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Jubilee Celebrations: Foundation of the sisters of Sion in England.

17/06/2010: United Kingdom

June 13th 2010:  Reflections at the end of the Eucahristic Liturgy

 

A very happy jubilee celebrations to each one of you.  Thank you Bishop George and Mons Keith for presiding at our Eucharist – the great thanksgiving par excellance - and Frances  -not exactly a brother of Sion but nevertheless a brother to us. Thank you for your inspiring words to us. Thank you Joey again not a brother of Sion – but a good brother to us

This is the 150th anniversary  - so it is three times the biblical jubilee of 50 years.  But what are we celebrating?

 

I see three biblical levels to this celebration

 

The first one is the literal one which you can read about in your little booklet.  The actual coming to England of the first sisters of Sion – 150 years ago.  The first foundation of the congregation after France was in Jerusalem and then in Turkey – Constantinople as it was then – now Istanbul – and then in England.  This was the call to education and formation through schools. At this level it is a celebration to the memory of those first sisters of Sion, as well as to the sisters who continued in various other ministries throughout the years. It is a celebration of the courage and leadership of the French Sisters responsible at the time to move out – to cross the channel!! This is also a celebration for the many ‘old girls’of Sion who have come through our schools and been educated at Sion.

 

The next level I would like to look at is concerned with what it means for us as sisters of Sion, but for all of you connected with Sion in any way.

Our founder, Fr Theodore Ratisbonne was really inspired when he gave us a  biblical text as our foundational text. “”.  We have it in Latin on our profession ring. It is the title on our Constitutions. It comes from one of the Wisdom books of the Bible – from the Book of Ecclesiasticus – or Ben Sirach, but it appears in many other places in the bible.  In Sion I will establish my dwelling. So what does this mean?

There are two important mountains in the bible: Mount Sion and Mount Sinai. Mount Sinai is the place of God’s particular covenant with Israel with the gift of the Torah  - and Mount Sion is the place where the nations are gathered and the place from which that same Torah goes out. These two mountains do not cancel one another out; on the contrary, they echo one another, they call and answer, they confirm one another.

In Sion I am established: according to Ben Sirach, the Lord wanted to establish his Wisdom, or his Torah, in this Sion.  It is in this Sion that we live out our vocation, holding together these two mountains - of the particular call to Israel and the universal call to the nations.

And so we come to the third level. The  foundation of a house is not just about the bricks, the  mortar and the title deeds –  but the deeper foundation is for those who have lived there over the years  to establish in their hearts and souls this message of God and our special call in Sion – to hold together within the charism – the particular call of God to the Jewish people and the universal call to the nations. It is a message of peace, of reconciliation, it is attention to the ‘other as ‘other’ in dialogue and trust. It is today, a reaching out in dialogue to other faith traditions.  It is above all the call to witness by our lives God’s faithful love for the Jewish people and his fidelity to the promises he revealed to the patriarchs and prophets of Israel for all humanity.  For us this implies a threefold commitment to the Church, the Jewish people and to a world of Justice peace and love.

 

So as we celebrate these three levels of the foundation –

I call you “old girls” from all of our  schools to celebrate  this message, which was established also  in your hearts and souls.

 I call on you associates and friends of Sion  - to celebrate this message established in your hearts.

I call on you companions in ministry with us - to celebrate the message established in your hearts.

I call on you especially my sisters from this province of UK/Ireland, from the province of Australia/Philippines, from the European province, from the province of Canada/US – all of you visiting and celebrating with us -  let us blow the trumpet to celebrate this great and awesome day.  And as we finish our liturgical celebration we can continue our celebration in another truly biblical way with more wine and refreshment.  Let the next feast begin.

 

 

Thank you.

Maureen Cusick NDS

(Congregational Leader)

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