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Reading the recent insights shared by Pope Francis at his Wednesday Audience on August 19th, where he reminds us that we must always keep in mind the “preferential option for the poor.” He said: “This is not a political, ideological, or partisan option” … rather, “the preferential option for the poor is at the centre of the Gospel.” 

He goes on to say that this preference for the poor is rooted in the virtues of faith, hope and love. Going beyond the bare necessities, “it implies walking together, allowing ourselves be evangelised by [the poor], who know the suffering Christ well, letting ourselves be ‘infected’ by their experience of salvation, their wisdom, and creativity.”  See HERE

I was following this content on social media and reflecting on the various ways this was shared and recounted, realising that Pope Francis was sharing a vital pointer on what it is to live as an authentic Christian today amidst the COVID-19 landscape that challenges every aspect of our being.

Pointing to Nano’s legacy

In the opening chapter of her book: ‘Fire on the Earth’*, Sr. Raphael Consedine, pbvm wrote:

“The gift of human life is itself a call – a call to live according to the spirit.  From times beyond history, from those distant eras which Australia’s first inhabitants call the Dreamtime, men and women have reflected on the experience and mystery of life itself.  They have given expression in countless ways to their understandings, their dreams, their longings, their fears, their visions and ideals – to all things of the spirit”.

She continued:

“We readily understand the meaning of spirituality when we see it lived. Nano Nagle, founding the Presentation Congregation in 1775 in Cork, did not begin by theorising about spirituality.   She began by paying attention to her world and the needs of her people. In the light of her Catholic faith, she experienced this reality as the call of the Spirit of God acting on her own spirit, awaiting her response.  

So, over a period of years, she completely changed her way of living, acting, relating, in order to be true to her heart’s call”.

Nano Nagle allowed herself to be disturbed by what was going on in her society.

“It was her whole approach to life which sparked off an answering fire in the hearts of her first companions, so that even after her death her vision and values still had power to inspire them”.

Raphael Consedine goes on to say that the universal mystery of the Spirit of God is always at work in human hearts, leading men and women of all cultures and religions to live according to their perceptions of goodness and truth.

“In doing so they resist the mystery of evil also at work in the world, and act in the unfolding history of their own times to bring about a more truly human world”.

We are called too, to immerse ourselves in the lives of those around us and by being aware of the Spirit within, help the other person to discover the Spirit at work in them.

See: ‘Nano Alive’ – continuing to Sing her Song


Note: *From: ‘Fire on the Earth: Reflections on Apostolic Spirituality in our Presentation Tradition’ – Raphael Consedine, pbvm (1988).


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