Golden Jubilee Celebrations - Province of Europe
August 4, 2013
On Sunday 4 August 2013, eight members of the European Province gathered at Somers Town with a dozen or so of their FCJ companions to celebrate their Golden Jubilee. Maria Dunne, Brigid Halligan, Carmel Hanley, Rita McLoughlin, Veronika Schreiner, Maria Grazia Spinato, Imelda Toomey and Teresa White first met in 1961, when they were among eighteen postulants from Europe who entered the Society at Stella Maris in that year.
The eighteen came from five countries: one from Belgium, ten from England, one from Germany, four from Ireland, one from Italy and one from Switzerland. At different times over the years, ten of these young women made the decision to leave the Society - two did so before making first vows.
Eight remained, and having made their first profession in 1963, the jubilarians regard 2013 as a special landmark of grace. At Mass in the Somers Town chapel, standing together in the sun of celebration, they were drawn to contemplate the spiritual landscape of fifty years. Amid flowers of gratitude and thorns of regret, they gave thanks to God for all that has been. At peace with the memories of the past, they prayed that they would never lose the dreams of the future. They remembered before God all Faithful Companions of Jesus, living and dead, who had shared their vocation and enriched their lives.
The gospel passage chosen for the Mass was John 7: 37 – 39. In his homily, Father Michael saw fit to pass over a slight misprint on the leaflet – ‘loving water’ instead of ‘living water’ – but made the text even more meaningful for us by incorporating both ideas in his reflections. The qualities of water and its aptness as a symbol of the Spirit render it both ‘loving’ and ‘living’. Water, nurturing, refreshing, cleansing, gently flowing or powerfully surging, is always ready to adapt to the terrain it flows through. Free and unpredictable, the good gift of water brings life as it bubbles forth, as it sings and dances on its never-ending journey. The rains of spring soften the dry earth of winter and irrigate the dormant seeds, bringing new life to our beautiful world. Just as water quenches the physical thirst of all living creatures, in the same way the loving action of the Spirit brings living water to the thirsting soul. The gift of the Spirit enables us to walk into the future with hope and trust, without knowing precisely how things will turn out.
After Mass, a banquet awaited us. We did justice to the delicious fare, delighting too in many spirited and interesting conversations, as we shared memories and caught up with one another’s news. All in all, it was an unforgettable day, spiritually and socially, and we are grateful indeed to the Somers Town community for hosting it so convivially and so generously.