It is a joyous moment for the
Society of the Sacred Heart
as they welcome seven RSCJ
who are beginning their Probation journey
together in Rome.
On November 3, 2022, the General Council officially welcomed the new probanists: Kata (CEU), Fili (INS), Adriana (INS), Yolanda (INS), Barbara (IRS), Linda (PER) and Alicja (POL), who will be staying at the newly renovated Villa Lante in Rome.
From the time of Madeleine Sophie, Probation has been a gift from God and the Society in which each probanist is given the time and space to hear God in a new way and to deepen her relationship with Jesus Christ, in immediate preparation for making a lifelong commitment as an RSCJ.
In her opening conference, Superior General Barbara Dawson outlined the context in which our Sisters are living this time of Probation:
This is a special probation, the first to live in the newly renovated space in the Villa Lante called Betania, a space that has been especially prepared for you and for the probation communities that follow. You are also beginning probation in a special time in the Society, when the whole Society is discerning how to create something new for the sake of our mission, our life and the vitality of our Church. You are arriving here in Rome in the moment where our pope, Francis, is pushing the global Church to live in a synodal way, renewing itself through the participation of all God’s people. You are about to have an amazing experience of creating an international community day by day, that crosses frontiers, languages, cultures and yet is united in a common commitment to follow Jesus Christ as Religious of the Sacred Heart.
For this specific Probation group, the directors Clara Malo and Christine Mukoko chose a modern-day icon to accompany our sisters during this journey. The icon they chose is the image of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well.
Speaking about the icon that has been chosen, Sr. Dawson talked about meeting Jesus along the way. She added that, “We are each invited to stop at the well, to meet Jesus, to pause and enter into a conversation, to listen and to share the truth of ourselves without fear…This is the place where you will find your own spring of Living Water ready to quench the thirst of others on the way, the thirst of our world and your own thirst.”
She also talked about the experience of living in Rome, and how, during these months of probation, the probanists will have the opportunity to walk with Jesus, to encounter God’s people in daily life, and to imbibe the spirit of our global, synodal Church, “where each person has a voice, to be part of co-creating a healthy world that is a welcoming home for people of all faiths or no faith, of all states of being and ability, of different ways of life, of different ways of thinking and being.”
Finally, she, Marie-Jeanne, Anne, Monica and Daphne offered prayers for the probanists:
You have come to probation like the Samaritan woman carrying your pot – your story. In this time, I pray that you, like her, are not afraid to meet Jesus, dialogue with Him and let Him show you your truth. This then will give you the courage and freedom to go out to the whole world to share the Jesus whom you have met. (Daphne)
Many generations of RSCJ have known the house and garden of the Villa Lante. My prayer for you is that you draw deeply from the grace of their prayer and the experience of their wisdom. (Anne)
I hope that in this spiritual journey each one of you will allow yourselves to be surprised by the request of Jesus, who reveals Himself by showing His need, and that in dialogue with Him you will be able to accept your own truth, let yourselves be healed by Him and be able to get in touch with your own thirsts and deepest desires. (Mónica)
The Samaritans are a very different people in terms of their beliefs and culture; Jesus gradually abolishes this distance and makes the Samaritan woman a disciple. May this time of probation be for you a time when the Lord welcomes you into His school, a time when He will gradually let you enter the depths of His heart to learn new ways of relating to Him, to each other, and to the world. Make space for Him, let Him question you and transform you, so that you go and transform the world with your love. (Marie-Jeanne)
May the Lord bless you and keep you, May the Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you, May the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace. Amen
Let us pray for our sisters and the Probation Community during this special time.
Read the full text of the Opening Conference below