Prayer Chats with Julian – Chat 6: Spirituality and Emotional Growth

Last month, on October 7, we celebrated the 125th Anniversary of the death of the Josephites' Co-founder, Fr Julian Tenison Woods. 

Much has been written and spoken about Julian in recent times! Through this monthly series of "Prayer-Chats" with Julian, we have had the opportunity to get to "know" the mind and heart of this extraordinary and complex man – in addition to getting to know more "about" him.  Last month, in Prayer Chat # 5, we reflected on an extremely difficult and challenging time of Julian's life. 

This month, through 'Prayer-Chat' #6, we gain insight into some of the events that shaped and influenced Julian's spiritual and emotional growth, and are invited to reflect on our own stories:  

Who and what are the significant people and events that have shaped and influenced our spirituality? 

Prayer-Chats with Julian – Chat 5

This month, on October 7, we celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the death of Fr Julian Tenison Woods, the Co-Founder of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.

Earlier this year, we started to present 'Prayer Chats with Julian', created by Mary Cresp rsj, in monthly serialised form. Last month, in Prayer Chat # 4, we learnt about, and reflected upon, Julian's expansive and fruitful 'ten years in the bush'.

Here, in  'Prayer Chat' #5,  we encounter Fr Julian, now in Adelaide – a very different scenario. Fr Julian, a deeply spiritual man, at times lacked prudence and the openness to listen to and heed the advice of others. He suffered much because of this.

What can we learn from reflecting on this extremely difficult and challenging time of Julian's life?

Celebrating the Life of Julian Tenison Woods

Sr Carmel Jones has prepared this reflection to assist us in reflecting on the life of Julian leading up to the anniversary…

Prayer Chats with Julian – Chat 4

The 125th Anniversary of the death of Fr Julian Tenison Woods, the Co-founder of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, is now only a month away.  On October 7, there will be celebrations across Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, and perhaps even further afield, to honour Julian's memory, and commemorate this significant event.

In June of this year, we started to present 'Prayer Chats with Julian', created by Mary Cresp rsj, in monthly serialised form.

We hope that you too will be inspired by Julian as you read and reflect on 'Prayer Chat' #4.  Here you will encounter the youthful Fr Julian, and share his experience of his early ministry as a priest during his 'Ten Years' in the Bush'.

 

 

 

 

Prayer Chats with Julian – Chat 3

It is now only two months until the 125th Anniversary of the death of the Josephites' 'Father Founder', Fr Julian Tenison Woods, which occurred on October 7, 1889.

Mary MacKillop, in a circular written to the Sisters soon after Julian’s death,  urged her Sisters 'to honour Julian’s memory by imitating his virtues.'  As a labour of love', Mary then wrote her biography of Julian.

Another Mary has taken up this challenge! Mary Cresp rsj is helping to 'honour Julian's memory' through her writings and reflections. She has written:  'Prayer-chats With Julian', brief though they be, are likewise “a labour of love”. While not ignoring his flaws, they celebrate Julian’s virtues.

May they enable you, the reader, to open the precious parcel he has left us a little more, so that, in prayer, you may share the life, heart and soul of this wonderful man!

In June of this year, we commenced to present 'Prayer Chats with Julian' in monthly serialised form. We hope that you too will be inspired by Julian as you read and reflect on 'Prayer Chat' Three.

Prayer Chats with Julian – Chat 2

This year marks the 125th anniversary of the death of Fr Julian Tenison Woods, on 7 October, 1889. To honour this, we are presenting, in monthly serialised form, the story of Julian's life and reflections on his spirituality.

 Author of 'Prayer Chats with Julian', Mary Cresp rsj has written:

In reflecting on the story of Julian I have used a dialogue format where the reader (indicated by “N …” and/or using bold regular font) addresses Julian, whose reply is in italics. Thus the twenty-first century engages with the nineteenth century. In doing this, I have either paraphrased the words of Julian or quoted directly from his works, thus avoiding anachronism and remaining, I hope, true to his insights while linking his faith with developments in expressing ours.

Mary MacKillop wrote her own biography of Julian, which she called Julian Tenison Woods: A Life, a project she described as a 'labour of love' . Shorthly after his death, Mary urged her Sisters to honour Julian's memory 'by imitating his virtues.' With this in mind, Mary Cresp has expressed a hope that, through her 'Prayer Chats with Julian', we might be enabled to enter more fully into his story, and thereby 'share the life, heart and soul of this wonderful man.' 

 

Prayer-Chats with Julian

An Introduction to Prayer-Chats with Julian…

Song-writer Basil Morrow named three aspects of the legacy of Julian Tenison Woods as being “education, science and imparting faith”. Underlying this legacy is a spirituality, theology and scientific knowledge that gave it impetus and dependability. So our Prayer-Chats with Julian are centred around the three elements of spirituality, theology and ecology of a man typical of Victorian Australia, yet in many ways ahead of his time.

Bishop David Walker has pointed out that Australian Catholicism was shaped and formed in the nineteenth century by three major influences: the English tradition, the Irish tradition and a spirituality influenced by movements within the French Church. In Julian Tenison Woods we see the influence of all three. But even here we cannot tie him down.

Julian was not a predictable man. As the late Sr Margaret Press rsj wrote, he was ‘an enigma, a sign of contradiction, a non-conformist, never a force to be ignored’. Yet the treasure he has left us has, until recent times, been largely unknown, wrapped up, as it were, in a parcel that needs to be opened. Research and papers by Sr Anne Player rsj, and biographies by Mary MacKillop, George O’Neil, Margaret Press, Isabel Hepburn and Carmel Doherty have made a vital contribution to the preservation of Julian’s memory. More recently, the lovely book, Symphony of Life , furthered our appreciation of his spiritual thought and love of nature.

In tracing the integration of Julian’s spirituality, theology and ecology, I have used as a framework the schema of David Ranson in his book, Across the Great Divide. Here, Ranson says that, because spirituality is linked to consciousness, it goes through the same processes as any of those that have to do with inner, conscious growth – for example, learning, faith development, moral development, emotional development. Ranson names the elements of the cycle of Spirituality as:  1. Attending, 2. Inquiring 3. Interpreting 4. Acting. This process of integration is traceable, I believe, in the life of Julian Tenison Woods.

In reflecting on the story of Julian I have used a dialogue format where the reader (indicated by “N …” and/or using bold regular font) addresses Julian, whose reply is in italics. Thus the twenty-first century engages with the nineteenth century. In doing this, I have either paraphrased the words of Julian or quoted directly from his works, thus avoiding anachronism and remaining, I hope, true to his insights while linking his faith with developments in expressing ours.

May I thank my Sisters for “trying out” the prayer sections of this work, and for their suggestions and editing of the text. Special thanks in this regard go to Josephite Sisters Gen Ryan, Marie Foale, Elizabeth Morris, Elizabeth Murphy, Margaret Press and Margaret Nicholas, and to Adoration Sisters Philippa Barker, Helen Alfrey and Yvonne Tobin.

The second edition of “Prayer-Chats” is identical in content to the first, but contains a Bibliography and Index in response to the critique of reviewer Barbara Flynn. The font used for the prayer sessions is also changed, as she advised. I thank Barbara for her suggestions.

This year, 2014, we celebrate the 125th anniversary of Julian’s death, on October 7, 1889. In a circular written soon after Julian’s death, Mary MacKillop urged her Sisters “to honour [Julian’s] memory by imitating his virtues”.

As “a labour of love”, Mary then wrote her biography of Julian. 'Prayer-chats With Julian', brief though they be, are likewise “a labour of love”. While not ignoring his flaws, they celebrate Julian’s virtues. May they enable you, the reader, to open the precious parcel he has left us a little more, so that, in prayer, you may share the life, heart and soul of this wonderful man!

Mary Cresp rsj