Providence General Superior Sister Sandra Shannon offered these remarks to the Jubilarians:
At the International Union of Superiors General meeting I attended in Rome in May, we heard from Sister Mary Sujita, SND from India. Her question to us was, “Who has benefited from your vows?” On reflection I would say both “the others out there” and “community in here.”
Let us see how this message relates to our Jubilarians:
Sister Josephine McCaffrey has always been the servant to the servants of God. Josephine has brought life and laughter and comfort to those out there in ministry and love, hijinks and support to us here in community.
Sister Julia Hamilton was a teacher to many in the schools of Canada and the wise Madre to many more in Guatemala. She is a great comfort to us in community and has always been willing to put herself last and her Sisters first.
Sister Shirley Morris comforted the sick and dying in Canada with expert nursing care then transferred those skills to Guatemala and Peru. She brought home her concern for the poor and thus served the people at St. Vincent’s. Of late her love for Mother Earth has called Shirley to teach us to be aware of what we are doing to our environment.
Sister Dorothy Fournier in her quiet way supported our institutions by toiling in the business offices in Kingston, Moose Jaw and Camrose. Dorothy, like Jesus, believed in honesty and fairness in the marketplace. Dorothy’s compassionate heart still listens to and helps many out there in Kingston and here in community.
Those qualities of humility, compassion, deep respect can transform religious life as religious life is all about relationships.
Relationships is the non-negotiable of religious life. First there is our relationship with God. We live for God and we live for intimacy with God. Contemplation and mission are the ways we come home to God. Also we live imbued with our charism and we present that facet of God to all those we meet.
Relationships are lived in community. We can do work for as long and hard as we like but we need community with whom to share our joys, successes and failures. We need community for sustenance to be able to go out to the other. And when we can no longer go out, we need community for companionship, support and understanding within.