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The work of Christmas begins

“When the song of the angel is stilled

When the star in the sky is gone

When the kings and princes are home

When the shepherds are back with their flocks

 .......  The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost

To heal the broken

To feed the hungry

To release the prisoners

To rebuild the nations

To bring peace among people

To make music in the heart “  (Howard Thurman)

This was the theme that Sister Maire Hayes chose for the associate retreat day in Newton,  Abbot, on January 14th 2018. Twelve of us gathered in the parish hall and we were joined by Father Cyriacus one of the Nigerian priests who now administer the parish. The Newton Abbot group have had a strong link with Nigeria over the years and raised money and supported the Nigerian mission. How apt that they are now working with the three Nigerian priests in the parish.

The group have no DHS sister present in their locality but are involved in the parish. Street Pastoring, Christians together, prison visiting and the liturgy are among their many activities. As an associate group they meet every month. The main focus of Sister Maire’s talk was the feasts that occurred after Christmas. Her reflections highlighted these liturgical feasts as being significant to our lives as Daughters of the Holy Spirit associates and as baptised Christians. From the 26th December to the 6th January the liturgy is packed with significant feast days reminding us that “The work of Christmas now begins:

- Stephen, a deacon, devoted his life to the widows and orphans with a special love of the marginalised. He met a martyr’s death for his beliefs. There are martyrs in our present society. - John the Evangelist, whom Jesus loved, was entrusted with the care of Mary. - The feast of the Holy Innocents reminds us, today, of the migrants and refugees fleeing persecution in their own countries. The plight of the children and the suffering of women we see frequently on our TV screens. - Thomas Becket was a close friend and adviser to Henry II. He was martyred because he could not be unfaithful to God. - The feast of the Holy family is familiar to us. It reminds us of the importance of our own families, our children and grandchildren as precious gifts from God. - The celebration of the Motherhood of Mary speaks to many of us as mothers and grandmothers. As Christians we are constantly invited to give birth to Christ in our world. We try to see the face of Jesus in all we meet and invite them to see the face of Christ in us. - The 6th January is the Epiphany which invites us to recognise other faiths besides our own especially in today’s world. Jesus came for all people Jew and Gentile alike. - Finally the baptism of Jesus, which was the start of His public ministry. For us as associates we too, as baptised Christians, are called to ministry.

Reflecting on these feasts we are invited to deepen our lives as associates. We may not be called upon to die for our faith but we are called to live our baptismal commitment as Christians. We are also called to be attentive to those who are marginalised in our society.

"So after Christmas the work begins..." Thank you Sister Maire"

Ann Wright, AssociatePublished February 4, 2018


Filles du Saint-Esprit 15 bd. Sebastopol 35101 Rennes Cedex 2 France

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