Eve’s Wishes for Christmas

Featured

It is early morning on Christmas eve, and for me as I am sure, for many, there is still so much to do. Let us not forget the reason for all our activity.

christmas

Merry Christmas to you all. Thank you for your support over this past year. May the New Year that awaits us be another of divine unfolding as we walk together, as faithful companions.

Companions in Mission: Caitlin Hardy & Wanty Widjaja

twoorthreequote
It is with great joy that we welcome two newest Companions in Mission (CIM), Caitlin Hardy and Wanty Widjaja, who made their First Commitment on Saturday 5 November 2016 in the Genazzano FCJ College Chapel.

commitment2016-4.jpg

L-R: Wanty Widjaja & Caitlin Hardy, CIM. November 2016.

For a period of eighteen months, Caitlin and Wanty have journeyed together in prayer and formation alongside the companionship and warmth of Pat Fitzgerald and Maureen Merlo, as group leaders. Both Caitlin and Wanty have been associated with the FCJs for a number of years, though in different ways. Caitlin is an alumna of Genazzano (2013), while Wanty first met the FCJ Sisters in her native Indonesia, having since strengthened bonds with the FCJs in Australia.

The intimate ceremony was prepared by Caitlin and Wanty, and attended by family members, friends and a faithful cohort of Sisters. Their public commitment to live inspired by the spirit of Marie Madeleine d’Houët and the charism of the FCJ Society, as Companions in Mission, was formally received by Sr Catherine Flynn fcJ.

commitment2016

Especially moving was Wanty expressing that she now has even more family here in Australia!

Congratulations to Caitlin and Wanty and thank you, for saying yes to living as FCJ Companions in Mission. May your witness continue to grow and inspire those around you. May our God, our Faithful Companion, bless you.

commitment2016-7.jpg

L-R: CIM Province Co-ordinator, Pat Fitzgerald; Wanty Widjaja; Sr Catherine Flynn fcJ; Caitlin Hardy and Sr Maureen Merlo fcJ

21 September 2016: Celebrate Being Alive

 

20140702_1772

Pilgrims – celebrating friendship – in the footsteps of Marie Madeleine. 2014.

“A birthday,” said my daughter, “is to celebrate how long you’ve been alive.”

 

We worked out how old Marie Madeleine would be if she were still with us today: two hundred and thirty-five.

Though the years are numbered, one can say that her spirit lives on with each story told, each memory shared and every time we pause to reflect on her life. To celebrate Marie Madeleine’s birth and life, we need not ceremony or lavish feasts, but hearts that are open to meeting her, and in turn, God’s gifts to the Church.* We can read about her, as my daughter has done so tonight in curiosity and interest, or we can hold near to us, what knowledge or insight we’ve gained over the period we’ve known her. We can reflect on the physiological aspects of her life: her birthplace, the family to which she was born, the time period in France, and ponder their significance or effect; or we can look at her legacy in the lives of her direct descendants, or the order of nuns she founded, and in the lives of many whom she continues to inspire.

Today is also the International Day of Peace, and I draw from the words of the newly-canonised St Teresa of Calcutta: “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” Celebrate being alive, with those nearest to you, may they be your family, your community or whomever lives in your heart.

 

*We remember that Marie Madeleine has been declared Venerable by the Catholic Church, formally recognising her saintly virtues. Here is a Prayer for Healing, which you might like to say:

 

More details about the Cause for the Canonization of Marie Madeleine can be found on the Society’s web site.

 

 

A Prayer for Openness

welcomesign

I don’t travel alone much, and when I do, I feel the whole process interiorly – from the planning of itinerary; to the packing, the transit and the journey.

I was reminded of one particular stay in Sydney two years ago when I was there for a conference. It was night, and many of the participants had either travelled in groups or were familiar with the locality. To add fun to the story, it was wet and quite cold that winter night, but because I was a Melbournian going to Sydney, I had decided on principle (and in stubbornness) that I wouldn’t need an umbrella with me. (Melbourne winters are not for suckers.) We had to organise our own meal and I was getting hungry and tired from the commute, and I was without the securities of shelter, familiarity and knowledge.

sydneynight.jpg

Sydney in the rain, by night, 19 August 2014. Image credit: G. Anderson.

I mustered courage and ventured out nevertheless, with a borrowed umbrella, and walked around the precinct awhile. Businesses were closing and people were going about their regular routine, leaving work, etc. It was not a tourist district, so everyone looked as though they knew where they were going. I did my best to imitate them, and found a haven of authentic #Japanese fare open, as if just for me. The interior was cosy and intimately lit (dark!), and I was the only customer at the time, yet there was something warm about it (apart from the steaming hot #miso). The service staff spoke little English but we managed with smiles. どうもありがとう 🙇

This was not the #Sydney I had known before, it was something else altogether, and in part, I think it was because I let myself be vulnerable yet reliant on whatever strengths I had in me.

When was the last time you lived with openness of spirit? Are you being called to openness? How can you be a welcome for someone today?

 

 

Prayer for Openness

God of Love,

Your birth knew no welcome on a barnyard floor

Your childhood estranged from the land of your home.

As an adult you lived among outsiders and lepers,

the lost and the forgotten, on the edges of sociability.

Rejected and renounced, to be abandoned by your kin

You were left to die alone, save for a few.

Even in rising, you were found unrecognised

yet remained ever faithful to the truth that is Love.

God of Love,

In knowing this, and in all you’ve given me,

Make me a haven of welcome and warmth,

that I too, may be open, to your coming again.

#spiritual #insight #instafood #restaurant #door #doorway #opendoor #travel#memories #fcjasau #mission

Day 31 of #31DaysWithIgnatius

iggyday31.JPG

A friend sent me this picture a few years ago on the feast of St Ignatius, with the note: ‘When too much St Ignatius Loyola is not enough!’ 😁

Today, dear people, is the feast of St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the #Jesuits and father of #IgnatianSpirituality. He is a gift to the Church and to humanity, over the ages. To the #FcjSisters he is a patron and fellow #companion. To me, he is a guide whom I can follow, and a friend whose counsel I can seek. I believe in the community of #Saints and so celebrate them.

Who is St Ignatius for you? What have you learnt about the love of #God for you, through his intercession or example?
#31dayswithIgnatius #godinallthings #fgiat #LoyolaPress #gratitude #foundiggy#catholic #saints

In celebration of Ignatian Spirituality, and to mark the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola (31 July), I have taken on the challenge of posting a picture a day that speaks to me of the lessons learned from all things ‘Ignatian’; including ‘finding God in all things.’ Here it is, as posted on Instagram (@fcjAustralia).

Day 29 of #31DaysWithIgnatius

iggyday29

#Day29of31withIggy:@franciscus tweeted the following- “The Lord loves to participate in the events of our daily lives and to walk with us.” Sometimes I really do think that#PopeFrancis is an #FcJ, a Faithful Companion of Jesus.

#31dayswithIgnatius #quote #qotd#franciscus #keepingcompany#faithfulcompanionofjesus #FcjSisters@clarefcj @fcjsisters @loyolapress @fifilepiu #ignatian

In celebration of Ignatian Spirituality, and to mark the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola (31 July), I have taken on the challenge of posting a picture a day that speaks to me of the lessons learned from all things ‘Ignatian’; including ‘finding God in all things.’ Here it is, as posted on Instagram (@fcjAustralia).

Day 1 of #31DayswithIgnatius

In celebration of Ignatian Spirituality, and to mark the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola (31 July), I have taken on the challenge of posting a picture a day that speaks to me of the lessons learned from all things ‘Ignatian’. Here it is, as posted on Instagram (@fcjAustralia):

iggyday1

#day1of31withiggy: One of the first things I learnt about Ignatian spirituality was the gift of #noticing. Yesterday I noticed this tiny #leaf on the ground, dotted with #raindrops. I lost some trying to pick up said leaf, but was still able to delight in its wonder.

Our Lady’s Blessing

ourladytendernessicon.JPG

“Our Lady of Tenderness” Icon, written by my own mother, Cecilia Tan, 2012.

For Mother’s Day today, we pause to remember the maternity of Marie Madeleine, but also of the many sisters who followed in maternal likeness. We continue to pray for the Society, and for the FCJ Sisters; that each may continue to strive toward and serve in the likeness of maternal selflessness, warmth and compassion. We remember our own mothers and mother-figures too.

We ask the intercession of Our Lady, the model exemplar of motherhood to inspire and encourage us in our mission as companions of Christ. We do so, in the recitation of the FCJ Society prayer,

Our Lady’s Blessing

Holy Mary, Immaculate Virgin, Queen, Superior General of our Society, our Mother, Mother of the Novices, Postulants, and Companions in Mission, and Mother of all those to whom we are sent, pray for us.

My good Mother, beg of your divine Son to give us his blessing, and please give us yours also: in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Holy Feast: Holy Thursday 2016

Holy Thursday. The feast of the Lord’s Supper.

————————–

“Did you know that Holy Thursday is a special feast for the FCJs?” I commented.

My daughter replied, “That’s clever!”

“Why is that clever?”

“Because the FCJs were founded on a holy day.”

I probed a little further for her to tell me what Holy Thursday is about. The body and blood of Christ. Jesus’ gift.

I asked if she could explain it to me as if I hadn’t heard of this person called Jesus. “What words could we use to describe it that were universal?” We thought about it together and we both agreed on:

Love and friendship
Communion and community.

It’s about fellowship and companionship and relationship.

As we enter this holy space of the Triduum, perhaps you too, might ask yourselves how you would explain Holy Thursday to someone who hasn’t even heard of Jesus.

Happy Feast to all, and especially to the FCJ family.

image

Jesus in daily life with this painting on an urban wall.

REFLECTION: Companionship on this Feast of St Ignatius

Today is the 31st of July, marking the feast day of St Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus and father of ‘Ignatian spirituality.’

As one associated with the Asia-Australian province of the FCJ Society, an order of Catholic women religious, who live according to the Ignatian principles, this day is not without its celebration. But furthermore, as an individual person who professes discipleship and faith, I am invited into companionship with God, who is found in all things.

I have been reminded of this in a very simple way today when I received the company of ‘boss-extraordinaire’ and friend, Maureen, on her return from her two-month trip overseas. How blessed we human beings are as a specie, to be gifted with the grace of intentional companionship that we so often take for granted!

What this enabled me to see is that even in the midst of an ordinary visit from one person to another, even in the passing of one smile to another, we can see and are invited into the loving relationship that is union with God.

And in a spirit of gratitude, not unlike that of St Ignatius in the Suspice, we acclaim:

You have given all to me.
To You, Lord, I return it.

image

Where have you found God today? Where are you being called into companionship today?