Saying adeus

RSCJ prepare to make their perpetual vows as part of an international group in Rome, in a programme lasting about four and a half months called probation. It is a precious and graced time, a time filled with extended prayer, personal growth and increasing understanding; it also comes with challenges, one of which is creating community with a very diverse group of women from several countries and cultures. Probation is usually preceded by an international experience, lasting several months; an opportunity to experience life in the Society in a very different context to our own. It too brings challenges, along with opportunities for growth and self-understanding.

This year, as with last year, five pre-probanists have spent time in England, sharing in our life and mission and reminding us that our internationality is truly one of our joys. One of them, from Brazil, has just spent six months in Oxford; six months in which she struggled with English but somehow maintained her big beaming smile and good humour throughout. She has made her mark on the house as surely as her flag is pinned on our map.

Yesterday she left for Rome, where the probation programme will begin tomorrow. As we waved her off with cries of adeus and goodbye she stopped us, saying that RSCJ should never say goodbye to each other. It is a word which conveys finality, and the assumption that we will never see each other again, and she wanted us to wave her off with see you and hasta luego, and the joyful hope of meeting again, sometime, somewhere.

And yet... I still want to say adeus, adios, addio, adieu and goodbye. They are all words rooted in God, of saying go with God and God be with ye. And really, there is no better way of waving a sister off than commending her into God's loving care.

So adeus Iris, may you journey with God and fare well... and may we meet again, sometime and somewhere in the Sacred Heart...