By Sarah Mac Donald - 24 October, 2013
Older members of religious orders are to be made aware of their worth and contribution to the Church and society at a national conference on ageing in religious life which will take place in December.
Organised by the Awareness Education duo of Fr Tony Byrne, CSSp, who is director of programme, and Sr Kathleen Maguire, PBVM, who is facilitator of programmes, the conference will provide insights to Religious in their later years on a relevant spirituality.
According to Sr Kathleen, the conference aims to help Religious “enjoy a greater sense of joyful gratitude for their past achievements and for their invaluable committed presence in a changing world.”
Her colleague, Fr Tony Byrne described retired and semi-retired Religious as having given “tremendous service to society and the Church.”
“Their services, commitment and contributions are not always appreciated by the institutional Church, the public and even themselves,” he said.
According to Sr Kathleen, older Religious “still have a lot to contribute by their prayer life, their presence, and their witness of fidelity and commitment to their calling. The younger generation can learn from their narratives and witness of stability.”
It is their view that older Religious need to believe that their lives of dedication have not being in vain.
“They must be helped to feel that they have left a lasting impact and a fantastic legacy by their example of service. They need to be valued and people need to be more aware of their giftedness.”
“They need a spirituality to sustain them in their retirement years. Those who care for them need to be encouraged to learn from them and to give them respect and the spiritual and psychological support to promote positive living in their golden years.”
Speakers at the conference, which takes place on the morning of Friday 6 December at the Regency Hotel in Dublin include Abbot Mark Patrick Hederman of Glenstal Abbey, clinical psychologist and author, Dr Marie Murray and Sr Kathleen Maguire and Fr Tony Byrne.