Silver jubilee a time for reflection
|Parramatta’s Social Justice Coordinator Sr Louise McKeogh FMA (centre) with social justice colleagues from the Diocese of Broken Bay and the Archdiocese of Sydney.|
Catholic Outlook, August 2015
Sr Louise McKeogh FMA reflects on 25 years of Salesian religious life.
“Before I can tell my life and what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”
Parker Palmer, the famous Quaker whose quote appears above, wrote a book entitled Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation.
Let Your Life Speak. For me this has been the challenge and the call of the past 25 years – a journey of listening to where deep passion meets the world’s deep need.
It is a journey made every step of the way within the context of the joys and challenges of living in community with other like-minded women who believe so passionately in the Salesian charism and the gifts and talents of young people.
This has challenged and called me to be and do more than I ever could have imagined.
A jubilee year for me is a time of gratitude to and for all that those wonderful women have been and continue to be for me.
A biblical jubilee also speaks of returning to the earth from which we came, our place of origin, and to care for all the earth and all that nourishes us.
So I have great gratitude for the gift of a wonderful family who have allowed me to listen to my life telling me who I am.
Although we are spread around the globe, we are truly united and present to each other – not just through the gift of technology!
My family’s gift of life and faith is a treasure beyond words of thanks. I am grateful too for the gift of a wonderful parish and faith community in which I grew up and was formed.
How does one’s life speak?
My birthday falls on the feast of St John Bosco and as soon as I read his story and saw the film of his life there was an instant connection and attraction.
As a young person, I didn’t have to travel far to find a path to the Salesian Sisters when they opened a house of formation in my home parish.
I joined them on camps and at youth club. When the time came to make future life choices, I felt called to give Salesian life a go.
Needless to say that 25 years later it’s a choice that continues to mean more and more to me each and every day. Through all this, there have been the challenges and difficulties – an inevitable part of anyone’s journey.
The ‘doing’ along my journey has been varied and meaningful - from primary school teaching, youth work, and child care to working with Indigenous young people and coordinating social justice and Caritas.
The 25 years have taught me and challenged me to see that ‘being’ is just as important a part of our Salesian Presence as the ‘doing’. Working with the Indigenous young people in Adelaide, my wise friend Tjinkuma used to say ‘Napitji Napitji’; I teach you, you teach me.
There aren’t enough words to say what young people, the Salesian family, the McKeogh family, colleagues and friends have taught me and been for me over the past 25 years.
“I thank my God each time I think of you.”
Sr Louise McKeogh FMA is the Social Justice Coordinator for the Diocese of Parramatta and Caritas Diocesan Director. This article is republished with permission of the Australian Salesian Bulletin.
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