In this edition of The Profile we look at the work of the Apostolic Sisters of St John - recent arrivals in Aberdeen.
In the footsteps of the Apostle Saint John, also known as the Beloved Disciple, the Sisters seek to bear witness in today’s world, to the Love of Jesus for the Father and for all men. (cf. Constitutions #1).
You might be wondering…who are those nuns in grey walking down the streets of Aberdeen? The Apostolic Sisters of St John were founded in 1984 in France. We seek to live of the spirit of the apostle John and help others to have this same relationship with Christ. Each one of us is called to be a beloved disciple of Christ, just like St John, and to let this love permeate every aspect of our lives and transform us.
We arrived in the Diocese of Aberdeen on the 13th of September 2019 in response to Hugh Gilbert’s invitation. Our main mission is the chaplaincy of the Universities of Aberdeen, working alongside Fr. Emmet O’Dowd, who was appointed as priest-chaplain at the beginning of this 2020-2021 academic year. Several doors have also opened for us to serve in local parishes, particularly offering faith formation to both children and adults. Sr. Rosario was also recently appointed by Bishop Hugh to serve the Filipino community here in the Diocese of Aberdeen, and is happy to begin this ministry.
Our charism has four dimensions: prayer life, fraternal life, studies, and apostolic life.
Prayer life: “Desiring to follow Jesus in His complete gift of self, the sisters feel the need to put the hidden life of Christ at the very heart of their apostolic life: a life of adoration and contemplation…” (Rule of Life #9)
At the centre of our life is our life of prayer. Our common life of prayer includes daily Eucharistic adoration, Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, the rosary, and Lectio Divina.
Fraternal life: Our prayer life bears fruit in our community life. We strive to live out Christ's commandment of love “…as I have loved you, you should also love one another” (Jn 13:34). Here in Aberdeen, the three of us come from different countries and backgrounds. Sr. Claire hails from France, Sr. Rosario from the Philippines, and I (Sr. Francesca) from the United States, with Filipino parents. Here like in each of our convents, we trust that the love of Christ and our desire to follow Him unite us together more deeply than the differences that we may have.
Studies: The goal of our life of studies is a greater understanding and love for the Word of God. For this, we study philosophy and theology according to the tradition of the Church with a focus on Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. We also consider it necessary to know and understand the current questions we all face in the world today.
Apostolic Life: Our apostolic life is the overflow of the other dimensions of our life, especially our life of prayer. St John knew himself as the beloved disciple, and this is what each Christian is called to be above and beyond anything we do. We do not have one specific mission (that is, we do not work with just one specific group of people or have one specific type of work that we do), we seek to help each person discover this personal relationship with Christ that is the foundation of our identity and mission.
Despite the setbacks that we have all faced with the pandemic, we are thankful to the Lord for showing us His Providence through the people He has allowed us to meet and serve. We look forward to meeting you in the near future!
With our prayers,
Sr. Claire, Sr. Francesca, and Sr. Rosario
01224 486 098
Sr Francesca and Sr Claire will become regular contributors to the Coracle and Crombie Burn Reader over the coming months! Watch this space.
If you like what you read here, and would like to support them in their work then you can also donate to them via paypal. Please click on the link here.