The first week in February contains the World Day of Consecrated Life and the feast day of our founder in Toronto, Mother Delphine Fontbonne.
In 1997, Pope Saint John Paul II instituted the World Day of Consecrated Life as a day of prayer for women and men religious.
This celebration is joined with the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2, recognizing when Mary and Joseph brought their infant Jesus to the Second Temple in Jerusalem. There, the two prophets, Anna and Simeon, immediately recognized the infant Jesus as the Saviour and the Son of God.
Anna and Simeon bore witness to the loving presence of Christ. It is a beautiful account of their fidelity and hope in the Lord. Women and men religious are called to give this same witness in the Church through their lives of prayer, communal living and service.
As we Sisters of St Joseph of Toronto celebrate this day, we turn our attention to the life and service of Mother Delphine Fontbonne.
She was the first Sister to lead us to Toronto in 1851. During her years in Toronto, she demonstrated a complete commitment to serving the poor, sick and dying in a city where she was a stranger to the country, the culture and the language.
Mother Delphine died in 1856, five short years after her arrival in Toronto.
However, her leadership, grounded in a fervent desire to love and serve God, established the foundations that enabled the Sisters to open schools, hospitals and ministries in social services, faith formation, outreach, community, creation care and social justice.
On the World Day of Consecrated Life in 2019, Pope Francis said, "This then is consecrated life: praise which gives Joy to God’s people, prophetic vision that reveals what counts."
Anna, Simeon and Mother Delphine all gave witness to this joy and prophetic vision. Please pray for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto that they too will continue to do so as well.
Sister Rosemary Fry, CSJ and Julie Cachia, Vocation Animator