Friday, 14 September 2012

A Congregation Day

                                         Sisters gathered for first session

On 13th September, Sisters from five of our communities gathered in the Mother House, Littlehampton, for a Congregation Day with input by our novices. The topic was 'needs' and we discussed what was essential for our lives as Sisters in today's world. After Morning Prayer, coffee and welcome, novice Sisters Attracta and Innocentia gave a presentation on various types of necessities which human beings could experience and how these were ordered in Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs. They also demonstrated the difference between needs and wants in a drama sketch about shopping. After this, Sisters divided into two groups to discuss the question of what was essential for us and how we might prioritise our needs.
From the summary of feedback from the two groups, it was no surprise that all agreed on God, understood as Love, as our most essential need, and all other necessities we could identify flowed from this. As the closing reading from our Form of Life (chapter six) reminded us, Jesus showed us that, by emptying ourselves for others, we would have all we could ever need in the love of God, as 'heirs and kings of the kingdom of heaven'. And so, our father St. Francis urged us to follow His example and 'neither possess nor defend anything' as our own. Of course, the greater goal, which we always have to strive for, is to express the gospel priority of love in our lifestyle, rather than the opposite priority of consumerism - the 'need' of acquiring goods and money, which shapes the society in which we live. The ongoing challenge of authenticity - of wholeness or 'holiness' of life, is that we continue to question ourselves in the light of the Gospel, as individuals and as a community. This means we have to remain open to change, in a lifelong process of conversion to Christ.
After lunch and some free time, the day concluded with tea together, while our novices entertained the group with their own version of the Channel Four News!

Presentations by our Novices: Sr. Innocentia
and Sr. Attracta
Our two groups in discussion

Monday, 3 September 2012

A Unique Retreat

Sisters arrived in Canterbury for their retreat at the FISC, pictured outside the FMSL convent where they will stay for the week. 

On 30th August, four FMSL Sisters: Susan, Innocentia, Rose and Attracta, came to Canterbury from Littlehampton and Bradford to have a unique retreat at the Franciscan International Study Centre (  It is a Franciscan directed retreat.  During this week, each retreatant will meet daily with an assigned spiritual director from a newly-trained team.  The experience of giving a directed retreat will complete these students' course in Franciscan spiritual direction.  During the retreat, the four Sisters will stay in the FMSL convent in Canterbury, which is ten minutes walk from the Study Centre. At the Centre they have meals, communal prayers and the daily meeting with their directors.  It is a special opportunity to listen to God's voice in times of silence and share their spiritual journeys.

Comments from retreatants:
'"It was a very good preparation for my renewal of vows."'
'"It was good.  I learned more about myself during the retreat."'
'"It helped me to know better what Jesus is asking me to do - just to be, like the jonquil."'
'"The directors were very good.  Everything was very well prepared."'