by SUE SECONI
It was with a deep sense of joy that Adrienne Gallie received the emblem and constitutions of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart from congregational leader Sr Monica Cavanagh,
RSJ, when she celebrated her first profession in Sydney on Saturday January 10.
The milestone, at St Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel was the first profession in Australasia since Pope Francis opened this Year of Consecrated Life in Advent last year, and the first time the specially commissioned song for this occasion, called Wake the World with Dawning Joy, was sung.
Born and raised in Wanganui, Adrienne (formerly Smith) returned in 1992 from Australia with her preschoolers Liam and Jack, to be near her family after her husband, Sean, was tragically killed.
Being a fulltime mum, those years simultaneously provided for her the opportunity to take part in retreat and workshop days and personal development courses at the Josephite Retreat Centre, where Mrs Gallie eventually became the manager.
The years bought her into close association with the Josephite Sisters, who inspired her by their wisdom, friendship and hospitality.
“The Josephite Retreat Centre became the perfect environment to nourish a developing hunger
to explore my spiritual life and, as time passed, [I] recognised I was digging a deeper well into my ownspiritual tradition,” she said.
Following a pilgrim experience in tracing the footsteps of the founders St Mary MacKillop and Fr Julian Tenison Woods, and her own resonance with their charism, Mrs Gallie sought to join their community.
Her sons by now were independent adults.
In June 2012, she was welcomed into Te Hikoi Emaio, the Emmaus Journey (Luke 24:13-35), which is a spiritual “marker” on the pathway towards final profession. Sr Anne Burke, RSJ, was assigned as her mentor and was a companion throughout.
“I immersed myself in Josephite spirituality, customs, deepened my appreciation of Scripture and studied contemporary documents on vowed religious life. The journey has not been without its anxieties and struggles, but the overriding feeling has been one of deep inner joy and confidence that I am on the right path. I feel at home,” she said.
“Where in a previous era it was mainly young women and men entering religious life, these new pathways open up the possibility to many people in different stages and ages of life [of] being called to live as prophetic presences in the world,” she said.
First profession ends her Emmaus Journey. Now Sr Adrienne Gallie, RSJ, she begins what is called the “Widen the Space of Your Tent” (Isaiah 54), and has been missioned to live in community in Auckland and carry out her ministry in conjunction with clinical pastoral education training.