It is a joyous moment for the
Society of the Sacred Heart
as they welcome nine RSCJ
who are beginning their Probation journey
together in Rome.
On February 2, 2022, the General Council officially welcomed the new probanists: Albertine (RDC-TCH), Annette (RDC-TCH), Gandhi (RDC-TCH), Henni (INS), Ji Hyun (KOC), Ji Young (KOC), María Luisa (PER), Mary (KOC), and Noëlle (RDC-TCH), who will be staying at the Casa per Ferie Virgen del Pilar 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:
You are a particularly unique probation. In this time of global uncertainty and universal suffering, I call you the “migrant probation”. While you have not suffered in the same way as migrants who have left their homelands and journeyed to new place with few resources and often under treacherous conditions, you have lived with significant uncertainty during this last year. You were asked to go to a new place, to live with people you did not know, with an unknown language and a foreign environment. I am sure that this experience has called you to a deeper level of trust. You have been asked to believe that probation would really happen, that visas would be secured, that when the time arrived you would be able to enter Italy. I am sure that on some days you said to yourself, “after all these years of preparation for final profession in the Society, why is this happening to me?” I think that this is a very good question. What is God calling you to be, what is God calling you to learn, through this experience? I hope over time you will discover the answer to these questions.
Probation is a key moment and experience in each RSCJ’s life. It is also 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. It is not by chance that you nine women are here together in Rome at this moment in history. The whole Society is in process of giving birth to something new. We have just completed the Special Chapter and have begun to create a new way of being the One Body of the Society for the sake of our mission. While this experience of probation is especially for you, it is also a time for you to make a contribution to the whole of the Society, to actively participate in the creation of the One Body. You will have the opportunity to reflect on the different aspects of the Society – our mission of education, our commitment to poor and marginalized people, our way of integrating a commitment to justice in all that we do, our prayer, our diverse and intercultural way of living community, among many other aspects that you will study and contemplate. We look forward to sharing your experience, your insights, your hopes and your commitment as part of this “birthing process”.
For this specific Probation group, the directors Clara Malo and Christine Mukoko chose an icon and a scripture quotation to accompany our sisters during this journey. The icon they chose is the first miracle of Jesus at the Marriage Feast at Cana, accompanied by the phrase from the Gospel of John: “Do whatever he tells you”. (John 2:5)
Speaking about the icon that has been chosen, Sr. Dawson talked about the need to pay attention: “Mary called Jesus to pay attention to his situation, to go beyond himself to address the needs of the moment…I urge you to take this time to pay particular attention to what is happening around and within you and to humbly learn what God is saying in the midst of this experience.”
She also talked about trust – describing how Mary trusted Jesus, and how, during these months of probation, the probanists will have the time and space to sit with Jesus, to share their inner lives with Him, to trust that He understands them in all their depth and loves them just as they are.
Finally, she spoke about Mary, and how the probanists can depend on Mary to be by their sides as they deepen their relationships with Jesus.
Here is the blessing for the probanists:
- May the Creator God open you to the spiritual experience of migrants: without papers, without a nationality, without land, without a home, the experience of a broken heart, the experience of openness and abandonment in which God recreates you. Amen
- May Christ allow you to find Him in your Galilee, to discover His love that surpasses all understanding, to discover Him walking with you during this sacred time of your journey, individually and as a group. Amen
- May the Spirit lead you into the desert. In this silence, may He make you attentive to the whisper of God for you, for the Society and for the world. May He arm you with the audacity to give your life so that others may have better lives. Amen
Let us pray for our sisters and the Probation Community during this special time.
Read the full text of the Opening Conference below: