- Can you explain how your vocation began ?
Between the ages of 16 to 25 I often wondered whether God was calling me to religious life. During this time I was studying theology, and an answer to my vocational questioning came unexpectedly, as I read a rather dull commentary on the Canon Law of the Church. The description of religious life spoke powerfully to me and from that moment on I was clear about my call to religious life.
Why did you choose the Assumption ?
- Sr. Cathy Jones
The next step was to find which order to join. I was particularly attracted by Franciscan simplicity, so ’decided’ that I would become a Franciscan. However, God had other plans. As I visited various Franciscan orders I kept thinking of the Religious of the Assumption whom I had worked with for a few years, during my studies. I’d been a care-assistant looking after the very elderly sisters, in particular one saintly sister, who had severe dementia, but who radiated the love of God. I hadn’t thought of joining the sisters as they were all quite old. However, God slowly broke down my resistances, mainly through the powerful memories of the very frail sister. Once I had plucked up the courage to speak to the sisters about joining, my journey into the Assumption was quite straightforward ; it was clear that this was where I was being called to join.
What is your mystery and why did you chose this mystery ?
My mystery is "of the Holy Spirit". It is hard to explain why I ’chose’ this mystery ; I view it as something that was gradually revealed to me, as God’s particular call for me, the call to be open to the Spirit at work in my life. At first vows, when I received the mystery ’of the Holy Spirit’ I also added Mary to my name. For me, my mystery is a call to imitate Mary, who was so attentive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
What is your Word ? And how did you come to choose this Word ?
My Word is ’by the power of the Holy Spirit’. It was not until a few months before asking to be received into final vows that I was sure what Word I would request to take. In the English translation of the Creed the Incarnation is described with this phrase - Mary conceived "by the power of the Holy Spirit". I have always had a strong devotion to Our Lady and I feel called to follow her in her openness to the power of God’s spirit, who worked marvels in her life.
It wasn’t until the evening of writing to ask to be admitted to vows that I searched the Bible [using Google !] to find, to my delight, that my Word is in Romans 15:13, in a different, but beautiful context : "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." I love the idea of associating my word with hope, the hope of the Assumption, that we too will one day share in the delights of paradise with Our Lady and all the saints.
Today, what is your mission in your community ?
For 3 days a week I teach Religion and Philosophy of Religion in a Catholic Sixth Form College [for 16-19 year olds]. It is a job I love ! The rest of my time is spent on activities [retreats, youth events etc] in the convent and in the local area. Also, my community is in the process of opening "Milleret House", a house of hospitality for groups and individuals ; I am excited about the possibilities for a community-based mission that this will bring.
For the first time, at Christmas, like all the perpetually professed Religious of the Assumption, you renewed your vows. What was your spiritual experience of this ?
When I previously renewed my vows at Christmas, I was very aware that I was saying a different formula of vows to the other sisters, remaining silent while they said the important words ’until death’. This Christmas it was a great joy to be able to share in the total offering of self, knowing that I was given to the Trinity in the Assumption into eternity. My profession ring is for me a very concrete sign of this, and I was extremely conscious of it and all that it signifies as I renewed my vows.
Sr. Cathy Jones