Virtual Jubilee Celebrations
Sister Ellen Royan writes of the 2020 congregational jubilee celebrations - a celebration with a difference.
Zoom! Zoom! No – it’s not an Ad for a new model motor vehicle! Just a rocket burst into the world of virtual reality to celebrate the Diamond Jubilees of five of our Sisters who have given their service for a total of three hundred years. The celebrants were Sr Patricia Egan and Dorothy Dolahenty who were professed on January 5th 1960 and Srs Bridgette Davoren, Ellen Royan and Maureen Salmon professed on August 3rd 1960.
A glorious Spring day saw a gathering unlike any other in the history of our Congregation as the magic of the internet and the dogged determination of our Sr Patricia Egan and her helpers, Srs Louise, Jenny and Jeannine, called us together through the ether to mark this occasion with due solemnity and love and laughter. The Lochinvar Community and a few others in keeping with the limits of our “Covid19 - ruled existence” - gathered to remember and pray together recalling the six decades that have seen so many changes to our lives. On the big screen we welcomed the presence of another thirty or so of the scattered Sisters whose images lit up the room looking rather like the ABC’s rendition of We Are One, But We Are Many.
We reflected on the significance of Jubilee as detailed in Leviticus 25: 10ff recalling that the Jubilee year is to be a ‘holy thing to you’ when we proclaim the ‘liberation of all the inhabitants of the land’ and when we should return to our ancestral home – a timely message in these days of closed borders and exiled Australians desperate to secure a flight home to be with family and friends and indeed to have time to mourn the many who have lost their battle with this insidious virus. The prayer reminded us of our need to ‘Open our eyes to God’s provident love in our lives and world.’ The final blessing called us to have “eyes that see goodness, mouths that speak love, ears that are discerning, hearts that are accommodating, hands that touch in kindness, feet that go the extra mile, and smiles that show acceptance.” Indeed our whole society needs this blessing today.
Liturgy completed, individual Sisters from the distance of their own group gatherings shared greetings and memories that brought out the smiles and joy of a shared journey over so many years. The Jubilarians were then presented with fragrant gifts and greeted with the traditional song before joining in a welcome toast and cutting the cakes. Sr Ellen Royan then gave a word of Thanks on behalf of the celebrants noting that it would be appropriate to go Further Back In Time for Dinner after having had the Brush with Fame as Jubilarians. So, our Zoom Jubilee concluded with each group near and far enjoying a party lunch to sustain us all for the years ahead.