News from the FCJ Tertians: 2011-2012
Three FCJs, Afra Primadiana, Lynne Baron and Annabelle (Bing) Delos Santos, have been enjoying a special year of tertianship, sometimes called the School of the Heart. They have come away from their usual ministries — in education with youngsters in school, in the local parish, social work with the poor and marginalised — to take time to reflect on their spiritual life, to have more opportunity for prayer and also to experience different activities with people in need.
Our three Tertians share something of their experiences of the School of the Heart during the past few months.
Afra, who comes from Indonesia, experienced FCJ community life in London and the outreach of the Sisters in those communities to the needy. For my first five-week apostolic experience, I helped in a Residential Home for women with learning disabilities. My experience makes me realise more about God's love. God loves us as we are. Each person is beautiful and unique, and uniquely loved - unlimitedly and unconditionally - by God. There are more people whose quality of life depends on others, on the people around them. It is a call to go further and give my life (all that I am, all the graces I receive from God) to help others experience God's love and live fully.
Lynne, who is English and normally teaches science in a secondary comprehensive school in Liverpool, spent some time on a eco-justice farm in Indiana, USA, and learned new skills like spinning, weaving and caring for animals. The second part of my apostolic experience was to stay in an Anglican lay community which welcomes people who are dealing with some form of crisis in their lives; drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness, depression, homelessness etc. My time there was a wonderful experience of openness to others, meeting and accepting others in their vulnerability and weakness, and living with hope, trust and confidence in God’s love and care for each person.
Bing, who comes from the Philippines, had some time in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in a Spiritual Life Centre.. and more recently in a hospice for the dying in the north-east of England. I received a great welcome when I began work at the Hospice and I appreciated the friendly environment. There is a great acceptance and peace in everyone- staff, patients, family members and volunteer. A day working in the kitchen left me with back ache and sore feet but when I considered the reason for being there it made me feel grateful to God that I am able to use and give my time and energy to those who can no longer look after themselves. Bing also met the Filipino community in the area.
The Tertian group also benefitted from a number of workshops, some about Ignatian spirituality, others about issues of current concern in our world, as well as a long retreat - the thirty-day Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius.