When families get together there is usually celebration, joy and sharing of stories and of love. This was the feeling when our family – the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in the Holy Spirit Province – gathered for our annual meeting from 7-10 March at St Joseph’s Retreat Centre, Baulkham Hills. It was a great opportunity not only for us to be together and to catch up, but also to discuss important issues and prepare for our upcoming congregational General Chapter, which will take place in Rome in June 2019.
During these days of meeting, we were privileged to have spiritual input from Dr Laurie Woods, a Scripture scholar and lecturer at ACU for many years. Over the days, we journeyed through an unpacking of Jesus’ “Jewishness”, looking at the society in which he lived and the particular ideas and values which shaped his spirituality. We were also treated to snippets of Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, as Laurie is a true linguist, and to his beautiful singing and guitar playing with which he closed each day.
It was a privilege for me, as a temporary professed sister, to officially become a member of the Province gathering. The annual assembly is the place where sisters present and discuss important matters relating to the province and the wider congregation. During our meetings, the overwhelming spirit within the room was one of listening, dialogue and acceptance. Just as in the family, everyone was able to share their different thoughts and opinions but we all came together to make a unified decision.
Our gathering gave sisters wonderful opportunities to be involved and to share their particular gifts and talents, including the preparation of liturgy, music, snacks, our meeting spaces, and times of rest and recreation, in presentation of particular issues and facilitation of discussions, and in documenting our gathering with photography. Each sister contributed by prayer and presence to the fruitfulness of our time together.
Our gathering closed with a special Eucharistic celebration and lunch as we commemorate this year Sr Barbara Majcher’s 60th Jubilee of religious life. As a new sister, and as a 27-year-old woman, I look at the example of my fellow sisters, especially Sr Barbara at this time, and feel so inspired by and grateful for their wisdom and their witness of love, faithfulness and vocation. By their example and joyful spirit, they show that a life lived with Jesus, and lived within our congregation, is worth living. Our gathering was truly a time of joy and of strengthening community bonds….and may this joy continue as we go back to our homes and our places of ministry, and as we take up the daily invitation to love and serve the Lord.
Sr Sophie Boffa, CSFN