It was a warm sunny autumn day when the Association of the Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth gathered for the first meeting for this year at the Queen of Poland Convent in Marayong, NSW on 29 March 2014. The Sisters greeted a good number of Associates who came from the local areas in Sydney and joined with a group who travelled from Canberra that morning. It is always very delightful to meet our fellow Associates at these meetings where we all look forward to a few hours of prayer, reflection, warmth and friendship.
The day started with morning tea after which we all settled listening to Rev Noel Connolly SSC who shared with us a reflection and an introduction to the latest Pope Francis Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. This raised some discussion and awareness of the Pope Francis’ mission plan for strengthening the foundations of the Catholic Church in this time of change, with a special focus on the family. As this will be the focus for the rest of the Associates' meetings throughout this year, the books Evangelii Gaudiium and The Francis Effect were given out to all present to study and reflect on the text. A task was given to all members present to think what our individual ‘dream’ would be for the Catholic Church to best accomplish its mission for future generations.
This was followed by Mass at the convent Chapel celebrated by Rev Noel Connolly SSC. It is a wonderful experience to share the celebration of the Eucharist amongst a large number of Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth watched over by the spirit of Blessed Frances Siedliska, Mother Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd, Foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, whose image and relic is always present in this chapel.
The meeting continued over a scrumptious lunch most generously prepared by the Sisters. This was a chance to make better acquaintances with each other. Sr Grace gave a report on developments and events happening in various parts of the world where the congregation is present and mentioned that this year being the 60th Anniversary of the congregation in Marayong, a celebration will be held in July this year. Sr Grace also thanked Emma for the generous donation raised by a fund raising function she organised specifically for the aide in assisting the building of a Pre-school for poor children in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska in Poland. On behalf of all present, Sr Grace also congratulated Kevin Charles Croker, an Associate from Canberra who was present with us, for the honour he received in being granted the Order of Australia Medal for outstanding service to the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn.
On behalf of all the Associates, thank you to the Sisters of the Holy Family in Marayong for their hospitality and the opportunity for prayerful reflections.
Maria De Carlo,