Celebrating 100 Years of the Missionary Sisters of St Columban

Jan 5, 2024

Celebrating 100 years of the Missionary Sisters of St Columban is one of the most significant milestones for me since I joined the Congregation 27 years ago. Reflecting on what our Centenary means for us as a Congregation, my thoughts were immediately directed to our Founders: Fr John Blowick and Mother Mary Patrick Maloney.

I am certain that when both shared their dreams of founding a congregation, they had no idea of how their dreams would evolve – the little seed of faith branching out to different mission countries, welcoming committed missionaries from these countries, and ministering to and sharing life with peoples of different faiths and cultures in the far corners of the world.

For all of us who are privileged to be part of this Centenary celebration, we are truly grateful to our Founders and especially to our loving God for gracing us with wonderful and profound experiences of love. Our journey as missionaries is full of extraordinary stories recounting many prophetic stances, the embracing of uncertainties, unknowns and self–sacrifices undertaken in a spirit of trust that God would show the way forward.

I have no doubt that the Church has been enriched by our presence as missionaries. In return we have been blessed by the love and generosity of many people who welcomed us into their lives. We have been privileged to share the joys and pains of many people, and enriched by their presence.

We are forever in debt to our mission partners and selfless benefactors who are hidden missionaries behind all our activities. Only God knows the myriad of ways that people have helped us by their prayers, fundraising activities, promoting and reading the Far East and countless other creative ways of raising mission awareness and financial support.

Thanks to you, our partners in mission, and to my own experiences, I have come to know God deep in my heart in a way that words cannot express. I trust that God will continue to carry us through the years ahead even in the midst of our fragility and smallness as a Congregation. “Fear not little flock; By this shall all know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another” – Fr John Blowick.

With a grateful heart, I believe that this is a time in the history of our Congregation to pause while being open to the urgent needs of our world and of our planet today. As we honour the past and our humble beginnings, we are inspired to embrace the future with courage and hope. “What we are is God’s work. He has created us in Christ Jesus for the good works he has prepared that we should devote ourselves to them” (Eph. 2:10).  

I pray that we will continue to trust in God’s fidelity to us and to the world by expressing our appreciation of the sacredness of all life, by living in a way that reflects God’s love and care for all. May we continue to be blessed with courageous young women who, like our first Sisters, will try to respond to Christ’s invitation to be bearers of God’s love and hope in the midst of a world, that is broken and fragile and searching for meaning.

“Walking together, with Christ and in the Spirit constitutes the essence of religious life…a sign of communion and participation marked by mission” (Pope Francis, 5 May 2023).  

Sr Anne Carbon, Congregational Leader, Missionary Sisters of St Columban

Published in the January/February 2024 issue of the Far East magazine. To subscribe see: https://columbans.ie/far-east-magazine/

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