Holy Week Letter from the International Coordinators of FCJ Companions in Mission

FCJ sisters Paris Holy Week

A letter from Sue Cawley and Lisa Gilead, International Coordinators of the FCJ Companions in Mission for Holy Week 2024.  

Tuesday, 26 March 2024

Dear Companions in Mission,

On my Lenten journey this year, I became rather ‘obsessed’ with the theme of ‘Thirst’ or ‘Thirsting’. It is there in the Companions in Mission prayer: Help us to see you in all things and to recognise our own spiritual thirst and that of our world.

We are reminded of the importance of seeking God in every situation, but included is the reminder that I, too, have a spiritual thirst just like everyone else in ‘our world’. I am included!

As Companions in Mission, we are familiar with the Founding Experience of Marie Madeleine, which took place in 1817 and is included in her Memoirs:

Suddenly, I distinctly heard a voice from the Crucifix on the altar that said, ‘I thirst.’ These words moved me deeply. I knelt in adoration and offered myself to God, with my whole heart, for all that he would ask of me.

Memoirs 39

This happened many years before that Holy Thursday in 1820, which, for the Sisters, marks the foundation of the Society. Marie Madeleine’s response is not expressed in words but in action: she kneels and offers herself to God…

This was a decisive moment in her life, and the history of the Society – but ordinary life went on! She had the same frustrations and difficulties of being a single parent, negotiating the demands and expectations of two very loving, caring families and trying to discover what God was asking of her in all of this. I would like to think that although we do not know how, little by little, in the time between these two events, God was helping her to realise that His Spiritual thirst was hers, namely the salvation of souls.

Holy Week has always struck me as a very strange week. It begins with Palm Sunday, a time of rejoicing and celebration as Jesus arrives in Jerusalem. I am never sure how or why, but we come to Thursday of that Week, and the atmosphere is decidedly more sombre and serious as we get closer and closer to the terrible events of Good Friday. And then, (seemingly), nothing,… until the joy of the first Easter Morning. On Holy Thursday, we witness the action of Christ, who shows himself as the Servant King, washing the feet of his companions – a remarkable event amongst many, but the other events unfolded as they had to.

This, surely, is life! We experience moments of celebration, times when life is just ordinary, and times when painful things happen. We feel abandoned and alone as we struggle with what we see as catastrophic events that threaten to overwhelm us.

As I looked at the readings for the Easter Vigil, there it was again, the theme of thirsting and the need for the Water that only Christ can give us.

Fifth Reading: Come to me, and your soul will live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you.

Oh, come to the water, all you who are thirsty: …With you, I will make an everlasting covenant out of the favours promised to David.  See, I have made of you a witness to the peoples… (Isaiah 55:1-11)

In the canticle which goes with this: With joy, you will draw water from the wells of salvation (Isaiah 55:12)

This is the reason for our real joy and the joy of Easter. It is because of what Jesus did and continues to do that we can joyfully draw water from the wells of salvation! That is the reason for our joy and hope!

In the Gospel of Mark, Mary of Magdala is sent by the young man in a white robe to share the Good News that Jesus “is not here”.

But you must go and tell his disciples and Peter. (Mark 16:1-8)

And therein lies our Mission of sharing the hope and joy offered by our Companion, Jesus, who “is not here” with our fellow disciples, Peter (the Church), and, indeed, with the whole world. It is a message of love for everyone who may be finding life very ‘ordinary’ or who may be struggling with those everyday events that threaten to overwhelm us, or those who are celebrating those precious moments of hope and joy which sometimes come our way.

Happy Easter

With love and in companionship,
Sue CiM, Lisa CiM
CiM International Coordinators

   Lisa CIM International Coordinator

Water wave photo credit:  Alexstar, Adobe Stock


FCJ Companions in Mission (CiMs) come from different countries and continents, genders, ages, and walks of life, all called to the same mission. This mission has its roots in baptism – sent like Jesus to bring about the reign of God in our world. CiMs are called to live out in their concrete realities and daily lives the spirituality gifted to the world by the Holy Spirit through Marie Madeleine d’Houët, foundress of the FCJ Society, a spirituality of companionship. Presently there are 151 Companions in Mission across the FCJ Society.

As Faithful Companions of Jesus we rejoice in the growth and diversity of the Companions in Mission over the past eighteen years.  We thank God for the enthusiasm, gifts and commitment of each one, dispersed over eleven countries.  This new expression of the Charism is a source of inspiration and hope and we truly value the treasure that the Companions in Mission are to the FCJ Society and to God’s world.

Chapter Calls, FCJ General Chapter 2019

Read more about the FCJ Companions in Mission. Visit the CIM Blog. Contact the Companions in Mission through our Contact page.