10 August 2016
Is Mercy our Charism? This question was the center of reflection this year by the Temporary Professed members of the Society.
It was the occasion of our annual workshop and meeting. This year, sisters in Temporary Vows from Ghana, Tchad and of course the host country Nigeria, precisely 40 in number, gathered at Holy Child College Lagos from the 1st to the 5th of August, 2016. They were excited to welcome eight new members added to the group in the course of the year.
The coordinator, Rev. Sr. Angela Onyemere, SHCJ specially thanked God for three members who are now Tertians; a stage leading to perpetual profession of Vows and full membership in the Society.
This year’s gathering offered the Temporary professed members fondly referred to as the younger generation, the opportunity to meet and share experiences of the vowed life, pray and feast together. It was an awesome experience.
In her input, the facilitator, Rev. Sr. Bernadette Okure SHCJ, drawing from Cornelia Connelly’s insights in the constitutions: “The guiding principles for our apostolic service in each succeeding age are rooted in Cornelia’s understanding of the Incarnation. In Christ we unite ourselves to the whole of humanity especially to the Poor and the Suffering; we accept our responsibility for the sins of the world… after reflecting as Cornelia did upon the wants of the age and the spiritual works of mercy to be exercised, we strive to act with same zeal to help others grow strong in faith and lead fully human lives.” (SHCJ Constitution Page 10 paragraph 6), reminded us that another word for mercy is love.
She gave an example using Cornelia Connelly’s ‘History of Sin’ which was matched by a corresponding ‘History of Mercy’ and reiterated that though brokenness and sin may abound in and around us, the ultimate is mercy not sin; in other words, God’s mercy always outweighs His justice. Highlights of the workshop were interactive sessions where sisters went into groups symbolic of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Groups like Wisdom, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Interpretation of Tongues, Discernment and Speaking in Tongues met and shared their insights and experiences .. These include points like: remorse and contrition as necessary steps to forgiveness, finding the right balance between mercy and justice, reconciliation ad intra as the honest pre-requisite to reconciliation ad extra etc.
Finally, Sr. Bernadette encouraged us to always employ our opportunity as religious for daily examination of conscience to review how we live out this ‘Call to Mercy’ in our lives. We departed as committed Apostles of Mercy with a renewed zeal to be more merciful to others as our heavenly father is to us. Amen.