Eve’s Wishes for Christmas

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Day 23 of #31DaysWithIgnatius

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#Day23of31WithIggy: Gratitude is countercultural.

The development of today’s post was particularly challenging because I have been confronted with very strong feelings of anger and disappointment at the actions of someone very close to me.
This occurrence has seen me read over a chapter in my class notes on “Ignatian Discernment and Decision-making,” (I know I’m such a nerd!) in search of the terminology to articulate this particular movement of the #Spirit.

Briefly put, the way of Christ is #countercultural. The devil seduces and tricks us into believing that we are entitled to x, y, z in a consumerist ideology and that we deserve things. Of course we have rights, but the distortion lies in the soleness of taking; without the awareness of where it comes from; that it is a gift in itself from God. (Think, Principle and Foundation, SpEx No. 23)

So although today has brought about its challenges, I am #grateful for them. Human emotions, especially the less-celebrated ones like anger, sadness and disappointment, have their place and purpose. For me, that place is with God; always with God, who is always with me. #ThankYou

#IgnatianSpirituality #31dayswithIgnatius #spex #spex23 #principleandfoundation #31dayswithIgnatius #emotion #anger #counterculture #Jesus #faith #discernment #bemagis #bemore #bemorehuman

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).

Video: Myriam’s Song

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At ten years of age, Myriam finds herself living in a refugee camp. However despite her circumstances, her faith and wisdom beyond, and nothing short of a manifestation of God’s grace.

We can learn so much from Myriam: about love, friendship, forgiveness and being faithful in a very human and at-times, very broken world.

Too Pretty to be a Nun?

Angela Svec has been told she’s too pretty to be a nun.

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Image via Huffington Post

But on the Huffington Post blog, she writes:

Their questions have forced me to confront my self-image. Who do I see in the mirror? How do I appear in God’s eyes? How does one affect the other?

Angela Svec is a visually stunning woman. And it does make you stop and think. But her questions remain true of all of us: who do I see in the mirror? How does God see me? And what is the difference?

I’ll Ride With You

This morning in a central Sydney café, a group of people were taken hostage by armed men, believed to be militant Muslims. (Read here for live updated reports.)

That there is a hint of religion involved or what claims to be the message of Islam as a motive for the siege has created waves in the wider community. For some, it is a unified solidarity standing up against terrorism and racism. For others, it is fear.

And so started a movement through social media: “I’ll Ride With You”. You can read how it began when one woman noticed another taking off her hijab in public so as to protect herself from outward recognition.

We can take so much from the story, and say so much about today’s events, but in the quiet of the night, this story has shed some more light on the meaning of Advent and the forecoming feast of the birth of the Christ.

It all comes back to us in how we treat one another, in how we live with each other. Here is companionship in everyday life.

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We are busy during this time of year,  so terribly busy, and we all have our tasks to get through. But this story has shown me that as urgent as our meetings and deadlines are, more imperative is the awareness of our need to pause and connect with each other, to say to another, “Whatever you’re going through, it’s ok. I’ll ride with you. We’ll journey together.”


Let us remember and pray for the hostages and their families, the negotiators and security forces as well as for the perpetrators themselves. Love is stronger than hatred, light more saving than darkness. Let us work and live for peace among ourselves.

Insight: The Faith of Children

A few weeks ago, my son had brought home to me, a curious little egg-carton with some soil inside.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“They’re my carrot seeds,” he replied. “I need to water it every day and put it on the window sill.”

Not having a green thumb or much exposure to gardening of any sort, I figured this kid would know best since he plays with dirt at school.  I followed his every instruction and added that we ought to have a container to catch any water that might drip from the papier maché carton.

So we waited.

He checked it daily, and watered it. I even heard him tell his ‘plant’ a little story so that it would grow. We all thought it was very cute that he had something to look after, to be responsible for and to tend to. I admit that I didn’t think much of it, save the fact that it was a nice project my son was taking interest in. I honestly didn’t think anything else would eventuate when, today while I was buzzing around from one thing to another in the school-morning rush, my daughter checked on her brother’s plant and exclaimed, “It’s sprouting! It’s sprouting!”

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What I’ve taken from this is the marvel of a child’s faith. Jesus taught this: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 18:3-4)

In our own faith journey, and especially in our lives as people of God, we often doubt the possibilities of the unknown or neglect to nurture the seed with which we’ve been entrusted. We think we know better in our maturity since we’ve experienced life and its share of disappointment at the times the seed has not germinated. But thanks to God, through the lives of my children, I was reminded again that I ought to be more humble, to love with tender devotion and to embrace the simple joys in daily life.

God is our Faithful Companion

From Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI:

Faith promises no magic pass-cards.

What it does promise is that God will be with us so that we do not have to walk through loneliness, sickness, violence, anxiety, fear, and death alone. We have a hand to grasp, a love to embrace, a truth to cling to, and a power to sustain us (even through death itself). We walk in the same world as everyone else, but, like a young child holding on to her mother’s hand as she walks into school for the first time, we are not alone, a trusted, sustaining, guiding love walks with us. God doesn’t remove us from what can hurt us, but walks with us amidst it all.

Perhaps it is because tonight I needed to hear these words in my heart that I feel it, but God really is our Faithful Companion.

When family and friends and plain old ‘good fortune’ seem to fall away, faith is knowing that no matter the storm, God is always with us, Emmanuel.

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News: My Image of the Sacred Heart

To me, that an organ such as the human heart can be both pierced and alive at the same time is nothing short of a miracle. | Geralyn Anderson

Read the full article at: dotMagis, the blog of IgnatianSpirituality.com

On Pilgrimage: Peace Follows

I will not lie. It has not sunk in that I’m heading to the airport tomorrow. I haven’t even finished packing and there are still last-minute errands to run. I am nervous about it and by nature, prone to anxiety, but these are the realities of my experience.

However as I have slowly put things together, I have received messages of kindness and blessing from the FCJ sisters, who’ve gifted me with this opportunity to France. So to you sisters who have wished me well, thank you.

I would never have thought I’d be here right now. A few years ago I applied for a job that was advertised. It seemed to fit my requirements yet still accommodate my family-oriented lifestyle. I didn’t know then how long I would last in the role, whether I would like it or whether we’d get along (the job and I). I didn’t know what the future would bring. I had no knowledge of the FCJ charism, barely any formal work experience, no familiarity with the schools and no background link, except for my faith. All I knew was that an avenue of faith expression was important to me. I didn’t particularly seek to work in the Church or with religious sisters.

But trust in my gut I did, and I applied for the job. An outsider, an unknown into a brand new role that had no precedent or predecessor. I knew that whatever story I had to read, become acquainted with and eventually promote would not be an easy task. But on board the train I jumped, to Destination Unknown, and here we are now.

It’s funny how things have worked out. I’ve not ever really focussed on one goal or career path. I studied and grew up with girls who were driven from the time they were fifteen. Many have since become the doctors, lawyers, accountants and other professionals they set out to be. I left school, signed up for a degree with no definitive job prospect and here I am.

Looking back at the uncertainties and risks I have taken, with regards to a career or livelihood, it’s safe to say that I have lived rather ‘carelessly’ in the lack of planning I have actually done.

But what have I done? I have noticed in myself anyway, the propensity to, on arriving at a situation or life-stage, give it a go, with the little that I have and a whole lot of sincerity and best effort. I trust wholeheartedly in the guidance and protection of God who goes before always. I don’t always go where God calls me (I am human after all), but this same human can and does also attest to the fidelity of God.

No matter where you are in life, or where you want to go, peace follows where God leads. I suggest you go with God.

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