When the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was in the process of being formed, Fr Roger Nesbitt (a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark who has inspired many priestly vocations) describe them as "the cavalry coming over the hill." I was delighted to see Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen use the same image in his sermon welcoming the Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia from Nashville, Tennessee, who are establishing a new foundation in Elgin:
What is happening today?It was also good to see his echo of a point (made before, I think, by Cardinal Danielou):
I’m old enough to remember Westerns. And here we are, wagons drawn close, feeling our last days have come and our scalps about to be removed, when – lo and behold – the US 7th Cavalry appears over the hill. Here they are, armed not with carbines but rosaries. And we can breathe again.
Every renewal of the Church has had a renewal of religious life at its heart. It is a barometer of the general state of the Church at any given time or place.The sermon is a masterpiece, combining erudition, humour and a generous recognition of the different traditions of consecrated life. (In this respect it is great to see that in his description of the present picture of religious life in the diocese of Aberdeen, Bishop Gilbert includes the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer.) The sermon is well worth reading in full.
There is also a good article by Madeleine Teahan in the Catholic Herald: American Dominican Sisters move to Scotland.
Do say a prayer for the good sisters, not only that their work will be fruitful in the new evangelisation of Scotland but also that they will be given the grace to cope with the weather up there after moving from Nashville.
Photo credit: Scottish Catholic Observer