Ursuline – Blog

Ascension – The great commission

On this great feast of the Ascension of the Lord we see the culmination of Jesus’ life on earth as the apostles witness him returning to his father but before he goes away from them he commissions them for the work he called them to do.  He gives them authority to baptise and teach all people of all nations.

They are all in Galilee, the place where he first called them to leave their fishing boats on the shore and to follow him – they did this with great trust and have spent three years with him watching, listening, learning, witnessing, questioning and now it is all handed over to them.  It is now their time to take forward the mission of Jesus in the world, among the people of their time.

This great commission is handed on to us too, it is now our time to take forward the mission of Jesus among the people of our time and place. We too have authority to teach others, to share the message of the Gospel with others and to know that like the apostles we do not do it alone, Jesus is always with us in our mission.  Will we take the challenge – accept the great commission to hand on faith to the next generation?

Karen OSU

Hope or Optimism?

Our readings for Mass on this sixth Sunday of Easter invite us to a deep inner reflection on what informs the way we live our lives each day.  We must ask ourselves what or who is our guide, what gives us reason to hope?

These two words hope and optimism can often be thought of as meaning the same – in fact if we look deeper into their meaning we see that their meanings are somewhat different.  Optimism the dictionary tells us means -seeing the positive side of things, expecting things to turn out well.  Optimists believe they have the skill and ability to make good things happen. If we look up the word hope it means – a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. So we see the subtle difference between the two words. To be an optimist is to believe that I alone can make good things happen whereas to be hopeful is to desire the good and to desire suggests that it is not just about me, there something more. 

Today the readings offer us an insight into the something more – the presence of God in our hearts, our minds, in our very being guiding us each day.  This gift of God is the promised Holy Spirit, the Advocate, the Comforter, the Paraclete who will fill us with light and strength if we are open to receive these gifts which will give us reason to hope and to believe in the goodness of God at work in our lives.

Answering the call…

This weekend we mark the 60th World Day of Prayer for Vocations and it is a day that always inspires me to look back at my own response to a call – the call to be an Ursuline Sister.

In these Easter days we often read the words in the Gospel – “tell them to go to Galilee, they will see me there” inviting the disciples to move away from the sorrow and destruction of Jerusalem to find the Risen Christ not among the ruins of the crucifixion but to return to Galilee, the place of their first encounter with Jesus.  It was here in Galilee that he approached the fishermen at the lakeside and called them to leave their nets and to follow him. In that moment of call their eyes, their ears and their hearts were open to respond to the call of the Lord to turn away from all that was familiar to them and to seek something new, with him.  Post-resurrection they are invited to remember with their eyes, their ears and their hearts the first call and to respond again – to follow again the call of the Lord.

Perhaps it is a call to me and to each person who reads this blog, to return to the essence of the first call – the day each of us responded to a call from the Lord to come and follow.  We can ask – Why did I say yes?  Why did I follow through?  Why did I accept the challenge to leave the familiar and seek new places with the Lord?

Karen OSU

Go to Galilee

In our Easter Gospels we hear the instruction to the disciples to…”Go to Galilee…they will see me there”

Yes, Galilee is a place they know…it is where they first met Jesus when he invited the first group to leave their nets…leave their boats at the lakeshore and come and follow.  This they did, probably with much excitement but also with expectation, may be fear, may be wonder at where he would lead them. But they trusted his invitation and they followed. And now they are asked to go again to Galilee…

Galilee was the beginning of their new life with him…from there they travelled with him…listening to him…observing him…questioning him…praying with him.  Now they are invited to return…not just to a physical place but to remember their first encounter with him.

And we too are invited to join them on this path to Galilee…

For the disciples going to Galilee means walking away from the tomb. The women were looking for Jesus in the tomb; they went to recall what they had experienced with him and to indulge their grief. Going to Galilee means realising that faith, if it is to be alive, must daily renew the surprise and joy of the first encounter.

Perhaps there is a call to us here too…to go to Galilee. We are invited to revisit the place, the moment, the feeling of our first encounter with Jesus – the moment we came to really know him as the love of our lives.

It may also be a moment to recall the first encounter with our vocation…be it as religious… as spouse…as parent…as priest…whatever your call in life – recall that first moment when you knew you had to say yes…you had to follow the invitation of your heart. We may be surprised again by the love we once knew, let it be rekindled and shared as joy and hope for others.


“While It Was Still Dark, Resurrection Began” (Jan Richardson)

Easter – a fresh start to the challenging perplexities of my life and the life of the world at this time. I find myself de-energised and pained by all that we are experiencing – wars, pandemic, earthquakes, homelessness, violence, ecological and environmental disasters………

So my hopes are somewhat limited by all that is going on. But my heart knows that my response to all the negativity must be informed by Easter hope and that must propel me to always be on the side of life – that is the message of the Resurrection – the possibility of new hope, not only for us humans but for all of creation.

Indeed, it is possible to see the empty tomb of my life and the life of the world as places from which new   life will emerge and unexpected wonders happen.

While it was still dark (Jan Richardson)

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalen came to the tomb – John 20 : 1.

While it was still dark.

While it was still night.

While she could not see.

While she thought death held sway.

While she grieved.

While she wept.

While it was still dark, resurrection began.

                                                B. O ‘ S.