The students at Kincoppal-Rose Bay celebrate Sacred Heart Day on a date that fits in with the school calendar as often the feast occurs it the holidays. The two or three occasions when it does coincide the RSCJ in Sydney have attended the Mass and renewed their vows. This was greatly appreciated by both staff and the students old enough to understand. This year as Sacred Heart Day was celebrated before the feast I was asked at the Mass to say something about the vows in place of an actual renewal.
I wanted to share with you what I, representing the RSCJ, offered in few words as an understanding of the Vows.
As an act of love, on the feast of the Sacred Heart each Religious of the Sacred Heart throughout the world renews the commitment she made at her final profession. The renewal is expressed in these words.
I renew with all my heart the vows which I have made to follow Jesus Christ in the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by perpetual obedience, poverty and chastity and I commit myself anew to manifest the love of Christ by the service of education.
Each religious congregation expresses and lives the vows according to the spirituality of their congregation. For us our spirituality is based on love and to glorify the Heart of Jesus means to strive to love others and the whole of creation as Jesus did.
Through obedience we seek to have a contemplative outlook on all reality and through our own discernment and that of our superior we seek the Will of God and try to live it.
To live our poverty we take a solemn vow to own nothing in our own right and to receive what we have as gifts. This allows us to be free with regard to riches of every kind in order to be completely available for mission.
The vow of chastity liberates our heart to respond freely to Jesus and to direct our energies towards mission. It widens our capacity to love and to let ourselves be loved.
We participate in the mission of the Church through the service of education. It is a service based on love and with the desire to help people grow in dignity as human beings and as children of God. We follow the philosophy of education developed over the years by Madeleine Sophie and others which is expressed in the five goals of Sacred Heart education.
We look at the vows not as taking something away but rather as a means of allowing us to give.
Our lives given in love are the strongest expression of our spirituality
Mary Shanahan RSCJ – ANZ Province