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Posts tagged ‘Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus’

Exploring Our Roots

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As the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) continue to mark the 150th Anniversary of their arrival in the U.S. this year, several Sisters journeyed to Towanda, PA to explore the area where the first Sisters to come to America settled in August 1862 and began two schools. Jeanne Adams, SHCJ (M. John Bosco), who lived in Towanda from 2004-2007, served as the group’s tour guide.

Unique Stories
Sister Jeanne pointed out where C.L. Ward’s house had been and the Riverside Cemetery where he and the members of the Weston family are buried. Mr. Ward was the land agent for the Duchess of Leeds, who provided land to Cornelia Connelly, the Foundress of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, in Towanda. The Weston family’s connection to the Society is quite fascinating.

The SHCJ know that Margaret Christian was a postulant or volunteer teacher (records are unclear) who had trained as a teacher at St. Leonard’s-on-Sea in England, which the SHCJ founded and ran. Ms. Christian came to America with the second group of Holy Child Sisters in the summer of 1863. Dr. Henry Weston came to the Sisters’ school in Towanda to help some of the Sisters build a stage for a play. As Margaret Christian, who was teaching at the school, and Dr. Weston got to know each other they fell in love and eventually, married.

The couple moved to Philadelphia and had six children. By the time the couple’s daughters were entering high school, the Sisters of the Holy Child had opened Holy Child Academy in Sharon Hill, PA, which the Weston’s daughters all attended. Upon graduating from the school, the couple’s youngest daughter, Lucy Ignatia Weston, entered the Society of the Holy Child and became a Holy Child Sister. She took the religious name of Mother Mary Magdalen.

Fascinating Sights
Sister Jeanne also led the group to the site of the first convent, now gone, where the Sisters remembered the icy winters which the first Sisters were unprepared to face. The visiting SHCJ were experiencing a steamy Towanda summer, and they wondered how those Sisters managed with their heavy woolen habits.

Some other sites visited during the Sisters’ journey to Towanda included:

  • Weston Farm, now owed by Doris and Bill Madill, who are related to Mother Mary Magdalen Weston.
  • Dushore where the first American Holy Child Sister, Sister Joseph Thall, SHCJ, lived.
  • Standing Stone Cemetery where the parents of Sister Hilda Lynch, SHCJ, another vocation from Towanda, are buried.
  • Historical Society Museum in Towanda where Henry Farley, present day archivist, showed the Sisters treasures, among them, a doll dressed as a Holy Child Sister.
  • The house where Mother St. Michael Dunn, another vocation from Towanda, was born.

All these sites were of great interest but the best part of the trip was getting to know the generous people who hosted the Sisters:

  • Ronnie and John Moulthrop (Ronnie baked five coffee cakes and three cakes and hosted eight sisters for two tours)
  • Sandy Kasenga, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
  • Jackie and Bob Pyznar
  • Gerry Smith
  • Sheila and Edwin Kraus
  • Dan and Sylvia Martin
  • Bill and Doris Madill
  • Father Edward Michelini, the pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Church, who gave the Sisters the church hall to use as their home base during their visit.
  • School principal Kathy DeWan helped in many hidden ways such as by preparing the Wednesday buffet and helping Sister Jeanne do the shopping.

The Sisters and many of their hosts also enjoyed dinner at the Weigh Station Café, which overlooks the Susquehanna River. It was indeed a trip to savor the past and to appreciate the kindness of the current citizens of Towanda and the surrounding areas of Sayre, Wysox, Ulster, and Burlington.

The visitors thanked God for the first six sisters who came to American. They were also grateful to Sister Jeanne Adams for her knowledge of the area and for the hospitality of her many friends in the Towanda area.

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?

Hopes Comes Alive!

By Kim Cavallero

Last night, I had the privilege of attending the 10th Anniversary celebration of Hope Partnership for Education, an educational center founded by the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus and the Sisters of Mercy in North Philadelphia. Hope is a middle school serving fifth through eighth graders, as well as the families of the students.

I have worked for the Society of the Holy Child (SHCJ) for the past 10 years. When I began with the SHCJ in 2002, Hope was just a dream. Now, it’s a reality. It’s been amazing to watch the transformation—not only in the school becoming a reality (though funding is still greatly needed for the school to have a building of its own), but also in the students who have had the benefit of attending Hope Partnership.

One of those students is Tyrik Harris, a seventh-grader. Last year, I had the privilege of interviewing Tyrik and his grandmother, Elaine Selby, for a video we created for our Annual Holy Child Awards Dinner Event. At the time, Tyrik shared with me that he went to the local public school in his neighborhood until fifth grade. He told me it wasn’t a good school—there were bullies, food fights, and “writings on the wall—mean things.” His grandmother shared that Tyrik’s behavior was worsening in the public school and she feared he would hurt himself or someone else. She learned about Hope and was able to get Tyrik enrolled. Today, the staff at Hope reports that Tyrik is one of the most well-behaved children there.

Tyrik’s story inspired me last year. But I beamed with pride last night at Hope’s event when I saw him, along with several of his classmates, perform an incredible drumming presentation, that had the more than 300 attendees at the event on their feet! (Please excuse the video quality. Seeing the talent of the students, I quickly shot a video with my iPhone camera!)


In addition, Mayor Michael Nutter stopped by the event last evening, offering his congratulations to all who have made Hope Partnership a reality. He shared that education is the most important gift we can give to our young people today, noting that it is the way out of poverty. At the event, Rose Gray was honored with the Igniting Hope Award and Karen Rowley was honored with the Embracing Hope Award. Both women have been integral to Hope’s success and powerful advocates for education and its power.

Hope is changing lives, but they need our support to do it. You can make a donation online through our website and designate that your gift is for Hope.

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

Take A Break & Make Space

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It seems everyone is stressed these days. One of the most stressful times in the life of today’s college student is exam week. This prompted Sister Anita Quigley, SHCJ, Vocation Director for the American Province of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, to create and build a new program entitled, “Take a Break, Make Space” with Sister Florence Enechuku, MSHR, Vocation Director for the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary.

Last Thursday, Sister Anita and Sister Florence launched their program on the Rosemont College Campus in Rosemont, PA. “We wanted to give students a space to take a breath between their exams, relax, and let go of all the stress. Even taking just 10 minutes to let go of one exam and move into the next can make a world of difference. Plus, when we make that space, we often feel God’s presence, which can be very calming,” explained Sister Anita.

From 9:30-5:30, the Sisters had a room in the Rosemont College Campus Ministry Center. Those who stopped by were treated to listening to soothing music, watching a video of relaxing images, having conversation, and/or enjoying foods and drinks that often help relieve stress such as water, juice, chocolate, and trail mix. People relax in different ways, so it was important to have different options available.

Eighteen people stopped by throughout the day. Several returned more than once. “The whole purpose of this was to help the students breathe, relax, and let go their stress to more clearly focus on the present and be in the moment,” said Sister Anita.

The program was so successful that Sister Anita and Sister Florence will be returning to the College to run the program again on Heritage Day, as well as during mid-term and final exam week.

Fourth Annual Holy Child Awards Dinner: Celebrating Where It All Began!

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Last Thursday, more than 200 people gathered for the Fourth Annual Holy Child Awards Dinner at Bridgewaters in New York, NY. The evening began with an inspiring video that highlighted some of those who embody Holy Child spirit in their lives.

Sister Mary Ann Buckley, Leader of the Society’s American Province, thanked the many members of the laity who have partnered with the Sisters of the Holy Child, while touching on the 150th Anniversary of the SHCJ in America, stating, “It is significant that we recognize our 2012 Award recipients in New York, as the City holds a special place in the history of the Society of the Holy Child. One hundred fifty years ago, six pioneering Sisters landed in the Port of New York. Their arrival began a new chapter in our history as an international congregation. These young women left their familiar lives in England behind to lead the Holy Child mission in the Americas. They demonstrated a fire, spirit, and commitment that was essential to the Society’s growth. These characteristics live on in the Society and are embraced and embodied by individuals like Kathleen and John, who confront the human condition with a strong faith and a passion for serving God.”

Next, Sarah Coraizaca ’14 and Chelsey Giraldo ’12, students at the Cornelia Connelly Center for Education in New York, NY, gave the evening’s invocation. Special tribute was paid to Connie Bush, who passed away earlier this year and had served as Head of the Cornelia Connelly Center for many years.

Faith in Action Honoree
Sister Mary Ann then invited Sister Terri MacKenzie, SHCJ and Sister Roey McSorley, SHCJ to the stage to introduce Faith in Action Honoree Kathleen DiChiara. Mrs. DiChiara began the Community FoodBank of New Jersey in 1982. Today, the organization feeds close to a million people annually. Mrs. DiChiara’s children both attended the Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child, where she was a member of the Mothers’ Auxiliary.

Holy Child Spirit Honree
After dinner Sister Jean Marie O’Meara, introduced Holy Child Spirit Honoree John D. Feerick. Mr. Feerick was Dean of the Fordham University School of Law for 20 years, as well as being the Founder and Director of the Feerick Center for Social Justice at Fordham University, which the University established in 2006.The Holy Child community was thrilled to honor Mrs. DiChiara and Mr. Feerick, who embody the Holy Child mission in their lives and work. To see photos from the event taken by the talented Michael Leslie, click here. You can also watch a recorded version of the live video stream from the evening. In 2013, the Fifth Annual Holy Child Awards Dinner will be held in Pennsylvania. Stay tuned for all the details.

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.

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