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Posts tagged ‘Nuns’

Monthly Meditation: September 2012

As the the 2012 presidential campaign continues, let’s find some balance! Let’s weigh the issues! Let’s be realistic! As you watch this month’s meditation, consider: What influences your choices? How can you open your heart to hear God’s voice each day? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

2012 Jubilee Celebration

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Last Saturday, more than 100 Holy Child Sisters, friends, and family members gathered to celebrate the Jubilees of 12 Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus during a special Mass and luncheon reception at St. Thomas of Villanova Parish Church in Bryn Mawr, PA. Special thanks goes out to Sister Margaret Mullin and Sister Claire Smith who coordinated and managed the event, with Sister Margaret Doyle serving as the liaison with the Society’s American Province Leadership Team. Jubilees mark significant anniversaries in the lives of sisters—it means the person has been a Sister of the Holy Child for 75, 70, 60, or 50 years. During Mass, the Jubilarians renewed their vows. (To see more photos from the event, click here.)

Combined, this year’s Jubilarians have served for close to 700 years. Their ministries have ranged from teacher to school principal to artist to African missionary to administrator and to everything in between! They have served all over the world from the east and west coasts of the U.S. to Europe and to Africa. To read bios of each of the Jubilarians, click here.

2012 SHCJ Jubilarians

75 YEARS
Theodosia (Rita) Linus, SHCJ (M. M. Theodosia)

70 YEARS
Margaret Naab, SHCJ (Sr. Margaret Alacoque)

60 YEARS
Elinor Callanan, SHCJ (Sr. Dolores Mary)
Elizabeth Fitzmaurice, SHCJ (M. Thomas Mary)
Elizabeth Loomis, SHCJ (M. Christopher Mary)
Jay McCann, SHCJ (M. John Cantius)

50 YEARS
Marlene Brownett, SHCJ (Sr. M. Magdalen)
Margaret Crowley, SHCJ (Sr. M. Mark)
Margaret Doherty, SHCJ (Sr. M. St. Thomas)
Barbara Linen, SHCJ (Sr. M. St. Kevin)
Elizabeth Muir, SHCJ (Sr. David Mary)
Ann Murray, SHCJ (Sr. Ann Catherine)

Monthly Meditation: July 2012

We don’t know what the weather is where you are, but here in the Northeast, we’re sweating it out through the dog days of summer! That got us thinking about a cooler time for this month’s meditation–Christmas! After watching, we invite you to reflect and share your thoughts below by clicking here. Here are some questions to get you started: Do you see the reminders of Christmas around you? What are they? How are you able to allow the “Light” into your life? What are the ways you can celebrate Christmas every day of the year?

Lessons Learned in the DR

By Kim Cavallero
With my flight back to the United States tomorrow, my week here in the Dominican Republic is winding to a close. It’s been quite an adventure and I am thankful to Holy Child Sisters Kathleen King, Mary Alice Minogue, and Ann-Joyce Peters, for warmly welcoming me into their community, along with the three Holy Child Volunteers, Brooke, Kristen, and Elle, who are living here for a year and teaching in the school at the Society’s mission site. I’m come a long way since arriving last week—and I’ve learned a few lessons along the way. Here’s a quick rundown of a few—some more humorous than others.

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Lesson #1 – Mosquito netting is important.
Make sure your mosquito netting is tucked in fully all around your bed and/or that you don’t trap any mosquitoes inside the net with you. Fail to do it right and you will wake up with at least 7-10 mosquito bites. Pack some hydrocortisone. (I could have used it.)

Lesson #2 – Hot water and water pressure are overrated. Compassion and humor are not.
When I first arrived last Saturday, Sister Ann-Joyce was showing me the “shower,” which essentially is a single stream of cold water running from a faucet. I’m sure she could see the horrified look on my face, but quite calmly and humorously, she just looked at me and said, “Well, it’s not going to win a prize or anything, but you know….”

A few days later, she showed me how to heat up some water so you could have some warm water with which to take a shower. She then showed me different pitchers you can use to pour the warm water over your head and said, “Everyone establishes her own system.” I took her word for it. After heating the water, I hopped in the shower. A few moments later, she yelled in, “How are you doing in there, Kim? You think you might stay a few more days?” I still wonder what she would have done if I had said, “No!” The point is I adapted and got used to it thanks to Sister Ann-Joyce’s humor and compassion! (I will say that hand sanitizer, cleansing face wipes, and dry shampoo are helpful to have here.)

Lesson #3 – Bring earplugs or a desire to dance the night (and day) away.
Roosters don’t just crow in the early morning hours. They like to crow at all times of the day and night. In addition, the people here love to play music—all the time. There is a constant, steady stream of noise: roosters, chickens, dogs, music, and people yelling. Silence is not important here. If it is to you, bring some earplugs!

Lesson #4 – Living without electricity isn’t so bad.
Where I am staying, the electricity is usually on from about 6:00-7:00 p.m. in the evening until 9:00 a.m. the next morning. In the U.S., when the electricity goes out—even for a few hours—it is a huge inconvenience for many of us. Here, it is a way of life and people just go about their day. They’re flexible and they adapt. Nonetheless, be sure to use a surge protector or risk blowing out electronic items such as your computer’s AC power source. (I’ll be buying a new one next week.)

Lesson #5 – Don’t jump to the worst conclusion. There are good people everywhere.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a very organized person (some might say in a neurotic way!), but this trip has thrown me for a loop and my organizational skills have disappeared into thin air! For example, yesterday, after doing some sight seeing in the city, we arrived home and I soon realized that my wallet was missing. I tore apart suitcases and bags—anywhere I thought it might be, but it didn’t turn up.

Within a few hours, I had canceled my credit and bank cards, assuming I had been pick-pocketed. The last place I remembered having it was in a shop where I had made a purchase. I had the receipt and asked Sister Ann-Joyce if she would be willing to call the store and ask them in Spanish if I had left my wallet there. It was a long shot, but it was my only shot.

Sister Ann-Joyce called the store this morning and sure enough they had it and were holding it for me. They explained that they didn’t have any way to contact me, which is why they hadn’t called. There are good people all over the world who do the right thing.

Homeward Bound
This week has been an adventure. It has challenged and stretched me to grow in ways I never imagined. I have seen people living in extreme poverty in Batey Lecheria and yet, they are full of gratitude for the simple gift of your presence. I arrived in fear last week, but am departing in peace tomorrow—and full of gratitude. Read Kim’s first and second blog posts.

Kim Cavallero is the Director of Communications for the Society of the Holy Child Jesus – American Province.

Holy Child Academy’s Motto “Actions Not Words” Impacts the Community

Holy Child Academy students spend time with a resident of St. Francis Country House in Darby, PA.

In 1927, the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus began Holy Child Academy (HCA) in Drexel Hill, PA. Today, 85 years later, the School continues to embody the Sisters’ motto of “Actions Not Words.” Take a look at all HCA students did during their first semester!

The school organized a host of activities that served the poor and needy, senior adults, and our furry friends! In honor of St. Francis Assisi feast day, the students asked for donated pet products for the Delaware County SPCA located in Media.  In November, Holy Child Academy Parents’ Association organized a Thanksgiving food drive for 24 families.  In December, gently worn coats were collected for the poor. Twelve bags of clothing were donated between Divine Mercy Parish in Philadelphia and the Community Action Agency of Delaware County. 

Under the direction of Holy Child Academy’s service coordinator, Ms. Anne Wood, students have been collaborating with St. Francis Country House, a skilled nursing and short term rehabilitation facility in Darby, PA. In November, five folks from St. Francis along with seven employees/volunteers spent a few hours at Holy Child Academy.  Our guests were treated to an arts and craft project, a singing performance by the Pre-Kindergarten class, and lunch with the students.  

In December, Holy Child Academy’s eighth-grade students took a short drive to St. Francis Country House for a visit with their friends. The time was spent socializing and doing a fun project. According to Ms. Wood, the students and St. Francis residents are forming a strong bond. “The visits, activities, and socialization have been a wonderful experience for both St. Francis and Holy Child. The men and women at St. Francis are lovely and gracious. They light up when we visit. For our students, I see them becoming more compassionate, respectful, and aware of the importance that elders have in our society.”  

For the Christmas season, the third- and fifth-graders decorated 60 snack bags for the Community Food Program of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Nutritional Development Services.  In late December, the older students paired with their younger “buddy” students to make Christmas cards for the patients at Delaware County Memorial Hospital.

In planning the spring service projects, the students’ openness to grow and to help others will remain a priority, and the activities will center on Holy Child Academy’s philosophy of “Actions Not Words.” Find out how you can make a difference through Holy Child programs.

Advent and Lenten Resources

By Sister Terri MacKenzie, SHCJ

Once again this year I have written material for group use during Advent and Lent. These programs are meant to help participants grow in understanding God’s presence and action is us and in our world and deepen responses to new scientific insights about creation.

Advent: Incarnational Spirituality in the Light of the New Universe Story is written for Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ), Associates, and friends. Others are welcome to use it, but will notice that it’s directed to the family of Cornelia Connelly (Foundress of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus). This material follows the Scriptures for Advent 2011. Click here to download. The SHCJ Theology Committee will provide material for our Epiphany retreat that will be distributed later. The Advent and Epiphany materials are meant to complement one another.

Lent: This year’s Lent material focuses on air. Denial of air pollution and global warming is growing each year in the U.S., and the resulting damage is hurting all of creation. This denial often results from thinking of these issues as political rather than as religious. Renewing the Face of the Earth: Lenten Reflections on Air aims to assist believers in deepening their faith-filled understanding of these matters. 

The Scriptural and metaphorical aspects of Air were a pleasure for me to explore; more challenging was understanding the history and composition of air. I was very fortunate to find a scientist who helped me understand the concepts and avoid both over-simplifying and over-confusing readers.

Starting with quotes from Scripture, material includes poetry, a summary of the Vatican’s “Report by the Working Group Commissioned by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences” on global warming, and a final prayer service.

Hoping it could be listed somewhere, I sent Air to, e.g., the Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Office in Rome, Sisters of Earth, and the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale. I am astonished by the positive responses! JPIC Rome listed all the SHCJ Advent and Lent resources as “excellent”; the Zygon Center for Religion and Science in Chicago said of Air: “It’s thoughtfully conceived, helpfully organized, and attractively illustrated, and I am moved by the blending of Christian tradition, interfaith perspectives, and scientific content.” My favorite reply came from the Justice Education Office, Archdiocese of Chicago: “I thank God for the Charism of your religious community . . . .”

 The material has eco-friendly “packaging” and can be downloaded free.

Exciting Steps Forward

Sabine Mwembo proudly shows the certificate she received upon completing a nursing assistant program.

Two years ago, after arriving in Philadelphia as a refuge from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sabine Mwembo was beginning anew. Although she had the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in nursing in her home country, her English skills were limited and she needed to be certified in nursing in the U.S. Not knowing English made it difficult, if not impossible for Sabine to become certified and find work. But soon, Sabine found Providence Center, a ministry of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus, where she began taking classes to learn English with Sister Peggy Doherty, SHCJ (Mother Mary St. Thomas).

Eventually, she advanced to the Level Three English Class at Providence Center and also enrolled in Basic Computer Literacy courses offered by Providence Center. She learned how to draft her resume, search for jobs, and explore other educational opportunities that would prepare her for her desired career of geriatric nursing. 

Just recently, Sabine visited Providence Center. The staff had not seen her for the summer semester, but with good reason. Sabine had been completing a course in a nursing assistant program. “I made an A in English,” she said, describing the prerequisite assessment to determine her eligibility for entrance to the program. She then completed 97 hours of training to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and is ready to practice in Pennsylvania! She will return to Providence Center for the fall semester to continue developing her English skills and will take advantage of the computer assistance classes to look for jobs in the area. Congratulations Sabine! (Sabine is also featured in the second half of this video.)

The Healing Power of Horses

Sr. Jay McCann (standing) and Sr. Loretta Tiernan (seated) were among the Holy Child Sisters who traveled to the Special Equestrians Center.

In addition to being beautiful and gentle creatures, horses can offer therapeutic benefits to the aging. A 2008 study by the Brazilian Revue of Geriatrics and Gerontology found that individuals between the ages of 60 and 74 who did equine-assisted activities and therapies significantly increased their balance and reduced their risk of falling and suffering a serious injury.

Earlier this month, several of the retired Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus, currently living at New Sharon in Rosemont, PA, traveled to the Special Equestrians Center in Warrington, PA, where they met and groomed several of the horses. Denise B. Bolli, the Activities Director at New Sharon, planned the trip because several of the Sisters living at New Sharon had worked with horses previously or were interested in learning more about them.

The Sisters will make another trip to the Special Equestrians Center in September. This time, some of the Sisters may ride the horses. Equine therapy, or hippotherapy as it is known, utilizes a horse’s variable, repetitive, and rhythmic movement to support those suffering from balance problems, impaired coordination, decreased mobility, poor postural control, traumatic brain injury, or stroke. It can also improve timing, coordination, and respiratory control, while helping to heal neurological systems necessary for everyday functioning. (more…)

2011 Jubilee Celebration

Sister Margaret Farrell, SHCJ (M. M. Felicitas) celebrated her 60th Jubilee.

Last Saturday, 19 Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus celebrated their Jubilees with a special Mass and luncheon reception at St. Thomas of Villanova Parish Church in Rosemont, PA. Click here to see photos from the celebration. These 19 women have served as Sisters of the Holy Child for 75, 70, 60, or 50 years.

Sister Mary Ann Buckely, SHCJ, Leader of the Society’s American Province welcomed everyone to the celebration. Mass then began with Reverend Michael Olivere presiding and Cardinal John Patrick Foley presiding in chair. Cardinal Foley was taught by Sister Elizabeth Gorvin, SHCJ (M. M. Berchmans), one of this year’s Jubilarians, at Holy Spirit School and the two have remained good friends over the years. Father Olivere attended St. Lucy’s School in Philadelphia, where the Sisters of the Holy Child taught. His meaningful homily touched on the commitment and dedication of the Jubilarians. He noted that the significance of a milestone such as this is more about saying yes to God on the days when it is most challenging, not on the days when it is easy. During Mass, the Jubilarians renewed their vows in a church overflowing with their family and friends.

Combined, this year’s Jubilarians have served for more than 1,000 years. Their ministries have ranged from teacher to school principal to college president to pastoral care worker to administrator and to everything in between! They have served all over the world from the east and west coasts of the U.S. to Chile to the Dominican Republic and even to Africa. If you are interested in reading more about the lives of our Jubilarians, be sure to join our mailing list to receive the next issue of Actions, our biannual magazine, which will feature the Sisters celebrating their 50th Jubilees. The previous issue featured the Sisters celebrating their 75th, 70th, or 60th Jubilees. Click here to read that issue.

Congratulations to all of our Jubilarians! Your dedication and commitment have made a difference to more people than we can count.

Planning for the Future

Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus and lay leaders gathered for a weekend in Stone Harbor, NJ to discuss ways to ensure the Holy Child mission remains intact for centuries to come!

The world that Cornelia Connelly, Foundress of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, lived in and experienced during her lifetime in the 1800s was vastly different from today’s world. Nonetheless, her ideals and vision endure and continue to inspire people around the globe today.

In April, the Formation Committee of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) gathered together lay leaders of several of the ministries (i.e., Providence Center, Casa Cornelia Law Center) the SHCJ have founded, as well as members of the SHCJ administrative staff (i.e., Director of Associates, Director of Communications), to reflect on Cornelia’s legacy and the Holy Child mission. As there are fewer women becoming Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus today, more lay women and men are leading works that the Sisters have founded. As such, they are responsible for the ever-important task of ensuring the Holy Child mission remains in tact.

Meeting over the course of a weekend in Stone Harbor, NJ, the group pondered questions such as: 

  • What do we mean by the legacy and charism of Cornelia Connelly?
  • What is the meaning of Cornelia’s legacy for us in the 21st Century?
  • What are we learning from our current experience of forming leaders who are partnering with the Society in continuing its mission and spirit?
  • What are the questions and needs of someone coming new into the SHCJ ambience as a leader of a sponsored ministry? 
  • What are the implications of all of this for formation in the spirit of Cornelia today?

The final morning of the weekend was given to exploring several of the ideas and needs which emerged from the group’s discussions. Specifically these ideas included developing an orientation and in-service program for lay leaders of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, developing new materials and resources, and taking stock of existing ones, and imagining a gathering of leaders of Holy Child ministries in the near future. Stay tuned!

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