November 2023 Reflection – Sr Mary Scanlon LCM
November 7, 2023

Let us go forth on our mission of love, be instruments God can use at any time.

In her Christmas broadcast 1992, the late Queen Elizabeth 11 declared she had had an annus horribilis. How right she was!  We here in Aotearoa have had some horrible times, starting with Cyclone Gabrielle. This massive storm swept through vast swathes of the North Island in February, killing 11 people and destroying livelihoods, homes and infrastructure.

In July, we followed on TV the tragic trial of a woman with 3 young children who murdered all 3 one night in desperation. Extremely traumatic for us viewers, even more for the jury panel in Christchurch. Sadly, she was convicted.

In August, the Royal Commission on abuse in institutions delivered its report, presenting a scathing picture of harm done to young vulnerable children in care. We have also dealt with the posturing, preening and politicking of parties vying to win our national elections 2023.

Framing these challenges, an incessant undercurrent of misinformation, disinformation, lies and racism rampant on social media. Thank you, Your Majesty, for giving us a phrase to capture it all!

Yet, it is a beautiful World, and our year has been much more than these issues! Our Chapter in Ireland in April brought us gratitude for our previous Team’s inspiring guidance, and joy as we welcomed the new Team to lead us ahead.

We rejoiced in celebrating the FIFA Women’s World Cup, co-hosted with Australia. The youthful exuberance, joy and prowess of the young women filled our hearts with sunshine!  And in August, Pope Francis convened another World Youth Day at Lisbon in Portugal, five days of faith-filled prayer and solidarity with him and one another.

The Covid-19 pandemic is still around, but restrictions have eased, there’s lightness in the air. Surely prayer and compassion have guided us through the labyrinth of the year. With grateful hearts we thank our God for walking with us.

Now it’s November, the joyful month of all saints, alive and dead, especially our loved and revered Mary Potter. Her motto this year, calling us forth to be instruments of love, has been the symphony we’ve needed to stay in tune with God’s grace during the painful challenges. Our founder reminds us that Mary of Nazareth, Jesus’ first disciple, has led us faithfully like the first violin in an orchestra. “With Mary, the music of Jesus never died away,” wrote Mary Potter. Isn’t that glorious! Sure, it’s been a hard year at times yet no more so than that experienced worldwide.

At year’s end, I suggest we listen afresh to the music of God’s grace within each of us.

In union with Mary of Nazareth, and close to Mary Potter’s heart, we’ll go forth on our mission of Love, being instruments of the joy of Resurrection to those around us, insofar as our own health and strength allow.