Unyielding in hope

Earlier this month members of my Province were each given a small booklet of short reflections to help us prepare for the feast of St Philippine Duchesne, celebrated a few days ago. One reflection caught my attention in particular: it consisted of this single sentence - Let us learn from her how to contemplate the Heart of Christ, a Heart broken but unyielding in Hope. 

Today we commemorate the Society's birth, when Sophie and her first companions made their vows in 1800 in Paris, in the aftermath of the French Revolution. And it occurs to me that Sophie's heart was so clearly united to the Heart of Jesus, in that hers too was a heart broken but unyielding in hope. Broken by the bloodthirsty, devastating events of the Revolution, but steadfast in her hope for the future, and unwavering in her belief in the enduring power of Love - and the equally strong belief, that she and this tiny, fragile group could somehow be part of the rebuilding of society, and the re-finding of its soul and its values.

And now, today, we too, who share Sophie's vocation and mission, are also called to unite ourselves with a Heart which is broken, but unyielding in hope. In times which are increasingly dark and devastating, we are called to allow our hearts to break, and break again, at inequality and injustice, at vulnerability and pain and despair. But however anguished we may feel, we need to remain unyielding in our hope, and in our belief in Love - and, because of that, that we have something of Love's goodness and healing to offer to our world. Whether we have been RSCJ for decades, or are the probanists about to emerge from their long retreat, jubilarians or brand new, we are all called with a special urgency to live our mission of knowing and making known the tender and infinite love of God, in the Heart of Jesus, especially in the darkest and hardest of places - especially in these dark and hard times.

May Sophie, and the thousands of women who have shared this call with her and us over the past two centuries, support us in this with their unyielding prayer.