Last weekend we enjoyed free days with the gentle sun and blue skies inviting us to be out and about in Rome. Some took up exploration on a hop-on-hop off bus, others went to the seaside, and others enjoyed a stroll around familiar places. In all the general experience was that we walked … and walked … and walked! Everywhere the crowds were huge as it was a long weekend in Europe.
One sad but striking feature at all significant sites, was the presence of armoured cars and soldiers with guns poised, plus the requirement to have bags scanned before entering the Vatican, Maria Maggiore etc. All such a reminder of the vulnerability of our world.
On Monday we began with a reflection by Father Gearoid O’Conaire OFM on Laudato Si. In summarising the document, he emphasised Pope Francis’ statement that we accept the science that tells us that life began 13.7 billion years ago. From that time on, the Trinity through love poured out has continued the creative process which includes us humans who share DNA with much of creation. We are one with all creation and every action has its impact on all else. Fr. Gearoid made the point that while the world has reacted in horror to the recent Sarin gas attack in Syria which has killed over 70 people, we are mostly unmoved by the impact of green-house gases which are damaging the earth and responsible for the devastation and deaths of thousands of the poorest of people caused by climate change – and impacted through drought, hurricanes or rising water levels. Fundamentally it is greed that is crucifying the planet and its poorest of people. We were challenged to ask what of our lifestyles may contribute to death in other parts of the world.
The following days were spent receiving the financial reports of the Teresa Ball Solidarity and Generalate Funds, followed by conversation about greater sharing of the ‘one purse’.
On the 2nd May we were joined by Aine McHugh, Institute archivist and Kathleen Fitzgerald IBVM from Loreto Central Archives, who gave a most absorbing presentation on Mother Michael Corcoran and her extraordinary struggle and perseverance in working towards union of the Irish Branch. Despite the constant opposition from sisters and the Irish clergy, she said it was the support of friends such as Gonzaga Barry (Australia) and Stanislaus Murphy (Spain) who gave her the strength to continue.
We needed no convincing of the importance of developing and protecting the archives within each Province.
Some thoughts were also shared on how we might celebrate the bi-centenary of the founding of the Irish Branch of the Mary Ward Institute which will be in 2021.
Be assured you are remembered in our morning prayer and at daily Mass.