By Yvonne Carrigan
FORTY-one years ago the then Bishop of Townsville – now Archbishop Emeritus Leonard Faulkner – invited some men of his diocese to experience a “Cursillo” – a short course.
It was three days of living in a Christian community, prepared and presented by a team of lay people, with a priest as spiritual advisor.
Later that same year women were invited to “live” their Cursillo.
I duly attended, thinking that three days away from a young family meant time for peace and reflection.
How wrong I was – this Cursillo was a challenge – to have a close look at myself, my relationship with Christ and my interaction with those around me in all my environments.
I experienced friendship, joy, discovery of self and came away with a restlessness, that thank God, has never gone away.
I had a yearning to know Christ better, to live my life fully alive as a witness to the love of Christ that I had always taken for granted.
I experienced no magic moments, no great highs, but the sure knowledge of God’s unconditional love, shown through a group of ordinary, or should I say, extraordinary laywomen, with whom I had “lived” my Cursillo experience.
God kept calling me and the Cursillo became my primary apostolate outside of my family.
All these years later, having been fully involved through the desire to know more of this movement and its charism, I still have that yearning – to know Christ better, but more importantly to show that unconditional love through the best possible means – friendship.
That is the charism – the gift of Cursillo.
It keeps giving, and giving.
This movement, known as Cursillos in Christianity, came from Spain, on the island of Mallorca, in the 1940s, and has grown and spread to 64 other counties.
It is not an organisation, and has only a small formal structure.
People are sent out as individuals to live their Christian lives every day in the best possible way.
The base on which this stands is a tripod – one of piety (a personal relationship with God), study (learning more about the God who loves us unconditionally) and action (sharing and taking that knowledge and love to others through friendship).
The Cursillo offers a method for perseverance which one is free to follow.
I choose this method where I can share my Christian life with others, who have experienced the Cursillo.
Through it I have found strength, comfort and wonderful friendships.
My commitment has involved serving the Cursillo through teamwork, on national and international bodies, studying and writing for the movement.
This has taken me around the world – to places like Sao Paulo, Guam, Korea, Los Angeles, Austria – all to assist in spreading the message of God’s unconditional love for each person. Any talent I was given, the Lord has put to the test in this service.
My family have been through it all with love and patience, and shared in the joy I have found through my involvement with Cursillo.
For me these past years come to a climax this week here in Brisbane when Australia hosts the VII World Encounter of the OMCC – the World Body of Cursillos in Christianity.
As world president I have the privilege to welcome Cursillo brothers and sisters, my friends, from around the world to this great South Land of the Holy Spirit, to share Eucharist, prayer and fun with them for four days.
Is it like my first three days?
No – a thousand times better – for as I said, this gift keeps giving and giving.