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Associates/Sisters Advent Reflection Day

December 9, 2017

The Advent Reflection and Holy Hour was prepared by our associate Co-Directors, Kathleen McBride and Mary Fortey. Beginning with the Annunciation, a picture of Mary bathed in light as she listened to the angel drew us into her fears, her questioning, her wondering “What shall I tell Joseph?” And what are our questions? What am I afraid of? Who helps me when I am worried? Is it sometimes difficult to do the right thing? What is God asking of me… and how do I answer God’s call? We moved into the Visitation, accompanying Mary as she arrived to hear the praises on her cousin’s lips and we again questioned ourselves: for what do I praise God? With whom do I share good news? What response do I get from family/friends? What wonderful things has God done for me?

Mary Fortey then introduced her parish priest, Fr Martin Hardy, who led us on a journey – in fact, many journeys – starting with T. S. Eliot’s The Journey of the Magi with its linking of birth and death and then touching on other many journeys, through the Old Testament, on to the Flight into Egypt, and including an excerpt from the film The Way where we see Martin Sheen making the camino in his attempt to come to terms with the death of his son, a son he barely knew in life.

Every journey is an adventure: the outcome is unclear, there is vulnerability in setting out, unknown dangers and risks along the way, and the prospect of being ridiculed like the Magi for following a star. Religious life is a journey. What sparked my journey and my continuation? Who inspired me? Each of us has our unique faith journey, significant people and events along the way and our responses and arrival point are different. Tragedies, personal and general, can be very significant. There’s the danger of being paralysed by the injustices around us, and as Sisters and Associates of St Joseph of Peace we are keenly aware of so many wrongs. How do we journey with so much brokenness…? Much to ponder here.

Bringing his reflections together, our presenter quoted Pope Francis calling us to be signs of God’s merciful love through another journey, the Way of the Cross. This is a journey of hope, it’s the way in which we touch the sacred flesh of Christ when we touch and connect personally with God’s poorest, the alienated and neglected people around us.

The afternoon’s Holy Hour was a quiet and gentle opportunity to reflect on the morning’s questions and to ask Mary, Mother of Love and Compassion, to help us live in expectant hope, Christ-bearers in the spirit of Pope Francis.


Article by Eileen Byrne, CSJP
Photos by Maureen Brennan, CSJP

Associates/Sisters Advent Reflection Day

"You will hope if God blesses your work to sow the seeds of peace in modern society."

Bishop Bagshawe