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Associate Day in the United Kingdom

As I looked forward to this latest special day for Associates and Sisters my thoughts kept turning back to the last special Associate day on March 18 when we made a virtual pilgrimage with the Lampedusa Cross as our focus and our concern. That pilgrimage has a profound effect on me and I have found myself reliving the sadness, the shock and the sense of impotency I then felt, as I listened to the written testimonies of surviving refugees and the oral testimony of our Sisters here in Rearsby who minister love and compassion to refugees in Loughborough.

Today, dedicated to Mother Clare and Mother Evangelista, was no less a pilgrimage in that we walked anew in the steps of Margaret Anna Cusack and Honora Gaffney. Prayer and a reading from Proverbs 31 turned our minds to Mother Clare and extracts from our Constitutions, from Peace Pays a Price, from Margaret Anna’s wisdom Calendar, all recalled significant, defining moments in her journey, her pilgrimage. An amazing awareness came to me when I heard the 7th short reading: “Bless Mother Evangelista and all those who have gone before us, who had vision and hope, courage and faith, who believed that you were their way, their truth, their life and their peace”.

The video, put together by Peace Ministries, touched on important events and places and people that had an influence on Margaret Anna and directed her life and her service to the poor. To see the poverty of family life in her time, and the deprivation all around her, was a cause for renewed sadness and shock, even though I am familiar with the history of Ireland at that time.

The second part of our journey of remembrance was dedicated to Mother Evangelista, a short recounting of her early days and her unexpected leap into prominence when Mother Clare left the Congregation. The short walk to her resting place in our cemetery, where we saw again the memorial stone to both Mother Clare and Mother Evangelista, and her own memorial stone in front of the statue of St. Joseph, was a small reminder to me that this was another pilgrimage and it was good to picture again the schoolhouse at Rooskey and know that the teacher, Honora Gaffney made a deliberate choice to leave there and align herself with Mother Clare in the sustaining and expanding of our beloved Congregation.

Thank you to our Associate Co-Directors for putting together a very spiritual and imaginative day.

 

Article by Eileen Byrne, CSJP

Photos by Maureen Brennan, CSJP

Associate Day in the United Kingdom

"It is most important to inspire the young with a great love of peace."

Mother Francis Clare (Margaret Anna Cusack)