I have called you each by name
Come and follow me, I will bring you home
I love you and you are mine...
Eight years ago today, after almost five months of preparation, twelve of us processed into the chapel of the Villa Lante, Rome, singing this song by David Haas. Two hours and lots of singing, praying and liturgising later we processed out again, this time exultantly singing a Spanish Magnificat:
Mi alma glorifica el Senor mi Dios
Gozase me espiritu en mi salvador
El es mi alegria, el es mi plenitud
El es todo para mi...
Somewhere halfway between these two songs nine of us had made our perpetual professions of vows, had said - publicly, officially, each in her own language - what we had hitherto only said in the depths of our hearts: "forever". The other three made their professions later in their own provinces. Like all RSCJ each of us made her vows, said her "forever" "trusting in the fidelity of God and the love of my sisters."
Since that day one of the group has left, one has had leave of absence, and the rest have had our wobbles, our times of difficulty and disenchantment, as well as our times of contentment and certainty. Like any other way of life religious life has its ups and downs, its joys and challenges - at times both sides of the same coin. But throughout, regardless of how we have been, two things have been sure: that we have been loved and supported by our sisters, and that the God who lovingly called each of us by name, beyond our fears, has been faithful. That in itself is something worth celebrating!
|Herz-Kreuz by Manfred Bugl|
Every year on my anniversary I look back, giving thanks for what has been, and then look forward, re-committing myself to whatever might be. And I do this knowing that I can trust in the fidelity of God and in the love of my sisters. And every year I recall with love and gratitude those eleven women, from ten different countries, with whom I shared that intense time of preparation, with all of whom I share a name and with most of whom I share an anniversary: Agnes, Ale, Annie, Becky, Lourdes, Margaret, Martine, Quena, Seiko, Sheila, Sue. All of us doubly called by name, to discover and make known the love of the Open and Welcoming Heart of Jesus, wherever and however we are...