This year five RSCJ in England-Wales are celebrating their golden jubilees; fifty years since making their first vows. Each will mark the actual anniversaries - on different days - in her own way, but yesterday, at the end of a provincial meeting, we all came together for a joint celebratory Mass, during which they renewed their vows, as a public affirmation of their shared renewed and strengthened commitment.
A jubilee is always a powerful and joyful witness to God's steadfast love and compelling call, and to an authentic response through lives given in love. It is also a witness to community and the inter-connectedness of our lives as RSCJ, sharing a common call and mission, living, working and praying together, bound to each other by strong ties and vows. We make these vows trusting in the fidelity of God and the love of my sisters; that is what sustains, challenges and strengthens us over the years, and is at the heart of what we celebrate in a jubilee.
Yesterday I was especially struck by these words from the prayer said after the renewal of vows:
Give them the grace to persevere to the end
along the way of your love,
a journey which they have begun with such joy.
Those words were a reminder that at the heart of being RSCJ is a call and commitment to love: a lifelong journey into the depths of the Heart of Jesus, in order to find and draw out the unbounded, unconditional love which we then make known to everyone we meet. It is a journey along the way of love, which is the way of Jesus; it is the way of the Cross, and in and through that, the way to self-transcendence and transformation. And as our five jubilarians demonstrated yesterday, in simple, loving, joy-filled ways, it is a journey not just begun but continuously lived with great inner joy... and one that's certainly worth it!