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Homecoming: A Sabbatical Reflection by Ruth Casey, fcJ

Ruth studying Romanian.The word that comes to mind to describe my sabbatical time is ‘homecoming’, and I lived ‘homecoming’ at several different levels. 

The most obvious one was coming home to my country and to my family.  I had not been far away from my family, but simply in Continental Europe for the last eight years; yet the time of catching up, spending more time with family than just a dash in and out, brought so many blessings and I am sure it renewed me right down to my roots.  I suppose this homecoming was an experience of love, support and unconditional acceptance as well as getting to know a younger generation of the family in a deeper way – and finding such joy in that.

Homecoming took another form in my return to the province where I began my religious life.  It was wonderful to be in Somers Town community in London, simply having time to walk, cycle, read, take my turn with the cooking and liturgy and have the company and companionship without being made to feel that I was not ‘earning my living’.  It sounds so ordinary – and that was what made it ‘extra-ordinary’ for me – because that was just what I needed to do.

These two homecomings were literal but there was also a figurative homecoming, a time of coming home to myself and taking stock of the previous eight years and maybe more than eight years. This was precious indeed and gave me a sense of being able to begin again, having discovered who I am at a deeper level and being renewed and refreshed, over-hauled even!

It was hard to bring this homecoming to an end – but there is a time for everything under heaven; so here I am in Romania, learning the language and ready for the next phase of my ‘wild and precious life’ (1)!

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Our little Society has for its end
     to glorify the heart of Jesus
           by  every means in its power ...     (Marie Madeleine)