Two hundred 200 years ago, Pierre Bienvenu Noailles founded the Holy Family Association with the image of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Association also adopted the image of the Oak tree.
“In my dream the Holy Family appeared to me as a gigantic tree, a kind of oak with green leafy branches. On it were flowers and fruits of all seasons, and birds of every colour and from every country. Each had its own special song but at times they all merged into one voice and, in perfect harmony, seemed to sing, ‘Glory to God, glory to God alone and all through Mary’” ….
Text taken from “Memories of Martillac” – ‘The Dream’ chapter.
An Oak tree was firmly planted, which stands magnificently in the grounds of La Solitude in Martillac and has become one of the most recognisable, comforting images for the Holy Family Association worldwide.
Although the roots of the oak tree are firmly embedded, our Holy Family tree is being pruned very harshly during this pandemic. Too many of our wonderful Sisters and Lay Members have most noticeably died recently.
We have now entered the third century of our Association under the guise of this very subtle disease and were unable to have our full celebrations for our Bicentenary year in 2020.
Instead, we are being put to the test of keeping the unity of the Holy Family Association foundations firm, alive and healthy.
Remembering that the roots of any Family can sometimes become tangled, fragile and really unhealthy due to mistreatment, illness and isolation, it is important to keep in touch with All our members – more especially at this time – whilst we are unable to join together physically in our groups or regional meetings.
Nurturing the fellowship / friendships that we have grown over the years keeps us ‘grounded’ and keeps the ‘blossom’ in our hearts!
Those who are fortunate to have access to the technology for Skype, WhatsApp or Zoom meetings have the ‘treat’ of seeing each other and are great ways to keep the communication lines open!
Those who don’t have access to this technology can still be reached with a simple phone call, a ‘Thinking of You’ card, a letter, a Prayer or just stopping and giving time to someone can be a reassuring comfort during the day. We can set a specific time aside and join together in daily prayers and offerings.
This is all ‘feeding and nurturing’ Our Holy Family Tree so that the roots, trunk, branches and leaves can lead to full blossoming all year round.
The Gospel story, at the heart of Fratelli Tutti is the parable of ‘The Good Samaritan’ – which should move us to respond to our Members and anyone in need, whoever they are, wherever they come from – to act as good neighbours and to reach out to all those who we know are in need.
Margaret Ramsey, Lay Member