Message for Christmas 2015 and New Year 2016

  • "Let us enter the holy door and journey in pilgrimage...." (photo by Joy Luz rscj)
I would like to invite each one to take time
in this Christmas and New Year season
to “enter the holy door” and to “journey in pilgrimage,”
as ways of beginning the new year
and preparing our hearts and our minds for the General Chapter.
Kathleen Conan rscj          
Superior General          
In her letter to the Society of the Sacred Heart this Advent, Sr. Kathleen Conan RSCJ begins with a note of gratitude:

We come to the close of the year 2015 with much gratitude! The many ways that provinces have marked and celebrated the 150 years since the death of Madeleine Sophie, and the 200 years since her writing of our original Constitutions, have helped us to renew at depth our vocation as RSCJ and to prepare to discern together at our General Chapter how we are called to live our charism at this time of the 21st century. 

Recalling that "from within her context, Sophie had the intuition and courage to create new possibilities through the development of hearts and minds, particularly of women, confident that they would become transformers in their world," she reminds us that "while we understand our world and our relationships with one another and with the planet differently than Sophie did, the heart of our approach is rooted in hers: a desire to transform the world in love."

How then are we invited to "enter the Holy Door"?

Sophie would ask us to enter with trust, desire and expectation the holy door of Jesus’ heart, confident that God wants to share with us anew God’s merciful love. 

Let us enter the holy door of our own hearts, confident that the Spirit is present within us, opening, healing, giving life, breathing within us, that we may know and live the mercy of God. Perhaps this is a moment in which the Spirit wants to transform further some part of me, of us. Perhaps it is a time to receive forgiveness and welcome God’s merciful love, renewing us in the confidence that God calls us as we are to live the love of God’s heart. Perhaps this Christmas is a time when I am invited to incarnate in a particular way the mercy of God. Perhaps ... 

And, how are we to "journey in pilgrimage"?

Let us journey in pilgrimage to the place where God’s heart dwells in my heart. Let us take time to reflect on the journey we have walked in this past year, or throughout our life, noticing how and where I have become more able to receive and to live God’s mercy in relation to my own life story. In my relationships with others, may I ask to notice what enables me to live the openness, tenderness and forgiveness of God’s compassion; and what blocks me at times. May I become aware of the direction in which God invites me to journey in the coming year in relation to myself and others.

Let us join with others who are on pilgrimage at this time, seeking love and life in today’s world. Let us journey with those who are fleeing violence, terror, abuse; those suffering the destruction of the fabric of society or of the environment; those trying to reach a new land where they can nurture life and hope for themselves and their children; those seeking to rebuild their lives in various ways. Let us journey with others who are searching to create new possibilities of mercy and communion in our world. Let us learn from and with one another how to respond with love in the face of fear, violence and pain; how to envision and build a global society where everyone has access to resources; how to live in new ways that provide and sustain life for everyone. Let us deepen and expand our compassion, that we may grow in living Sophie’s vision of relational transformation in love of persons, of our global community, of our universe. (cf. JPIC Communication No.3, October 2015) 

As the Society of the Sacred Heart looks forward to the 2016 General Chapter, we ask you to pray with and for us, so that we could respond to the invitation:
  • to enter the "holy door of our collective chapter preparation":  May we "receive the calls that each province perceives as important for the Society, cultivate among ourselve the openness of mind, heart and will which will enable us to hear one another with love, and discern the calls of the Spirit to the Society today."

  • to "journey in pilgrimage with our sisters towards the General Chapter":  May we "make efforts to know the contexts in which our sisters live and serve, to hear their stories, understand what nourishes their vocation, what shapes their hopes, convictions and dreams; offer our own perspectives with openness, trust and humility, affirming that each one has a contribution to make to the whole, recognizing that the Spirit is at work in each one of us and among us; [and] grow in understanding the many dimensions of the future that is emerging, and in discerning together how the Spirit is calling us to respond through our mission of love." 

Along with this letter, Sr. Conan and the General Council send us their greetings and blessings: