Foreword by the Headmistress
Once again, it gives me great pleasure to welcome our school magazine, this time, 77 BC; another record of a school year, with all its happenings, as well as the
thoughts and impressions of those who have lived through it.
And 1977 is such an important year for us, for the Handmaids; first we had the joy of the canonization of our Mother Foundress, St. Raphaela Mary, a joy in which we could share intimately by actually being present at the ceremony in St. Peter's.
Then on April 14th, we celebrate the centenary of the foundation of our Congregation; on April 14th, 1877, the Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo gave the first formal decree of approbation of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, then consisting of one convent in Madrid, and a handful of Sisters.
For a hundred years, the Sisters have led their lives of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament exposed, combined with their work of education in faith. Now this work has spread all over the world, as we could see at the canonization, when Sisters, pupils, friends came from far and near, to join in giving thanks to God for all his graces.
You share in our happiness, we know, and in the encouragement we drew from the words of the Holy Father during the Mass of Canonization: "The apostolate, particularly in the field of teaching, seeking the complete formation of girls, is another characteristic of the new saint's life and work. She saw this very clearly from the beginning, starting from the reality surrounding her and seeking in this way `not only the spiritual good of the Church, but social salvation and renewal'.
Her keen insight made her aware of the great hopes that can be placed in an adequate formation of girls. "What marvellous results can come from an education in piety, purity, generosity of spirit, capacity of understanding! The area of influence for good that lies within the great potentialities of woman's soul is broadened today.
More is expected from it in view of women's gradual access to professional and public functions. This very fact helps us to grasp the very great importance of this apostolate for social life.
It is necessary to enrich it with noble ideals, a generous effort for real collective betterment, clear-sighted policies, honest intentions, courage in correcting criteria accepted uncritically, respect and real assistance for the complete personal fulfilment of every human being, beginning with the underprivileged; in a work, by animating it with genuine charity, which goes beyond any purely human motivation, even the worthiest."
These words give us all fresh energies for our work in school.
And again, I must thank Miss Attfield and the magazine committee for all their hard work, and congratulate them on their success in producing 77 BC.
It has been another eventful year as can be seen from the various reports and the many articles which appear on these pages recording some of the events and activities which have taken place both in and out of school time.
As usual we have had a pleasing response to requests for material for the magazine (although we could wish for it before the 11th hour!) and I would like to stress to all those who scan the pages anxiously and in vain for the contribution they so painstakingly laboured over, that there are many pieces we would like to include, but cannot because of the question of economics. Please do not give up - you may well be successful next year!
Once again I would like to thank my committee for all their hard work and the time which they have given up so generously. Also I must say how grateful I am to those who helped with the typing, namely, in addition to those on the committee, Mrs. Canning, Amanda and Mrs. Rice and Glenda Goodfellow who, I hear, was up until the early hours one morning trying to get the last pieces finished.
We are very sorry that Father Knott has left us to take up the position of Superior at the Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, but we wish him well for the future, and are very pleased that he managed to find time to leave us with the following thought.
Answers to Prayer
"Ask, and it shall be given to you" says Our Lord. What will be given? - What we want? Or what we need? It's only too easy to become discouraged when there appears to be no answer to our prayer. And yet Our Lord assures us that our prayer is always answered. Perhaps we ought to take our thinking about prayer a little deeper.
Any delay in being granted what I am praying for helps me to ask myself how much I really want what I am asking. Is it so important that I can go on praying for it in spite of discouragement? Can I go on repeatedly bringing it into the presence of God?
God will always answer my prayer. But in His way, which is the way of wisdom and love, strengthening the bond between us. What is happening through my faithfulness to prayer is that I am testing the rightness of my wants, the things I am praying for. I am testing the sincerity of my request. Through this constant praying, my life is gradually changing; slowly, imperceptibly, like the seed in the ground, silently, hidden from view. My life is deepening in a way I could never have imagined at an earlier stage.
I find I can accept more of the reality of life. I come to see that what I want at present is not necessarily what I need for the future. In the end, all I really want is to be with God. He gives me what I need to be with Him. Forever.
"Lord, in your goodness, give us your Spirit who alone can teach us to think and do what is right; so that we, who without you cannot exist, may live in loving obedience to your will".
Peter Knott, SJ