On Monday 20th February Amy Micallef Eynaud RSCJ celebrates the seventy-fifth anniversary of her first vows. A native of Malta, Amy came to England when she was twenty and entered at Roehampton in the summer of 1939. After WWII began the noviciate was evacuated to Kinross in Scotland, where she made her vows. Amy, who is the province's doyenne, now lives in Duchesne House community, and shares her memories and reflection with us...
From the age of 16, during a retreat that I made whilst I was a pupil at St Julian’s Sacred Heart School in Malta, I felt that Jesus was calling me to give myself to God. This call came via the words spoken by the priest (a naval chaplain) who was directing my retreat: “The Lord asks us to give everything”. I had already begun to feel that I might have a vocation to the religious life, and these words confirmed that for me.
However, I did not act on them for a few years because my father died suddenly when I was aged 18 and for a while I felt that I needed to support my mother after this great shock to the family. So I did this and also continued to socialise in the normal way for a young woman of my age, until I finally decided, at the age of 20, that I could no longer ignore my ongoing call to the religious life.
From the very beginning, I always had the sense that I had made the right decision, and this was particularly confirmed during my second year as a Novice, which was spent at Kinross, a place of great natural beauty. I have very fond memories of my Novice Mistress, Mother Shepherd, a very wise and understanding Scottish sister who was adept at helping each Novice to understand the particular way in which God was calling her. Mother Shepherd also helped us to encounter God by contemplating the beauty of nature. And I remember her words of advice for anyone who was having problems in relating to another member of the community: “Go to the chapel and pray”.
During the retreat before my First Vows, the ground was covered with snow and I therefore resigned myself to the fact that there would be no flowers for the altar on the day of my Vows. However, on the day I was surprised and delighted to find the altar surrounded by snowdrops. I later discovered that Sister Elise Brooke had found them a few days previously, when they were beginning to bud, and had put them in a cupboard in order to bring them to bud in time for my Vows. I have never forgotten the beauty of those flowers and also the great sensitivity and kindness of Elise in thinking to pick them and care for them.
Shortly before I was due to go to Probation, Mother de Lescure visited our Province and the words that she spoke to me have also remained with me always: "Je suis sûre de vous". (I am sure of you) This for me was the final confirmation of my vocation. And I am still as sure now as I was then, that my vocation is what God wants of me ‘in all the good times and all the bad times’, and so I continue to say: “Yes, my Lord”.
We all send our prayer, congratulations and very best wishes to Amy, in gratitude for all that she is and has been for us and our mission - and for so many decades of saying YES!
Five years ago Amy celebrated her 70th anniversary in Hayes - you can read about that here...