Disciples of the Divine Master-Contemplative in action
I thank God every day that He called me to this particular Congregation which has a firm balance between contemplative and active life. We are contemplatives in action. Our day begins with 2 hours of liturgical and biblical prayer in common. Throughout the day, we have at least 2 hrs in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, as Perpetual Adoration is the foundation stone of our religious life. In this prayer and contemplation, we become still points in the midst of a swirling world. Without leaving the convent, we can reach the whole world with our prayer, this framework of action has no limits.There, we intercede for the needs of the world, bringing prayer intentions before the altar which come to us via post, telephone, email and even Facebook and Twitter! There is a special place in our prayer for those who work in the field of social communication that they may communicate the truth. Our prayer also acquires a reparatory tone, as we pray for the sins committed because of the media and those who work with these powerful means.
From this Eucharistic mission, two other ministries flow: that of liturgical service and of priestly service. We do not teach specifically but because of our mission dedicated to the liturgy and life of the Church, this often requires that we teach specific subjects, especially in the liturgical and biblical fields through formation, catechesis, biblical-liturgical animation and publications. Alongside this, we are involved in different ministries throughout the day, ranging from sewing and embroidering vestments, painting, sculpture, architecture, music in order that prayer may be characterized by beauty and dignity.
Another facet of our charism is the accompaniment of the priest throughout his life. Our ministry of prayer and pastoral presence extends from the young man who is in vocational discernment to the priest who moves into retirement and even afterwards in death, we continue to pray for those priests whom nobody prays for, thos e who we have know and whom have ministered with such dedication.
From there, we pray for priestly and religious vocations, help them in their growth and development, assist and accompany the presbyters in the exercise of their ministry, in times of suffering and pain, in their old age and in other difficult situations. Recently, a concrete response to the ecclesial situation in Ireland was the opening of a hospitality centre (Bethany House) on our premises in Dublin for priests who want to take time out from a chaotic schedule to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, to make a retreat or to rest. Others are diocesan priests who need a strong network of prayer, community and accompaniment so as to overcome a difficult moment of their life and priestly ministry. All are welcomed.
All our meals are in common, thus we cultivate a strong community life, extending this space to priests in need, in solitude or sickness. In our communities, we strive to create a modern-day Bethany, a place of spiritual restoration so as to continue the journey. Others are with us on short or long term basis as they pass through moments of difficulty with addictions or depression. As you can imagine, this ministry is a very delicate ministry, thus, it requires us to keep a certain discretion about our life. Yet, there is such a need for this mission to walk with our priests who have lost hope or feel the heaviness of parish life.
With such a varied mission, it goes without saying that prayer must be the corner-stone of all this service. On our own we can do nothing, but with God we can do all things. In the evenings, we gather for Vespers and common prayers to thank Him for all He has given and to continue our prayer for the world. Our community prayer is open to other lay people who wish to pray the Divine Office with us, morning and evening.
Using an image proper to our mission, I believe the Church is like a huge mosaic composed of numerous tiles, each one of them contributing to a bigger picture. The beauty is precisely in that each one is different, yet each one is needed. There are many religious orders out there, God's hand of Providence has led me here! I feel blessed to be part of this Congregation which I love and try to serve with all that I am, with my gifts and my weaknesses together. I pray that we may genuinely continue to seek the voice of the Holy Spirit reading the signs of the times and listening with the heart of Jesus. Deo Gratias!