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.
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.
Community, family and friends gathered to remember and celebrate the life of Cecile Turner, OLM with prayers on the evening of January 21 and a Mass on January 22. They came from as near as Presentation Manor, and as far as Windsor, ON and Sidney, BC.
The prayers included a reading from the Gospel of Luke – “…give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
Cecile had given so much. After this Gospel reading we shared stories of her generosity and compassion. Family members told of how Cecile welcomed them into our OLM houses when they visited her. Mission stories of her work in Brazil, on the Thai-Cambodian border, the Philippines and Guyana were recounted. We heard of many acts of kindness, large and small. And finally, we remembered her courageous decision to befriend her new companion… Alzheimers. Through it all she never stopped wanting to help others, and her final act of generosity was to donate her body to science.
The next morning, Fr. Russ Sampson, SFM presided at her Memorial Mass. The Gospel was the Beatitudes, and Fr. Russ’ homily included memories of Cecile in Guyana that showed how deeply she lived the spirit of the Beatitudes.
Our Lady’s Missionaries are grateful to all who participated in the prayers and the Mass. We are especially pleased that Cecile’s brother, Tom, and sister, Patricia, were able to join us as we remembered and celebrated a life well lived.
Christmas for our sisters at Presentation Manor and Providence Healthcare began early as both residences provided many opportunities for advance festivities: prayers services, parties, entertainment and musical presentations.
Colourful and traditional decorations were displayed early, and by the fourth week of Advent the remaining Advent symbols were replaced by Christmas ones.
At Presentation Manor Christmas Eve for OLMs and many other residents began with Mass in the chapel, followed by a social where we shared wine and cheese and exchanged Christmas greetings.
On Christmas morning a second Christmas Mass was celebrated with family members and friends of residents. Our guests then joined us for a delicious Christmas dinner.
Our religious and social celebrations this Christmas provided many opportunities for gratitude – for God’s very personal presence in our lives today – and for the people and relationships through whom we receive and express God’s love for all.
As Advent begins we will again hear the stories of two scriptural figures – Zechariah and Mary of Nazareth. They were both visited by an Angel bearing a message of new life, and they both responded with a question.
Zechariah asked, “How will I know that this is so?” His question, based on incredulity, rendered him mute.
Mary, on the other hand, asked, “How can this be, since I am a Virgin?” Her question was based on her desire to better understand how she might cooperate with and live out the Angel’s message for her. She stopped and paid attention to the answer.
Who are our Angels today? Who comes to us bearing messages of life?
Young people who strike from school in order to bring our attention to the urgency of the climate emergency. They strike for their future and the future of the entire planet.
Thousands of scientists who also want us to understand the severity of the climate crisis. Their message includes the very practical ways in which we can slow down and reverse the tide, if we act NOW!
Will we, like Zechariah, ask questions that debate the veracity of the messengers and render ourselves not only mute, but paralyzed and unable to move forward?
Or will we, like Mary of Nazareth, ask questions and really listen to the answers so that we may understand better what it is we need to do as citizens of Earth to sustain and grow new life in harmony with all of God’s creation?
This thanksgiving most of Our Lady’s Missionaries celebrated on Sunday October 13th together with friends and with the larger community at Presentation Manor. We participated at Mass together in our chapel before enjoying good food and companionship surrounded by the beauty of autumn colours both inside and outside our doors.
While enjoying this day I realized how important it is for us to name and be attentive to everything for which we are thankful. Because we take good care of the things that we love and value most and do our best to protect them from harm. What we treasure we do not take for granted.
During these days we have been thinking about ways to respond to a climate emergency. Health care, air pollution, contaminated water and an increase in violence are some of our many concerns. We worry about those who are separated from family, unemployed, homeless or deprived of a safe and secure existence. Sometimes we realize the value of things when they are in danger of being lost.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to gather with family, friends and community. It can also be an occasion for strengthening our resolve to protect and preserve, for ourselves and for others, all that is deserving of our love and care and gratitude.
Best wishes to everyone for a Thanksgiving filled with joy and appreciation for all you hold dear.