And the Angel waited…

The Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, is the primary Feast Day of Our Lady’s Missionaries. Like everything else in all of our lives, it was different this year.

March 25 also happened to be the day of our regular OLM monthly meeting. Once we got together in our community room…. we realized that it is impossible for us to follow social distancing recommendations when we are all together there. We talked about how we needed to change our normal prayers and celebrations and how to keep up communication and our community ties.

Earlier in the day I read a beautiful reflection on the Annunciation by Joan Chittister, OSB a few years ago. Her focus was on how Mary was given the freedom to accept or reject the Angel’s words. The angel waited for her response. Her words have led me to ponder the following:

Right now, all of Creation and our Creator is waiting to hear how we will respond to the COVID-19 crisis…..

Will we unite in keeping physically distant to slow down the spread of the virus?

Will we ensure that those most in need do not fall through the cracks?

Will we manage our fear and anxiety and not let it fill us with selfishness and xenophobia?

Will we allow this time of self-isolation to be a time of deep reflection on what is really important in our lives?

Will we heed the signs of healing that are being seen in the environment around us because of the slow down in human activity on Earth?

Will we choose life for all of Creation and all of humanity when it comes time to decide what our new normal will be?

Like Mary, we have the freedom to choose. May we come to understand that, like Mary, our choices can bring Jesus who is Life, Love, Peace and Justice, into our world.

Please know too that OLMs are holding all of you in prayer during these critical days.

by Christine Gebel, olm

Vernal Equinox – March, 2020

A New Day

The world goes faster, faster, faster,
Complicated, confusing, complex.
Wet’suwet’en ceremony and blockades
Rolling school strikes, pipelines and mines.

Quietly, in the distance,
A new name in the news.
Wuhan . . . never heard of it,
But eleven million people!

The world is changing, China
South Korea, Singapore, Italy,
Spain, France, Canada, slowdown,
Shut down, quiet down, time out.

A deep breath. From increasing complexity,
Speeding change, frantic rush, comes a new day.
Maybe a tipping point, a chance to stop, consider,
Feel gratitude, love, a different connection.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s a chance to transform
Into a different way to live.

David Collacutt Spring 2020

Our thanks to David Collacutt for this beautiful photo and poem/reflection. We need beauty and hope!

Transition Time Has Come!

Our Lady’s Missionaries welcomes two health workers who have been hired as part of our sponsorship agreement with Canadian Religious Stewardship.

Esmeralda Gonzales as a Care Companion and Felicitas Guiam, RPN, as our Health Care Navigator, provide health care assistance and services to our sisters in Providence Healthcare and in Presentation Manor.

We are grateful for Esmeralda and Felicitas whose skills and expertise will accompany us to new beginnings.

Women are the Change the Catholic Church Needs

Four OLMs joined about 30 others in front of St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto, Canada the afternoon of March 8, International Women’s Day.  Together, we raised our voices with women and men around the world to say that it’s time for change in our Church; time for justice and equality for women.  Spearheaded by Voices of Faith, similar events were held in Germany, Italy, Australia, Switzerland, Austria, India, Kenya, Spain, the United States, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Luxembourg, Croatia, Ireland and Pakistan!

In Toronto we focused on the positive… singing and chanting that we too are Church and we have much to share and give.  Contrary to what some might think, we attended because we love the Church, the People of God.

Sr. Christine Gebel, OLM

To learn more about the Catholic Network for Women’s Equality, go to:

http://cnwe.ca/new_cnwe/

To learn more about Voices of Faith, go to:

https://voicesoffaith.org/iwd2020

STEWARDSHIP AGREEMENT

On February 6, 2020 in our community room at Presentation Manor, representatives of Our Lady’s Missionaries (OLM) and Canadian Religious Stewardship (CRS) signed a stewardship agreement between the two organizations. Present were most OLM sisters and the majority of the members of the board of CRS.

Canadian Religious Stewardship will direct administration, human resources and financial responsibilities on behalf of Our Lady’s Missionaries. The President of the CRS Board of Directors (presently Sister Anne Lewans OSU) will be the canonical leader for Our Lady’s Missionaries.

Canadian Religious Stewardship is a public juridic person of pontifical rite, canonically and civilly incorporated. It was established specifically for the purpose of providing administrative services for religious congregations who require this assistance.

We are grateful for this support from CRS which allows us to continue to be active in community and ministry according to the health and ability of each sister and to collaborate with other religious congregations.

– Sr. Frances Brady, OLM

Chinese New Year 2020 – Round Tables of Family Time Together

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Our Lady’s Missionaries together with some of the residents of Presentation Manor were gathered to celebrate Chinese New Year on January 25th, Saturday which marked the first day of the Lunar New Year, also known in China as Spring Festival.  

This popular celebration is one of Sister Lucy’s highlights of the year “Chinese New Year is celebrated for sixteen days, it is about relationships where we go and visit families and relatives to spend time together”, she said. Big families, including several generations, sit at round tables and enjoy the food and time together. They often travel long distances to make this family event.

For this reason millions of people work hard to be with family at this time. Since China is experiencing a coronavirus outbreak, authorities in Beijing have canceled all large-scale Lunar New Year celebrations, including traditional fairs and celebrations around temples.

This is a huge disappointment for so many who could not visit their families this year, even as they recognize that safety comes first.

Journalist, Julia Hollingsworth, of CNN wrote in a January 24, 2020 article that a poster was seen in Wuhan: “Do you guys understand the pain of people in Wuhan?” This aptly shows the enormity of the situation.

This year’s Chinese Spring Festival challenge us all to walk with those who suffer, and be more attentive and caring by recognizing those who are poor and secluded in affected regions around the globe.

By Sr. Lorie Nuñez, OLM