for Women Religious. You might like to view his reflection here.
Sr Monica Cavanagh