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Friday, 03 June 2016 12:31


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Sr Denise Mackay rsj150Sister Denise MacKay rsj looks back on a few pivotal moments of "allurement, relationship and emergence" that led to her vocation as a Sister of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.

As I sit and attempt to put into words what “attracted me to Josephite life”, I find myself being drawn back to our Chapter Statement: “….one with creation we are drawn into the new communion within an endlessly dynamic symphony of three movements: allurement, relationship and emergence.”

It is precisely these words that have been loved into my life upon this journey which I believe began when I met my first Josephite in Port Pirie. The late Sr Pam Patterson, led us in a prayer workshop in the early 80’s at the ‘Chapter’ Hall, at St Mark’s Cathedral. Sr Pam taught me, prayer is more than words.

After moving to Mount Gambier in 1983, I had the privilege of meeting socially and prayerfully many of the Sisters in Penola.

Josephites in Penola and the Sister who travelled the 4 ½ hours from Adelaide, numerous times, spent many hours educating engaged adults in the South East of South Australia. Our education, ranged from theological topics, Church history, prayer, basic counselling skills and massage to name but a few. The witness of the Sisters in Penola, their Ministries and their presence was and still is a great blessing to all.

Not that I realised it at the time, but my ‘relationship’ with the Congregation had begun!

I observed their service, dedication, earthiness and willingness to ‘roll up their sleeves’, meeting the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of all people, without hesitation or discrimination.
Reflecting now, I can see that the Charism of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, fertilised the allurement of God in, in my life.

In 2008, I moved to Murray Bridge, for work. I recall flippantly (as is my way) passing a comment to one of the resident ‘Joeys’, “oh to be a Sister of St Joseph!” Her response: “You can”. After she left my home, I consulted Mr Google and was led to ‘Join the Melody’ within the website.

A couple of years later, I honoured the inner ‘poundings’ of the Spirit and asked the question. The question? To begin the Covenant journey towards a more formal relationship with the Sisters of St Joseph. On 30th March 2012, I first met with my intentional Community of Sisters, again in the South East. Four Sisters, within a radius of 380 kms, and two women (of whom I am one) discerning  the call to the Covenant path of affiliation gathered in Community for prayer and socialising over a weekend.

The welcome we received was overwhelming. I sensed an immediate belonging, so much so in November of the same year I gathered the courage to honour the spiritual nagging, and asked to be considered for full membership.

The process began. On 6th December 2015, I emerged, making my first Profession taking the Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience.

I believe this is the rhythm in all our lives: “allurement, relationship and emergence”. We can observe it in Jesus’ life, the blessing is to recognise and experience it in our own lives.

Read more about the life and work of the Sisters of the St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.