The latest issue of FCJNews, the newsletter of the FCJ Sisters in Asia and Australia is out! Here are the opening words from Sr Barbara, fcJ, the Area Leader.
Celebrating our FCJ Bicentenary Year alongside COVID-19
Arrangements for the FCJ Society Celebration of the Bicentenary of our foundation in 2020 have been years in the making and who would have thought that our celebrations would compete with COVID-19! But perhaps this is a real gift from God – the treasures of which may only be unravelled through the grace of courageous reflection over time.
Right now we are experiencing a period witnessing to unprecedented death and fear of death around us, of exclusion and isolation, of economic downturn and uncertainty that surely bring us into solidarity with the vast majority of people in our world and a sizeable group in our own country – the elderly and marginalised, those whose major concern is not so much whether they will catch the virus, but whether they will be able to eat tonight and have a roof over their heads in some cases. Pope Francis has presented ‘a plan for the rising up again’ of humanity in the midst of a global crisis that has brought the world’s peoples and the economy to their knees. He reflects on the coronavirus pandemic in the light of the resurrection of Jesus after his death and burial in the tomb. It was the women waiting at Jesus’ tomb – those first faithful companions of Jesus – who asked; ‘Who will roll away the stone?’ (Mark 16: 3) These women did not allow themselves to be paralysed by anxiety and suffering; they found ways to overcome every obstacle – simply by being and accompanying.*We are never alone; nor are those amazing medical workers, teachers, and those who provide our essential services, all of whom continue to work together and use the immeasurable resources of selfless love and creative imagination to ‘roll away the stone’. Now is the opportunity for us to reflect on the lessons learned in this time of pandemic: to live as companions in hope and love; to be ready to change our lifestyle so that the poverty of countless millions and the devastation of the environment can peaceful, joyful and positive; to fine-tune our daily lives to the gospel values we have learned.
What a wonderful grace as we begin our third century as faithful companions of Jesus! Thank you for being a precious part of this journey. We will find the right time to celebrate together somewhere in the future! This issue of FCJNews takes us back to those early beginnings in France and gives some glimpses into the apostolic fruitfulness of the FCJ Sisters in Australia over the years since our first arrival here in 1882. The establishment of the Province of Asia–Australia in 2002 widened our horizons into South-East Asia and Sr Sofi, our most recently professed FCJ Sister, shares something of her own life and story in the reflection on her vow ceremony in December 2019. Enjoy the reading and be assured of our gratitude and prayerful accompaniment.
Barbara Brown-Graham fcJ
*Pope Francis shared his plan exclusively with Vida Nueva, the Spanish religious weekly, published on 17 April 2020.
Pictured: Genazzano FCJ College celebrated the beginning of the FCJ Bicentenary by enjoying a Global Day of Kindness together with all FCJ schools around the globe.
Take a look at the current issue of FCJNews: