Homilies

Mass for the jubilee of Sister Mary Fidelis - Tuesday 25 March 2014

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT THE MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY CONVENT, FITZROY,ON TUESDAY, 25TH MARCH 2014 AT 9.00 A.M.,

FOR THE GOLDEN JUBILEE OF SISTER MARY FIDELIS

My dear Sisters and Brothers,

Today we remember that the Solemnity of the Annunciation celebrates the Angel Gabriel’s appearance to the Virgin Mary, announcing that Mary has been chosen to be the Mother of the Lord.  Her willing acceptance of God’s plan, which we see in reflection with all its uncertainties and complications borne with firm faith, spells out for us the total openness of Our Lady to the plan that God had for her and to being the woman by whom the Saviour is brought to us.

This same invitation given by Gabriel to Mary is given above all to the consecrated religious, who in humility and unworthiness accepts God’s plan for her to be the one who would bring the thirst and love and knowledge of the Lord to the people of her time.

Sister Fidelis made her 1st Profession of Vows in Calcutta in April 1964.  In 1970 she came from India with Mother Teresa to the newly-established convent in Melbourne.  Sister Fidelis, apart from brief visits to her family, has been in Australia ever since.  She has served Jesus in the poor here in Melbourne, as well as Darwin, Katherine and Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, and for many years at outback Bourke and Dareton in New South Wales.  For some years she ran the Soup Kitchen here in Fitzroy and is presently a member of the Missionaries of Charity community in Fitzroy.

The particular vocation of the Missionary of Charity is to see the face of Christ shining strongly in the poor and through a deep union with Christ in prayer, responding to his thirst for love, to be the instrument of love in the world of our time.

I have always admired the capacity of Our Lord to enlarge the soul and make us ready and gifted for love.  In a world which is filled with hatred and contradiction, selfishness, anger and revenge, we see Mary’s openness to be like putty in the hands of the Lord, to be shaped and formed by him, to be an instrument of bringing the world to his destiny, is the great mystery of religious life.

The vocation to prayer, to love and to witness carried forward with faith and generosity for so many years is a source of great blessing to the Church and to the world.

We, as friends, are united with Sister in thanking God that she has been the handmaid of the Lord, has been faithful to the commitment that she has made and that she has entered into the mystery of transformation which comes from Jesus Christ, abandoning herself to love and to service.

We, as the Church, thank God for Sister Mary Fidelis and for her life, for the grace which she has been given and for the public witness of her consecration, which has been shared in a number of different cities and parts of the world. 

Above all, religious life invites us to share in the mystery of Christian rebirth and to be confident and sure that when we abandon ourselves to the Lord he will bear us up no matter what trials and challenges, difficulties and struggles we may have. 

Sister, we offer our prayers and congratulations; thank you for your love and self-giving.  May Jesus live in your heart and our hearts forever.


+ Denis J. Hart,

ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.

 
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