Letter from St. John in Montana, 04/2019

Dear Sisters and Brothers

The month of April was filled with preparations for our Easter Celebrations. On Palm Sunday we walked with the Catholic Hebrew speaking community in the long procession from Bethpage to Jerusalem, in remembrance of Jesus to Jerusalem as the King riding on a donkey. From “Maundy” Thursday to Friday afternoon we stayed in Ecce Home where the sisters welcomed us and we were able to participate in the wonderfully well- prepared liturgies around our most solemn feast.

Sr. Anne Catherine introduced us to the world of the Haggadah, the prayer book of Pesach with its meanings and traditions of lived Judaism in the world of today. From there we learned more about Easter, also called Pascha (Greek, Latin) or Resurrection Sunday and its meaning in our daily lives as Christians today with its many traditions and celebrations.

Helen and Erika shared with us, what they had learned during this last month. They had prepared a Project on Community life, Ministry and Mission, our life of Prayer both personal and communal.

During the last days of April, we began our sessions with Sr. Maureen Cusick. She began where she left off during our November sessions. The topic, which will cover all our sessions, will be on Pilgrimage as an outward and inward journey towards discernment and self-discovery. We explored the meaning of pilgrimage to sanctuaries and shrines in our own countries. What do they mean? What is it we search for when we make these pilgrimages?Who are we searching for? People make pilgrimages for all kinds of reasons; for thanksgiving, for repentance, for petitions. While walking on pilgrimage, we could say that it is an encounter with God in a special way. It represents our faith. The sacred place serves as a symbolic place to meet God. The walk is part of the outward and inward reflective journey.

We are privileged to be living in Jerusalem
which is the place ‘par excellence’ for Pilgrimage.

Our reflections are leading us into an exploration of the development of our faith as it matures, hopefully alongside our normal human developmental transitions. This is a time when we can re-view our faith and human development and discern how God is calling us at this stage of our lives.?

We had a morning with Sr. Patricia who is here in Jerusalem for the Easter/Passover Biblical Programme. She worked with us in a short and interesting session on dialogue. She explained that Dialogue is not a subject and object relationship, it is a relationship of working out something together on an equal basis In this way we build unity and community.

In our garden, spring has come, which makes it a place of joyful colour and smells from the flowers, the herbs and the trees! A delight of resurrection and new life.

Greetings and blessings from
Juliana, for the Novitiate Community