May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be everywhere loved!
Good afternoon to each of you – family and friends of our Jubilarians, Bishop Brady, our MSC brothers, our Sisters and, in a special way our Jubilarians.
You will readily agree that this is a wonderful occasion as we mark the Diamond Jubilee of Religious Profession as Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Sisters Mary, Elaine, Jane, Rae and Pauline, and the Golden Jubilee for Helen, Merrilyn and Annette. In essence, we are celebrating God’s limitless love of our Sisters and their faith-filled, generous response.
It is not possible in the time available this afternoon, to give a detailed account of the contribution our Sisters have made to the lives of countless people over their combined more-than-half- a-millennium of dedicated service. Over these years they have lived and ministered in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory (both among our indigenous sisters and brothers and in the cities), Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Rome, Timor Leste and South Africa.
Their ministries have included –
- community support: in home-making in our communities and at larger centres such as Hartzer Park; in assisting the sick and elderly with appointments and the like;
- education: at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, including serving in leadership,
- health care: general nursing, midwifery and rural nursing
- leadership within the Congregation: as community leader, provincial councillor, provincial bursar, provincial secretary and provincial leader;
- pastoral ministry: in Parishes and Hospitals; with HIV/Aids patients and with child-headed families in South Africa, due to the death of parents from HIV/Aids.
- religious formation: both initial and ongoing;
- secretarial assistance: at both community and Province levels.
They remain actively engaged!
This thumb-nail sketch of the ministries of our Sisters in no way does them justice. Over their years of dedication they have impacted countless lives, many of them young people, and many of them too, among the world’s poorest. Fr. Chevalier would be proud of his daughters.
When I look behind the ministry to the women themselves, it is difficult to find words to adequately express their generous living of the commitment to the Lord as Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart they undertook at a young age, sixty or fifty years ago. I am left to marvel at the Lord’s bountiful love for each of them and their faith-filled response. They said their ‘yes’ to God’s invitation to BE love in this world and as they continue to BE his love in concrete ways, each one, like Mary, can say ‘the Lord has done and continues to do great things in me and holy is his name. ‘
We thank you, dear Sisters, each of you. We thank God for you. We honour you and we know that the Lord’s goodness will continue to be your constant companion as you allow his love to flow through you, and continue his mission in our world.
6th January 2018