Contemplating our path


Change is constant

Company of St UrsulaI am always grateful that we celebrate Foundation Day and Roman Union Day so close to each other, only days apart, each year. It helps us to recognise the path of history which we traverse together and to acknowledge the ways in which things change.

We are so familiar with this early representation of the Foundation of the Company. The beginnings in Brescia, the small ‘company of women’, who, with Angela, set about doing something new. They could not have been aware of the seeds that they were sowing.


Ursulines Roman Union General Chapter 1900How different is this image - representatives of the 62 Ursuline monasteries from across the world, who, in 1900, agreed to join this new international union. The seeds of diversity were already evident. No doubt these women had hopes for growth and development of the newly established congregation, though I wonder if they would recognise the Roman Union today.

Change is constant, and is a gift of being alive! If this is true, then I think we can say that the Ursulines of the Roman Union are very much alive! And for this we can be grateful.

I listened recently to an interview with Fr Timothy Radcliffe as he reflected on his experience at the recent Synod. He commented that as Church ‘we are a global community across space and time, in which we let ourselves be changed by our contact with one another’.

As Ursulines of the Roman Union, we claim a desire to be a ‘global community’, and we want to live this in fact, not just in word. As communication networks give us greater access to other parts of the Institute, and as we build relationships with our sisters in other provinces, we have the opportunity to be changed, to grow and develop. Sometimes this contact offers a challenge to change our attitudes, or our perceptions. Perhaps we become more aware of our biases and prejudices. Certainly we develop a deeper understanding of what solidarity means in practice.

Change is constant, and is a gift of being alive! St Angela knew this: ‘If with change of times and circumstances …’ (Last Legacy). We can be grateful that we stand on the shoulders of women who were open to institutional and personal transformation. As we celebrate Foundation Day and Roman Union Day let’s pray together that we will continue to draw on their openness, their strength, their courage, and their wisdom.

Sr. Susan Flood osu, Prioress General