Fourteen years ago today I made my perpetual vows as an RSCJ. I was part of a group of twelve - from eleven countries - who had prepared together, and nine of us made our vows together, on the same day. My anniversary, therefore, isn't "mine", but "ours", shared with women on every continent, and even if we rarely meet and contact is sporadic, I remember them all, especially on our day, with great love, gratitude and affection.
For so many RSCJ probation (this group programme) is a precious, defining experience, and the bonds formed with our co-probanists are enduring. For almost five months we form a community which prays, grows, laughs, cries and shares deeply - experiences, prayer, reflection, hopes and concerns, each other's joys and sorrows. We return to our countries united and strengthened by that common experience, and by the name and motto given to our group, which give us - individually and as a body - our unique call and identity forever. So within today's date lie so many layers of memory, bonding and call; so much to give thanks for, and to recommit myself to.
Two of my co-probanists come from the Province of Uganda-Kenya, and one of them, Becky, is featured in this short film by Salt & Light TV which came out earlier this month. Seeing her and some other old friends sharing their lives, blessings and moments of heartbreak was such a gift! It's a lovely, inspiring film, filled with our charism and our mission of love. But this morning I fast-forwarded to the very end, where Becky has the final word, spoken with that quiet intensity and generous smile I remember so well. She is speaking about the call and mission of the entire Society, but today, on "our" day, she is speaking to me of the twelve of us, scattered around the world, but still united in our common identity and mission,
We are all in the mission... So we are like a chain...So we are all in this chain, joined together, and the purpose... the purpose is really to glorify the Heart of the Lord wherever we are. Yes...
Yes indeed, all around the world, in so many contexts and ways, we are all in the mission, with a single purpose, however differently we may live and express it. And tomorrow we will all celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart, when all RSCJ, wherever we are, renew our vowed commitment to that all-loving Heart which has called us and sent us out, to be the revelation of his love, wherever and however we may be. So today and tomorrow I pray with great gratitude, for so many blessings and graces in these past fourteen years, and especially for the immense blessing of my sisters, with whom I am, inextricably, in the mission.