New Zealand missionaries are preparing to join an international team to boost education in war-torn Sudan.
New Zealander, Sr Margaret Scott, is one of the team of five who will work alongside local people and help train teachers so that schools can open again.
The Sisters of the Mission is an international missionary congregation and Aotearoa was the first country to which our foundress, Euphrasie Barbier, sent missionaries. In 1865 they began their good works in Napier in education and social support activities.
This year we had our Congregational Chapter in Pattaya, Thailand, and the chapter document reflects our desire to ‘share life and love with all creation’.
‘As RNDM contemplative missionaries we are drawn into the incredible mystery of divine relationship where we recognise ourselves called not servants but friends, partners, co-creators with God!’
This concept is not new. In the book Through Ecological Eyes: reflection on Christianity’s environmental credentials by Robert Leal, Hildegard of Bingen, a Benedictine abbess of the Middle Ages, writes of viriditas a Latin word for ‘greenness’ and this does not just refer to lush vegetation but is an essential characteristic of all natural and spiritual life which receives its quickening from the Holy Spirit.
For Hildegard viriditas is the animating life, the cosmic energy that is manifested by God in every aspect of creation. Its spiritual dimension is a force for harmony and good in society.
The Spirit of God sweeping over the face of the waters of Genesis is the same Spirit that, through Jesus Christ, brought the light of life to the world and continues to sustain the world.
There has been a greening of our countryside as a result of recent rain. The parched earth welcoming moisture which brings life anew.
As we prepare for our patronal feast, Pentecost, we give thanks and pray for our world and ourselves that harmony and good may prevail.
We also rejoice in the sisters who are overseas and the coming Sudanese inter-congregational venture. At present there are 24 New Zealand sisters on mission overseas.