I am so grateful to have been able to take part in the 2014 Janet Stuart Celebrations in England. Each input was inspiring and enabled me to touch the spiritual heritage of this extraordinary woman.
What struck me most was the outstanding authenticity of Janet Stuart. Her eyes were always fixed on God throughout her life. Her search for her 'Telos' started in her early days and she found it as she wrote "the word of God came to me and I saw it all" by the side of a bed of blue hyacinths. This was obviously a very special moment for her, but more importantly, Janet was "not the finished article," as Sue Acheson (ENW) described precisely, and she never stopped her searching and kept opening herself to a loving relationship with God. The insight that Sue gave us in her introductory talk at the Academic Conference, that “True ‘Telos’ for Janet was to be herself,” seems to be quite significant in today’s world where everyone is trying to make us somebody else.
Janet was also a woman of relationship, which particularly emerged in the input "Janet Stuart as a novice director" by Mary Hinde (ENW). Janet’s words were the words of somebody who deeply understood human beings – one’s sufferings, struggles, fear, loneliness as well as hopes and capacity to pursue happiness. I have got a deep impression of how much she trusted God, who truly liberates and transforms us. This trust and hope were the major source of her aspiration towards mission to people’s spiritual hunger and thirst.
After the series of Conferences in Roehampton and High Leigh, the words of Janet Stuart which sound more strongly and realistically to me are:
The spiritual world is so rich, tropically rich, and one longs to explore it, and speak of it to those who care, and that is all of us. I found on my travels the beatitude of hunger and thirst for the things of God all through the society and I am quite sure that we must work in the vein of spiritual things, and especially spiritual conversations, to get something for our own hunger and thirst, and something to give to others.
Thank you very much indeed.
Yukiko Aoki rscj