By Sister Kathleen Feeley, SSND
Let me take you on a virtual trip through the 2019 Jubilee Celebration at Villa Notre Dame by sharing my recollections of two special days, May 3 and 4, as we Jubilarians embraced our theme, “God has done great things for us; we are filled with joy!”
Celeste Reinhart welcomed us to the Jubilee retreat, and, throughout out the weekend, she guided the Jubilee program with enthusiasm and love. Jean McLoughlin lead us in a morning prayer full of scripture quotations about joy as we delved into the deepest meaning of our theme of joy. She gave us a beautiful booklet entitled Jubilee Journal; its contents led us to reflection and prayer. We were invited during the day to clear our minds and sit quietly, focusing on God, to “see what comes up”! We spent reflection time on the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth—two wise women touched by God who supported each other. The Jubilee Vespers booklet told us clearly: “Permission is granted to unleash your joy!”
Jean told us of an instance in her life that was helpful to us in understanding what it really means to be a joy-filled person. She was caught behind a school bus in Wilton on a busy afternoon. She was really annoyed by having to stop at many houses and wait for a child to get off the bus and be met by a parent. After a bit, she realized that she was not accepting what was being given to her. So she relaxed, said “yes,” and created a mantra which she then prayed at each stop: “The children are safely home from school and I am filled with joy.” We could all relate to that situation, and we will remember.
After the prayer day came to a close, we all felt very honored and loved as our Provincial team joined us for dinner, and served the drinks and dessert.
Jubilee Day itself found us visiting with friends until we gathered to receive our corsages (wrist or shoulder!) and process into chapel for Mass. The trumpets welcomed us! The chapel was tastefully arrayed, the Jubilee Choir sang beautifully, and the Bell Choir sent resounding notes of joy throughout the chapel. Sister Charlaine orchestrated all. The celebrant, Father Ronald Bonneau, brother of Claire, was assisted by our chaplain, Fr. Tom Elliott.
Barbara Bowers gave a stirring homily, with her eyes fixed firmly upon us. It was humbling to reaffirm, together, the vows that we embraced so many years ago. We were all conscious of those who were not present, and happy that they were a part of the ceremony through live-streaming. We also were deeply aware of our comrades who had gone to God, and happy to have their names listed in our Jubilee Mass booklet.
The delicious Jubilee dinner was served by our sisters-in-Christ, and the tables were served by students of Nancy Gilchriest. Each of us received a gift of a beautiful leather bookmark embroidered with our Jubilee theme (an amazing work of art), Jubilee thank-you cards, and a sparkling silver starfish engraved on the back with “Joy.” One card had an important message: “. . . to honor and thank you, the Atlantic-Midwest Province has made a generous donation to The Gerhardinger Ministry Fund.”
Completing our joy was the knowledge that you, our sisters all over the Province, were witnessing our celebration, and joining us in your own recommitment to God and the mission of God on earth.
You can see a sampling of our Jubilee photos below. Click here to see even more!