Guiding Quotation 2019
‘Never see a need without doing something about it’
Context of the Josephite tenet chosen to inspire us in 2019
The words chosen to inspire our community in 2019 are not a direct quote said or written by St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop. This is a bit of a departure for us. Instead, the words chosen are what we call a tenet of the Josephite Sisters. A tenet is a principle or belief that is followed. In our context here the words of our theme are a key principle in being Josephite. The Sisters, and us, walking in their footsteps today, are called to ‘never see a need without doing something about it’. This might seem like an unrealistic call to respond in every situation. But it is tempered by us remembering Mary MacKillop’s great ‘trust in God’. Mary did not believe that we should be able to fix every problem in the world that we are aware of. Rather she wanted the Sisters, and us today, to respond as we are able, to those in need. Mary does not expect us to usurp God’s role in the world and have the answer to every problem. But she does expect us to ‘do what we can with the means at our disposal and to leave the rest gracefully to God’.
Where were these words first stated?
Words similar to our 2019 theme were written by Fr. Julian Tenison-Woods in the original Rule of the Sisters in 1867. Fr. Tenison-Woods wrote that the Sisters should ‘never see an evil without trying to remedy it’. The Sisters took up this challenge in the Rule with enthusiasm and went about doing all they could to respond to the needs they saw around them, relying on God’s providence and the graces bestowed on them to help those in need.
On the 22nd of September, 1871, prior to the Rule being approved by the Holy See, Mary MacKillop was excommunicated by the Archbishop of Adelaide, Bishop Shiel. Five months later on February 22nd 1872, Archbishop Shiel lifted the excommunication and Mary was once again able to be a Sister of St. Joseph and move towards getting approval for the Rule of the Order she had co-founded with Fr. Julian.
The Rule was the set of guidelines and directions set down for the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart. The Rule outlined how the Sisters were to act, live and respond in ministry. Fr. Julian wrote the original Rule that Mary MacKillop took to Rome to have the Pope approve. There was great controversy about it because it stated that the Sisters should be centrally governed. This meant that they would be subject only to the leadership of the Sisters and not the Bishops of the areas in which they ministered. The Bishops fought this strongly. But, the Pope was adamant that central government of the Sisters was vital to their ability to respond to need.
What are the words challenging us to do in 2019?
In 2019 our community, inspired by the Josephite tenet, will endeavour to recommit to being a community that responds actively to the needs of our world. We will do this in the following ways:
- We will renew our commitment to supporting a number of charities in their work to respond to need
- We will endeavour to get actively involved in a social justice organisation or activity throughout 2019
- We will focus on building positive relationships in our community through active support of one another and allowing everyone to focus on their work and as a result reach their potential
- We will endeavour to be more aware of the social justice issues that exist in our local communities and around the world
- We will enthusiastically support caritas’ Project Compassion appeal during Lent
- We will enthusiastically support Vinnies Easter Egg collection and Christmas Hamper collection
If we are able to respond in these ways then the Penola Catholic College community will truly be responding to the Josephite tenet, ‘never see a need without doing something about it’ and we will be able to acknowledge the difference our community makes to others in the world. Mary and Julian will be very proud of us indeed!