The journey continues....

When I began this blog two years ago, it was born out of an idea to share the journey of the 8 junior sisters gathered from 7 different countries to prepare for Perpetual Vows. Today, one of our fellow juniors, no longer 'junior' Sr. M. Emma posted a lovely picture of our group from Mother Scholastica Student House! What memories it brought back! It is hard to believe that two years have pasted since then and once more I have found myself in another country meeting new pilgrims along the way!

This time last week I was packing my bags to prepare for the journey to Canada: a brief stopover in Toronto and then on to Montreal. 
With our sisters having finished their Annual Spiritual Exercises on Saturday 25th, the house was back into full swing. On Sunday, the rest of the sisters joined us from Athlone as well as my Mam, my brother Robert and sister Andrea who came to say goodbye. In the afternoon some friends joined with us for sung Evening Prayer and tea to wish me on my way. I have to say that despite the excitement, I found it hard to say goodbye. Being in Europe was one thing but this is my first time outside of Europe. I clung to a phrase which has given me strength in many moments of difficulty: "The will of God will never bring you where the grace of God will not keep you". I am grateful for modern technology which allows me to stay in touch with family, community and friends! Let's say it was a late night or an early morning (depending on your perspective!) before I finished my bits and pieces and hit the leaba to get some sleep before the departure.

The weather was typically Irish, rain, wind, rain and some more rain so the prospect of going toward a warmer climate did seem a little inviting. Sr. Kathryn, Sr. Paul and Sr. Cassie came to the airport with me. Thankfully, there were no problems with the slightly overweight suitcase and soon it was time for goodbyes! The bonds of prayer and sisterly communion go beyond geographical miles so I headed off knowing that the community would continue to be close to me in prayer. I am seeking to see this time as a time of Providence: I didn't ask for it but a series of events and inspirations has brought me here to Ottawa! For this, I am thankful. As the prayer goes: "For all that has been, thank you Lord, for all that is, thank you Lord, and for all that will be: Amen! "

With a slight delay of an hour, we left the runway, so I blessed myself, prayed for a safe trip for us all and for guidance for the pilot! I was surprised how fast the time went. Seven hours had seemed like a lifetime on paper so I had prepared myself to sleep and had also brought plenty of things to read, sudoku to do, diaries to organize etc. In the end, I read very little except for praying the various parts of the Divine Office, watched the Lorax (worth watching!) and a few documentaries and slept very little! I was excited and nervous at the same time.

Eventually we touched down in Toronto where I had a 4 hour stopover before my flight to Montreal. This gave me plenty of time to collect my luggage, re-check it in and go through customs and immigration. It was fun trying to explaining to the police there what Canon Law was and why I was coming to Canada to study it! Taking advantage of the free time, I checked my emails and touched in with a few of you reading this blog! It was soon time to board for the next leg of the journey. Despite being a national flight, our takeoff was delayed by an hour but all we could do was have 'santa pazienza'.

When I got to Montreal, I was so happy to see two of our sisters Sr. M. Christiane and Sr. M. Agnese who had come to collect me at the airport. They were so excited that they had got permission to go into the luggage collection area to meet me there! How sweet! I collected my luggage and off we went, thus beginning tri-lingual conversations!  It took us a while to find the car but in the meanwhile Sr. Christiane who had gone off to look for the car had bumped into an Irish priest ! It turned out that he was an Irish Legionary of Christ priest whom I had met at the Meath Diocesan Eucharistic Congress last year where he gave a talk about the Holy Land! What a small world : )

Slight tiredness was beginning to set in when we got back to the community. It was hitting 4.30am Irish time so it was to be expected! I greeted the sisters who had kindly waited up to say hello to me and then I took to my bed, hoping to grab some sleep even with the heat and humidity! Ah a few months, we'll have snow !!

So there's Day 1 in Canada...highlights of the day:
1) Arriving safely!
2) The sisters being there to welcome me
3) Cinnamon flavoured coffee with maple syrup
4) Super nice Canadian people all telling me to 'Have an excellent day!'

Good night all...Bonne nuit!  Photo gallery