A Note of Thanks

Featured

leaves-1363766_1920.jpg

Dear readers,

The time has come to farewell my contributions here, on Keeping Company. It has been an immense joy and privilege to share my thoughts, reflections and insight into the charism of the Faithful Companions of Jesus Sisters. Thank you to each one of you, for your kind words of encouragement and support. If you wish to continue to follow me on my writing journey, you are welcome to do so.

For now, I hope that each one of you have gained something from this endeavour and that you yourselves do not stop reflecting, savouring and praying through the ins and outs of your life, on your journey with God, as I have learnt to do from this undertaking.

I leave you now, with an official statement from Sr Judith Routier fcJ, Province Leader:

The Faithful Companions of Jesus would like to thank Geralyn Anderson for initiating and maintaining this beautiful ‘Keeping Company’ blog for the past few years. The blog was a project on behalf of the fcJ sisters in Australia and through this use of social media Geralyn promoted the mission and identity of the fcJ Society to people with whom we would not otherwise be in contact.

Geralyn has posted many inspirational and creative items based on a variety of sources, not only things connected with the ministry of the fcJ sisters.  We have been moved by stories in the life of her young family, by her personal reflections, by theological and educational articles, and by insights into social justice issues. The arrival of a new Keeping Company post in my inbox was always something to which I looked forward.

The fcJ sisters wish to voice our gratitude to Geralyn and to her family, and to assure them of our prayer of blessing on their lives.

Judith Routier fcJ
Province Leader

 

Holy Thursday 2017: Service and Love

Featured

holythursday2017

Image: “The Washing of the Feet” by Ghislaine Howard (2004)

Service and love – two key themes for reflection on the feast of the Lord’s Supper, that we celebrate today, this Holy Thursday.

To love without service is not really love, because love calls us out of ourselves and into the other. To serve without love might work for a little while, but it inevitably brings difficulties, because the mere doing of tasks that do not come from a place of love eventually bears nothing.

It is my personal prayer for each one of you, and in holding the memory of Marie Madeleine whose feast was 5th April, that love and service be part of your daily activity. My own heart is filled with love and gratitude at being able to serve in my own way, through these blog posts. With blessings for you, this Triduum, and toward Easter.

Sincerely

Geralyn

FCJ Mission and Identity Promoter

Vale Sr Margaret Mary (Peter) Wilson fcJ

peterwilsonfcj.jpgToday, 20 December 2016, the FCJ Sisters in Australia, together with all the Sisters of the Society linked through prayer, and their friends, farewelled Sr Peter Wilson fcJ at the Genazzano College Chapel.

Sr Peter was most recently a resident at St. Catherine’s Aged Care Facility, where she continued, despite the frailty of age, to bring joy and companionship to those around her. True to her profession and calling, Sr Peter remarked: “What brings me joy as an FCJ Sister is when we gather as a community or at larger FCJ occasions, there exists beautiful bonding which is our companionship with Jesus and with others.” I learned at the Vigil held yesterday on 19 November for Peter, a few outstanding things about her. One was that putting others’ needs ahead of her own was something she did so naturally right til the end. Another was her beautiful sense of joie-de-vivre and fun, which her family and fellow-FCJs so readily recounted with fondness.

It is always a sad time when a life ends, and I express my sympathies to the family of Peter, as well as to the FCJ Sisters, but as we remember during this Advent time in the lead up to Christmas, God is with us, and it is for that I am so thankful and certain of Peter’s peace and delight.

Sr Peter Wilson fcJ was born, Margaret Mary Wilson in June 1932. She made her First Profession on 4 September 1953. In her long life, she was missioned to the Indigenous people in Broome, WA; Norwood in Adelaide, SA; Frankston, VIC and Shepparton, VIC. She was reunited with God on Wednesday 14 December 2016.

 

13 November (Feast of St Stanislaus Kostka): Thank You for Saying ‘Yes’

thankyounovices

Today (13 November) is the feast of St Stanislaus Kostka SJ, patron saint of novices. I admit that I am not familiar with this saint, apart from hearing his name in passing, and upon some research, discovered that he died at the young age of seventeen. Despite his short life, and even shorter time still, within the Society of Jesus (he entered as a novice in October 1567, and died August 1568), we can still see in him, values and virtues to be admired and imitated. As such, we pause to remember and pray for all who have said ‘yes’ to God’s calling, as religious, and especially our novices within the Society of Sisters, FCJ. We thank you for being open to the Spirit of God at work within your lives, and thank you for choosing to say yes and accept the gifts and challenges that life holds.

Surrender does not come easy to most of us, yet in all of us, we are called to do just this. It is not just for those discerning a vocation, or for the youth, because we are all called to surrender to the greater dream God has for us. It takes humility and trust to be empty vessels in which to carry living water. And it takes courage and strength to be open to the workings of love within us and for us.

We continue to pray and work for the building of God’s kingdom through the formation of people. We continue to say ‘yes’ and to say, ‘thank you,’ especially to our novices and those in training.

 

Day 11 of #31DaysWithIgnatius

iggyday11

Today’s#Ignatian theme borrows from a quote from#Fcj foundress, Marie Madeleine d’Houët, who as superior of the society, wrote letters to her communities. In a letter dated #1839, she wrote: “I order her to look after herself and send her, as I am telling you to do, some #chocolate and some wine.” I believe this is a term known as #curapersonalis or care of the whole self. Since I’m unwell, may this action be my contemplation.

 

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).

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?

Madame Joseph on the Feast of St Joseph

image

The patronage of St Joseph goes a long way, symbolic of fathers and workers, noble male figures and fidelity to the Church.

It lends me to notice the significance of the saint’s presence in the life of Venerable Marie Madeleine d’Houët. Apart from expressing her devotion to the Holy Family countlessly in her writings, she called herself and was known as Madame Joseph, the wife and widow of the Viscount Joseph de Bonnault d’Houët.

Not unlike the Mary and Joseph we know from tradition, Marie Madeleine and her young husband, Joseph, would faithfully lend their gifts to others’ service. It was through dutiful labour in tending to the sick that Monsieur de Bonnault caught illness and died early in their marriage.

Despite this, Marie Madeleine carried on in similar fashion, I am sure, with her husband never far from her thoughts.

On this day of St Joseph, let us recall not only the consecrated life of Marie Madeleine as a Faithful Companion of Jesus, but also as a wife.

May the example of steadfastness and loyalty of St Joseph continue to show through in our lives.

3 January 2015: Feast of the Holy Name

In observing and contemplating the name and the person of Jesus, I invite all to pause for a moment and reflect briefly on the significance of baptism, where we are called, named and presented to the Church, for Christ, as Christians.

What does it mean to identify oneself as Christian? To share in Jesus’ name?

“Be worthy of your beautiful name by love for Jesus – a love shown not by mere words or barren desires, but by courage in His service.” – Marie Madeleine d’Houet

For further consideration:

What’s in a name?

Vocation comes from the verb vocare, meaning ‘to call.’ By what name am I called? What was I called as a child – by my parents, family or friends? Is that still the same name, or has it changed over time? Does the name by which I am called ‘fit’ with the person who goes by it?

 

Vocation and Identity

Intricately linked are one’s vocation and one’s identity. How am I, in the eyes of God? With what or whom do I identify? We remember the truth of the psalmist’s words:

 

Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me…

For it was you who formed my inward parts
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

(Psalm 139: 4-5, 13-14a)

– Extract from A Letter to the Sisters for National Vocation Awareness Week 2013

image

Update: Celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life #YCL2015

Greetings, salutations and apologies for not having written anything in far too long.

My excuse is that we have been busy behind-the-scenes, preparing for the Year of Consecrated Life, which begins on 30 Nov 2014.

And for that we are very excited and joyful because…

image

Please join us in prayer, support and kind works for religious vocation. And please stay tuned for more updates!

Thank you for your patience and ongoing companionship!

Geralyn
(on behalf of the Mission and Identity Team)