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    • Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus Foundation Day
      When: Sat May 16, 2015 Event Status: confirmed Event Description: On 16 May 1887, St Annibale founded the male religious Congregation: the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus (RCJ). order.fdz.com.au
    • St Annibale Canonisation Anniversary
      When: Sat May 16, 2015 Event Status: confirmed Event Description: On 16 May 2004, St Annibale was canonised by Pope John Paul II in St Peter's Square, Rome, Italy. The FDZ communities in Australia celebrated with Masses in St Ignatius' Church, Melbourne and Our Lady of Dolours Parish, Sydney. order.fdz.com.au
    • St Annibale Feast Day
      When: Mon Jun 1, 2015 Event Status: confirmed Event Description: St Annibale died on 01 June 1927 in Messina, Italy. order.fdz.com.au
    • Mother Nazarena Majone's Birthday
      When: Sun Jun 21, 2015 Event Status: confirmed Event Description: On 21 June 1869, Maria Nazarena Majone was born at Graniti in Messina, Italy. She is the co-foundress of the Daughters of Divine Zeal. order.fdz.com.au
    • St Annibale Maria Di Francia's Birthday
      When: Sun Jul 5, 2015 Event Status: confirmed Event Description: On 05 July 1851, Annibale Maria Di Francia was born in Messina, Italy. He was the third of four children of Sir Francesco Di Francia and Anna Toscano. St Annibale is the founder of the Daughters of Divine Zeal and the Rogationists. order.fdz.com.au

Abba, Father

It is good to read St Paul’s letter to the Galatians (Gal 4:6) which says that during our baptism:

Now because you are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts to cry out, “Abba! Father!”

God gives us His Spirit.  A Spirit who constantly calls out “Abba, Father!” in our hearts, the icon of a compassionate Father whom Jesus revealed particularly in His parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk 15:11-32).

Our Father prayer

Saint Pope John Paul II in his encyclical letter Dives in Misericordia gave us a clear understanding of the mystery of God’s mercy and compassion to His people.  What a privilege we have received!  The omnipotent and Holy God has adopted us as His own children and invites us to call Him “Abba, Father!”.  He is the God of tenderness, mercy and fidelity.  He is Abba – just as a child would call his/her father.  And this Abba calls us to return to Him, to claim Him once again as our only Father who knows very well what is good for us.  He calls us to claim once more our innocence and freedom as His children.  Yet this can only happen if we truly trust Him and humble ourselves before Him.  He is patiently watching and waiting for our coming back no matter how many times we turn away from Him.  His overflowing love knows only joy, His love is greater than our human hearts, greater than justice, greater than our sins.

Our Abba is always faithful to His Fatherhood even if many times we betray our dignity as daughters and sons of Him.  Even when His heart is broken by our departure, He never ceases loving us.  Every time we come to our senses and resolve to go back home to our Father, He offers us a new beginning, a new dawn of home to start a new life.  The challenge is for us to accept this image, this icon of the Father.  Like the prodigal son on his way home, we cannot imagine that we can totally be forgiven.  At times we expect to be treated like a “slave” hence we are hesitant to surrender ourselves absolutely to God’s care and love and to bury our faces in His loving embrace.

We remind ourselves that to receive forgiveness means to let God be God and let Him heal our wounds and be confident of the Father’s care and protection.  It is a constant and conscious choice that we have to make if we are true to our calling as daughters and sons of our Abba – our motherly Father.

Anamae

Are we praying?

When I say “pray” I do not mean the formula prayers of our Father Founder, Saint Annibale Maria Di Francia, which we religiously repeat in our scheduled prayers at vespers every day.  Those prayers are the ‘heart prayers’ of our beloved Padre. How about you – have you made the prayer for vocations a part of your life, a part of the blood that is produced in your hearts?

FDZ Sisters in India, praying

FDZ Sisters in India Image source: http://www.figliedivinozelo.it

 

Vocations are becoming scarce, even within our own communities.  And yet we are the first ones who know very well the solution to this – PRAY.  That is the command we received or rather had entrusted to us!  Let us start being conscious of enfleshing that WORD within us.

Prayer for vocations has to be the blood pumping in the veins of our systems so that it will be the thought in our minds, the words in our speech, the oxygen we breathe – the compassion in our hearts.  In this way we can say, my interest is now the interest of the Compassionate Heart of Jesus for the harvest, ready for harvesting but with no one to harvest it.

Sr Concesa fdz

Pray therefore…

Rogate Ergo (pray therefore) embraces the universal need for labourers in the Church.  Struck by the Spirit of the Daughters of Divine Zeal Congregation, we come and submit ourselves to be religious.

Rogate - pray

When we begin the novitiate formation process, our lives are first and foremost oriented to be centred on Christ, for He is the Light that shines forth in our day to day life.  He is the source of our faith journey in which we are accompanied by the tender and constant protection of a mother, Mary, who  keeps us on track towards Jesus.  We are always inspired by her “Fiat” (“Be it done”) to the will of God, thus allowing ourselves to be taught by her example and life of total offering to God.

Aware of being a community of women bonded by the love of Christ, we make ourselves open to surprises that will transform us to be Christ-like and true bearers of His compassion to the rich harvest so in great need today.  Therefore, in our own little way, we are helped to realise His kingdom by making His name known to all peoples and nations.

Our formation years help us to see the great need of the Church for holy and abundant labourers in a way that develops in us a great and fervent desire to be zealous and holy workers in the vineyard of the Lord.  This will be achieved only if we open ourselves to God, to acquire spiritual growth by way of contemplation and relationship with Christ in the Gospel through the practices of virtue and constant dialogue with Him in prayer.  When we begin as novices we have a visible instrument of God with us to make our journey easier – we are not alone as we have the person of our Formator.  She, in whom we trust, helps us to see the way and guides us towards Him, always pointing at Him.

We strongly feel one in spirit with all of our sisters, superiors and friends who support us in any form, and we express our gratitude through constant prayer, as we daily entrust ourselves to the loving mercy and providence of God.

Cielo and Elvira

The Cross

The Paschal mystery is the climax of the salvation history of humankind.  Its celebration requires preparation on a personal level in order to really feel the Paschal mystery that Jesus Christ underwent.

Crucifixion

For by your cross, you have redeemed the world

Oftentimes, the celebration is done differently each year that creates a new reflection and realisation about the journey of life.  And here is one of mine about the cross, the star of this long celebration.

Love to live with the cross
When I entered the convent,
I had this passage of Jesus
with me: “Take up your
Cross and follow Me.” At
First I did not understand
Until I was already
undergoing formation.
My daily crosses – some
Are heavy, some are light.  There are little crosses and there are big crosses too.  Oh! It was not until I experienced these different kinds of crosses that I understood what and how it is to follow Him.  From that time onwards, I said to myself, “It is hard to follow Him because He is demanding and I have to be one with Him from the womb to Calvary, then death to resurrection. However, along the way, He never fails to give me His overflowing Graces that sustain me to where I am now.  In spite of my wickedness and stubbornness, He continuously loves me and guides me on His path.  And my crosses become so full of colour that they can be heavy at times.  I slowly make them a part of me.
Vertically, going to Him,
Horizontally with my sisters
And brothers and with Him
At the centre.  It is tough and
Hard but it is okay, with His
Blessings and graces, nothing
Is impossible that I cannot
Make it.  To gaze on this cross,
Whatever the difficulties I have,
Is nothing compared to His.  And
Just to think of it, I deserve it
Rather than Him, who is God,
who was crucified and suffered
innocently because of love for
YOU and ME…

Lolita fdz

The realities and challenges of vocation ministry

As I get more acquainted with vocation ministry, I realise that among vocation ministers, in our meetings and our informal conversations, we have a common question, that is, how to become more effective in doing this ministry.  Effectiveness, in this sense, means that in doing this apostolate we eventually get vocations for our respective communities.  In our aim to promote vocations to the ordained ministry and religious life, we make an effort to stimulate and cultivate a climate of vocation awareness.

Pray for vocations

I implore the Lord for more vocations

Working in this ministry is seemingly “doing nothing” especially when no one comes and joins our congregation.  There is a danger of getting into a trap of feeling “unfulfilled”.  At times I can be judgmental of people in terms of the priorities to satisfy: material needs and the personal need for interiority and a sense of God.  There are questions that arise within me to ponder on, to express and to seek an answer, if truly necessary.  Is the Church no longer alluring to the promising youth of today?  Do they still care for Christian formation?  Are priests’ example of fidelity and the joyful witnessing of the consecrated and religious Sisters no longer an attraction that can give vitality to this new generation?

I am in a western world society which tends to stress so much on profitability in order to keep going in life.  The world has so much to offer: comfort, pleasure and innumerable kinds of vanities.  Because of these many people, especially among the youth, are wounded by all sorts of crises.

I was once present at a gathering of young people on a quest for meaning, along with youth workers, vocation ministers, school guidance counsellors and social workers.  It was a pity to see the grief within the youth – yet we cannot blame them entirely.  Our society contributes a lot to this.   Despite this, I still believe that many young people are continuing to walk the journey of faith once they get through a process of deeper awareness, of knowing themselves, to be open to be led in the spiritual sense.  It is wonderful to hear some of the youth express a deep spirituality in ways different to that of priests and religious.

I came across a reading of St John Paul II on the 34th World Day of Prayer for Vocations which said:

place all your energies at the service of vocations

This has captured my attention, especially as one who is relatively new to the Australian culture.  I take this message with new insights.  As a Daughter of Divine Zeal I pray and work for more vocations.  It is my wish and prayer for all spiritual children of Saint Annibale, as we journey day by day, through the intercession of Mary – the Mother of vocations – that we can do better for our spiritual uplifting, that we can be a life-giving presence in the care, nurturing and generation of vocations, especially here in Australia.

Sr Felicitas fdz | Image courtesy of pixabay.com

A day of celebrations

St Joseph Feast Day Mass

This morning the Richmond FDZ community had a Eucharistic Celebration for the Feast of St Joseph.  The celebrant was Fr Toto, SJ.

19 March is also the day on which St Annibale Maria Di Francia founded the Daughters of Divine Zeal in 1887.

You can view our gallery of photos of the Mass on our Facebook page.

I glorify you

I glorify You, O Lord, for out of my littleness and nothingness I was chosen among the thousands and millions of women in the world to do Your will in the religious life.

Joy

Yes, many are called yet few are those who dare to respond to this invitation.  So my soul glorifies the Lord my Saviour because He has set His eyes on me.  His love is so great that I could not resist to follow Him. YES, I could say, I am madly in love with my God who has rescued me in moments of darkness.

Though the path is unknown, I still follow Him.  This life He has presented to me is uncertain.  I do not even know the Person who will be beside me yet I am still madly in love with Him!

Out of love and trust I proclaim my big “YES” to You, my God.  You are a God faithful to Your promises, to my human eyes You are invisible.  Yes, in faith, You are God present in all events of my life!

How wonderful then to proclaim Your greatness.  Even in recalling painful experiences, in those dark moments of my life, You have revealed unconditional love and so the more I cry out “Lord! You have done great things in my life!”

Here I am again, happy to proclaim Your goodness.  Ready to renew my vows.  This entails much awareness, openness, deep trust and self surrender that surely gives more life!

Your promise lasts forever, Your faithfulness remains forever.  Therefore, I should not be afraid to walk with You.  This is my strong and clear conviction.

For You have called me, give me the grace to persevere in journeying with YOU!  Allow me then to express with the same words of Mary “My soul proclaims the goodness of the Lord!”

Sr Imelda | Image courtesy of pixabay.com

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