RSCJ preparing for their perpetual vows usually begin with an "international experience", spending time in a Province and culture different to their own. This year two Indian rscj, Monica Fernandes and Neelam Hemron spent three months with us. For their first two months they lived in Newcastle and our new community in Co Durham respectively, taking part in the life and mission of their community as well as getting to know the north east of England. In July they came to London, where they were able to visit different communities and some Society landmarks, as well as being tourists in the city.
Here they sum up how the time has been...
Monica: It has been a great opportunity and privilege to have an international experience in this province.
I was lucky to spend my time in Sacred Heart School in Fenham, Newcastle. It was amazing to see the joy and dedication of the teachers to live out the Society's spirituality. I enjoyed every single moment in admiring the creativity of the teachers.
My life in the community was an inspiration where I exerienced the joy of belonging to the Rscj family.They have made me to feel how valuble it is to create a space for each one, treat every one with respect and love.
I have experienced overflowing love, care, generosity, friendliness and understanding of our sisters. It has been an invitation for me to be rooted in the Lord and the Society's spirituality .
Neelam: It was a privilege to have my international experience in the root of our province - England. It gave me the opportunity to experience the spirit of our Society. As I was staying in Thornley community, I felt that we are sent in the right moment to the right place to inflame the love of Christ. The presence of RSCJ has made a difference to the people of Thornley, as some of them told me about it. I stayed only two months in the community but I felt that I had been there for long time there and never experienced being a stranger. Community has played an important role towards this. I got the opportunity to attend the ‘wellbeing session’ in Durham which God blessed me in the right moment. When I look back now, I feel grateful to God and the Society who gave me this opportunity.
I was overwhelmed by visiting the Sacred heart Chapel in Roehampton and spending sometimes with Fr Varin who dreamt about the Society and our former Mother Generals who carried the Society and I could sense the spirit of the Society. I was happy to meet some RSCJ’s in Duchesne House who were interested to know more about the Province of India.
I had a really good time in the community and also in London. We were able to see many different magnificent and historical monuments, cathedrals, Holy Island and Hadrian’s Wall etc. I had only read about all these things but this time I was living it.
I thank all the RSCJ of ENW province for giving us the best in everything.
Our prayer and good wishes accompany them, and the rest of the group who will come together in Rome in September for their five-month programme of preparation.