By Sr Margaret Kozub CSFN, Catholic Outlook, December 2016
Pope Francis asked consecrated men and women to look at the past with gratitude, to live the present with passion and to embrace the future with hope, and we do it.
On 29 October 2016, three Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth from Marayong, Sr Grace Roclawska CSFN, Sr Paula Volchek CSFN and I, celebrated our silver jubilee of consecrated life.
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv was the principal celebrant for Mass in Our Lady of Czestochowa, Queen of Poland War Memorial Chapel, at Marayong.
“It is a great honour for me to be here with you and to celebrate this milestone, the Silver Jubilee of Religious Profession of Sr Grace, Sr Paula and Sr Margaret, the three sisters not of the Blue Mountains but right here in Maryong. Tewenty-five years ago, they dedicated themselves to the charism of the Holy Family of Nazareth Sisters, pledging to extend the Kingdom of God’s love to others by living the spirit of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Well, they could not have extended it any further by coming all the way to the other side of the world from their native Poland and Belarus. And we are grateful to them for doing so and for enriching Australia with their witness and service.
“I chose for my episcopal motto ‘launch into the deep‘ to remind me of the call to step into the unknown. But I reckon the sisters give me a run for my money because they too took a huge leap of faith and came to very unfamiliar shores. In coming to Australia they also defied the odds, overcame the hurdles and made their mark in this country. Their ministry in parishes, schools, communities, among the young, the old, the displaced, the needy, the poor … have truly made a difference.”
When I was young, I had my dreams and plans and they were not connected with religious life at all. I loved my life and hanging around with my friends and didn’t always make smart choices.
When I was 17, a friend invited me to go on a retreat run by nuns. It was a profound experience of God’s presence and love. It was a life-changing experience.
After a period of discernment, at age 19 I entered the congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth and started my religious life: the real adventure in which I was surrounded by the merciful love of the Father, guided by the Holy Spirit and embraced by the love of the greatest friend ever – Jesus. And always under the protection of the Holy Family.
Now here I am, 25 years in religious life and still happy, full of joy and God’s blessings. I let go of many things and dreams, but I have received so much. I am sure of his love and I’m grateful for that every day. God’s grace always was ahead of all my efforts.
Every vocation is a pure gift of God’s love. God is not calling us because we are special, perfect and holy. He calls us because he wants us and he is able to bring out the best in us.
And after all these years I know there is only one place I can put my roots to be happy and joyful in my consecrated life. This place is God’s heart.