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The Religious of the Diocese recently gathered together to begin the celebration of a year dedicated to the Consecrated Life.  Here is Sr Carmel Reynold’s account of this event.

Hallam Diocese Initiates the Year of Consecrated Life

Candles representing some of the Religious Congregations present

Candles representing some of the Religious Congregations present

“On 2 February, Candlemas Day, all roads led to Blessed Trinity Church, Wickersley where Fr Sexton and Fr Hurst opened the doors of their church to us with true  hospitality.  Here the Religious of the Diocese gathered to celebrate the opening of this special Year of Consecrated Life.  Weather-wise it was a day out of heaven.  Each Congregation of Religious came with a symbolically decorated candle which spoke of their Charism, their History and their Mission.  While the Carmelite Sisters of Kirk Edge were unable to attend, a kind courier stepped in.  They sent on a beautifully decorated candle with their story and prayers to accompany it.

Sisters wait to present their candles

Sisters wait to present their candles

“The Mass of Candlemas/Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple was celebrated at noon with Bishop Ralph as chief celebrant.  While everyone carried a lighted candle, the entry procession was led by the Religious of the Diocese, each carrying their specially decorated Congregational candle.  Following the Religious, were the Priests who came in goodly numbers and Bishop Ralph – all carried along by the exuberant music and singing of ‘The Light of Christ’…  And what a joy it was to process into a packed church with many local parishioners, people from Deanery Parishes together with Lay Associate Groups and friends from afar.  There was joy in abundance all around.

Sr Casimir and Sr Clare, Servite Sisters from St Mary's, High Green, with Bishop Ralph

Sr Casimir and Sr Clare, Servite Sisters from St Mary’s, High Green, with Bishop Ralph

“Bishop Ralph in his inspirational homily drew an analogy between the gospel account of Jesus in the Temple and all those groups who were symbolically represented through Simeon and Anna – Mary and Joseph – the people of God.  In Jesus, everyone experienced a ‘life changing’ encounter with Grace.  Consecrated People continue to meet Jesus through the living out of their Charism in the Temple of the Church as they serve God’s people wherever they are called to do so.

Sr Etheldreda, Sr Carmel and Sr Darina, Marist Sisters from Goldthorpe

Sr Etheldreda, Sr Carmel and Sr Darina, Marist Sisters from Goldthorpe

“These were most encouraging words too for the people present in the congregation as they too are some of the many faithful who work tirelessly in the many ‘vineyards of the Lord’ throughout the Diocese.  Reiterating the words of Pope Francis, Bishop Ralph reminded Consecrated people that they were called to live their lives in gratitude for the many graces of the past, with passion in the present, and with hope for the future.

Parish group from St Mary's, High Green join in the celebration

Parish group from St Mary’s, High Green join in the celebration

“At the end of a joyful Liturgy we celebrated together with friends over a cuppa and some tasty bites.  We finally departed Wickersley with a new spring in our steps as we look towards embracing all that this Year of Consecration offers us.  May Mary, the first disciple of the Lord, continue to guide us, so that we give generously of ourselves wherever we hear the call of the Lord.”

It is fitting that, in a year celebrating the Consecrated Life, our Diocese welcomed the Daughters of St Francis de Sales (DSFS) as their community established a convent in the parish of Our Lady’s, Bentley. 

A Mass of Celebration on the Occasion of the Founding and Blessing of a Convent

A Mass of Celebration to welcome the Daughters of St Francis de Sales to Bentley

A Mass of Celebration to welcome the Daughters of St Francis de Sales to Bentley

On Monday, 26 January the Year Six children from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Primary School, alongside parishioners from different parishes, celebrated Mass at Our Lady’s Church in Bentley to welcome Mother Corrada Magnani, Provincial Sr Pinea, Sr Jossy and Sr Lily who are taking possession of the Convent which is next to the church.  The convent was blessed by Bishop Ralph before Mass.

The convent in Bentley

The convent in Bentley

The Daughters St Francis de Sales (DSFS) are a Missionary Congregation co-founded by Mother Teresa Fantoni and Mgr Don Carlo Cavina, parish priest of Lugo di Ravenna Italy, on 23 August, 1872.  The Congregation was established for the intent of promoting faith, education of the youth and empowering the poor, with the charism, “Where the Cross Touches, Fruit comes Forth.”

The Sisters are introduced to the congregation

The Sisters are introduced to the congregation

The Patron is St Francis de Sales, whose Feast Day is 24 January, and Patroness is St Jane de Chantal, Feast Day,12 August.

The Apostolate of the Congregation is in Rome.  The present Superior General is Mother Corrada Magnani.  The sisters are called to continue the life of Mary, who stayed at the feet of Jesus, and Martha who was ready at his service.

Mother Corrada Magnani, Provincial Sr Pinea, Sr Jossy and Sr Lily are warmly welcomed.  It is a happy coincidence that 2015 has been set aside by Pope Francis as a Year Dedicated to the Consecrated Life.

The Sisters are presented with welcoming bouquets of flowers by children from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Primary School, Bentley

The Sisters are presented with welcoming bouquets of flowers by children from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Primary School, Bentley