Today is our CSJP Community Day of Thanksgiving. On this day in 1884 our first Sisters professed their vows at St. Barnabas Cathedral in Nottingham, England. Our Constitutions tell the story well:
This Congregation had its origin in the founder’s response to the social needs of the time.
Deeply moved by the sufferings of poor and oppressed people; Margaret Anna Cusack sought ways to share her gifts with them:
… it did matter to me a great deal in view of our common humanity, and in view of my love of the poor, that I should do all I could for those whom He had loved so well.
– The Nun of Kenmare, 1888
Attracted by this commitment, Honoria Gaffney, later named Mother Evangelista, together with a few other women, joined the new community. Their faith and humility enabled them to take great risks in serving their sisters and brothers in need.
Edward Gilpin Bagshawe, Bishop of Nottingham, accepted and encouraged this young community. At the first ceremony of profession on January 7, 1884, he referred to the charism of the congregation in these words:
To secure this divine peace for ourselves
and procure its blessings for [others] in
the midst of the sin, turmoil, and
restless anxiety of this modern world
is the object of your institute.
(CSJP Constitutions nos. 4-6)
Please join us in our prayer for thanksgiving this day:
Gracious God, as we gather this day we are thankful that you call us as a community to be a gift of peace to our world. We are grateful for the vision of Margaret Anna Cusack, for the courage of Honoria Gaffney and the commitment of the first sisters of our Congregation, the support of Bishop Bagshawe to the new community, and for the many ways you have blessed our congregation with those dedicated and committed to minister to people in need. With gratitude and praise, in Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
"So Christ is our model and in order to imitate Him we have to do strange things – things that seem almost inexplicable, but at the last days, when our work is taken off the loom of life, we shall see the beauty that comes into our soul by this work."
Mother Evangelista (Honoria Gaffney)