Saturday, April 12, 2014

St Mary of the Incarnation: Mother-Mystic - Missionary

Marie of the Incarnation
On 3rd April Pope Francis declared a seventeenth century French Ursuline, Mary of the Incarnation Guyart, a saint.
Mary was canonised along with Bishop Francois de Montmorency-Laval, the first bishop of Quebec and the Jesuit Jose de Anchieta, one of the first missionaries to Brazil.
These three new saints are considered the founders of the Church in the New World.

To read more about this remarkable Ursuline go to First Woman Missionary: Marie of the Incarnation 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Feast of St Angela Merici

On this day, 27th January, 1540, Angela Merici died in a little room adjoining the Church of St Afra, in Brescia. The Church is now known as the Sanctuary of St Angela and her incorruptible body can be venerated at an altar to the right of the sanctuary. I was recently privileged to spend some days in Brescia pondering Angela's message to us. Two aspects of her spirituality in particular struck me: her freedom of spirit and flowing from it her abundant joy. So I hear Angela say to us:-

Claim your freedom and your joy.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Feast of St Ursula: pilgrimages past and present.

Plaque of St Ursula
standing and trying to protect her companions
Today is the feast of St Ursula, whose name and patronage St Angela Merici chose for her Company.  St Ursula was a  medieval saint who together with her companions was slaughtered on her way back from a pilgrimage to Rome.  For more about her life visit the Ursuline website.  Each month on the Ursuline website there is a reflection, this month the reflection is on St Ursula 

In 1524, St Angela  went on a long pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  It was not usual for women to travel alone, but Angela was prepared to risk all the dangers to visit and pray at the holy places where Jesus had lived and died. Her pilgrimage as you can read on the life of St Angela included some unexpected challenges, including a period of blindness.  However, on her return, Angela was soon to go on pilgrimage to Rome, here she was able to 'pray for God's help and encouragement to take the next step which she knew, in her heart of hearts, she was being asked to take. For more on Angela's life.

Taking time out of our everyday lives gives each of us an opportunity to review our lives. Going on pilgrimage or making a retreat are ways to help us on our journey.  I am fortunate to have that opportunity. There will be a short break during this time when I ask for your prayers.  I will return with news of my pilgrimage on the Feast of St Angela, January 27th 2014.  Until then I leave you with words of encouragement from St Angela Merici.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chapter 2013 Message

The General Chapter has now finished with a closing message for all to reflect on, and with God's help seek to live out in the years ahead.  The website with photos from throughout the Chapter and further news of what has happened over the past month may be found at the following link.
Chapter 2013 Message
"I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries... A new heart I will give you and a new spirit I will put within you" Ezekiel 36: 24, 26

As communities of faith in mission
We respond to God's gift of a new heart and a new spirit.
With the courage of Angela,
We dare to be the change we wish to see in our world.
In solidarity and compassion,
And compelled by the Gospel,
We open our hearts to the cries of our earth and its people.

Quote from St Angela

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Audience with Pope Frances

Pope Francis speaking to the crowds attending
Papal audience Wednesday 9th October
General Audience of Pope Francis held outside at the Piazza San Pietro. We all arrived early – some as early as two hours. We had a reserved section near the main podium. Though we had sun and rain mixed throughout the audience this did not dampen our spirits. Pope Francis spoke about the words in the Nicene Creed:

“…I believe in…catholic…Church”.
At St Thomas More's on the second Monday of the month parishioners from the Cathedral and St Thomas More's have been exploring the Apostles Creed as part of the Year of Faith. Those in the area are welcome to join us on Monday 14th October and Monday 11th November at 7.30pm.

Members of the Chapter at the Papal Audience
To see more photographs from the Papal audience.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

New General Councillors

On Wednesday 9th October the new members of the General Council were anounced. Sr Ann-Marie Gardiner who is the Provincial for the English Province has been elected as a General Councillor, see below far right.  We send our prayers to her and all the new Councillors that they will be guided by the Holy Spirit and charism of our patron St Angela Merici.
Sisters Marie Thérèse Le Goc, Verena Moekti Gondosasmito,
Neusimar Marques da Silva, Maria Jaworska, Mother Cecilia Wang,
and Sister Ann-Marie Gardiner 
On Friday, during the prayer service the outgoing and incoming General Councillors were each given a small wooden bowl with the following inspiring words: 
life, communion, courage, solidarity, charism, act,
boldly, risk, transformed, confidence,
go out and insieme.

Each word held meaning for us as we worked together towards the call. Each councilor came up bringing her wooden bowl with the specific word and joined the others singing “Insieme”.  Insieme is an Italian word for together - unity.
General Councillors bringing up their bowl during celebration of Insieme

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Handing on the Torch

News from the Chapter, Jesus passed on his message through the use of parables that many educators will recognise as a valuable teaching tool.  St Angela in her Last Legacy reminds us how Jesus Christ will enlighten us ... 
5. For in this way, without doubt, Jesus Christ will be in your midst, and as a true and good master, he will enlighten and teach you what you have to do. Last Legacy

and it is the Lord's message that those involved in education seek to pass on.  On 27th September Sr. Ellen Mary Mylod presented "Handing on the Torch" the report prepared by the International Committee on Ursuline Education. 

Report of the International Education Committee
Handing on the Torch