Friday, May 13, 2016

What's Emerging? Transitioning from Sage on Stage to Guide on the Side...

This past month I was able to participate at the UN with Justice Directors from many of our Federation Congregations. Also, Each week I am able to either write or secure stories for our website at As I engaged in these activities this month, a theme or perhaps a consciousness has floated to the surface of my awareness. It wasn't a totally new awareness for me. In education, I realized I needed to shift from "Sage on the Stage to Guide on the Side." By doing this, we all learned a lot more. I am wondering in our (my) efforts on behalf of Justice such a shift might be in order? Here's a mind map of various experiences and thoughts that illustrate this awareness coming together for me.

What would this shift from, "Sage on Stage to Guide on the Side" look like for us in religious life or even those living in the U.S. with all the blessings and privileges we all enjoy each day? The bottom left quadrant speaks of an initiative that Mary O'Brien, CSJ shared that empowers those living in poverty to have a voice in telling their stories and advocating on their own behalf. How would our Justice Actions shift by our welcoming in and listening to those we seek to serve?

Since a blog can be an online space for thoughtful conversations, I encourage those who may read this post to share their comments and thoughts. How is or is this emerging for any of you? What do you think?
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Friday, May 6, 2016

CSSJs at the UN April 11-15, 2016 By Debbie Timmis, CSJ

April 11-15, 2016 I was privileged to be part of a Federation Delegation to the UN on the occasion of the 49th Commission on Population and Development. You can find the series of stories, pictures and videos below this post.
I am glad however to share on the Federation blog what this Event meant to me personally. (We had the chance to do this "Sharing of the Heart" the last day of our time together in the UNNGO office.) In the third article, "Sewing up the Loose Threads" Patsy Lucas speaks of being proud of our sisters at the Side Event on Migration which was sponsored by the Mission of the Holy See at the UN. What was truly remarkable for me was that there were two women speakers invited to be part of the panel and both were Sisters of St. Joseph - Sue Wilson, CSJ (Canadian Federation) and Eileen McCann,CSJ from Brentwood.Fr. Emeka Obiezu, the UN Representative for the General Curia of the Augustinian International, included words praising their (Sue Wilson and Eileen McCann) grass root efforts in the field of migration, immigration, human trafficking and protecting the rights of the undocumented. The next day, at the Mission of the Holy See, we were greeted by similar words of gratitude. We were also encouraged to hear that Pope Francis is encouraging advocacy on these issues as well. I was surprised and thrilled to know that these issues have become a priority for the Office of the Holy See as well as for the Sisters of St. Joseph who have been advocating these issues for years.

Sisters Mary Ellen Gondeck, Joan Atkinson, Sue Wilson, Colleen Dauerbach and Debbie Timmis
 A second take away for me from this time at the UN was this thought expressed by one of our speakers at the Side Event organized by our UNNGO - Justine Senapati "We have Commissions on Poverty but don't invite the Poor. We have Commissions on Migration and don't invite Immigrants"(Cristine Diez Saguillo - Eradication of Poverty) This thought gave me pause to reflect of what we do to empower those who live in poverty, immigrants and women. I am going to come back to this thought in another blog post soon, however, I mention this here because I think it's a key concept in our efforts.

In closing, I need to say how grateful I am for the effort of Justine, our UNNGO for organizing the Side Event where we were privileged to hear from five UNNGO on Migration, Human Trafficking, Social Development, Eradication of poverty and Mining. This experience was truly life changing for me!

  Sisters of St. Joseph from Canadian and US Federations at the UN  In Brief – These past three weeks, we have been running on the Federation website a ... read more

Part Two of our Three Part Series is submitted by Phyllis Tierney, SSJ (Rochester) This Side Event was an Afternoon Session UN NGO Side Event on Tuesday, April 12,2016. ... read more

Part One of a Three Part Series Migration, Human Trafficking and the Eradication of Poverty were among a few of the many topics discussed this week at the UN during ... read more

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Farewell to this Novitiate Year - By Patty Johnson, CSJ

Farewell to this Novitiate Year - Submitted by Patty Johnson, CSJ

For the closing ceremony of the novitiate, the novices demonstrated their integration of the year through a moving prayer service where they shared what they had learned through each aspect of their time together. 

Mary Anne Larocque - top right
Sr. Mary Anne Larocque speaking of gratitude began her reflection with Maxim 73.  She then shared these words.  “Our time in Concordia has been a grace filled opportunity to discover who we are and some of what God wants us to be…the essential ingredients for women entering religious life in the 21st

century are here…We go enhanced by all you have given us to live our lives as Sisters of St Joseph.”

Christina Brodie
Sr. Christina Brodie addressed the question, “What does it mean to be a Sister of St Joseph?”  She reflected that it requires being in communion with life, “As much as our humanness allows, we step back from our egos and replace it with love and awareness for the greater glory of our dear neighbor and the Divine.  All our creator and for that matter Medaille asks of us is to have the desire to be in full communion with life.”

Sr. Donna Smith shared a poem that she wrote during the year:


To be united with one another is what God asks of each of us through heart, body and soul.

To be united like a chain where there is no broken links.

A chain that is as long or as short as you wish.

This chain must reach out to all God’s people not just those close to us.

Yes, this chain may get heavy, but if each person in the chain reaches out as

God asks we will not notice the weight but we will notice the

LOVE and CARE for fellow human beings.

Where are we united?

Sister Donna Smith lends a hand during the weekend
decorating the Concordia Motherhouse in November 2015.
Where do we need to extend the chain?

Do we need to mend broken links?

Does this chain stop at us or can we build on it with all our Hearts, Bodies and Souls?

Can we be that chain of Unity that God asks us to be?

So as we stand here today before you I can surely say:

As Sisters of St Joseph the answer to these questions can be answered differently on a daily basis, but we can always answer yes to that final question.

“Can we be that chain of unity that God asks us to be?”

Patty Urbinelli
Sr. Patty Urbinelli offered her thoughts about the diversity of gifts of the Sisters of St Joseph, “We do what we are able, we go where we are needed, we overcome obstacles, we work for and with our dear neighbor, we empower others and we look for new ways to serve.”

Christine Carbotte
Sr. Christine Carbotte provided a humorous walk through of the classes and processes that the novices entered into this year.  She noted, “The novitiate was by no means a smooth or easy ride…this has been a gestation period with much rich food.  Now as I let go of this place I have this rich food to carry me forward and share on a continuing journey of sisterhood, personhood, life and ministry.  Thank you all for sharing this with me.”

Novitiate 2015-2016 Closing Ritual