Opening of the 150th Jubilee Year
September 17, 2020

Yvette Arnold, RGS- Reflection

Good morning to each one of you! The Sisters are so blessed to be surrounded by so many of you who have been part of our lives over these past years. Whether your connection has been for 50 years or 5 days, we thank you for the varied ways in which you enrich our lives and support our ministry. We have come to know you as friend and collaborator in our Good Shepherd family.

As we officially open our 150th Jubilee Year, we are indeed "surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses" -- All of those truly faith-filled, holy men and women who gave so selflessly and generously of their lives to the Good Shepherd. In a particular way, we recall the lay women who perservered for several years in the early 1850's, begging the Archbishop of New York for the presence of Good Shepherd Sisters. These women: Mrs. George Ripley, a convert, Mrs. Foote, Mrs. Blatchford, Mrs. Sayers, Miss Scott, Miss O'Reilly, and Miss Foster engaged in outreach to the girls and women in the prisons of New York City. New immigrants on foreign soil, they had become victims of their circumstances. Having known of the work of the Good Shepherd Sisters in other parts of the "New World", Mrs. Ripley and her companions readily recognized the need for this Good Shepherd mission in New York City.

Finally, in 1857, the Archbishop of New York gave his permission and St. Mary Euphrasia from Angers immediately gave her blessing upon the establishment of this new foundation in New York City, thanks to this deeply committed small group of women! Mary Euphrasia sent 4 sisters of different cultures to begin the new mission: Sister Mary Boniface, from Philadelphia; Sr. Mary Syncletica, from Germany and professed in Angers; Sr. Mary Augustine, professed in Montreal; and Sr. Mary Philip, a novice from Philadelphia. Today we name and honor these women specially. It is vital to recognize and call people by their name because each one of us has been called by God to share in some way in God's service to his people. Also, we owe a debt of gratitude to so many other women and men over these past 150 years who have journeyed with us and the thousands of young people and families in whose lives we have been privileged to walk and be of service.

Jubilee is a time to remember. We remember that our roots are embedded in multiculturalism, ecumenism, and collaboration and partnership with groups of men and women. The Good Shepeherd mission crosses all boundaries so that its' mission of reaching out to God's people may be accomplished. Jubilee is a time to remember God's vision for his people - as Leviticus 25 reminds us: "You shall forgive debts, letting forgiveness in; you shall free captives and proclaim liberty; you shall find out what belongs to whom and give it back." We remember that Jubilee is a call to transformation - transformation of each one of us and transformation of our society so that God's vision and dream for his people may come to fruition. Today, how shall we respond together to the cries of God's people, to the needs of our world? The mission of the Good Shepherd is as urgent today as it was 150 years ago when we first came to establish the Province of New York, which flourished and is now located in the states of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

In closing, Jubilee is a time to celebrate! We celebrate God's faithful and constant love shown to us over the years. We celebrate each one of you! Your relationship and association with us, your journey with us, has influenced and shaped who we are as Good Shepherd. Let us rejoice and celebrate together, for in the words of St. Mary Euphrasia, "We are indeed the children of miracles!" Jubilate, Deo!

Top | Home | Contact Us