Ruth Cunnings, NSCJ (left), with Provincial Sheila Hammond, RSCJ (right)

On September 14, 2019, RSCJ and friends celebrated a liturgy in the novitiate community in Chicago, Illinois, to officially welcome Ruth Cunnings, NSCJ, to the novitiate.

Provincial Sheila Hammond, RSCJ, and Maureen Glavin, RSCJ, representing the Provincial leadership team attended the gathering along with Chicago-area RSCJ, Maryknoll Sisters and Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA) with whom RSCJ are collaborating in the novitiate program this year.

The liturgy was celebrated in honor of Our Lady of Sorrows, a special occasion considering Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat dedicated the General Novitiate to the protection of Mary under this title.

After the shared homily, Ruth was given the United States – Canada Province pin, a symbol of the open heart made from the profession crosses of our sisters from the U.S. and Canada, upon whose shoulders she now stands.

A few words were shared about how Our Lady of Sorrows is an image of the open heart, capable of holding both sorrow and deep joy. All present celebrated the great love of Mary and of Jesus, which allows a complete outpouring of self for others as both are models for us of the love which transforms.

This year marks the start of a new collaboration among the Society, Maryknoll and FSPA congregations.

There are four novices total this year, Ruth included. The congregations, together, lead monthly days of prayer, monthly pastoral theological reflection, the Intercommunity Novitiate Program and some seminar sessions of interest to all, covering topics like: tools for the spiritual life; contemplation; spirituality of power and authority; interculturality; and fiscal responsibility.

The novitiate welcomed Ruth with an open heart. They invite all to join in their pray for her and the other novices.