Our Journey of Peace Continues

Chapel at St. Barnabas Cathedral
where 1st Sisters of Peace
professed vows in 1884
Yesterday was the 129th Birthday of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. We celebrate January 7th as our "Community Day of Thanksgiving" because 129 years ago today our first Sisters professed their vows in St. Barnabas Cathedral. Our Constitutions tell our founding 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 commitment,
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 these 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.
When I was a novice, I was lucky enough to visit St. Barnabas Cathedral and pray in the very chapel where our first Sisters professed their vows. I know that Mother Clare, Mother Evangelista, Bishop Bagshawe and all our Sisters and Associates who have gone before us are praying with us as we continue on the journey of seeking peace in our restless and anxious world. 

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