A Tribute to Sr. Mona Kelly, OLM

Mona Kelly! We, the community of Escuta – Espaço Cultural Frei Tito de Alencar, will see you in Heaven, you have lived life to the fullest in our midst on Earth, our Common Home especially in Planalto do Pici, Fortaleza.

We witnessed your commitment to fight for liberation, peace, and justice by accompanying the poor and the marginalized denied their human rights.  You were a warrior by bringing together homeless people to be courageous to preserve and defend the right to housing before the state’s power.

At her invitation I, Leonardo Sampaio and Lúcia Vasconcelos in 1990 met  with a group of people at the church (Igreja da Penha) in Bela Vista, where the sisters of Our Lady’s Missionaries lived. We discussed the occupation of the land of the abandoned American Airforce Base in Bairro Pici. The initiative to occupy the land was strengthened, and soon after, you stepped on that space with a hoe in your hand and stuck it in the land, the land to call home that was longed for by many people to live, they were poor who’d been unprotected from the abusive powers. That very moment we see you as one of us not an outsider nor a foreigner, but a land dweller with a humanitarian spirit ingrained with the faith of Christ the Deliverer, making her mission present the oppressed and building the Kingdom of God here on Earth, the Kingdom of justice, equality, equity, love and fraternity.

Mona, in her earthly passage, testified to her commitment, leaving her legacy to be followed, which is why we are sure of her presence in the infinity of the Universe with the Sacred Deities.

Our gratitude to her and her congregation.

Sister Mona present, yesterday, today and forever!

Coordenação do Escuta 11/01/2021. (Translated from the original Portuguese)

Moving Forward Together to 2021

Along with the other residents of Presentation Manor and Providence Healthcare we Sisters of Our Lady’s Missionaries are preparing for the New Year much as we celebrated Christmas. While missing the usual visits with family and friends, we are immensely grateful for the warm and caring communities in which we live assisted by kind and attentive staff members.

Unable to have Mass in our Presentation Manor chapel, our celebrations of this liturgical season were centered around a variety of smaller gatherings and the TV or internet. This surely did not lessen, and possibly increased, the fervour of our prayers for one another and for our world.

Some of the blessings we give thanks for are different from the ones we usually express when looking back on a previous year. They may also lead us to more faithfully keeping our “New Year’s resolutions” – which will also, perhaps, be different from other years.

Whatever we give thanks for or resolve for the future, my heartfelt hopes and prayers are those shared by many. May we move forward together with care and compassion for all people and with respect and reverence for the created world that gives and supports life.

Happy New Year All!

Frances Brady, OLM

God Waiting for Us

As part of a series of Advent Reflections held at Presentation Manor, on December 8th our very own Sr. Christine Gebel, OLM guided us in a reflection on the Second Sunday of Advent.

Focusing on the message of the Good News for ourselves and our world, we spent some time savouring God’s presence and love for us so that we in turn, may be bearers of God’s love, peace and joy during this time of so much anxiety and frustration.

Here is a link to the video:

Remembering and Emulating

The Annual General Meeting of Becoming Neighbours was held via Zoom this past week.  Once again the memory of Sr. Margaret Myatt CSJ was honoured with the presentation of the Margaret Myatt Award.  With perseverance and concern for the marginalized, Margaret called together the leaders of religious congregations in the Archdiocese of Toronto in 2003 to explore how we could collaborate together in a common ministry.  Collaboration was a deeply held and lived value for Margaret and out of her ability to bring others together, Becoming Neighbours, a program welcoming refugees and immigrants, was birthed. 

Our Lady’s Missionaries is excited to share that the Margaret Myatt Award was presented to our own Sr. Frances Brady this year!

Margaret Myatt Award

Presented to FRANCES BRADY, OLM

and all the Sisters of Our Lady’s Missionaries

In gratitude for your unwavering

compassionate ministry with refugees

Becoming Neighbours 2020

Frances has been part of Becoming Neighbours in some way since the very beginning and has successfully encouraged many of us to participate as well.  Despite the fact that Frances is currently the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Becoming Neighbours, she was unaware that she was to be the recipient.  The rest of OLMs were given a heads up and were able to join the Zoom meeting in time to watch as Frances realized that she was presenting the award to herself!

May we all continue to honour the memory of Margaret Myatt by emulating her perseverance, concern for the marginalized, and collaboration.

Sr. Christine Gebel, OLM

Co-Creators of a Just Recovery

At some point this year, as we began to realize the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic would affect our entire world, we began to hear the plea… We cannot go back to normal. Normal was part of the problem that got us here!

And so, on November 5’th JEM (Joint Ecological Ministry) in conjunction with CRC (Canadian Religious Conference) hosted a webinar entitled “Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in the Context of a Just Recovery.”

Dr. Niigaan Sinclair gave us an informative, challenging and hopeful presentation. If you missed it, don’t despair! Dr. Sinclair graciously agreed to having his presentation recorded and you can see it here:

Fr. Patrick Kelly, SFM

September 4, 1933 – September 29, 2020

Pat Kelly was missioned to the Philippines in 1959.  He was sent to Guyana in 1996, and returned to the Philippines in 2000.  In his heart he had never left the Philippines.  His love for the people and passion for justice held strong until his last days.

OLMs, especially those who also lived and worked in the Philippines, treasured his friendship.

With tears and laughter, and many stories, Our Lady’s Missionaries joined Scarboro Missions for a memorial Mass and to accompany Pat to his final resting place.

Fittingly, he who rallied the people to fast and fight for the forest was laid to rest underneath a beautiful tree.

Pat lived large.  Whatever he did, he did with total abandon.  May we too remember to embrace all that comes our way with a passion and love that befits a disciple of Jesus who “came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”   Jn 10:10b

By Sr. Christine Gebel, OLM

To read Fr. Pat’s Obituary, please click here:

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/thestar/obituary.aspx?n=sfm-patrick-john-kelly&pid=196888751  )

OLM ASSEMBLY

On September 24, 2020 all of our sisters living at Presentation Manor were able to gather for an assembly.

In a large lounge and wearing masks we began the day with a video presentation by Cynthia Bourgeault on “Being” and some shared reflection. The rest of the morning was spent discussing reports from the OLM committees that help to support our sisters and our community life.

After a break for Mass and lunch, the afternoon focused on the many activities within Presentation Manor and outside in which individual sisters are involved. The resulting conversation presented an image of a vibrant community here at Presentation Manor to which OLM sisters contribute and in which we enjoy participating.

By Sr. Frances Brady, OLM

Links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ALAgUlzxX0

Hiroshima Nagasaki

August 6th and 9th, the anniversaries of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively, have for many years been occasions for remembering those horrifying events and strengthening our resolve to assure that such weapons are never used again.

In a world where nuclear weapons are still available the 75th anniversary of the nuclear bombings took on a special significance among groups working for peace and in the many events organized in remembrance.

The need to organize online rather than in person due to the threat of the COVID virus did not lessen the resolve of the many organizers and participants. Among the online events were one organized by the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and one (attended by a number of sisters of Our Lady’s Missionaries) sponsored by the Hiroshima Nagasaki Day Coalition (Toronto). The message was a strong call to everyone to do what we can to bring about the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

A specific goal is to have all nuclear armed nations become a party to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which was adopted by the UN in 2017. Canada has not yet signed this treaty. Prime Minister Trudeau and the Canadian government are being urged not only to sign the treaty but to take a leadership role on nuclear disarmament.

Setsuko Thurlow, who at the age of 13 was a victim of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, spoke at both events. Her message was a passionate plea for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. She expressed gratitude for the progress that has been made and for all those who are committed to continuing their efforts until this goal is achieved.

Sr. Frances Brady, OLM

Please see links to sign the petition:

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/75th-anniversary-of-hiroshima-nagasaki-canada-must-sign-the-treaty-on-the-prohibition-of-nuclear-weapons-2?clear_id=true

In Solidarity

Our Lady’s Missionaries stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and all anti-Black Racism movements. OLMs who lived and worked in Nigeria have expressed their solidarity in a particularly personal way.

Sr. Rosemary Williamson:

Colonization in Nigeria was founded on racism and the assumption that Black people were inferior to white Europeans or at worst sub-human. While the colonizers were busy exploiting both the people and the resources they also tried to destroy the vibrant culture which had existed before their arrival. As time passed some tribes were given opportunities for education and training to meet some of the needs of the structures set up for trading and governance.

Since Independence, this favoritism continues to create deep divisions between the north and the south of the country. Tribalism remains a source of violence and is exacerbated by the struggle for land.

Racism is evident in the attitudes of the World Bank and other International organizations and multi-nationals which continue to exploit the resources while failing to recognize the wisdom and gifts of the Africans.

We were in Nigeria when Barak Obama was elected president of the United States and the joy and pride of the people was incredible. The solidarity expressed in Nigeria with the Blacks of the United States now in the movement Black Lives Matter is rooted in their own history.

While the focus now may be on the United States the response from other countries reveals how racism exists world wide. This is an opportunity to address the insidious roots of racism and begin to establish a new world order based on our shared humanity.

Sr. Gwen Legault:

Black Lives Matter – All Black Lives. When I was assigned to live and work in Nigeria in 1974 I discovered that deaf children were excluded from getting an education. I thank God that I had already studied to be a teacher of the deaf and had teaching experience in Mexico, and so was able to realize the challenge to open a school for the deaf in Vadeikaya, Benue State.

It was the Feast of St. Francis De Sales, January 24, in 1975 when the ribbon was cut at a humble round hut with wooden shutters to welcome in the light, so essential for the deaf to read signs or gestures. Six children enrolled.

In time that tiny seed grew to what we find today on the outskirts of Vandeikya. To read more see Building Bridges, Weaving Hope in the Summer 2004 edition of the Scarboro Missions Magazine.