Finally, the Josephite Rural School Begins
After two cancellations last year because of COVID 19, the 2021 Rural School of Faith Leadership finally got under way in Dubbo, just one year late! What a joy it was for the rural women to actually gather after so many disappointments. The first session in this series of three Rural School began at the Cattleman’s Country Motor Inn on the evening of Friday, 18th March.
Unfortunately, COVID still cast its shadow over the gathering as a number of women from Wee Waa, Narrabri and St George in Queensland and a few members of the planning committee had to pull out the weekend due to the virus. However, eighteen women did attend from places as far apart as Coonabarabran, Collarenebri, Canowindra, Eugowra, Cooyal, Gilgandra and Ariah Park to name a few.
As in every other Rural School since 2010, the women quickly gelled and entered enthusiastically into the program of prayer, input on various subjects, sharing of experiences, quiet times by the river and the opportunity to relax and be with women who share the same country lifestyle.
The theme of this School was My Story, God’s Story, Our Story. In the opening presentation called the River of Life, Sr Kerrie led the women through a reflective look at their own life’s journey - the highs and the lows, the blessings and the challenges. Sr Carmel introduced them to the concept of Charism and led the women to discover their own personal charism and how they might share it with those around them. Sr Maureen joined the gathering via zoom to introduce Pope Francis’ document, Laudato Si, Care for our Common Home and offered ideas on how we can respond as individuals and communities. The two workshops that were offered: Creating Creams and Creating Mandalas provided a welcome change of pace and content.
The following remarks from the evaluations, reveal how significant these Rural Schools are for the women from these small rural communities:
I was spiritually dry and burnt when I arrived as well as physically and emotionally. I’ve learned lots about myself, been affirmed in others and empowered to go and be Christ with skin on in my town as I’m called. I needed reminded (sic) God makes the plans I’ve just got to say yes! So much more and looking forward to August.
I learnt from the presentations and group wisdom. The discussions were times of enlightenment and being around the like-minded has helped me in my renewal. Thank you so much to all that have been involved in putting the weekend together.
Usually the second session in the series takes place in the following year but because of the interruption caused by COVID, it will now be in this August at the same venue in Dubbo. The participants and the planning committee look forward to another weekend of learning, sharing and especially catching up with the new-found friends.
Maureen Salmon rsj