Dear Sisters and Partners-in-Mission,

Greetings to everybody and I wish you all a blessed New Year.   Entering 2022, the coronavirus is still active and certainly impacts almost everything we do.  2021 saw us having to face some of the biggest challenges of our lives, and we have been forced to navigate unchartered waters.    However, I want to encourage us to view this time for the blessings it has brought us.  If we believe that God is a God of love, that He is with us in everything, then because He is here, there is an invitation for us to grow deeper in love and to love amidst all these challenges. This year continues to beckon us as 2021 did, to reach into our missionary audacity so that we may be where we need to be, among those who are suffering and vulnerable.

Certainly, one of the biggest signs of hope for me, is how well you have navigated these waters, spreading the love of Jesus to the world.  You are always finding creative responses, continuing to persevere and to be faithful of what is asked of you. I am very encouraged by that.  This newsletter covers some of the highlights of 2021 as some examples of our efforts of reaching and serving others and developing ourselves to be more effective ministers of the love of Christ.

Looking forward to 2022, I am hopeful.  We have already had two novices enter our International Novitiate in New York City, some candidates will be entering in Brazil and in Ethiopia, and three of our Sisters will be making their final vows. We are all getting prepared for our XVIth General Chapter in June and July in Rome, where we can dream together, asking ourselves how Mother Cabrini would respond in our day, and what the Sacred Heart of Jesus wants us to do. There are signs of hope in our world.  But also much suffering which shows that our world needs the Presence of Christ. We are asked to be a unifying force, bringing peace where there is polarization.

I remind us that we remain in the “Year of the Family” as the Holy Father declared, and that family takes many forms. We talk about ourselves as the Cabrini Family, so may we embrace one another as a family, being real mothers and fathers, and brothers and sisters to one another.  Mother Cabrini was certainly curious about people’s lives, about their gifts, and about their sufferings.  Are we interested in people?  Then let us co-partner with the Holy Spirit of God in breaking people’s despair and poverty, bringing them hope and new life. It starts with us being interested, and inviting them in.  The Holy Father has also reminded us that God shared our human condition to be with us as one of us, “born little and in need so that no one ever again be ashamed”, to “draw ever nearer to us, excluding no one, making us all brothers and sisters.” 

As we “roll up our sleeves” and embrace this New Year with all the vigor and energy we can muster, may we be reminded of Emmanuel, our God is with us.  Let us continue to trust Jesus and His plans for us, persevering and to continue walking, trusting, surrendering, and allowing the embrace of Jesus let us know that we are protected, both by the Sacred Heart and of Our Lady of Grace.  May we be filled with hope, and free of what binds us.  Let us respond to what the love of God offers us, and that He invites us to share with others.

Yours in the Sacred Heart,

Sr. Barbara Staley, General Superior, MSC

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