Thanksgiving

DSCN3587

“The root of joy is gratefulness….It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”  This quote from David Steindl-Rast reminds me of a little boy in Nigeria who for me embodies this.  It was midafternoon when the sun is most intense and this boy was carrying a massive load of firewood on his head.  At the same time, he was merrily pushing an old bicycle tire frame with a forked stick seemingly oblivious to the heat or the load he was carrying!  We have much to learn from others and their simple gratitude for the gift of life.  Whenever asked to pray Nigerians almost always began by thanking God for life and being able to rise on that morning.

DSCN3567In Canada, most of us have much to be grateful for but we too have our street people, the homeless and single mothers struggling to provide for their children.  There are also many newcomers many of whom have fled violence or areas suffering from natural disasters caused by climate change.  How do we welcome them?  Do we hold our politicians accountable for their policies and do we advocate for more subsidized and low-cost housing?  Are we becoming informed about the candidates running for office in our upcoming local elections?  These are practical ways we can express our gratitude and take responsibility for sharing the blessings we have received.  There are many ways we can volunteer: soup kitchens, drop-in centers, food banks, visiting seniors, teaching English to newcomers and many more.

May our thanksgiving reach beyond one day a year to embrace a whole way of living in which we realize that all is a gift.

“Gratefulness is the inner gesture of giving meaning to our life by receiving life as a gift.”  David Steindl-Rast

-Sr. Rosemary Williamson, OLM

 

Celebrating Moon Cake Festival

DSCN3494

On September 24, 2018, OLMs gathered to celebrate the Moon Cake Festival hosted by Sr. Lucy Lee and her brother, Joseph, at Leander house. This Mid-Autumn Festival is a  special time which honors the annual harvest in conjunction with lunar cycles.

moncakeMooncake is a sweet, dense pastry, filled with a delicious red bean, sesame or lotus seed paste, and topped with an intricate pattern which symbolizes good-luck sentiments such as ‘longevity’ or ‘harmony’. 

Like many Chinese customs, the origins of the mooncake lie in ancient times.  In this case, a time of social and political triumph – the overthrow of the Mongol dynasty. After many attempts to invade China, the Mongols succeeded in the 13th Century, with Kublai Khan establishing the Yuan dynasty. It was an oppressive regime that saw the Chinese people ruled closely by Mongolian guards outside all their homes. Families were even expected to give the guards food and wine. 

In other words, the story behind mooncake is about a successful Chinese rebellion which coincided with the mid-autumn festival. The Chinese distributed a pastry to each resident as a disguised blessing for the longevity of the Mongol emperor.  Within each cake was a piece of paper on which was written, “Kill the Mongols on the 15th day of the eighth month”.  Since the Mongols did not care to eat this pastry, the planned rebellion succeeded and the Mongols were overthrown.

DSCN3486
Sr. Lucy and her brother, Joseph explain the mechanics of the game as the OLM sisters listen.

-Sr. Lorie Nuñez, OLM

 

Autumn Equinox

 

20161024_165624

Hope

Like the mythical summers of youth,

Unending hot days and warm nights,

Sun caressing the trees and the flowers,

The lake calm and warm and attracting.

Tomatoes and beans, lettuce, zucchini

The garden is green and productive.

Weather’s been like that the last two months

Unnaturally warm and inviting.

Grass, trees and ferns change to oil and to gas,

We’re coasting on summers long past,

Coal mines, and cars, trains, aeroplanes

Barbecues, hot tubs, street lighting.

So many changes, so many more coming,

More heat and more storms and more floods.

Our anchors are family, friends and relations,

Kindness, and courage, and wisdom.

Dave Collacutt
September, 2018

Equinox

Dave, the author, mindfully walking a labyrinth meditation at his home.

Wisdom From Our Life Experience

DSCN3429

The sisters of Our Lady’s Missionaries gathered at our Leander house on the 15th of August to celebrate our last major Feast Day before we move.

One of the highlights of the celebration was a dialogue reflection led by Sr. Frances. Sharing the wisdom of our life experiences seen through the lens of the Gospel of the day brought us many memorable stories.  We are grateful to Fr. Brian Swords, sfm, who presided at our Mass.

We are truly grateful for the blessings of family, friends, benefactors and for those with whom we have shared life in mission both in and outside Canada.

And above all, we are forever grateful to Father Dan who with faith and audacity inspired many people in his time to bring Our Lady’s Missionaries into existence until today.

by Sr. Lorie Nuñez, OLM

 

Peace, Salaam, Shalom

Alexander The Great Parkette

On a beautiful Sunday evening in July, people on the Danforth in Toronto were subjected to violence and fear, and so much anguish.

       The following Wednesday, I rode my bicycle downtown for an appointment.  Taking my usual route meant that I would be passing through that very area.  Seeing people gathered at the different memorial sites unsettled my soul.

        After my appointment, I returned to join the evening vigil.  About 20 minutes before the vigil was scheduled to start, people started arriving… and arriving…. and arriving…  There were so many, I couldn’t find the other OLMs that I knew were participating.  Though alone throughout the walk, I felt very connected.

     The vigil began with an acknowledgment of the land.  And then, we were reminded that we had gathered to remember and support three families who had lost loved ones.  I was touched that the family of the shooter was included.  They too are experiencing terrible anguish.  It was noted that some might try to use what had happened as an excuse to fan Islamaphobia flames.  The speaker firmly stated, “We will not stand for this!”

     And then, as we sang “Peace, Salaam, Shalom” and other chants we walked to Alexander the Great Parkette.  We blessed the Danforth with our feet, with our songs, with the sharing of flame to light our candles, with hugs and prayer and a reverent quiet.

IMG_20180725_181740After so much had been taken on Sunday evening, on Wednesday there was a spirit of giving.  Ahmadiyya Muslims were giving out t-shirts on which was written, “Love for All, Hatred for None.”  A couple of young women were giving out red paper hearts.  A group of Sikhs were giving out vegetarian food.  Hugs, smiles and tears were shared in abundance.

     As I climbed back onto my bicycle and headed home, my soul felt nourished and full.  It was like I had been to Church.

by Christine Gebel, OLM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spills Happen

 

DSCN3182DSCN3176

A few OLMs joined climate change activists in Toronto at their Beaches-East York MP Headquarters late spring this year to  express concerns over the Kinder Morgan Inc. buyout.

They learn that there could be many implications if this decision is carried out. These includes the increased shipments of diluted bitumen from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day.

David Sasson of the New York Times wrote how dangerous this diluted bitumen is to the environment.  He wrote, “it carries risk that we’re only beginning to understand”. Bitumen, he emphasized,  is not pumped from wells but is strip-mined or boiled loose underground.

We must continue to spread awareness of how the diluted bitumen, when released into the environment, would endanger human health, and all of creation. Because the Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain project is actually an expansion of an existing pipeline that’s been operating in B.C. for 65 years, the danger is even greater.

by Lorie Nuñez, OLM

Please read his article: Crude, Dirty and Dangerous

Transitioning with Gratitude

 

IMG_5034

On June 10, 2018, Our Lady’s Missionaries held an Open House at 2 Leander Court with friends, family, and people with whom the sisters have worked.

This day helped us to be more aware that part of transitioning is to bid goodbye before being able to welcome the future with gratitude. We hope to move to Presentation Manor in the fall.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

-Lorie J. Nuñez, OLM