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Annabelle D. (Bing) delos Santos, fcJ
Truly I say that to be a Faithful Companion of Jesus is to be attentive, to cooperate and to respond to the call of God in my every day life.
These three words are the key words for me in my ongoing journey which I learned on the very first day of meeting one of the FCJs in Mindanao, Philippines, in 1992.
I feel God shaking my whole being as I discover my personal vocation through listening to him speaking inside my heart as He (God) urges me to act out what I feel inside.
This awareness guides me to cooperate with God in his calling as I follow His will wholeheartedly and express my response through personal commitments in living my religious vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.
To be a Faithful Companion of Jesus does not end in making vows but rather it is continuously encouraging me to say my everyday yes taking responsibility to nurture my personal relationship with Jesus through listening, cooperating and responding to what Jesus wills for me in building God’s Kingdom here on earth.
Catherine Flynn fcJ
Called to be a Faithful Companion of Jesus gives me a great sense of belonging to the Body of the Society. I have always drawn strength from this.
I have been captivated by Jesus through the inspiration and charism of Marie Madeleine.
I have been challenged, gently, strongly, consistently to struggle to become the empty vessel, ready and available for what ever the Lord wants. I desire to thirst for the thirst of Jesus.
The call to the Magis keeps me a searching pilgrim experiencing the agony and the ecstasy.
In all this I am inspired and encouraged by the strong bonds of companionship shared with those who follow this same call.
Jesus, my Companion, is for me Dieu de mon coeur.
Clare Hand, fcJ
Being an FCJ...
...is to be head over head over head over heels in love with God and with
Jesus Christ, the living face of God.
...is to want to spend my life in love with God and in loving FOR God who
loves us, loves me...and in bringing others to God.
...is to discover my own longing to serve God in the longing of Marie
Madeleine, our foundress, and to see my vision, my dreams in hers.
...is to live and pray and serve with my FCJ sisters in service of God -
wherever, whenever and with whoever needs us.
Being an FCJ is being Clare, is being alive, is my life
…my yesterdays, today and tomorrow—my always, my everything.
Frances McKenna fcJ
For me, to be a Faithful Companion of Jesus has as its necessary corollary to be a faithful companion to all whom I encounter.
It means to strive as Jesus did to be open and listening to each human being with compassion and without judgement.
I feel privileged to meet a wide spectrum of people of all ages in my life: among them are those who are married, divorced, single, gay, people of colour, terminally ill, illiterate, brain-damaged and people of various faiths and none.
Being a Faithful Companion of Jesus with all the supports and encouragement the Society gives me, spiritually, physically, psychologically, means that I can share my own human vulnerability so that others feel safe to let themselves be authentic and vulnerable and so share life’s struggles as they may not otherwise be able to do - and thus be heartened on their journey knowing that we walk together as companions imbued by the God-given fidelity of our charism.
Gertrude Hodkinson, fcJ
Jesus said, I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. These words of Jesus have always spoken powerfully to me and the desire to be a companion of Jesus and to share in his mission led me to enter the Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus when I was in my mid-twenties.
Nearly sixty years on what does being an FCJ mean to me to-day?
It means most of all that my relationship with Jesus has deepened and is central to my life. It is strengthened daily by my prayer, sharing in the Eucharist and the support of my Sisters in community.
As a member of the Society I am enabled to share in Jesus' mission to bring his life to all. I have spent most of my life as an FCJ teaching or working in a parish but I know that I share in the wider mission of our Sisters who are bringing Christ's love to the people of our world.
I am sometimes asked if I regret not marrying and having children of my own. My answer is, that while I value family life and enjoy visiting my nieces and nephews, I am conscious of what I have gained as an FCJ.
The Society is my life! This is where I belong with my FCJ Sisters and our ever-faithful Companion, Jesus. So it is with great joy and gratitude that I give thanks for the past and look forward to the remaining years of my deeply happy and fulfilling life as an FCJ sharing the mission of Jesus, that they may have life.
Gloria Calabrese fcJ
Hello. My name is Gloria and I joined the FCJ Sisters in 1974. I had been to college to train as a teacher of young children but that insistent voice, inviting me to take the plunge and devote my life to God, would not go away – so in the end I had to listen!
Or rather, in the beginning— because it seems that, once you commit your life to God, the adventure only just begins (It was not as my friends and family thought, the end of my life!)
I’ve spent all my working life in the company of young children and, at present, am working in a Primary school in London as pastoral support on the Chaplaincy team. I spend most of my time listening/ accompanying/ playing with/ praying with/ helping and encouraging both staff and children. I think this is a pretty good description of the essence of what all of us try to do as faithful companions of Jesus.
For me, to be an FCJ is all of the above and it’s both hugely challenging and immensely rewarding. Just being there is what most of us want someone to do for us when we’re in need; Christ was just great at being there with people, wherever they were, whatever their need. It’s what I think we’re called to try to do each day.
Jane Galvin fcJ
You Called Me
sensitive sixteen ... you called me
echo clear ... you called me
like a river probing deep within
you touched the bedrock of my being
awakening layers of longing
for a life's journey of exploration
into self and self
finding you in all things other ...
in novitiate days ...
you called me ... sent me forth
the parting words of a celtic crone
resounding echo clear
‘see those gulls jane face the winds head-on
go likewise into life.'
4 years at newman's u c d(1)
I contemplated the mysteries of the atom
marvelled at the simplicity of carbon oxygen nitrogen
the lego of life
I reverenced the complexity of radioactivity
x-rays all rays
I struggled to grasp
the miracle of amoeba
viewed under a microscope
I fell in love with the mystery of it all
1966 you called me
undaunted by my Irish brogue
to poles boarding school for young ladies
days filled with lab smells and school bells
nights on alert for the homesick or mischievous
1968 you called me
to profess for life - as if I could - companionship
with you in letting go in letting be on the less-travelled road
upton 1973 ... jersey 1977...
somerstown and heythrop college 1981
my mother died suddenly without fuss
gracious to the end ...
you called me ... overseas to calgary ... cowtown of the
west ... home of soaring rocky mountains
glacial rivers myriad opportunities to be
with joan joe michelle anna
their families and communities
and it made all the difference
1988 over-wrought over-extended
the inner self bellowed for attention
you called me
to I s L(2) chicago
city of dreams real-ized in song dance drama ' les mis'
"to love another person is to see the face of God"
steinbeck's epic journey of other explorers
on the road west
doctor faustus' soul encounter with good and evil
enabled my unconscious to unfold
in company with ted john yvonne and tarcy
4 of the 44 'being with' the process the inner work
you called me ... back to Calgary
a turning point in letting be
1990 to 1994 years enriched
with other journeys ...
women and men living and partly living
with h i v abused brokenness
the stuff of life gone wrong
you called me ... to be there
to flex and stretch with them
the inner and the outer self
patterned on your unique design
you called me ...
Margaret Mary Kennedy fcJ
As I reflect on my life as a faithful companion of Jesus I am moved by the faithfulness and unconditional love of God which has sustained and enriched me over sixty years.
From my earliest years I wanted to give my life to God and so, when I answered God’s call, my Novitiate formation confirmed me in my great desires to share Jesus’ mission of bringing the knowledge and love of God to the world.
The words to give and not to count the cost were like a clarion call to me. I always saw myself as a missionary, be it in the local area or in a foreign land.
Daily prayer and the Eucharist have been the source of inner strength and fidelity in good times and in difficulties, in sorrows and in joys.
In community I have been encouraged and supported by the companionship, care and love of my Sisters while their zest for life and their missionary endeavours have been an inspiration. I loved my involvement with people in the work of teaching and administration, and in recent years, I have appreciated the opportunity to support and give hope to asylum seekers in our country.
I have received much from our Society and have tried to give much in return … It has been a challenging, and integrated life of sharing, receiving and giving God’s gifts of peace, joy and healing with those journeying with me.
For all that has been I thank a loving God. Now, new FCJ members, and new apostolic works are bringing hope for the future.
Mary Murphy, fcJ
I became an FCJ because in reading Marie Madeleine’s response to God’s offer of love, I knew that I was in touch with a truth, a truth only partially glimpsed but a truth that had found resonance in me. For several months I had been searching for a way to respond to God’s love….
Then one day, someone handed me “Comme une flame ardente”, the story of our foundress. I couldn’t put it down. It struck me that God must have been looking for a body so that another incarnation could take place; he needed someone empty of self and generous enough to keep alive an aspect of love which he treasured: a companionship which is faithful.
I like this idea of God’s love finding expression in faithfulness. Those holy women who remained at the foot of the cross mirrored that. They were the first faithful companions of Jesus. Then God thought of Marie Madeleine. Could she embody those qualities? And now me. Can I mirror something of that faithful love to others? I know from my own experience that other FCJ sisters do. Can I walk alongside others growing as a result of my encounters in gentleness and humility? Others do.
This is my desire and in fact that is all that God asks of me. It is as though he offered a gift or a charism, as we say in religious language, to our foundress, Marie Madeleine, a gift which he wanted her to begin to open. As she began to unwrap it, she came to realize that the gift was not just for her. It was more than she could ever have imagined.
She needed other generous women to join her, women who would be ready to live simply, ready to renounce their own will for the greater good and above all women capable of great love, like her namesake Mary Magdalene.
We FCJs are the ones who are trying to keep that spirit, that flame alive. The wrappings, the trimmings are not the essentials. There are layers of wrapping and as we peel these off, discarding what is no longer necessary or relevant, we get closer to the essence of our gift.
Today we have got as far as talking about being captivated by the mission of Jesus, being ready to live in true companionship; seeking life for ourselves and those we meet, letting go of unhelpful structures or behaviours. That language speaks to me but it may not speak in twenty years time. By then others will have peeled off another layer.
As we struggle to accept the enormity of what we have been given, we have the consolation that God has taken the initiative. It is not our work but God’s. Like Jesus, my companion, I desire to be available to be sent into a world of suffering,
I desire to remain faithful to God’s dream for me by accepting to live by discernment and not by seeking my own will and I try to choose life in a spirit of joy.
In my best moments I want to say: I have received so much. What more can I do for Christ?