Public comment on the “Tuam babies” and Magdalen laundries (**), the cover-up and protection of clergy sexual abuse, Marie Collins’ resignation from the papal commission and the subsequent cover-up by Vatican beauracy all point in the one direction: the institutional church as we know it chronically dysfunctional and is currently unfit for purpose.
Jesus himself lived in violent times. Yet he taught that the true battlefield, where violence and peace meet, is the human heart: for “it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come” (Mk 7:21). But Christ’s message in this regard offers a radically positive approach. He unfailingly preached God’s unconditional love, which welcomes and forgives. He taught his disciples to love their enemies (cf. Mt 5:44) and to turn the other cheek (cf. Mt 5:39).
“Wasting your life’, that was really the answer you got from most people,” Sr Gwen Collins says of her life as an enclosed nun. “Why are you wasting your life up there and locking yourself up there?
When former Olympic swimmer Gary O’Toole was asked who his toughest coach was, he didn’t hesitate to answer: it was Sr Gwen Collins, a member of the Carmelite Monastery in Delgany.
“I took him and I coached him, and he began to win, but he was only a kid,” Sr Gwen says. “He was only 10 when I left, but I was his first coach. But we’ve kept great friends all these years. He calls down and he writes, but he says I was a very tough lady. Very fair, that would be his comment.”
“I find the church irrelevant, out to step with contemporary culture.” You and I have heard this many times. When I see Sunday congregations that are mostly in their seventies and eighties, and look at an ageing and diminishing supply of priests and the dearth of vocations to religious life, I feel helpless and tempted to agree about irrelevancy. Where have all the young folk gone?
One of the tried and tested ways of trying to forgive someone is to surrender one’s right to get even. The urge to get even jumps up when someone upsets or hurts us. It is often cloaked in terms of self-defence. “I can’t let them get away with this or they will do it again.”
Remembering Easter 1916
Reflect a while on this beautiful poem by Patrick Kavanagh written in 1939
Some weeks ago a gathering was held at the monastery where Sr. Gwen and members of the camogue team, of which she was a member, met with the ‘up coming champs of Bray’.
International Day of Prayer Against Human Trafficking on February 8th, 2015: “Slaves no more, but sisters and brothers”
St. Josephine Bakhita, a survivor of human trafficking who later became a religious in the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa was canonized in 2000. It is hoped that her Feast on February 8th will become an annual event against slavery and trafficking in all parts of the world. The UISG/USG have launched the initiative, and see it as a first step in a continual campaign through Talitha Kum – the office at UISG which co-ordinates 24 networks of religious working against trafficking worldwide.