I recognised during this past week that it would be difficult for me to put thoughts to paper because of our local news headlines coupled with those national headlines of family violence, the rescue of the young boys in Thailand and some personal family matters. These have left me feeling flat and sad, without words, really. I imagine many of you are able to identify with what I am trying to say and I had contemplated just using the word ‘silence’ for the message.
There are weeks when this message gradually unfolds and last week was one of those occasions. One of the big topics emerging for the Australian Plenary Council of 2020/21 is around the role of women in the Catholic Church. For most of us this does not come as a surprise - and yet I sense a degree of resistance, particularly from those in leadership.
I hope your consciousness was raised during Refugee Week in Australia. On Thursday, 21 June, our shortest day, I stood in silence and in solidarity with over one hundred others, on King Street, at Civic Park, in support of Refugees across our globe. This is a weekly event, however more gathered on this day because of Refugee Week and World Refugee Day (June 20). I also hope some of you attended the Unity in Diversity Festival at Hamilton, or other events that may have been held across the diocese. Those people who come to our shores show great courage in choosing a new way of life, away from their homelands, their culture, language, food, work, and all that is familiar to them.
This week, I am scribing my message earlier than usual because I am up north for the weekend helping one of our daughters to prepare for the birth of her next child. I will be occupied with living in the present in order to assist in preparing her, her family and all of us for this new reality. In writings around rites of passage, this is called the liminal space, the space of being ‘not there yet’. It is a time of anticipation but also a time of fear and wondering, for what may or may not eventuate, a time of unknowing and yet a time of trusting. In these liminal spaces, we really do need each other because we face the unknown.
I am conscious that as I sit at my desk on this Sunday night, I have heard from our five children for Mother’s Day. I recall the words I spoke on Friday to the staff who attended our Mother’s Day Liturgy at the diocesan offices. I reflected that the gift of being a mother was the best gift I have been given during my lifetime. I know it has required both Allen and my giving selflessly, while taking on enormous responsibility, and yet it is in this giving that we have received. Such love is beyond words and the bonds that are created cannot be broken. This gift has formed us beyond measure.