Mass celebrated for the Diamond & Golden Jubilarians of the Sisters of Saint Joseph at Saint Joseph’s Convent, Havelock Road, Camberwell

Saturday 25 February 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we thank God with our Sisters for the years of their vocation. Mary’s words of the Magnificat: “The Almighty has done great things for me; holy is his name”, can be our watchword as we enter these moments of thanksgiving.

Although the Sisters of Saint Joseph are a congregation quite young in the life of the Church, you have been noted for your simplicity of life, your closeness to people and the love, which we bishops, priests and people have for you.

From apostolic times men and women set out to follow Christ with greater liberty and to imitate him more closely by practising the Gospel counsels. They lead lives dedicated to God; each in their own way, and the Church by virtue of her authority has gladly accepted and approved this inspiration. Professing chastity, poverty and obedience in religious life is a total gift of self in response to God’s initiative of love for each of us.

As our Catechism says: Religious life comes from the mystery of the Church. It is a gift that she has received from God, the gift she offers as a stable way of life to the faithful called by God. Religious life shows the love of God in the language of our time.

When religious make their profession they enter into a partnership by which God will be their inspiration and they will be watchers and givers of hope to the world of our time.

The Church also teaches that religious take their place among the collaborators of the bishop in the Diocese in his pastoral duty. The missionary planting of expansion of the Church requires the presence of religious life in all its forms.

Many of the Sisters whose Jubilees we celebrate today, while not at the most active time of their lives, are able to offer an immense gift of prayer, penance and courageous suffering to enhance the life of the Church.

The whole purpose of religious life is to give glory to God and to witness to his nearness. These Sisters have done so for fifty and sixty years. We must remember as people of God and his Church that we have here no lasting city. Death is a certainty and the religious state reveals more clearly the heavenly goods that are already present in this age, witnessing to the new and eternal life which we have acquired through the redemption of Christ, which is a prelude to our future resurrection and the glory of heaven.

Today we thank the Lord for the gift of these Sisters, as each of us here present seeks to focus our life on the fundamental need we have of God and how he asks us each according to our chosen vocation to witness to him in the world; religious by prayer, lifestyle, word and deed, all of us by living exemplary lives supported by prayer and love of Christ. One has only to glimpse the life of Saint Mary MacKillop to see that, whether in joy or in suffering, God’s invitation is impelling, challenging and beautiful.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.

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