Beacons of Blessings – A Jubilee reflection by Sister Noreen Twomey

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Sister Noreen

5-6 decades ago, the spark of God’s call was sensed & responded to by five young women, today’s jubilarians, who dared to take a leap of faith, who traveled from far and near to test the call offered to them and countless others: “Come & See.

And so they can and saw and stayed.

In time the Call was tended & nurtured & sparked into a flame of faith in the heart and spirit of each woman who committed herself to pursue her vocation to serve God’s people as a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace.

Life took a radical turn as each prepared by prayer & reflection, by work and study to understand the implications of vocation and vowed commitment to the mission & ministry of the Church and this specific Community.

From the beginning, they pondered & wondered, queried & prayed to discern the Divine Plan, to say YES to the commitment which would sustain them to navigate change, to be faithful to the Call which led them to this Congregation, to this time & place, to this day’s celebration of thanksgiving.

And so, in time, they became involved in education & healthcare, in ElderCare & KinderCare, in serving dependent adults & children, those needing mentoring & nurturing & a place to live – all giving heart and life to the mission of the Congregation – the linchpin of God’s call & plan to become beacon of blessings for others.

Gracious God, you have shepherded us throughout the years. You have filled and replenished the jars of our lives with grace to do your work. You have enabled us to live our lives with purpose and compassion through each step of the journey.

Today, we are gathered in this Chapel where we first gathered 50-60 years ago to offer gratitude to You for whatever good our commitment to You has brought about.

You have tended the soil of our lives and strengthened whatever growth has occurred in our hidden selves. We have been fueled by your grace & transformed by your love.

Today, with Community, family and friends, we have partaken in the Bread of Eucharist, the Bread of Life, the Bread of Thanksgiving to sustain us on the journey.

Source of life and love, of peace and abundance, we are filled with the memories of experiences which have nurtured and strengthened us throughout the years.

May all gathered here today bear witness to your Gospel of Grace. May we live life with a steadfast rhythm as we walk by faith, assured that You, our Gracious God, will accompany us on the way.

At this time, in the presence of our Creator, Congregation, family and friends, we offer gratitude for the myriad blessings which have been woven into the tapestry of our lives.

May the grace of our lives continue to praise You during this blessed day of Jubilee, this year of Mercy, and throughout all the days that follow.

In the words of Wendell Berry, Kentucky poet, philosopher & farmer, we pray for all of us here today …

“that the benediction of our lives
be an outspreading of light …
that praise rise up like fragrant insence
and fill our world with joy and light.”
(taken from SABBATH poems)

Happy Easter!

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“Listen to the words He addresses to His disciples: ‘Peace be to you.’ When Jesus stands in the midst there must be pace; and peace of heart is a Christian privilege, a resurrection gift, of which none can deprive us unless we willfully deprive ourselves of it. We may be tried, tempted, suffering, disappointed, dejected, but none of these things can deprive us of peace. We lose it when we murmur under trial, when we become impatient in suffering, when we question God’s love in disappointments and crosses; because then we have forbidden our sweet Jesus to ‘stand in the midst’; and when He is gone, or even partly withdrawn from us, we can no longer have perfect peace. Risen Heart of my Jesus, give me Thy Peace.” – MF Cusack (Mother Francis Clare), Meditations for Advent and Easter, 1866

 

 

Formation 101: Temporary Profession

This week we finish our “Formation 101” blog feature, this week focusing in on the time of temporary profession. If you are reading this vocations blog, you very well might be wondering what the steps are in 2016 to become a Catholic Sister. We hope this blog series will help to peel away some of the mysteries of religious formation.

During the novitiate, the Sister has an opportunity to develop her understanding of our CSJP way of life, history, spirit, and mission as peacemakers. At the end of this two year period, she will discern with her novitiate director and the director of formation regarding her readiness to profess first vows. Key signs of readiness include a willingness to dedicate one’s life to God by vows, the ability to live in community and participate in mission, identification with the spirit of the CSJP congregation and our focal values of justice and peace, as well as requirements of church law.

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The period of first profession normally lasts between three and six years. During this time, each sister has opportunities for involvement in ministry, for professional development, and for continued assistance and discernment in preparation for perpetual vows.

As we live our mission of peace, we continue to be enriched by the hope shared among us and brought to us by new members and by the lives of those who walk and work with us.

If you have any questions about religious life or would just like to learn more, please feel free to contact Sister Susan, our Congregation Vocation Director.

 

Formation 101: Novitiate

We continue our “Formation 101” blog feature, this week focusing in on the two year period of the novitiate. If you are reading this vocations blog, you very well might be wondering what the steps are in 2016 to become a Catholic Sister. We hope this blog series will help to peel away some of the mysteries of religious formation.

During the period of candidacy, which ordinarily lasts about one year, the candidate director helps the candidate discern her readiness to enter the novitiate.

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The Novitiate is a two-year process. One year is called the “canonical year,” which is regulated by church law. The canonical novitiate is spent in the novitiate house. It is a period of intensive prayer and study in relative withdrawal from ministerial involvement. During this special time of formation, the primary focus is on the transformation of the novice in Jesus Christ.

The second year is known as the ministry year. During this time, the novice is engaged in ministry that will evoke the faith dispositions needed by those sharing in the mission of the church as expressed through our charism.

The novitiate program gives special attention to deepening the novice’s experience of God through prayer and reflection and through study, community life, and times of ministry. There is a particular focus on the CSJP vowed life as the novice develops her understanding of our history, spirit, and mission as peacemakers.

If you have any questions about religious life or would just like to learn more, please feel free to contact Sister Susan, our Congregation Vocation Director.