The world that Cornelia Connelly, Foundress of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, lived in and experienced during her lifetime in the 1800s was vastly different from today’s world. Nonetheless, her ideals and vision endure and continue to inspire people around the globe today.
In April, the Formation Committee of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) gathered together lay leaders of several of the ministries (i.e., Providence Center, Casa Cornelia Law Center) the SHCJ have founded, as well as members of the SHCJ administrative staff (i.e., Director of Associates, Director of Communications), to reflect on Cornelia’s legacy and the Holy Child mission. As there are fewer women becoming Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus today, more lay women and men are leading works that the Sisters have founded. As such, they are responsible for the ever-important task of ensuring the Holy Child mission remains in tact.
Meeting over the course of a weekend in Stone Harbor, NJ, the group pondered questions such as:
- What do we mean by the legacy and charism of Cornelia Connelly?
- What is the meaning of Cornelia’s legacy for us in the 21st Century?
- What are we learning from our current experience of forming leaders who are partnering with the Society in continuing its mission and spirit?
- What are the questions and needs of someone coming new into the SHCJ ambience as a leader of a sponsored ministry?
- What are the implications of all of this for formation in the spirit of Cornelia today?
The final morning of the weekend was given to exploring several of the ideas and needs which emerged from the group’s discussions. Specifically these ideas included developing an orientation and in-service program for lay leaders of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, developing new materials and resources, and taking stock of existing ones, and imagining a gathering of leaders of Holy Child ministries in the near future. Stay tuned!