On September 11, 2021, the membership of Bernice in the Company of Toronto was solemnized during a Eucharistic celebration at Holy Rosary Church. She had transferred from the Ursulines of Prelate and renewed her commitment to God, now as a secular Ursuline. She was missioned to begin a Group in Western Canada. Click to read Bernice’s story, A New Shoot.
On this same day, the Elections and the passing of some Resolutions took place, ably facilitated by Mary-Cabrini, Federation Councillor. A new chapter in the life of the Company of Toronto has begun!
Reflections on Bernice’s Renewal of Commitment
While waiting to depart from the Pearson International Airport in Toronto this past September, Bernice went outside for fresh air and, during her short walk, saw this plant growing amidst the concrete. After reflection, I believe this photo captures the essence of what I witnessed during the week I spent with Bernice, meeting the members and attending the renewal of Bernice’s commitment to God within the Company of St. Ursula, Secular Institute of St. Angela Merici.
The women I met in Toronto are, in many ways, like you and me. They live as independent women, in their own homes, working at their jobs, paying their bills, visiting with their families and friends, and connecting with their church and the local community. However, there is another reality in their lives, one of a deep, daily commitment of focusing on God, and bringing that reality into our world in a uniquely, individual way.
Like this plant bringing a bit of life to an otherwise drab, hard space, the women of the Company of St. Ursula strive to bring the Spirit of love, truth, and goodness to our world. One would not expect the plant to grow in the crack alongside the concrete pillar, so too, the women, through their commitment to obedience, chastity, and poverty, grow faith in unexpected places and ways.
I would imagine this plant has a deep root necessary to receive the nutrients and moisture to grow. Company members also require a deep root, a deep root of spirituality. They are nourished by focusing on our Lord through prayer and a life spent discerning His will for their lives.
The plant is a sign of hope; it has grown in an unwelcoming environment and consequently, brings life, and colour, and vibrancy to the space it occupies. The women of the Company of St. Ursula bring God’s life, colour and energy to others. They are the visible presence of our invisible God.
There is one difference between the photograph of the single plant and the Company of St. Ursula. The plant is a lone survivor; however, the women in the Company are a community. They join together to support and mentor each other in a shared commitment to the charism of St. Angela Merici. That is why Bernice has connected with this group in Toronto. It is vital for her life as a consecrated woman of the Secular Institute of St. Angela Merici. She has transferred from her religious order, the Ursulines of Prelate, to the Company of St. Ursula of Toronto. She continues to respond to the Lord’s call and to live her life as a single woman consecrated to God in service to others.
Bernice’s Renewal of Commitment