- Published: Tuesday, 05 November 2019 10:26
LAY MSC NEWSLETTER 2nd EDITION 2019
FROM THE DIRECTOR
As many of you would already know, I have indicated to our Provincial, Fr Chris McPhee that I wish to retire from the position of Director of the Lay MSC Association at the end of this year. So this will be my last Newsletter to you.
Over the years, I have come to know many of you very well and have enjoyed visiting the several groups throughout the country. I have admired your commitment to regular meetings, and I have been inspired by the way you have embraced the MSC charism. The Provincial in Council will appoint another Director in due time.
As a final message allow me to recall number 10 of the MSC Constitutions which summaries our mutual vocation, as well as a favourite passage from the writings of Fr Chevalier.
“As Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, we live our faith in the Father’s love revealed in the Heart of Christ. We want to be like Jesus who loved with a human heart; we want to love through him and with him, and to proclaim his love to the world”.
The Heart of Jesus revealed in the gospels
If we follow our Lord in his public life, we see his Heart pour itself out
On every sort of misfortune, on every sort of misery, moral and physical.
From where comes the forgiveness that he grants so generously to Samaritan woman,
to the woman taken in adultery, to Mary Magdalene?
From his Heart.
From where comes that infinite mercy that he shows towards sinners,
that so tender compassion for those who suffer?
From his heart.
What inspired him to heal so many sick people who appealed to his power;
to raise so many dead at the prayer of their desolate parents?
His Heart, always his Heart.
All the kindness that Jesus showed along his path,
all the miracles he worked are so many outpourings of the ineffable goodness of his Heart.
Thus the Gospel that relates them could be called the
Gospel of the Sacred Heart.
I wish all of you God’s abundant blessings.
Jim Littleton MSC
Director of Lay MSC
Most will have heard the news that Jim Littleton is to retire as Director of Lay MSC from January 2020.
On a personal note I am very grateful for Jim’s patient guidance over the years I have known and been associated with him.
I am sure that many will agree that we own a great debt of gratitude to Jim for his dedication to seeing the dream of Jules Chevalier come to fruition.
There are many other wonderful professed MSC who have also dedicated themselves to that cause as well and we hope will continue to do so but I’m sure you will agree that Jim has brought wonderful organisation and provided support for all of us in his special way (I wonder how many kilometres he has travelled!!).
A Bit of History
(These are notes from a presentation made at the gathering at St Mary’s Towers, September 2019)
I rely very heavily on Jim Littleton for his publication “A Vision Restored” for much of what I include in these notes.
We are all familiar with Jules Chevalier’s vision, his dream of groups of people dedicated to the spread of God’s love throughout the world.
He wanted that dream (mission) to be continued especially through the work of lay people.
Jules’ dream of having a ‘third order’ of lay people initially met with some opposition but he was encouraged to pursue the idea. The plan hit a further barrier when, as a result of decisions made by the Vatican, the 1907 constitutions of MSC contained no reference to lay people at all.
The advent of Vatican II, however, saw religious societies and orders encouraged to go back to the vision of their founder.
As a result our three congregations MSC, MSC Sisters and FDNSC began investigating ways in which lay people could be encouraged to join the mission, the dream of Jules Chevalier.
How this happened varied from country to country and from tradition to tradition.
The first attempts to bring together lay people associated with the three traditions happened in Issoudun, 1995 where a gathering of 130 lay people recommended further gatherings be held.
The second gathering followed in 1999 when 160 people from 23 different countries came together. A ‘Charter’ was suggested but there was no consensus. There was also difficulty with a suitable name for lay people involved in the mission.
A third gathering in Santo Domingo, 2008, resulted in the election of a committee (mainly from Europe) and with Rita Cleuren of Belgium as International Coordinator. This committee was asked to develop a model for the future of the Laity of the Chevalier Family.
The fourth gathering 2017 in Sao Paulo, Brazil saw the International Council of the Laity of the Chevalier Family elected. This Council consists of Alison McKenzie as General Secretary, Doris Machado (Brazil) and Rita Cleuren (Belgium) they are accompanied by Hans Kwakman MSC as Spiritual Companion.
At that gathering the document General Guiding Principles and Statutes of the Laity of the Chevalier Family was accepted. This document encourages each country to develop a National Council of the Laity of the Chevalier Family.
That challenge was taken up in March 2018 at a symposium held at St Mary’s Towers and attended by lay people and professed members of MSC and FDNSC.
The steering committee over fifteen months developed a proposal for the setting up of the National Council.
Nominations were called for and accepted by the MSC Lay and Professed Council and the Leadership team of the OLSH Associates.
Our three Provincials, Mary Drum MSC Sisters, Tess Ward FDNSC and Chris McPhee gave their support to the nominations.
“Bringing the Family Together” was the title of the gathering held at St Mary’s Towers, 13th to 15th September at which 51 people from our three traditions, professed and lay, witnessed the commissioning of the National Council of the Laity of the Chevalier Family.
The members of the National Council are: Therese Poulton, Ellenmary Lomman, Narita Perrotta, Jenny Missen, Anne Marmion, Aidan Johnson, Margaret Donohoe, Paul Compton, Tom Hodgson, Chris McDermott and Fred Stubenrauch (interim chair).
Peter Carroll has agreed to be our Spiritual Companion.
We held our first meeting on 15th September at St Mary’s Towers and intend our next meeting of Council members will be 13th 14th March 2020 to include a retreat.
I look forward with energy and enthusiasm to the future of the ‘new venture’ of “Bringing the Family Together”
We ask for your prayers and guidance as we work to continue the vision of Jules Chevalier.
National Council of the Laity of the Chevalier Family (LCF)
As mentioned above the steering committee put together a proposal for the development of this Council and I would like to point out some of the main points in that proposal.
Aim of the National Council
To help guide the Australian Province of MSC, OLSH, MSC Sisters and wider Chevalier family in a response to the “Guidelines” document approved by the General assembly of the Laity of the Chevalier Family, July 2018.
The National Council relies on the support and collaboration of the Provincial Administrations of the Chevalier Congregations in each country for its establishment.
This will be a private association of the Christian Faithful (Canon 215), motivated by and consistent with “General Guiding Principles and Statutes of the Laity of the Chevalier Family”. These guiding principles were approved by the gathering of Laity of the Chevalier Family, Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 2017
Provincial Administrations of the Chevalier Family include:
- FDNSC: The OLSH Associates, the OLSH Provincial and Council
- MSC: The Lay and Professed Council, the MSC Provincial and Council
- MSC Sisters:
Who are Laity of the Chevalier Family?
The steering Committee included the following as members of the Laity of the Chevalier Family
- Formal Lay MSC/OLSH (i.e. those individuals who have been approved by provincial administrations)
- MSC/OLSH School students, teachers and alumni
- MSC/OLSH Parish members
- MSC/OLSH Missions
- Heartworks and MSC/OLSH youth outreach
- Individuals and other groups who identify with the Lay Chevalier Family and who are recognised by others as such
The task of the National Council is:
- To acknowledge and endorse the administration of each of the aforementioned groups.
- To provide ongoing formation of the members in Spirituality of the Heart;
- To appoint one or more Spiritual Companions for mentoring of the aforementioned groups.
- To assure collaboration of the administrations of the aforementioned groups with the wider Chevalier Family
- To support the continuous presence of the Laity of the Chevalier Family in the country;
- To send, if possible, 1 (one) member with right to vote to the General Assembly, appointed by the National Council.
Lay MSC Gathering Retreat September 2019
National Council members anointed by Alison McKenzie, General Secretary International Council
Prayer space “Bringing the Family Together”
Some comment from participants at the gathering
Here are a few of my comments and what touched me at the weekend:
- the personal stories shared of how lives were touched/changed by being involved with the charism
- the historical background of Jules Chevalier's vision to include involvement of the laity "to be on earth the heart of God"
- a clear understanding of how this "involvement" evolved
- the branching out of this vision and mission through Sr Marie Louise Hartzer and
Fr Hubert Linckens
- the big picture of what needs to happen to keep this vision alive and where
I as an individual fit in
- a tremendous sense of belonging to a family that includes and welcomes all
- When I got there, I wasn’t too sure exactly why I came. I did enjoy being part of the discussion groups. The lovely OLSH sisters are so committed to the work they do, (and some of them are not spring chickens).
- I wasn't going to attend the weekend but changed my mind and very glad I did.
It was a chance to be with people who are on the same page as myself and heading in the same direction.
- It was certainly history in the making and I am so glad I was there to experience it.
- My comment would be to have more opportunities for the three lay branches of the Chevalier Family to meet during the year.
- I had only been asked to go the week before and heading down for the first time and not really knowing what to expect. It was an amazing weekend of fellowship with a history and people I didn’t know existed until 5 days ago. It was exciting to see and help form plans for the lay council where we can be God’s heart on earth alongside and supporting religious and professed. My spiritual cup is full and overflowing!
- I look forward to communicating with the council in the future and supporting our parishes and people for the various ministries we are all engaged in.
- Thanks a million for your emails and accompanying photo link – they’re great! We had a good trip back to Sydney, and on the way three carloads of us stopped for lunch together.
- Fred, I just want to congratulate and thank you for all the hard work you put into the preparation and coordination of the weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed and was inspired and enriched by every moment of it. What a joy to have met so many wonderful people who share the beauty of our rich charism This fills my heart with the assurance that God is indeed “…reserving a future full of hope” for us (Jer 29 11).
- Whenever I try to write something about it words fail me! But I will try. The experience of this weekend was just so much in keeping with all that I hold dear in my life as a Daughter of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and a member of the Chevalier Family. How fitting the theme was - Bringing the Family Together! What loving unity there was in our diversity! How heart-felt were all the presentations and sharing! Unforgettable, inspirational, encouraging, moving, exciting ........ and so many other things. Now we move into a new era of being together the Heart of God on earth. May Mary, Our Lady of the Sacred, continue to bless our growth, just as she has done so lovingly since Jules Chevalier called on her motherly assistance in 1854.
- A couple of thoughts in relation the weekend as you invited....
I was overwhelmed by the organisation and chairing of the weekend by Alison. The amount of work, planning and inspiration that went into the presentations and causing them to all run smoothly and with such vision and insight into Heart Spirituality was extraordinarily moving. The symbols used and their development throughout the weekend and in the various presentations added significantly to the meaningfulness of what was already inspiring. Another facet of the weekend that I found particularly moving was the presentation of the 'biographies' of the incoming Board. In particular Jenny's words illustrated what I find of particular relevance in this day and age and that is the need for inclusiveness. Jenny's 'story' illustrated perfectly how important and life changing this can be. What Chevalier envisioned as inclusiveness for all may have grown over the years but it is surely an integral part of his vision in bringing the love of the Heart of Jesus to all. I am also greatly encouraged and filled with ever increasing hope by the involvement and commitment of 'the next generation'. Coming from an environment in which the commitment to Heart Spirituality is predominantly [and in fact almost exclusively] by those over 65 and well beyond, it is cause for much optimism to know that although the expression of Heart Spiritually may develop and emerge in a different form it will continue to grow and thrive , guided by the Spirit, in those responding with enthusiasm to Chevalier's charism.
- I can only reiterate what others already have said, no doubt. The weekend was outstanding. I don’t think there could have been any doubt about the spirit of the Heart being ever present. There was a sense of peace throughout that seemed to add to the whole experience, and at the same time recognition of identity and purpose. I hope that the Councilors felt the support and encouragement they need for the next phase. There was such optimism and hope too from professed Religious present, on our behalf.
- I would like to congratulate you both on last weekend retreat. Having been there for many of the previous gatherings it was wonderful to see how the three different groups of the Chevalier Family have been brought together to move forward as a whole with the original vision of the founder Jules Chevalier. Having been mostly associated with the Lay MSC it was wonderful to hear the background and formation of the OLSH associates and the MSC Sisters. Many thanks to everybody for making the weekend so spiritually enriching - it has given me a new lease of life to continue as a Chevalier Family member. I wish the newly installed Lay Chevalier National Council the very best for the journey ahead. May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be everywhere loved.
- Thanks to you and all the organisers of the weekend. I felt that all
the sessions strengthened all we knew of the charism of the founders of
the three branches, and especially that the spirit of all three were
identical, and everyone can move forward in love and inclusiveness as
Congregation Representatives at Douglas Park retreat: Steve Dives MSC, Sister Roz MSC, Sister Tess Ward OLSH
Adult Faith Group in Numurkah
Our MSC Adult Faith Group in Numurkah is looking forward to the discernment process and decision making of the Plenary Council 2020. The Spirit will need to be invited to work hard in order to bring to the forefront, the sensus fidelium or “sense of the faithful”, which according to Vatican theologians should never be confused with “the majority opinion of the faithful in a given time or place”. Thus, the need for genuine discernment.
Our MSC group sent a submission as part of Phase 1 of Discerning and Listening. Our submission was printed in 1st Edition 2019 of the Lay MSC Newsletter. We are hoping for major changes in many areas – changes that the Faithful have been speaking of for many decades. Some of these changes may have been implemented by now if the spirit of Darcy Morris msc (1904-1955) had been appreciated more widely. The booklet “Ahead of His Time” about Darcy, written by Jim Littleton and Adrian Meaney, is well worth reading and reflecting on.
Our group in Numurkah continues to meet monthly unless circumstances prevent this. Jim Littleton continues to give us support. Jim’s contribution has been amazing and inspiring -giving us an appreciation of the Spirituality of the Heart. We thank him very much. At present we are working through the chapters of “Hatch, Match & Dispatch” by Richard Leonard sj. We also share the current events of our lives and reflect on the coming Sunday’s gospel with the aid of John McKinnon’s video commentary.
Many blessings to all.
Patrick & Maria Kempton
A reminder that a donation of $10.00 per address per year would be appreciated to assist in the production of this Newsletter. The donation can be sent to Fr. Jim Littleton, PO Box 84, Dickson ACT, 2602.