11th January

Today, according to my liturgical calendar, is the feast of St Silvanus of Amiens. I know little about him, except that he isn't St Paul's trusty companion, or the obscure Roman martyr after whom many an Italian Silvana or Silvano gets named. Nonetheless, we share a name, he is a saint - and so it's buon onomastico to me!

Nineteen years ago today I was unaware of my illustrious patron; it was simply the date chosen for me to enter the novitiate of the Society of the Sacred Heart. As was customary, it was a quiet ceremony; a simple prayer liturgy, during which I received my copy of the Constitutions and the congregational medal, signs of greater belonging and responsibility; we then sang a Magnificat, enjoyed a festive meal and cake... And then the adventure began...

Our medal bears our symbol of the Open Heart surrounding the world. At a glance it sums up our whole spirituality; our fundamental belief in the openness and loving embrace of God's Heart, and that Heart's presence and activity in the world. Our Constitutions, which I began to study as a novice, articulate our response to that belief, and the consequent calls to each RSCJ, and the spirit in which we aim to live our commitment.

Thinking about those Constitutions, and the deep joy I felt as I began to study them, discovering a spirituality and charism that resonated so strongly with what was deep within me, I feel a desire to spend more time with them in this, my twentieth year in the Society. There are some paragraphs and sections which have been especially important to my journey, and one in particular which has been an ever-deepening constant. I want to spend some time with them.

And maybe, hopefully, I will feel moved to write about them, deepening both call and reflection...