My retirement... my apostolate

From Calgary, Alberta, I arrived in Montreal September 5, to retire. Back in Calgary where I served the local church by visiting the sick, the elderly and the dying for 21 years, I now have to live a sort of a different lifestyle. I joined the ambulatory complex of our infirmary. The sisters are in their late 80"s and 90"s. Adjustment to my human environment wasn’t a problem for as FMM we live the same charism.
I no longer walk to the parish church for Mass, for here at our Convent we have the daily Eucharist celebration. As I adore Jesus in the Eucharist exposed, I recall Jesus welcoming back his apostles from their missionary tours. His apostles were recounting to Jesus their successes in their mission. Jesus in turn invited them to rest a while-to rest in Him for He is meek and humble of heart. (Mt 11:28-30).
This gospel taught, gave me the true meaning of retirement. Besides, Our Foundress said: “Jesus in the Eucharist exposed is the greatest missionary”. Keeping watch and keeping company with Jesus in the Eucharist exposed is then my primary apostolate during my retirement days.

My apostolate

I missed and I wondered how I could continue my missionary life-spreading, witnessing of God’s love. Another section of the retirement complex is the infirmary. I visit our Sisters there daily. I speak to them with my broken French and they and I share a laugh. I also join the Sisters at their recreation time, playing cards, games. When an elderly Sister forgets which number follows four we all have a hearty laugh. I suppose Jesus is delighted at these minute manifestations of tender love and care.

Is Jesus asking more apostolic work for me?
In came Lena Skirett. She was a fervent member of the Pentecostal Church; but then she was searching for more, more meaning of her relationship with God. She admired the life of two Franciscan Saints Francis and Anthony of Padua. She visited a Franciscan priest who in turn directed her to the FMM’s of Montreal. She then started lessons on the Roman Catholic religion. When Sr. Florence was transferred to Calgary, her lessons were temporarily stopped. She enlisted in RCIA course of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral Church under Bishop Coyle. Lena, eager to become a Franciscan was recommended to see the FMM’s at the Mission Animation Centre where she met Sr. Denise Paquette. With her hands full of mission activities, Denise in turn gave Lena to me to accompany her in the search for God.

For six months before Easter, Lena had come diligently once a week for her catechism. Mutually, we agreed we’ll follow what Jesus told to Nicodemus (JN 3: 1-12) “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” The Way-the 10 commandments; the Truth-the 12 Articles of the Apostle’s Creed; the Life- the Sacraments with emphasis on Baptism and the Eucharist, the summit and centre of life in the RC Church.

We used the Catechism of the Catholic Church for the lessons. We started with gospel sharing of the coming Sunday; then took the assigned lesson of the day. Holy week came. Lena’s excitement and fervour rose ignited by the thought that she’ll receive the initial sacraments-Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. With great enthusiasm, she followed all the liturgy of the Paschal tridium. She was chosen as one of the apostles for the Paschal supper and for the Washing of the Feet.

The great day came, the Easter Vigil. She was robed in white for her Baptism. She invited ten of her Pentecostal friends to share her joy. She and her friends observed keenly and religiously all the rituals-from darkness to light; the Paschal candle; the readings, recounting the history of salvation. When the saving water of Baptism was poured on her, she experienced ecstatic joy.

I was not with her at this great milestone of her life. Easter Thursday she came to me babbling, exuberant with joy recounting her experience. She truly encountered and received the risen Christ!!!!




Jubilee on 2009




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