Closing of the Janet Stuart Centenary Celebrations

On the 11th of October 2014, the Province of England-Wales marked the closing of the Janet Stuart Centenary Celebrations with a Eucharist of Thanksgiving in the chapel of the Digby Stuart College.

Silvana Dallanegra RSCJ, who wrote about this closing event in the ENW website, described the spirit that pervaded the gathering as follows:

As she said her goodbyes after the Janet Stuart Mass, Maureen Ryan, American Sacred Heart alumna and past president of AASH, expressed the hope that we would meet again, somewhere "in all the places the Sacred Heart embraces". Somehow, those words capture perfectly our experience of all the Janet Stuart centenary celebrations, and the lovely Mass with which we officially ended them, appropriately in the chapel of the college which bears her name, right beside her final resting place in the Sacred Heart chapel.

[This eucharist of thanksgiving] officially ended four years of planning and sixteen months of events, conferences, gatherings, books, resources and memorabilia, which have brought us together from so many places and strengthened our sense of kinship in the Sacred Heart – all thanks to a very quietly remarkable Victorian woman who barely lived for 57 years. 

Janet Erskine Stuart, who entered the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1882, served as Superior General in 1911 to 1914. 
Sue Acheson RSCJ presented some reasons why the centenary of her death was worth celebrating:
  1. simply because she was a wonderful writer whose letters still have something to say about relationships and the love of God.
  2. she was the first RSCJ t ‘senior management’ level in the English speaking world to interpret the spirituality of the Society in a context we can recognise as ‘modern’
  3. she was the first Superior General to be able to exploit improved transport opportunities in order to respond to the challenge  of establishing ‘Cor Unum’ in a global organisation  —  she was able to visit every community from Australia to America, from Chile to Japan and she gave conferences at each stop that challenged religious to live up to high standards both in their religious life and their professional lives as educators.

Janet Stuart’s remarkable contributions to the Society and the world, to religious life and the Church, and to education and spirituality were highlighted during the gatherings and conferences held on 22-26 July 2014 in Roehampton.  The gallery of these different inputs has been put up on the ENW site.

As we end this centenary celebration, we call to mind the painting created by the noted religious artist, Sr. Mary Stephen CRSS, for this centenary.  She fused words written by Janet Stuart with lines and colors that try to express the flow of the Spirit in our lives.

In “all the places the Sacred Heart embraces, may we experience fully the hope and promise expressed by Janet Stuart’s words:

“God is always new and his presence gives new life.” 


To read Silvana Dallanegra’s account of the Eucharist of Thanksgiving, click here.
To read Sue Acheson’s “Why we celebrate her memory,” click here.
For the videos of inputs during the 2013 Launch of the Centenary Year, click here.
For the videos of the inputs during the 2014 Seeking Spirit reflection days, click here.


Section |International News

Province |England/Wales

Tags |Janet Stuart