Saturday, September 23, 2017

Golden Day for Sister Josephine

GOLDEN DAY FOR SISTER JOSEPHINE: It was a golden day at Carmel in Dysart, Fife, as Sister Josephine of the Sacred Heart recently celebrated 50 years as a professed Discalced Carmelite. “I’m excited, pleased, happy, grateful, a little bit nervous, very thrilled to have Archbishop Cushley and family from far and wide here today and, most importantly, I’m very grateful to God for all he’s done for me,” said Sister Josephine,“I’ve been sustained over the past 50 years by the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and also the love of his mother – that’s not just a corny answer, it really is true.”

Sister Josephine was born in County Clare although her family moved to Liverpool when she was only four years old. It was there she entered Carmel in 1965 at the age of 18. It was also there, three years prior, that she first encountered The Beatles.

“When I was 15 I got a temporary job in an office during the school holidays and the girls there would take me along to the lunchtime sessions at The Cavern Club which, back then, most folk in Liverpool hadn’t heard of,” said Sister Josephine.

“On the first day I saw Gerry and the Pacemakers and thought they were wonderful. On the second day I saw The Beatles and thought they were more wonderful still.”

As it happens, archive footage of that lunchtime concert in August 1962 can be found on YouTube. More profound than her passion for The Beatles, though, is Sister Josephine’s first and lifelong love: The Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“He’s been there from the beginning. In our family home we had an image Christ and his Sacred Heart with a red lamp burning in front of it. I knew he loved me and I knew I had to love him back. That was my whole spiritual formation,” recalls Sister.

“It wasn’t even the heart that I would look at but his eyes. Those eyes were so full of love. I just knew that I was loved in a way that answered all my needs, hopes and dreams and I felt a great need to respond to that.”

In 1994, Sister Josephine moved from Liverpool to Dysart. There on 27 July she welcomed friends and family, from all across the globe, to mark her 50th anniversary.

“I think that if only people were aware of how much they are loved by Jesus, everything else would follow on from that, all would come right,” she said, “you can be quite normal, have fun, live a normal life, but if you have that absolute certitude of Christ’s love? Even if things difficult, you can get by.”

And after 50 years as a Carmelite, what would Sister Josephine’s advice be to any young woman considering religious life? “Fall in love with Jesus and give yourself to him, just let go of everything. You won’t lose it. Instead you’ll find it all in him.”