Today is our Community Day of Thanksgiving. On this day in 1884, our first Sisters took their vows in the Lady Chapel of St Barnabas Cathedral in Nottingham, England. This day has even more meaning to me as I was able to visit and pray in that chapel last November!

Our Constitutions tell the story well ...

In 1884 in Nottingham, England,
under the inspiration of the Spirit,
Margaret Anna Cusack, known as Mother Clare,
founded a religious congregation of women
... to promote the peace of the Church
both by word and work. The very name
Sisters of Peace will, it is hoped,
inspire the desire of peace and a love for it. - Constitutions 1884

This congregation had its origin
in the founder's response
to the social concerns and needs of the time.
Deeply moved by the sufferings of poor and oppressed people,
Margaret Anna Cusack sought ways to share her gifts with them:
... it did matter to me a great deal in view
of our common humanity, and in view of my
love of the poor, that I should do all I could
for those whom He had loved so well. - The Nun of Kenmare, 1888

Attracted by this committment,
Honoria Gaffney, later named Mother Evangelista,
together with a few other women,
joined the new community.
Their faith and humility enabled them
to take great risks in serving their
sisters and brothers in need.

Edward Gilpin Bagshawe,
Bishop of Nottingham, accepted
and encouraged this young community.
At the first ceremony of profession on January 7, 1884,
he referred to the charism of the congregation
in this words:
To secure this divine peace for ourselves
and procure its blessings for [others] in
the midst of the sin, turmoil, and
restless anxiety of this modern world
is the object of your institute.

And so I give thanks this day. For Margaret Anna who had the vision, for Evangelista and all those who joined her and continued the work after her departure, for Bishop Bagshawe who supported the new community, and for all those who have followed in the years since. I give thanks for those I am journeying with now, and for those who are yet to come. Most of all I give thanks to our loving Creator, to Christ who is the source of our peace, and to the Holy Spirit who inspired Margaret Anna and is with us still as we strive to secure peace in the midst of the sin, turnoil, and restless anxiety of our world. Amen.


opxphile said...

Darling Susan, Blessings and prayers on this day. What a lovely post and what a lovely community you have! You know, we should really meet ftf someday.

Mema said...

A beautiful day for you and your community to celebrate.
When in the fall are you taking your vows?

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

Thanks Christine, and yes we must meet some day!!

Mema - That is the million dollar question. The date and place have not yet been determined ... more opportunity for me to practice being in the now!

Sr.Nicole Trahan said...

Thanks for the background to your foundation as the Sisters of Peace... what a story... and what a charism! Happy Feast Day... a few days late!

I like your note about the date of your vows and "living in the now." That's been one of my growing edges, so to speak, as a woman in formation - living in the now and trying not to control the details of an unknown future!