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:

To learn more about Voices of Faith, go to:


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

To Remember & To Celebrate

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.

Cecile’s family

By Sr. Christine Gebel, OLM

Christmas Opportunities for Gratitude

Frances Brady, OLM and Mary Gauthier, OLM Christmas dinner at Presentation Manor

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.

Family visit (L-R) Paul, Sarah, Mary G., OLM, Beth and Frank

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.

Best wishes for a peaceful and blessed New Year.

-Sr. Frances Brady, OLM

The Questions of Advent

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?

Photos taken during the Climate Strike in Toronto – November 29, 2019