D'autres histoires de ministères ...
Vengo da un a famiglia numerosa vicino a Vicenza nell'Italia del nord. Fin da bambina ero attratta dalla vita religiosa e così, con l'aiuto del mio parroco, venni a Torino dalle FCJ quando avevo 12 anni. Qui ho studiato, e poi ho svolto vari impegni in casa, aspettando di cominciare il noviziato.
Anna Maria, fcJ, is the sister at the lower right of the picture
Nei miei oltre 60 anni di vita religiosa, ho svolto vari ministeri sia tra i giovani che tra persone anziane con gioia ed entusiasmo, in Svizzera e in Italia.
Vivo nuovamente a Torino dove, per motivi di salute, il mio ministero principale è la preghiera, sostenendo le mie consorelle nel loro ministero e pregando per le necessità del mondo. Faccio ciò che posso in Comunità e sono una persona allegra.
My name is Anouska Biggin and I have been professed as a Faithful Companion of Jesus for three years. Although my name does not suggest this, I was born and bought up in Yorkshire, in the north of England to English parents.
I met the FCJs on the internet, and entering with them has really been the best thing I ever did! Before I entered I was a secondary school teacher so my main ministry includes teaching Religious Education in Maria Fidelis Convent School FCJ, London.
Living in central London, I also have many other opportunities for ministry. I work on a team with the Jesuits as part of their Young Adult Ministry – FS Plus, organising liturgies and events for women and men in their twenties and thirties.
I have also recently completed a Prayer Guides course which enables me to accompany people on retreats and through spiritual direction.
Alongside all these activities I am also a member of our Vocations Team and a member of the FCJ Spirituality Group.
My name is Bernardetta Magagnin and I am Italian. I was missioned to Paris many years ago and have already celebrated fifty years of religious life!
My apostolate in Paris is with the small children in the nursery school of Notre Dame de France . Little children always bring me great joy.
I am also involved with the Italian parish in Paris , where again I help the catechetical team with the small children by my presence at the parish Eucharist and at retreat days organized for those children preparing to receive the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation.
All this highlights for me the importance of accompanying people, both the elderly and small children.
My name is Bernadette Coughlin and I am known to many as ‘Bernie’.
I am a teacher of mathematics in a Secondary School in Liverpool, where I also have some pastoral responsibility. I enjoy seeing young people enjoying mathematics and I try to assure them that mathematics is not a subject to be afraid of.
I am a memberProvincial Council of the FCJ British Province and I am local leader of our FCJ community in Stretford, Manchester.
My hobbies include walking, often accompanied by our family pets, two Border Lakeland Terriers. Whilst living near London, I developed a love of the theatre and I go to see musicals as often as I can. I also enjoy listening to religious music, my favourite artists being Marty Haugen and David Haas.
Together with the other members of the Stella Maris community I provide a welcoming presence for the many individuals and groups who use our facilities for Retreats, Quiet days, Taize Evenings, Parish Groups, Deanery Meetings etc.
The picture below shows me with a group that has been meeting in Ramsgate for the past 17/18 years and I have been associated with it from the start. We meet every Tuesday evening. and I provide input of some kind - very often a speaker. Members have changed over the years but it continues to be very popular. In this picture, the group is seen having tea in Stella Maris garden.
Alice Rimmer, Kathryn Lennon and I run the Companions in Mission programme and a few of them appear on the second picture at our most recent Meeting.
I also visit Residential Homes and people in their own homes or hospital.
I am a member of the Vocations Team in the British Province.
I am Brigid and I am on the far right of the photo talking with two other FCJs. I have seen Bellerive School FCJ, Liverpool, evolve from a girls' grammar school to an inner city comprehensive. The evolution has been slow and challenging.
Over the last four years we have moved from being split site to being on one site, (well almost!) Our school occupies four beautiful buildings and is surrounded by magnificent city parks. I think our art and technology rooms must have the best vistas of any art rooms as they overlook Prince's Park. Two of our buildings are already connected by a subterranean walk-way and very soon all our buildings will be interconnected because we have another walkway fast approaching completion. (This puts a new gloss on interconnectedness.)
We face the challenges of any other inner city comprehensive school especially that of promoting high academic standards. We are very proud of our academic attainment and our commitment to community. Girls come to Bellerive from all over Liverpool. We have girls from many ethnic backgrounds especially many black British girls. Eastern Europeans are now joining our ranks, and we have a few from South America.
When Bellerive was a grammar school it had an excellent reputation for science. This is still strong and we have just applied for Science College status. (We had to raise £50,000 as part of our bid and spent a Saturday packing bags at Tesco's. We raked in £1,775! If we spend another 50 Saturdays in Tesco's there is no telling what we might be able to build!)
Whilst the responsibilities of school leadership are quite challenging, they are also most rewarding and I am glad to have the opportunity of leading Bellerive into this new Millennium.
Our school's motto is , "Suaviter in modo fortiter in re" which translates roughly as "Be strong in action and gentle in manner". It is a succinct expression of what we encourage our school community to live out.
I live in a community of three in Stretford, Manchester, not very far from where I was born. Being in community with Gabriel and Margaret, being involved in the work — physical, emotional and spiritual work! — of living companionship, within and beyond the community, is at the heart of my ministry, and has become increasingly important to me since reaching the age of retirement.
Our community is based in St Ann's parish in Stretford. I love the contacts here with parishioners and neighbours and I am happy to make whatever contribution I can to community and parish life. As a member of the SVP I visit elderly and housebound women and men. We try to raise awareness of and express appreciation for the life and contribution so many elderly parishioners have made to the Church and particularly to St Ann's over countless years. We organise special services, afternoon tea and a wonderful Christmas party for them. A number of other social and spiritual gatherings are also available and I like to take part and lend support to these. We welcome parishioners into our house for a monthly Scripture study group. They also enjoy coming to weekly Advent and Lent prayer and reflection groups and an Easter celebration. About a dozen or so friends from the parish regularly attend and we all find it helpful.
Apart from my community and local ministry, I have a share in our wider mission. As a member of the Provincial Council, the link person between the council and the province spirituality group, a member of the Executive Board for St John's school in Brussels and a member of the governance commission, I am able to contribute to the on-going life of the Society.
My maing ministries are school chaplaincy and hospice care.
I continue to be involved in Upton Hall School Chaplaincy support.
As well, I work in St. John's Hospice on the Wirral.
One of my 'hobbies' is Holistic Therapy - I am qualified in Reflexology,
Body Massage and Indian Head Massage.
I have been able to give workshops in a local parish and in Katherine House (a small FCJ Spirituality Centre in Salford), as well as
treatment to friends.
Christine Anderson lives in Rome and is Director of Faith and Praxisfcj. She works as an Organisational Analyst and Facilitator for International Organisations and leads training events for lay people and apostolic religious in Rome and in other countries of the world especially Africa. This work focusses on the integration of faith with organisational dynamics.
She is program leader of an International Leadership Development Program in Rome which is a joint program of Faith and Praxisfcj and The Grubb Institute London. The participants are of many different nationalities and cultures.
Christine moved to Rome in 2003 after sixteen years as Founder and Director of the Craighead Institute in Glasgow, Scotland. This Institute is an extension of the work of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius concentrating on the practical application and integration of the exercises in everyday life. The Training and Analytic work has a strong discernment and social justice component. Faith and Praxis are at the heart of the methodology. Being Ignatian in outlook the work of the Institute is based on the experience of the participants, social and cultural analysis, Ignatian and scriptural reflection and organisation for action.
Attached is a photo taken 06.06.2010 of the team of staff and volunteers I worked with on a local housing estate.
I work with two registered charityies Neighbours In Poplar and SPLASH. The former is engaged with older disabled & isolated people coving a large part of Tower Hamlets and providing them with all kinds of support.
SPLASH works with five council Estates providing community, youth, educational and social services for people of all ages and from access the globe, I also provide some support to some of our fragile and house bound parishioners. It's a great life, with no time for boredom!
I am a teacher.. that is my mission.
My name is Cornelia, and I made my vows in September 2008. I first thought about religious life when I was only 8 or 9 years old. I did not give too much importance to it then, but the idea came back into my mind from time to time.
Later after much searching, reflecting and discerning I knew that God could well be calling me to religious life as an FCJ Sister. This call I felt deep down in my heart, it fulfilled all my desires, and I knew that the source of my happiness was in Jesus, and would not be found elsewhere.
After two years of Novitiate in Paris, I was missioned to Bucharest in order to study . My first mission was to be a student, and to be prepared to serve God and my neighbour in school. I am now a primary school teacher… having completed a three year course in pedagogy at the University of Bucharest.
As a student, I enjoyed the companionship of good friends and dedicated teachers who love the teaching profession.A nice custom in our University is that each year at Christmas time the students put on a show for the teachers and their fellow students. Working together drew us closer together. Sharing moments of emotion and joy strengthened and enriched staff/student relationships. Every day there were new things to learn, and I realised that today I am richer than yesterday, but poorer than tomorrow.
I am following a Master’s course in addition to teaching in a primary school not very far from where we live in FCJ community. Each morning I go to school with enthusiasm and joy, and come back home energised and full of hope. Working with young children, each day is a new adventure!
Being a Sister at University where so many saw me as someone different, was a challenge for me ( I was different because I am a Catholic, a person under vows, without a Religious habit, and looking like everyone else.) Being an FCJ student among students,and now a teacher on a Primary school staff, for me means being with them, accepting each one as she is. We experience wonderful times together, share our learnings, laugh together and encourage each other, and now I have many new friends.
May the Holy Spirit show each one of us how to be a good companion and friend to those we meet every day.
My name is Rita Kaufmann, I was born in Oensingen,in the canton of Solothurn in Switzerland.
On 8th September 1967 I entered the convent of the Sisters, ”Faithful Companions of Jesus.” in Broadstairs Kent, England
There I received the religious habit and the name Sister Dominique.
In 1970 I made my first vows and then was sent back to our big international boarding school in Fribourg, Switzerland. There I learned French and looked after the boarders till 1979.
In 1979 I was missioned to our Convent in Jersey, Channel Islands, where we also had a big school.
1981-1989 I went back to Broadstairs, where I then did my training as a nursery teacher.
In September 1989 I came back to Switzerland, to Naters in the canton of the Valais, a very beautiful place surrounded by mountains. Here with three Kindergarten teachers we opened the Kindergarten Nursery school where I have been the Principal for 20 years.
I still enjoy each new day, caring for these children, 18 months to 5 years of age and giving them some love and security during the time they spent in our Kindergarten.
I find it a very nice way to serve the Lord through these children who are in my care for the day.
Ritornando all’inizio, lavoro in un centro di accoglienza diurna di una ONG in cui i bambini vengono per il doposcuola. Ricevono un aiuto per i compiti, nonché un pasto caldo in una mensa vicina. I bambini hanno la possibilità di svolgere anche altri tipi di attività oltre a quelle scolastiche: collage, disegno, educazione tecnica, cultura generale, gioco di ruoli, uscite a teatro o nei musei.
I bambini provengono tutti da famiglie con pochissimi mezzi e molti di loro hanno forti carenze affettive. La maggior parte dei bambini non ha in casa un posto o una situazione adatta per fare i compiti, e i genitori di alcuni di loro non sono in grado di aiutarli. Coloro che vivono lontano dalla città escono di casa alle 6 e 30 circa e tornano verso le 18. Non è un orario sempre facile per i bambini: troppi compiti e l’arrivo a casa tardi.
Vedo spesso stanchezza sui loro volti, e ho l’impressione che siano come lavoratori adulti, ossia come quelli che escono per andare a lavorare. Ed è vero, perché molti di loro hanno una capacità intellettuale limitata e studiano più lentamente, con difficoltà, forse molto di più di coloro che non hanno bisogno di sostegno.
Al di là delle giornate più difficili in cui sono frustrati per i troppi compiti, o per le privazioni a casa e perché sono indietro con il programma scolastico, è chiaro che questi bambini sono dei combattenti. Oggi ho sentito la gioia di una vittoria dopo una battaglia. Lavoro da circa tre mesi con un bambino che ha difficoltà ad imparare la tabellina delle moltiplicazioni. Ho mandato molti messaggi a casa chiedendo alla madre di aiutarlo.
A volte collabora con me, ma quando non lo fa il bambino è disorientato e non sa se ascoltare me o la madre. Oggi, a mia grande sorpresa, conosceva non tutte le tabelline, ma quasi tutte. Quando gli ho chiesto: "Come hai fatto a dare tutte queste risposte giuste?" "Non lo so, ha risposto, l’ho semplicemente fatto".
Spesso lottano con la furia che hanno dentro di loro, provocata da frustrazioni, ingiustizie, rifiuti che vivono nelle loro famiglie, o dal non essere apprezzati, dalla mancanza di fiducia, di autostima e di valori, e dal disorientamento e dalla confusione che derivano dalla differenza tra il modo di vivere e di comportarsi che offriamo al Centro e quel che vedono a casa in famiglia.
Quando tornano a casa, la sera, tutto ciò che abbiamo costruito durante il giorno in termini di valori e di responsabilità viene distrutto, e il giorno dopo ricominciamo da capo. Ogni volta che mi metto nei loro panni per cercare di capire un poco meglio che cosa significa il loro comportamento, mi sento limitata. E mi rendo conto che non capisco molto; questi bambini hanno una famiglia ma non hanno l’esperienza familiare che ho io.
È difficile ricominciare da capo ogni giorno, perché i piccoli segni di progresso nell’atteggiamento e nel comportamento si vedranno solo con il tempo. Non è difficile ricominciare da capo quando dico loro ogni giorno "Bravo", "Benissimo", "Ottimo", "Sei fantastico". Mi rendo conto che per me è più difficile quando non ho amato o incoraggiato i bambini con tutto il mio essere. Questa è l’unica cosa che posso fare affinché qualcosa di nuovo accada nella loro vita.
My name is Mary Gabriel Barron. I live in the FCJ community at Stretford, Manchester.
My ministry is varied. I visit a number of elderly, housebound people in our local parish and take them Holy Communion.
I am one of the parish's Safeguarding representatives. The role involves ensuring that the Church's guidelines for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults are implemented.
I do voluntary work at the local Macmillan Cancer Care Centre and visit our sisters at Kersal one day a week.
am also on the Governing Body of Bellerive School FCJ.
My name is Gertrude Hodkinson and I am a member of the FCJ Community at St. Aloysius Convent, Phoenix Road in central London.
I am still enjoying life in my 23rd year of retirement. My main ministry now is that of hospitality, welcoming the many FCJ Sisters and others who call in or stay with us as they continue their journeys to our other houses.
We have a group of Companion in Mission in which I am involved and I also enjoy delivering Vocation posters etc. to London churches.
In the parish I support the Readers and Eucharistic ministers and the Traidcraft stall, and at Christmas and Easter, arrange special services for the younger children in our chapel. Recently, the Euro Star and other lines have been developed at Kings Cross/ St.Pancras and our house is conveniently situated on the road linking the latter and Euston Station . When the door bell rings it could be a Sister from any part of the world! Life is full of pleasant surprises.
Salve, mi chiamo Gloria e vivo nel cuore di Londra, tra Euston Station e St. Pancras International. La casa della nostra comunità dà ospitalità alla Provincia e attualmente è anche una casa di formazione; in effetti, abbiamo delle giovani suore formande che vivono con noi, e spesso diamo alloggio a suore che tornano dall’estero o che sono di passaggio per delle riunioni.
Il ministero principale della nostra casa è l’ospitalità e l’accoglienza. Siccome il nostro carisma è quello di essere compagne, questa è per noi un’occasione unica di offrire amicizia a coloro che passano la soglia della nostra casa.
Lavoro anche come volontaria, due volte a settimana, in un centro per donne a King’s Cross, chiamato “Women at the Well”, istituito dalle Suore della Misericordia, che offre servizi e sostegno a donne vittime della ‘cultura del marciapiede’ e dei ‘cicli di abuso’ – un altro modo di dire droga e prostituzione. Anche qui passo il mio tempo ad offrire la mia compagnia, in un modo o in altro, svolgendo attività artistiche e artigianali o massaggi mani/piedi, o semplicemente sedendomi e ascoltando le storie delle persone.
Mi sembra che il dono più grande che possiamo offrire è il nostro tempo e la nostra presenza. Essendo una Fedele Compagna di Gesù, sono anche chiamata ad essere una compagna di tutti coloro che incontro durante la giornata, qualunque sia la mia attività. Penso che questa sia una grande sfida e un grande privilegio.
Sono Suor Irene Maria Spinato FCJ. Vivo nel centro storico della città di Livorno in un appartamento insieme a Suor Imelda Zandonà. Lavoro nella nostra parrocchia “LA MADONNA”. Il mio apostolato più importante è la catechesi ai ragazzi e agli adulti. Preparo i Genitori al Battesimo dei loro bambini, come pure giovani fidanzati ai sacramenti della Prima Confessione, della Prima Comunione e della Cresima.
Provo una grande gioia ed un senso di maternità spirituale poter trasmettere la fede e vedere gli occhi di questi adulti illuminarsi nello scoprire la presenza di Gesù vivo in mezzo a noi. Anche se l’Italia è un Paese cattolico, c’è molta ignoranza in materia di Religione. Sono, però sempre più numerosi i giovani che, progettando il loro matrimonio, si avvicinano alla Chiesa. E’ quindi molto importante che trovino qualche persona preparata e disponibile ad accompagnarli nel loro cammino di fede.
Io ringrazio Dio di questo ministero!
Having become an FCJ at a later age than most, my teaching career resumed after a Novitiate of two years with a short time in Poles, the FCJ boarding school which has since closed. This was followed by time at Gumley House Convent School, Isleworth, where I was Deputy Head, and then a move to Somers Town, to be Head of Maria Fidelis Convent School. After eight years based in Salford as Provincial I came to Hartlepool. This was in response to a request to our Provincial for an FCJ sister to help with the collaboration of administrative tasks in the Deanery – the seven Catholic churches in Hartlepool.
The people here are extremely friendly, especially those I meet in the parish and, of course, our Companions in Mission. I have no doubt that the welcome I received reflected the significant part that FCJ sisters have played in the lives of so many families in Hartlepool. The first sisters arrived here in 1885 and generations of families were educated by the FCJ Sisters at St Josephs Convent Grammar school, St Joseph's Primary, Sacred Heart Secondary, St Anne's Secondary Modern and English Martyrs Comprehensive School.
As a volunteer, I have been able to make contact with a wide variety of people. Each week I help with a soup lunch for refugees and asylum seekers, a breakfast club for the homeless and I go into two schools to give Maths support to some individual students.
We are very pleased to have facilities in our home where groups can meet and where, in good FCJ tradition, education continues. We are blessed to have a lovely little chapel with reservation of the Blessed Sacrament and the regular celebration of Mass.Living in Hartlepool has given me the opportunity to enjoy walks along the coast or round the Marina, one of my favourite places. I have also been blessed to have a piano here and so can continue to make my own music as well as listening to concerts on the radio
My name is Juliet Ory. I am English, and I came to Bucharest, Romania from Brussels in September 2003.
My interest and support for Romania began in the late nineties when I came for a short visit with the Head of Notre Dame de France, our school in Paris, where I was teaching catechetics and English. That visit, my first to an ex-communist country of Eastern Europe, made a deep impression on me, I was changed by it and challenged by it. Helping young people in need in Romania, that was our Jubilee year project in Paris in 2000. I came back to Romania for an apostolic experience in the summer of 2001, and again in August 2002, for the FCJ International Youth Camp in Roman, in the Catholic northeast of the country.
I feel a sense of deep peace and joy being here on mission, that I am where the Lord wants me to be… enjoying the challenge of living and working in Bucharest , very conscious of the widening gap between rich and poor. It took some time to learn the language and I now feel closer to understanding the mentality of a people who suffered so much under the communist regime, and to appreciate the richness of Romanian culture, the giftedness of its people and the beauty of this country.
We are a small international community of FCJ Sisters, living in the north of the city. My ministry I would say is “companionship” … reaching out in little ways to those in need. .. I am teaching English at St. Joseph’s Catholic Nursing School for nurses in training, adults ranging from 18- 50 years of age ! I usually enlist the help of one or two Romanian students who have studied English and are looking for some experience of teaching a small group of adults. There is always time for listening, encouragement, sharing ideas and ideals. A number of students ,including some Religious Sisters, come to our apartment for English too, and these lessons are always a joy for me.
I coordinate the catechetical programme for children and young people preparing for the Sacraments of Initiation in the Sacré-Coeur parish, English-speaking community. The children preparing for First Holy Communion, often come from very different cultural backgrounds, but all speak some English, and their spontaneity and enthusiasm in getting to know Jesus is a joy and a challenge for me. It is good too to get to know their families and to encourage a lively participation in the Saturday evening liturgy in English.
Our little community shares our Ignatian spirituality with a group of women who come regularly to our apartment here in Strada Monetăriei for prayer meetings when we share our experience of personal prayer and support each other in our seeking to give God a central place in our lives. Sometimes, we meditate on a spiritual theme, like Epiphany or the I AM sayings of Jesus or the O antiphons, or the new theology of the Cosmos, using a power point presentation. Always a keen photographer, I really relish creating these power point presentations where with the help of visual images and music, we can enter into Scripture in a deeper way and encourage a creative personal response from each one. We have had the opportunity too of sharing these presentations with a larger group both of priests, Religious and lay people.
We have contact with elderly poor people who are often alone, and also with university students needing financial support. Salaries here are low, and many live below the poverty line, struggling to survive. Romania is now a member of EU, but there is much to be done to raise living standards and restore a sense of dignity and hope, especially in this time of economic crisis.
I feel blessed to be here on mission, striving to be the human, gentle face of God to all I meet on my way, as our recent Chapter decree invites.
It is said that being in love gives one energy to enjoy every day and to enter into the pain of the world. I think I have been madly in love all my life!
I have enjoyed everyday teaching History, Geography, Scripture and RE first in Adelphi House Grammar School for Girls, Salford. This included retreats in Liverpool and Leeds: geography field work in the Lakes where we climbed Helvellyn, and in Wales where we climbed Cader ldris, among other things!! Trips to Walsingham and Silts in Austria. I was so young then!
Then I taught in The Newlands School, Middlesbrough – the same subjects as well as Religious Education in the Marist Sixth Form College, located beside us. There were lots and lots of retreats in Salford and Minsteracres - what memories and fun! I was head of Rievaulx House and loved the mix of boys and girls in the School.
On to Preston, to Cardinal Newman Sixth Form College situated on the Lark Hill site which had previously held our own Secondary School. There were about a thousand Sixth Formers, all full of energy and desire to know themselves and take on the challenge of life. I was part of a wonderful RE staff and ran a Third World Group. There were retreats in Castlerigg and Ushaw, Taizé and Lourdes as well as hundreds of UCAS forms and discos at Tokyo Joes! What wonderful memories and so many past students with whom I keep contact - what a privileged life to touch so many young people.
I retired from teaching in 1997 and moved to Liverpool, where I volunteered in our two Schools in the area: Bellerive FCJ, in Liverpool and Upton FCJ, on the Wirral. I also helped with Asylum Seekers in this area and was involved with three summer schools in Romania.
In August 2003 I was given the opportunity to have sabbatical time and I spent it with our Sisters in Manila, Melbourne and Yogyakarta in Indonesia. It was an enriching time which I really appreciate. I came to Glasgow in November 2003 where I lived until I moved to Gumley in Greater London. I have enjoyed the 6 years here as Local Leader and Spiritual Director to some young adult. One of the greatest joys was organising Weeks of Guided Prayer in Enfield and Palmer's Green Parishes. I am packing my bags again for Hartlepool where I know I will settle and enjoy the new experience with new energy.
My name is Klara Brumann and I am a Swiss fcJ sister.
After having spent eight years in Paris, I am now missioned back to Switzerland. There I will be working as a member of the chaplaincy team.
I am looking forward to this new mission in the home for the elderly of the village of Naters. I will be praying with and accompanying the sick and the dying.
I am going back to the same house where I worked as a nurse eight years ago. But I will be meeting new people and many things have changed;
this means that it will be a new beginning.
I have always considered myself very fortunate to have grown up on a farm. From an early age I absorbed a great love and appreciation of nature. I still find it a constant source of awe and wonder and a very faithful teacher.
I spent thirty-three stimulating and challenging years working in secondary education and three years in pastoral ministry.
I now devote most of my time and energy to supporting Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Initiatives at local and national level.
I also welcome the opportunity to retain an involvement in secondary education as an FCJ Governor.
I have been a Faithful Companion of Jesus from more than fifty years. My first meeting with the FCJ Sisters was in the summer of 1947 when I was more or less obliged by my family to go to Turin to visit my sister who had already been an FCJ for four years.
The warmth with which I was welcomed, and the atmosphere which filled the convent really touched me and I decided not to return to home.
Even if my decision was as quick as lightning I have never regretted my “Yes” to the Lord.
As an FCJ I was involved in various ministries, service in community and teaching in the Kindergarten School both in Turin and in S. Mauro. In Livorno my ministry was that of homemaker in community and assisting Sr. Anna Maria in the Church of St. Giulia . I am back in Turin now where my main ministry is prayer; I do what I can in the community and I am a companion to the other sisters in Community.
I am happy doing what I do because I feel of use to my sisters and it gives me the opportunity to be a companion, through prayer, to many persons in their journey to the Lord.
Greetings! My name is Lucy Sacco.
For almost forty years, I was engaged in the apostolate of teaching, until I retired at the age of sixty-two, having loved every minute of that wonderful time.
In 1993, I came here to Crook, Co Durham, to help in the Parish of Our Lady and St Cuthbert. I am involved in most of the Parish activities, but the highlight of my week is to take a little "Bible Prayer Service" at one of the Residential Homes, here in the town. The appreciation of these old people, of all denominations, is so great that it fills me with joy and makes me wish I could do more.
There is a very good ecumenical spirit in the town, and the leaders of all the Churches often come together to organise various activities and to pray. I have frequently had the opportunity to lead one of the Christian Fellowship Services for a congregation of sixty people or more, in our local Salvation Army Hall.
Because of my involvement with the other Churches, and because I have been here seventeen years, I am known to the townspeople, and I greet everyone with a smile.
I consider that my main apostolate here is to be a LOVING PRESENCE in the Community, and a JOYFUL WITNESS to the truth that GOD IS LOVE.
În fiecare zi, pe drumul vieţii mele, merg alături de cei pe care Dumnezeu mi aşează pentru ca eu să descopăr, să aprofundez şi să devin ceea El doreşte să fiu...copilul său....Fiecare om este un dar pentru mine şi fiecare eveniment un nou pas pe drumul care duce la El....
Merg alături de cei înţelepţi şi cu experienţă care sunt la amurgul vieţii lor şi de la care învăţ ce este perseverenţa, umilinţa şi acceptarea.
Pe drum cu familiile împovărate de greutăţile vieţii găsesc curaj şi speranţă, lacrimi şi bucuri care mă fac mai conştientă de trăirea celuilalt om de lângă mine şi de modul cum eu sunt alături de el.
Alături de cei din Comisia Socială îmi împart visurile mele de a construi împărăţia lui Dumnezeu aici şi acum. De a construi o societate în care omul este respectat în tot ceea ce este de fiinţă umană, fiind în centrul tuturor intenţiilor. Omul este cel care prin trăirea valorilor lui poate să schimbe ce este în jurul său. Sunt convinsă că fiecare om ascunde în el o părticică din dumnezeire şi pe accea parte doresc să o descopăr.
Împreună cu tinerii mă bucur şi sunt plină de elan când alături de ei îmi trăiesc credinţa mea în realitatea de azi...suntem împreună pe drum...Doar împreună putem da mărturie de Cristos prezent în fiecare şi în jurul nostru….
Pe drumul meu sunt susţinută şi încurajată de Surorile din comunitatea mea. Fiecare în diversitate trăim în armonie şi pace împărtăşind aceleşi visuri de a fi însoţitoare pentru oricine, oricând şi oriunde.
My main ministry is teaching science in Liverpool. It is great to work with young people, and to have the opportunity to be involved in such an important part of their lives.
I enjoy the challenges of teaching my subject and also love all the additional aspects of school life; organising clubs; helping pupils with personal difficulties; meeting parents....
In addition to my work in school, I am also responsible for vocations work within the Province. It is always a real privilege to accompany people who are seeking to understand more fully the call of God in their lives.
The Good Lord must have sent an angel at my Christening bearing the gift of Music, which has been my ‘Good Companion’ all my life. A gift that has been directly involved in the worship of God, and the service and enjoyment of others (and, I have come to realise in my old age, for my own pleasure as well,) And now he has given me the time to enjoy the piano more in my ‘autumnal years’ since we never retire in the Church, just ‘move over’ and do another job, which is a privilege.
I belong to two Piano Circles in London which keep me up to scratch. Just about everywhere I go I’m asked about Religious Life, our Foundress sometimes, but always what are we FCJs doing here and now. So, dear Sisters you are All in the conversation, and there is great interest.
As well as that, Somers Town is a very hospitable house so we are all very much involved in Community life and keeping ‘the home fires burning,’ as well as keeping in touch with Friends and Students.
Convent Schools have greatly encouraged the Arts since God is the God of Beauty.
So, I’m 87, still around, and above ground. Non nobis Domine.
PROSTITUTION NOW HAS A FACE… This was the title given by one of my colleagues to her reflections on the experience we had in the Ukraine last May, courtesy of the Justice and Peace Commission. For me, this title captures in a nutshell what it meant to actually live with someone who had been trafficked for 3 full days.
Vikki (this is not her real name) comes from a very dysfunctional family in north-west Ukraine. Her father was murdered by a villager at 39 and her mother died of alcohol-related disease at 49, leaving Vikki, an older sister and 2 young brothers to fend for themselves. After Primary School, Vikki worked in the village bar. There, a ‘so-called friend’ offered to send her to Dubai to earn American dollars and create a better life for herself. Unwittingly, she accepted this unexpected offer, only to find herself on arrival, caught in a web of prostitution that had no outlet, where she was physically, psychologically and sexually abused over a period of three years, culminating in an abortion, several weeks in hospital, a prison sentence, followed (happily) by expulsion from a country where abortion is a crime!
On return to her country, Vikki underwent a rehabilitation programme and then, assured that her trafficker was now in prison, she accepted to meet us and tell her story so that others might be helped to avoid such a horrific experience. Vikki is a pretty young woman of 25, one of hundreds of young Ukrainians who in order to escape dire poverty and improve their quality of life, are exposed to this modern form of slavery.
The Trafficking of Persons is a crime, the existence of which we can no longer deny and the struggle to combat it is something in which Marie-Madeleine would have surely been involved, had she lived in our times. Now a world-wide phenomenon, no one knows the number of victims of this crime against humanity, although recent identified figures esteem the number to be at least 4.000.000, 500.000 of whom alone are found in Europe. Indeed, after the estimated budget spent on Arms-deals and drugs, it is thought that the 3rd largest ‘chiffre d’affaires’ is that spent on Human Trafficking. Vikki could tell us that she knew her ‘boss ‘had made at least $20.000 on her services..
Another invitation from Justice and Peace to talk about the situation on Romania, took me to France for the 3rd European Day (hopefully soon to be known as ‘World Day’) dedicated to raising awareness to this evil in our midst. Through film, round-table discussions, power-point presentations and exhibitions of various DVDs, posters and articles on this subject, it was evident that a joint effort by the 25 or more Christian and Humanitarian groups involved in this struggle was a sign of hope to all. An interesting encounter was with a singer who has decided to use his talent to further this awareness and combat.
Combating Human Trafficking is a Ministry in which we FCJs can all be involved, irrespective of age, infirmity or busy schedule. Let us join forces in praying for victims of trafficking all over the world, in raising awareness and educating the young to a deep respect for their bodies, to the hidden dangers that can lie behind enticing advertisements - and in always showing the gentle face of Christ to those who have been deprived of their basic human dignity.
I was born in West Hartlepool in the North East of England and went to school there. This is where I first met the FCJ sisters and when I was twenty I entered the FCJ novitiate in Kent. In fact Broadstairs is where I have lived for most of my religious life. The only other community I have lived is Stretford in Manchester, where I spent thirteen years nursing in a local hospital. I enjoyed living in a small community.
There are four of us here in the Stella Maris community and we live in the ‘mother house’ where the General Superior and her assistants live. We have a variety of ministries within the community as well as beyond it . I like to visit our older sisters in Redriff and I often take them out shopping or simply to have a drive by the sea or a coffee and chat. I am a member of the parish SVP group and this also involves home visits to needy people. As a member of the Chaplaincy team at Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital, I visit men and women of all ages in different wards. There is a high turnover of patients and I do not find it easy constantly to be introducing myself to new people! But I do find it worthwhile as there are always one or two who enjoy a little personal attention.
Stella Maris is as beautiful place and we make our home and its many facilities available to numerous groups who like to come for meetings, services or parish outings. At particular times of the year such as Lent or Advent, the community offers the opportunity for prayer and reflection days or evenings and I share in the preparation for these events. There is hardly a time when one or other FCJ group is not involved in a meeting here and it is obviously a favourite place to come for a seaside holiday. I also like to support similar activities in the neighbouring parishes. Being available to welcome people is part of my ministry here at Stella Maris.
I am living in Stretford, Manchester in a community of three, with Carmel and Gabriel. I came to Manchester in 2001. We are very lucky because we have Victoria Park at the back of our house.
My ministry is one of companionship to my Sisters in Stretford, to my Sisters in Salford for whom at present I am their local leader, and also to some elderly and housebound people whom I visit in their homes.
I love nature, walking, reading and watching sport, especially football. I was born in London, and have lived fourteen years in Birkenhead. So my favourite teams are Arsenal, Tranmere Rovers and Liverpool.
I am a member of the Holistic group, which raises awareness of health issues in the Province, and the Website group.
One of my ministries is working as Provincial Bursar for the British Province of our Society and I work from my office in Salford.
This work means that I am engaged in administration and care of the resources of the FCJ Sisters in Britain.
I also work as a Counsellor and Play Therapist; meeting with adults and children who are experiencing difficulties of one kind or another in their emotional lives.
Through this work, I am able to assist individuals to resolve issues, make adjustments or changes to their lives and gain healing or a better sense of well-being.
This is very rewarding work and I am happy to be able to use my gifts and skills to help both adults and children in this way.
The FCJs came to Crook at the request of the parishioners "To be a Presence in the parish of Our Lady Immaculate and St Cuthbert."
As far as I have been able I have tried to be a Faithful Companion of Jesus; Faithful Companion of Sisters Lucy and Alice, and then of Lucy; and a Faithful Companion of the people of Crook.
In prayer, in friendliness and in acceptance of others, with a smile, a nod, a discussion of ailments and cures, I have tried to reach out to others - with the assistance of my Faithful Companion.
Increasingly the British Province Archive is being called upon by family members researching their great- aunts and great-great aunts and it is a privilege to be able to provide them with material from Catalogues, Annals or biographies. We have a detailed electronic catalogue which enables searches and cross references to be made very quickly and from time to time it throws up some very interesting connections.
One grateful grand -nephew wrote immediately to say that tears were streaming down his cheeks as he read what he had received… A unique project is that of a family who have had members at Lingdale House and Upton Hall from the foundation in 1849. The first generations all came from Brazil and we actually had photographs of some of them as school girls and as brides! One 90-year old past pupil of Poles was delighted to have details of her fancy dress costumes provided by the Accounts Ledger.
School and Parish historians continue to ask for information and from time to time graduates of Sedgley Park College still need verification of their qualifications.
The role of Provincial Archivist is a vibrant and rewarding ministry with great pastoral outreach.
I have been a Parish Sister in Middlesbrough, North East England for many years.
The most exciting aspect of parish work is meeting many people of different cultures and backgrounds, some of whom are very much in need of a ‘faithful companion’.
The photo is of the day of my Golden Jubilee celebration. I am with a young woman who is praying for guidance as to how to give her life to the God who has given to her so generously.
I will shortly move to Liverpool and look forward to meeting more lovely companions on my journey.
I am Mary Costello and am spending my years of retirement here in Nantes, France.
I accompany students (18-23) who live with us. Over the years I have been a prison visitor and have given English lessons to some groups. Now I am in contact with ex-prisoners.
We have here in our parish (Notre Dame de Nantes) some very active and enthusuastic adults involved in evangelisation and I collaborate with them in running sessions of the Alpha course which is designed to help people who are hungry for spirituality, although they may not have an allegiance to the official Church.
My ministry can take the simple form of giving support to an unmarried mother alone with her baby or visiting a lonely person.
I was a teacher for a number of years. My last teaching post was at Xaverian Sixth Form College, Manchester.
I was a volunteer at Her Majesty's Prison, Strangeways, from 1982, and in 1986 I went into prison ministry full time, first of all with what is now The Bourne Trust.
In 1989 I was appointed full time RC Chaplain at Her Majesty's Prison, Holloway, where I remained until 1996.
I also have a counselling/supervision/spiritual direction, private practice. I am a BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) accredited counsellor.
I am currently living and working at Stella Maris, Broadstairs. I arrived here on 10th October 2009 having spent the previous 28 years in community in Somers Town, London.
First of all I was head teacher in St Aloysius' Infant School for 13 years and then, after my retirement, I worked with the Jesuits in their Provincial Offices for 12 years doing various secretarial/office jobs.
I now do similar work in our Generalate offices – filing, typing, photocopying, making booklets, answering the telephone, in fact, all the jobs that my role as support office assistant requires of me.
I am a member of the Stella Maris local community and I share in the work of the house and in hospitality which is one of our chief works.
I taught for 34 years, mainly in two very different schools: an independent boarding school and an inner London comprehensive. I think this gave me the experience of dealing with many different kinds of people.
When I retired from teaching, I spent four months in the Holy Land and then trained for retreat-giving and spiritual direction.
For a time I lived at Gumley House, Isleworth, near London and worked part-time at a Jesuit retreat centre. I also worked as a bereavement counsellor. I love this work and feel very privileged to have had the opportunity of a second career, which I hope, is of benefit to people.
I now live and exercise some ministry in Salford.
My name is MaryAnne Francalanza. I have recently moved to St.Hugh's FCJ House in Liverpool. I come from Malta - a little island in the Mediterranean Sea. How did I get here? Well, I travelled from Malta to England to meet the FCJs because I discovered them via the internet. :-)
I have now been living in England for over four years. I never would have imagined that my journey with God would bring me here - and yet it feels like home.
I was attracted to the FCJ society for several reasons. I was looking for Ignatian women whose lives are rooted in God and whose work is a continuation of Jesus' mission. I was looking for a group of people who embrace the world with all its joys and sorrows, and are not afraid to "live fully''. I was looking for a place where I could use the gifts God has given me for God's kingdom, and where I could do this with like-minded people who journey together. For me, the FCJ Society is this place.
I started my two-year novitiate year in September 2001. It was a blessed time full of new challenges and insights, moments of joy and of pain . I have discovered some very beautiful things inside me, and I have realized that I still have a lot to learn.
Companion of Jesus. I cannot describe the moment when I pronounced my vows and received the FCJ cross. Wonderful!
I now live in Liverpool and teach mathematics in Bellerive FCJ Catholic College, and I enjoy it immensely. There is something very life giving in working with children. It is both a huge responsibility and a great privilege. And everyday is different.
I am also involved in the area where I live. It is a pleasure to welcome our friends and colleagues for Mass in our Chapel every week. After Mass we take time to share a simple meal and companionship.
Our house is always a hive of activity. We organise various opportunities where different people can come and reflect, pray, meet, laugh ... We often have visitors: women who want to come and live community with us for a while, as they try to make space to listen to God's call.
Our motto - Never a dull moment!!
I am a member of the Parish Team at Our Lady of Hal Church, Camden Town. This is a deprived and very lively area of North London, only fifteen minutes walk from where I live at St Aloysius Convent FCJ.
Our church is one of the few churches in the area open all day and every day. There is a constant flow of people coming in to pray quietly and light a candle or have a snooze! Our parishioners are multi-cultural. The Portuguese centre, served by their own chaplain is based in the Presbytery. We also have a number of Irish, mainly of an older generation.
At our Sunday morning family Mass there is a great variety of people, young and old of varied nationalities and colour, including Filipinos, Afro-Caribbeans and Asians. It is a very lively Mass showing how all-inclusive is our Parish.
As a Eucharistic minister I visit people in their homes. I accompany those who are bereaved. Parish catechesis plays an important role. The Sacraments are all prepared for through the Parish. I am involved mainly with the RCIA Programme (the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). Each Easter we have had five or six young adults received into the Church.
On a daily basis, tea and sandwiches are served to the homeless – about seventy men and ten women. This is done by parishioners on a rota basis. I am on duty every Wednesday. Marks and Spencer and Prêt-a-Manger provide food. However, our clients prefer our home made cheese sandwich and sausage, thanks to our local butcher.
I have been working at Our Lady of Hal over the past four years. What attracts me most is the openness and inclusiveness of the Parish. I feel it is a good place to be, for living ‘with conviction and joy the vision of Marie Madeleine, appreciative of God’s call to make a difference in the world’. (Acts of FCJ General Chapter 1998)
I live in Somers Town, London, well situated between stations serving the Continent and the north and south of England. My main ministry is Initial Formation and I love this ministry! It is never dull, often challenging and always a great privilege to be involved in the journey of young women desiring to become FCJs. I am also involved in other ways in Formation in London and I am on the FCJ European Network Formation Team, which has been devising programmes or guidelines for each stage of initial formation.
One evening a week I try to teach English in the Olallo Centre, a residential project, supported financially and administratively by the St. John of God Brothers, Poor Servants of the Mother of God, and the Passage. It brings in, Eastern European men off the streets, and aims at regularising their papers and helping them to find a job and accommodation. I love my time with these men. It is a good balance to formation work, and certainly helps me to keep things in perspective, when I hear their stories and see their struggles.
I am very happy to have been asked to give spiritual accompaniment to a number of men and women, both Catholic and Anglican. I often find it inspiring and very humbling, and I am continually amazed at how God works in such different ways in people. I really appreciate directing shorter or longer retreats occasionally.
Whether for our group of Companions in Mission, Advent or Lent reflective evenings or simply community Eucharist or prayer, I enjoy preparing sacred spaces and creative liturgies. This lifts ‘my soul’, but hopefully gives meaning to other peoples’ experience. From time to time I include circle dancing or Dru Yoga gestures in prayer sessions.
I am most grateful for the opportunities I have had to share what I have learnt about spirituality, accompaniment or formation, in France, Lithuania and Kenya, and to be enriched by the different expressions of these, arising from culture or mentality.
In contrast, perhaps to some of these aspects of my ministry and life, I enjoy ‘helping to keep the home fires burning’ in the practical ministry in community of cooking and shopping! For me, this is not just about taking my share I community living. Preparing a tasty meal is an art which answers my need to be creative, and to say ‘thank you’ for what I receive from God and my sisters in community. It is clearly about being a ‘companion’.
I came to Romania three and a half years ago and lived first in Bucharest and now in Galaţi, a town on the Danube, which sometimes really is ‘blue’.
Galaţi is an industrial town and quite poor especially in this time of financial crisis in the whole of Europe. Here we have a shipyard, and a steel works, but already there have been many redundancies in both these domains. There is high unemployment and many people lack the basic necessities of life. We are in contact every day with poor children and poor families. The child allowance is 40 ron per month, which is the equivalent of about 10 euro! You can imagine how many pampers this would buy! And many single mums who are poor and without work have only the child allowance as a regular income. So begging and looking for help every day, is a way of life for too many here. We can give a certain amount of help in food-stuffs and part of my ministry is answering the door to those who come for food.
One of my great loves is retreat work and the spirituality of St Ignatius of Loyola. There are various ways in which I have been able to use these experiences here in Romania. In our parish I have been able to run 2 series of evenings of ‘prayer through dance’. Using sacred circle dance, and building into the evening some moments of reflection and prayer has been a great joy for me and I think the participants have enjoyed it too. We have even danced on days where the temperature was in the 30s, and also in the winter when we had to keep dancing to stay warm! This is a beautiful way to use some of the insights of St Ignatius very simply.
I have also been involved in a course run by the Craighead Institute in Scotland. Two trainers from the UK have run the Integration of Life and Faith course here for a second year, and some of us were lucky enough to be invited to train to give the course in the future. This is a course based on Ignatian Spirituality and a provides a rich experience for participants and those giving the course.
Another way of sharing FCJ spirituality and that of St Ignatius is the training programme for our Companions in Mission – the lay-group associated with our congregation. Galaţi, we have a group of three parishioners who are going through the formation programme and we hope that they will be making their commitment as Companions in Mission in the autumn.
In the last few weeks a group of refugees from Myanmar has come to Galaţi, as part of a European scheme where 8 countries have welcomed a group of Myanmarese who were in Malaysia waiting for re-settlement. It will be a hard transition not least because of the language – but we hope to be able to support in some way and this is a privileged way of living our charism of Faithful Companions of Jesus.
Since 2007, I have been working with SOLWODI, an organisation founded 20 years ago which now has centres in 12 cities in Germany. We deal with women who have become victims of forced prostitution, human trafficking, forced marriages, women who have problems of integration or residence, women who are victims of violence in the family, women who live under the threat of so-called ‘honour killings’.
Last year, in our office in Munich, the three part-time workers dealt with 51 different cases, some of which we carried into the New Year. Some of the stories of the women concerned I will carry in my heart for the rest of my life. It is good that occasionally we have a real success story, like an African student who got pregnant by a European national. She fought for the right of the child to become a European citizen and now she and her son can have a future in Europe. At present, she is continuing her university studies with the help of a loan from the German government.
I have great respect for women who have the courage to leave, with or without a child, a violent husband. To do this in one’s home country is difficult enough, but to dare to take this step is tremendously daunting in a foreign country, where the woman does not speak the language well and most of the time has had no schooling or training of any kind. It is always a great relief when we find a safe house for her, with psychological counselling to help her deal with her traumatic experiences. Then we try to get the children settled in kindergarten or school, look for suitable language courses, and try to find work experience for her or even a good job.
The most difficult situations are always connected with trafficking and forced prostitution. It becomes dramatic when the woman does not want to talk about her experience at all. She can be so traumatized that she closes up totally and starts living in a dream world in which she becomes terribly vulnerable again. She can invent a life story which no official in government or the court will believe. It is then almost impossible for a lawyer to find arguments to convince the German authorities not to deport this woman. In such a case, the only hope we have is to find a doctor who will testify that this person badly needs psychotherapy. At times the victim herself, in her dream world, does not feel the need for therapy and that complicates matters again. It is hard to believe but true, that if such a woman had Aids she would have no problem staying in the country (it would be against human rights to send her back to a country where treatment of this illness is not guaranteed), but even if she were pregnant, that would not be a reason for not sending her back. Often the women victims of trafficking, especially if they come from Africa, are afraid to speak about their experience. Not only are they afraid that they might be caught by the traffickers, but they are even more afraid of spiritual threats that were held over them before they left their country.
My own most traumatic experience was when I accompanied a woman to a hearing by the police. She was brought to Europe under false pretences, ended up in prostitution, escaped, and filed a case against those responsible for her situation. The police, eager to get details which would help them to find the three men involved, had to ask very difficult questions. The questioning did not take just a few hours, but went on for several days. The policeman was helpful and understanding, but he had to do his job. The woman was reliving her story. In doing this, she was reminded of thousands of events which she would have liked to forget and erase from her memory. She found herself talking about things which she had not yet told to anybody, as she relived her humiliation, her fear, her anger, her helplessness. If the case is closed because there is not enough evidence to find the culprits, then the woman will in most cases be send back to her home country. There she will face new problems. Often the family will be in debt because of a loan taken on to pay the ‘middle man’. The woman returns without any money, sometimes with a child whose father she does not know, and she carries her traumatic experiences of which she cannot speak. In one word: her life is ruined and nobody seems to be able to help or support her. Occasionally we manage to get the woman back into another part of her own country with help to start a new job and in cooperation with a local organisation. Sometimes we engage a clever lawyer who manages to keep the woman here. Then we can continue to support her until she is able to take responsibility for her own life in Europe, earn money, pay her debt in her home country and even send money back to help her family. But until then it is usually a long and hard struggle.
What I have learned too is that one is not able to do this work alone. It is important to link up with a recognized organisation, one which is also lobbying the government and can propose changes in the law. Solwodi has certainly contributed greatly to the fact that the problem of women in distress is now being discussed in public. Yet most people still consider it a problem which does not concern them directly. It is rarely a topic in church circles. The 500,000 women victims of trafficking in Europe every year, are hidden away, kept out of the public eye in clubs and brothels, in so-called ‘wellness centres’, in hotels and, more often now, in private houses. They are sold from one town to another, from one country to another, since fresh ‘goods’ are always needed and are more appreciated on the market. Every government spends more money on its own security than on stopping this crime against humanity. Many shrug their shoulders and declare that it is ‘the oldest profession’ and that it will always be with us. Does it have to be so? Should it be so? Others are convinced that the women do this job voluntarily. Some do, yes, but the majority do not. 80% of prostitutes were sexually abused as children. Many would do another job if they had one. Many do it for economic reasons, especially many women coming from Eastern European countries. Therefore education and prevention in these countries are of prime importance. A girl who has training and a job will not so easily allow herself to be hired as a dancer and, as happens in many cases, end up in prostitution. Church organisations have an important role to play in spreading information, offering alternatives and contributing to changing the self-image of many women who still believe that men own them. Often girls do not see themselves as equal to boys and men. We know that in the business world, in politics and also in the Catholic Church, it is sad but well-known fact that women, even with the same training, do not have the same opportunities in their work and professions as men.
It saddens me deeply when I think of the thousands of women who work as prostitutes in Munich and whom we cannot reach. We can only help those who voluntarily come out and seek help. All those who do not find a way to do that, either through lack of courage, or freedom or knowledge, have no alternative but to continue to be used and exploited unless, by chance, an escape route offers itself.
There is a lot to do but the workers are few.
Beyond the open door our attention is drawn to great gatherings of people,
many of them impoverished, trafficked,marginalized, despairing or far from their own country.
With them, we cry out for justice.
(General Chapter Decree 2008, page 3)
My name is VICTOIRE, taken from one of our Foundress' names whose life I had studied in school and which attracted me and sustained me through some very difficult situations leading up to my joining the FCJs.
Most of my religious life has been spent in teaching; but since my retirement, I have been involved in pastoral, parish work. Fortunately my own temperament is steady and happy, humorous and fun-loving - with a reflective streak. I love being with people but I have a leaning towards the needy, spiritually and materially. I hope I can bring them joy and a deeper friendly-spiritual relationship with God (as well as a little sweet-something occasionally).
Confirmation classes and youth are also an enlightening part of my work - enlightening because of the way they interpret and view life and the Church. (It's a good thing that I'm shockproof!) the highlight of my parish work is being with the Union of Catholic Mothers at their meetings. About 50 attend and their ages range from 40 to 80 years. They're all very vibrant and we don't just sit around knitting and gossiping. We have a very varied programme of monthly events with two concerts a year, put on by the members to which we invite everyone. Our work for the Hospices makes about £1,400 annually and it's great fun. I'm usually the 'stand-up comedienne'!occasionally!).
So, what keeps me going?? Well, I'm quite active and mobile and it would be a pity not to share the richness of my life with others; a richness which I owe to my life as a Faithful Companion of Jesus.
Quando sono entrata nelle Suore delle Fedeli Compagne di Gesù, nel 1957, ero già un’insegnante diplomata della scuola primaria. Dopo il noviziato e i voti a Broadstairs, nel Kent, ho passato 5 anni a Salford ad insegnare, poi sono tornata a Broadstairs dove ho preso i voti definitivi nel 1965. Dal 1965 al 1973 ho insegnato a Middlesbrough, poi di nuovo a Salford dal 1973 al 1993.
La mia missione come insegnante era di educare tutti i bambini e far sì che mettessero a frutto le loro capacità. Molti di loro avevano bisogno continuamente di incoraggiamento e di lodi. In quegli anni, era necessario aggiornarsi sulle tendenze e i cambiamenti nell’ambito dell’istruzione, mi sono dunque avvalsa di tutti i corsi che mi avrebbero aiutata a migliorare il livello e il lavoro in classe.
Ci piaceva avere sempre una classe vivace, pulita, piena di colori e di piante. Era fondamentale che i maschi e le femmine avessero un’istruzione completa. Ho cercato di rendere l’insegnamento divertente e di trattare tutti i bambini nello stesso modo. Sentivo di essere riuscita a creare un ambiente felice e cooperativo.
Nel 1993 ho preso il prepensionamento e dopo une breve periodo sabbatico in Irlanda, dove ho seguito un corso sulle Scritture, sono tornata a Salford e sono stata incaricata di lavorare con le sorelle anziane a Kersal Hill (una casa di cura FCJ).
Era una situazione molto diversa dall’insegnamento, ma amavo quel lavoro, ossia aiutare e prendersi cura delle consorelle molto anziane, che avevano dedicato così tanti anni della loro vita a lavorare e a prendersi cura, nei modi più svariati, dei bambini e delle famiglie. Questo lavoro mi ha arricchito molto.