Thursday, May 21, 2015

God's Great Love: Simple and Beautiful

Dorothy Pilkington, ssj

Several months ago while reading HOPE AGAINST DARKNESS by Richard Rohr, OSF, I was awestruck by Einstein’s statement,

 “All I know is, the great truth – when we discover it – will be simple and it will be beautiful.”  

Reflecting on his insight, I began to reflect on the seven women who came to pray at the Little Kitchen in LePuy, France.  In this little village, these women saw the great poverty, horrific violence and oppression of the people.  God’s Spirit moved their hearts to pray, to reflect on the Gospel message and to go forth to meet the needs of their time.
Le Puy Kitchen by Carol Hebert, ssj 

During their kitchen gatherings, these women prayed.  

Prayer gave them the courage to go forth with loving, caring and compassionate hearts and bring Jesus’ presence to their people.  All was given in utter simplicity but with the great beauty of love.
All was not easy for them.  Certain groups reacted violently toward them – trying to suppress their good works.  But with courage, fortitude, trust and faith in their God and the Gospel message, these women simply and beautifully served their neighbors.

With time the number of women increased.  Vowed members, associates, agregrees and partners shared the same vision of uniting neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God.  Eventually we became known as the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph with a vision and never-ending charism of the Great Love of God – to be ever present to our dear neighbor as Jesus was in His time.

As years turned into centuries, the needs of the people and the violence of our day are ever present to us.  Like the seven women of 1650, we face the challenges of standing tall and walking with Jesus in and with love to all we meet.  Our ministries are simple and beautiful but also challenging.  It is the grace of God that guides us daily.

Like our first sisters, each of us in the Community of Saint Joseph is discovering as Einstein did “All I know is the great truth – when we discover it – will be simple and it will be beautiful.”  Through our charism, we try to bring love to our dear neighbor.  And as Einstein wrote, we are discovering God’s Great Love to be simple and beautiful!


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wake the World

We are surrounded with signs of a world waking up.  After a long winter, though slow in coming, Resurrection is on the move. Appearances are on the horizon.

Pope Francis urges us to wake the world with the good news that women religious are alive and well. He presents us with three aims in this Year of Consecrated life: to look to the past with gratitude, to live the present with passion, and to embrace the future with hope.

In the coming weeks we will share gifts of gratitude that have emerged from our reflecting on our past.

As Sisters of St. Joseph our beginnings go back to 1650. We span 5 centuries, the 17th through the 21st.

A key blessing for me emerged from the call of Vatican II to return to the fountainhead of our beginnings in order to reawaken our charism. The result has been the transformation of my life as a Sister of St. Joseph.  Recognizing our charism of unity as a call to active inclusive love in a world in which we are one with all that is, has expanded my horizons beyond anything I would have imagined when I “entered the convent”.  
The opportunities in community for spiritual growth, ministry and study have connected me with amazing people who have influenced me in a whole variety of ways. I am continually growing into a new being, alive with an energy that enables me to appreciate and welcome changing circumstances. It is clear to me that I see with new eyes, hear with an open heart and have a capacity to love in ways I once thought impossible.

On the day professing our first vows, we said in unison to the Bishop that our hearts were filled with joy. My capacity for experiencing that joy, which is indeed the joy of living the Gospel, continues to transform my way of living from the source of the charism reignited for these times.