Showing posts from March, 2017

International Day of Prayer for the unborn- 25th of March 2017

On the 25th of March 2014, feast of the Annunciation, where we celebrate Mary accepting to be the Mother of the Emmanuel, together with some of my classmates in Canada, I spent the morning praying outside an abortion clinic in Ottawa. It was a day I will never forget and I often return to that very cold morning praying for life on this special feastday. It was an act of reparation and prayer for those who for various reasons felt they could not say ‘Yes’ to the gift of life. Some people held pictures of our Lady of Guadalupe, I remember imploring her maternal heart to change the heart of those who went to the clinic. When I went home, I cried bitterly for the women and babies who went into that clinic and for the babies who never made it out of the clinic. I didn't think that it would affect me so much. As a woman, my maternal heart suffered with these women whose lives had been changed forever. All I could do was pray.
Today I make the same prayer: I pray for all those affected b…

Happy Mother's Day!

Today in Ireland we celebrate Mother's Day. And guess what, as Sisters, we celebrate Mother's Day. If you find that strange, keep reading!

Over the past few weeks in Ireland, we have seen different marches and demonstrations in Ireland to protect the rights and the dignity of women, especially in the light of the attempt to repeal the 8th amendment of our Irish Constitution. The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland gave explicit recognition to the right to life of an unborn child.

We live in times in which much has been said about woman, her dignity and her role in the family and the world. Two years ago Pope Francis raised eyebrows around the world when he told a group of 800 visiting nuns they must be spiritual mothers and not 'old maids.' The sisters, who came from 76 countries, were in Rome for the plenary assembly of the International Union of Superiors General. He asked them; "What would the church be without you? It would be missing maternity, a…

Mary's Yes

"Mary- she opens her hands and she nods.
And the promises come true in the space of her surrender- the pod of the most High God lodging within her willing yes.
Beneath her heart- in one yielded space beats the thrumming love of God.
There is no need to produce or perform or perfect, simply become a place for God.
That is all.
Now, here, in this juncture of time and space, God chooses the inconceivable- GRACE.
And conceives himself to deliver grace into the world.
When grace conceives in you, you take hold of God.
You are a space to receive whatever the will of God is in this moment of grace as grace, you take hold of God .
You most take hold of God when you simply receive him in this moment taking hold of you.
Taking hold of your unsure hand, unseen needs, unknown stress.
He wants to take hold of you, to be with you. He wants to carry you, to be carried by you. "
Anne Voskamp

Mother M. Scholastica Rivata and the desert of transformation

As the Lenten journey continues, my thoughts today went to our first sister Mother M. Scholastica Rivata. Today, 24th of March, we commemorate 30 years since she returned home to God. She was a woman who was not afraid to move through the 'desert of transformation', certain that even the Paschal mystery with all its sorrow and confusion, would lead her to the glorious celebration of the Resurrection, the explosion of life and joy upon the earth. The following is a brief reflection from our current Mother General, Sr. M. Cesarato on the ocassion of the translocation of the earthly remains of M. Scholastica from Sanfre to the Church of Jesus Master in Rome. It also marked the opening of the cause of her beatification which is underway, having reached the stage of presenting the 'Positio'. The positio (Positio super Virtutibus) is a document or collection of documents used in the process by which a person is declared Venerable, the second of the four steps on the path to…

"I will rise again in the Salvadoran people'- Remembering Blessed Oscar Romero

Throughout history, the voice of the prophet is one of the vehicles through which God speaks to the community and to the world. Today, we commemorate one of these prophets. On this day, 37 years ago, evil men in El Salvador tried to silence the voice of a prophet. I claim this date as being special to my life story because it was the month and the year that I was to grace the world, the due date given to my mother. However God had another plan and I arrived a little earlier on January 24th. It continues to be a day where I remember Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero.

Knowing himself to be on the government’s “hit list,” Romero went to the hills to prepare himself for his final confrontation with evil. He telephoned his farewell message to Exclesior, Mexico’s premier newspaper, insisting that like the Good Shepherd, a pastor must give his life for those he loves. Romero was shot while celebrating an anniversary Mass of a  friend’s mother at the local convent. The assassin escaped in the …

Spiritual rehydration- Woman at the Well- Lent Week 3

Sometimes we need precisely that moment where we catch a glimpse of our own reflection and realise that the face that looks back at us is sad, tired and confused and needs to be hydrated from the wellspring of life, the encounter with Living Water, Jesus Christ. After the encounter with Jesus at the well, the Samaritan woman becomes a well-woman. Then, the reflection which she sees is that of a beloved child of God, beloved of the Father.
It took a while for her to get to that place where she could feel that. Yet, without realising it, she is like the empty water jug which she carries. It is ready to be filled. She is a container to be filled with the living water which gushes forth from the wellsprings of life. First she hesitates, she focuses on the law. Jesus focuses on grace. Jews weren't supposed to speak to Samaritans. More so, men weren't permitted to address women without their husbands present. And "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman," she reminded him…

Marking the feast of St. Louise

In our religious communities, one of our special celebrations is that of our feastday or nameday. We do mark our birthdays too but by marking our nameday we recall the saint after whom we were named. When I was making my First Profession, I had thought to change my name but in the end I kept my own name and thus my patroness was St. Louise de Marillac. However we also had to do a little research into our name and it was then I discovered that I was named after the midwife in the hospital where I was born. I think that the icon of St. Louise is very fitting considering this!

In the 1600's, St. Louise worked with St. Vincent de Paul and assisted him with the Confraternities of Charity in the parishes of France. These tasks were therapeutic for Louise and formative for her future work and that of the Vincentian family. She conducted site visits to assure the quality of the service being offered; reviewed financial accounts for stewardship reports; and encouraged the workers and vol…

Living Lent like Cinderella!

The story of Cinderella is one of the most treasured fairytales of all time. It has been retold many times and has made generations of young girls say, “I want to be a princess when I grow up.” However, do we think of this story as a way to live the Lenten journey? We go back to the beginning of the Grimm’s fairytale and read: “In the evening when she had worked herself weary, there was no bed for her. Instead she had to sleep by the hearth in the ashes. And because she always looked dusty and dirty, they called her Cinderella.” Yes, Cinderella of the Ashes!

The Bible has a number of references about ashes. Dust and ashes are also synonyms of the word earth (adamah). From this word are derived ‘Adam’ and the Hebrew word for ‘man’.  Genesis 3:19 even makes a play on these words with: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return," a sentence which is echoed in the Ash Wednesday service.

Another reference comes in Genesis 18:27. Here Abraham is bargaining with God …

Transfigured by Christ and bothered by the Holy Spirit!

Each Sunday of Lent catapults us into a different stage of Christian journey. From the desert of temptation in last week's liturgy, we move to the Mount of Transfiguration. The desert is a place of passage to get to our destination. No-one aspires to live in the desert. Peter, James and John try to stay on Mount Tabor: "Lord, it is good for us to stay here, let us build three tents." But similarly, the mountain is not the destination. We move onwards, fortified by the experience of being with Jesus. There is a small but very significant phrase: "The disciples looked up and saw only Jesus." Only Jesus. Are we able to see 'only Jesus'? ? Are we able to live only for Jesus? Is all that matters to us, only Jesus? How different would our lives be if our permanent focus was only Jesus, the measuring stick for all that we do, the moral, spiritual and emotional compass in our lives?
But this would mean making changes in our lives. Filtering through all the clu…

Happy International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day to all the wonderful women in the world, especially those in my life I am blessed to call mother, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, niece, friend.

Here's a 'thank you' in the words of Pope John Paul II.

"Thank you, women who are mothers! You have sheltered human beings within yourselves in a unique experience of joy and travail. This experience makes you become God's own smile upon the newborn child, the one who guides your child's first steps, who helps it to grow, and who is the anchor as the child makes its way along the journey of life.
Thank you, women who are wives! You irrevocably join your future to that of your husbands, in a relationship of mutual giving, at the service of love and life.
Thank you, women who are daughters and women who are sisters! Into the heart of the family, and then of all society, you bring the richness of your sensitivity, your intuitiveness, your generosity and fidelity.
Thank you, women who …