‘We want to be a life-giving presence in our own community, in our Church, and in the world nearby and far away’ General Chapter VIII 1999
Modelled on the ideals of early apostolic Christian communities, we live community amongst our immediate group but we are also compelled to share the values of community life with others. We support initiatives which strive to bring people together in community and aim to be a reconciling presence, working towards the ‘community’ vision of Church as presented to us in Vatican II (‘Lumen Gentium’).
Hospitality is a hallmark of our Community and expresses itself in many aspects of our life – for example, in a spirit of mutuality and sharing, in openness to and concern for others; in our liturgy; in our desire to work with others.
Our archival records show that from earliest times the religious community established links with others outside of itself, offering a hospitable welcome in the spirit of Jesus in the Gospels.
It is this spirit of creating an inclusive community around us which has continued through our history to the present day. The community we strive to build is one which values each person equally and which is based on the Gospel values of love, inclusivity and outreach to people in need.
‘We want to develop in our Communities the spirituality of hospitality towards one another and towards others: towards friends and guests, so that all can feel at home amongst us’ General Chapter VIII 1999
‘As Canonesses our charism inspires and challenges us to build community around us where women and men are equally valued as living stones’ General Chapter X (Declaration) 2011
‘We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one. This is the way of Jesus’ Pope Francis – A Big Heart Open to God
‘One of the marvellous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing’ Jean Vanier – Community and Growth
‘I remember most of all the people who were a part of the life of New Hall – the estate, catering and household staff, teachers, tutors, Community and Chaplains and parents. And, most of all, children – each of whom was special to me and from whom I learnt so much about life. So much giving and receiving, sharing and serving, forgiving and starting again, making and being community’ Fishy Tales – Memories of New Hall
‘Here was an environment that allowed each of us to flourish in their own field, and though led by a discipline of Catholic doctrine, was never exclusive or preclusive of other denominations but embraced an essence of community in every sense and above all else – and this is most of all my abiding memory of New Hall – a place and people full of warmth, kindness, generosity, sharing – of magical moments that informed and created me’ Fishy Tales – Memories of New Hall
- ‘A community realises its unity in diversity’ Explore this challenge.
- How can we develop the spirituality of hospitality towards one another and towards others? What will be the signs of this?
- St Augustine says ‘Be cautious of harsh words. Should you utter them, do not be afraid to speak the healing word with the same mouth that caused the wound’ (Rule 6:2) Explore the significance of this within the context of family, parish, school communities and beyond.
- What does it mean to be a life giving presence in your community, the church and the world?
- ‘In a world of individualism be a sign of true community’ Explore the challenges that this presents to us.
- As far as creating community is concerned, what are the key differences between the two models of church in the Vatican II document “Lumen Gentium”?
- ‘We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one. This is the way of Jesus’ Pope Francis – A Big Heart Open to God. Reflect on what Pope Francis meant by this statement and what issues it raises.