Reflection: The Season of Autumn

by Fr. Kevin Canty, CM (National Director), published in AMM Bulletin Autumn 2024

I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity of spending two years –1984-5 in Boston in the US.  It was good to have had the opportunity of experiencing the seasons of the year in the northern hemisphere, especially Autumn. And I remember how a group of us travelled north into the state of Maine, where the Autumn colours were in a grand display. In the back yard of our house here in Ashfield, we have a beautiful tree that provides something of the Autumn colours that we can enjoy in parts of Australia. I have taken photos of the tree in each season. I believe the Blue Mountains are presently well worth visiting.  I remember a Spiritual Director’s Conference I attended in Hobart a few years ago.  Someone from the Tasmanian group, who lead the prayers and liturgies each day, provided in our opening prayer on the first day, a reflection entitled Listening to Autumn, from a book “The Circle of Life”. I found it an excellent reflection and was struck by the following few lines.

I am listening to the song of transformation, to the wisdom of the season, to the losses and the grieving, to the turning loose and letting go. I am listening to the surrender of autumn.

from “The Circle of Life” by Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wierderkeh
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AMM Sydney celebrates Flores de Mayo

The month of May is traditionally dedicated to Our Lady and began from as early as the 13th century. In the Northern Hemisphere, May is considered a season of growth flourishing, and renewal of nature which is closely connected to the Incarnation (when Mary gave her “yes” to God and birthed our Lord Jesus Christ into the world). This devotion became even more popular in the 1700s, among students in the Jesuit Order and when it was celebrated in the Gesu Church in Rome spreading to the wider church. Interestingly, the Flores De Mayo devotion was borne out of this in Italy among the Jesuit Orders to “counteract immorality and infidelity” among its students and spread to the other churches in the Latin Rite. Many Popes have also strongly advocated and fostered devotion to Our Lady in the church (especially from the 19th century onwards): Pope Pius IX ‘s declaring the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854, Pope Pius XII in his encyclical on the Sacred Liturgy Mediator Dei in 1947, and Pope Paul VI, in his encyclical Mense Maio in 1965. It was in this time, around 1854, that the devotion became an integral part of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, during the Spanish colonization. 

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