It is a joy-filled moment for the
Society of the Sacred Heart
to welcome nine RSCJ
as they begin their Probation journey
together at the Villa Lante in Rome.
From the time of Madeleine Sophie, Probation has been "a gifted time from God and the Society in which each one has time and space to hear God in a new way, to deepen relationship with Jesus Christ as immediate preparation for making the life commitment as an RSCJ." On the 5th of September 2019, the Central Team welcomed Jimena (ARU), Amélie (BFN), Kiran (IND), Nata (INS), Bang and Ji Hye (KOC), Rachel and Judith (RDC), and Juliet (USC) "to this wonderful opportunity to live at the Villa Lante, to walk on the same ground that Sophie walked, to pray in the same places that she prayed."
In her opening conference, Superior General Barbara Dawson outlined the context in which our Sisters are living this time of Probation:
Probation is a key moment in each RSCJ’s life and an experience, which is central to the unity and vitality of the Society. We know that Sophie was passionate about creating, sustaining and growing the Cor Unum of the Society. The four calls of the General Chapter of 2016 and the JPIC document, Artisans of Hope, give us new language and new insight about why and how we are called to live Sophie’s vision in a 21st century way. Our recent Chapter calls each one of us who is part of the One Body to explore new frontiers, to listen in silence to the heartbeat of God in the world, to live more humanly in the radical style of Jesus, to go beyond the known for the sake of our mission in the 21st century. This Chapter and its consequences for us as a congregation mark the time in which you are making your final profession. Today you and we commit ourselves to build One Body from the 41 diverse countries and cultures where we live our mission and life. Just as the turmoil of the world in France was the “why” of Sophie’s passion to do a new thing in a new way with a small group of committed women, the situation of our world in 2019 is the “why” that underlies the urgency of living Jesus’ mission of Love, to commit ourselves as a small group of women to be artisans of Hope.
It is not by chance that you nine women are here together in Rome at this moment in history. While we may not really know the significance of our historical moment for years to come, it is apparent that we are living in an earth-shaking time in the world, in the church and in religious life. We all know that long trusted institutions have failed us and many of us have rightly lost confidence in authority and structures that used to seem so secure. Our world is quite noisy right now with forces that compete for our attention. We cannot underestimate how all things that we experience in our external world have an impact on our internal world. As I often say these days, what is going on outside of us is often times going on inside of us, too. It’s no wonder that our ability to trust is being challenged. It’s no wonder that we long for silence.
For this particular Probation group, the directors Sofía Baranda and Dorota Stokłosa chose an icon and a scripture quotation to accompany our sisters during this journey. The icon they chose is the young shepherd tending his sheep and the scripture that accompanies it is from John’s gospel, "My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me” (John 10, 27).
Let us pray for our Sisters and the Probation Community during this special time: "May they deepen the meaning of this icon, write their own icon, explore their own story, their own journey from God, to God and in God as they ready themselves for the total gift of their life to God and God’s people."
Here are some photos taken during the Opening of Probation:
The Probation Community with the Central Team as they gathered in the Conference Room before the opening.
Opening Eucharist with the Villa Lante and Mother House communities
Procession with the icon to the Probation Chapel
Probanists with probation directors
Photos by Yuka Arita rscj (PHI, Gen)