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SSJD The Eagle  Pentecost 2011
 

SSJD The Eagle Pentecost 2011

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The Pentecost 2011 newsletter of the Sisterhood of St John the Divine, Toronto

The Pentecost 2011 newsletter of the Sisterhood of St John the Divine, Toronto

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    SSJD The Eagle  Pentecost 2011 SSJD The Eagle Pentecost 2011 Document Transcript

    • The Eagle Pentecost 2011Dear Friends, Associates and Oblates, Early in January the Sisterhood admitted Debra Johnston as“Living God, you have created all that is. Send forth your a Postulant. She is a LutheranSpirit to renew and restore us, that we may proclaim your Pastor with the Evangelicalgood news in ways and words that all will understand and Lutheran Church in Canada withbelieve. Amen.” Collect for Pentecost1 whom the Anglican Church has been in full communion for theseAt the beginning of 2011, Sr. Constance Joanna led past 10 years. She is finding hera retreat called “In the Fullness of Time: Celebrating the way in the midst of this AnglicanPast, Envisioning the New.” We had a full house for that monastic community. We willretreat and a long waiting list of people who would have receive her as a Novice in June asliked to have come. This came about as a result of an she further explores her call fromarticle which appeared in the Toronto Star on December God in SSJD.28th about the Sisterhood and interviewing Sr. ConstanceJoanna about the retreat. People were asked if they were Sr. Amy flew to Thunder Bay, ON, to guide a “knitting-as-tired of New Year’s Eve parties and were invited instead to prayer” workshop which was well received and led peoplecome to the Convent to celebrate the New Year through to new ways of finding prayer in their lives. In April Sr.liturgy, the enjoyment of festive food, and fellowship with Sue and Br. David Bryan, OHC, went to Montreal to beSisters of SSJD who would guide participants in their chaplains at the Montreal Clergy Retreat. I went to Niagarareflections. Many came for the first time and discovered a Falls in April to do a presentation on the Religious Life tomore reflective way of being. The monastic way of life—our the House of Bishops along with representatives frombalance of prayer, work and rest—is answering a need in the Sisters of the Church in Burlington, ON, and from thepeople to connect with a deeper purpose in their lives. Our Order of the Holy Cross in Toronto, and a special guest,life is continually renewed and refreshed by the indwelling Br. Jude, SSF, from the Franciscan Community in Sanof the Holy Spirit whom we experience sometimes as a Francisco, CA. I also recorded a series of 9 podcasts forgentle breeze, at other times as a rush. the Anglican Journal for Lent and Easter in a series called “From Creation’s Dust to Resurrection’s Glory”. Srs. HelenThat wonderful response to the newspaper article has Claire and Amy went to the Diocese of Huron to present oncontinued to attract new people to the various retreats and the Religious Life at the end of April. In June, Sr. Elizabethquiet days during the first half of this year. A Christian Yoga will be flying to Timmins, ON to be chaplain at the Dioceseretreat also carried a waiting list and was so popular that we of Moosonee Synod. These are just some of the places andwill run it again this fall. A quiet day on discernment at the ways that the Sisters are being a visible presence of theirend of January, led by Sr. Elizabeth, entitled “Choose Life”, life and ministry throughout the church and in the world.attracted almost 50 people, more than half of whom wereat the Convent for the first time. Friends brought friends, St. Margaret’s Chapel, theand all who came were refreshed by the day. Many of our chapel in the Guest House,Associates was dedicated and blessedand Oblates by Bishop Linda Nicholls onalso brought February 27th with a servicefriends to an of Evensong and Compline.Open House Then on Maundy Thursday wein February processed to St. Margaret’sto introduce Chapel when it became thethem to the Altar of Repose. The chapelSisterhood. was also a focus for theIt is wonderful meditation on the cross onto see how Good Friday. We give thanksthe Spirit is for the generosity of themoving people to come to the Convent and experience DeBoer family for the furnishings in the chapel and for allthose deep places within. There will be another Open those who have contributed to help us in the redecoratingHouse on September 10 so mark it on your calendars! of the chapel and installation of the stained glass window.1
    • We have had a number Sr. Constance Joanna’s Easter Homilyof celebrations this year. (An Excerpt)Sr. Constance celebratedher 107th Birthday on The resurrection story in Matthew is the most dramatic ofFebruary 2nd. She came to all the gospels—cosmic in its presentation. Mary Magdalenejoin the Sisterhood over 70 and the “other Mary” go to see the tomb. So far so good.years ago from Baltimore, Then there is an earthquake. An angel descends fromMaryland, in response to heaven—like a literary deus ex machina, come to save theGod’s call to her. In March day by rolling back the stone. He sits on it! His clothing iswe hosted four Xavier brilliant, white lightning. The guards shake and become likeSisters to talk about how we live the religious life. We have dead men.since been invited to attend the Life Profession of one ofthe Sisters at the end of May. And then the angel says what angels always say when they make an earthly visitation. “Don’t be afraid.” O yeah? Then We celebrated with Srs. why all this drama, this rolling of drums and thunder and Jean and Beryl who were lightning and earthquakes? Who wouldn’t be afraid? pilgrims to the Holy Land in April by kindness of a The angel persists: “Calm down, it’s OK. I know you’re generous donor. looking for Jesus, but he’s been raised—look, you can see where he was buried—he’s not here. And he’s given me a message for you—he said to tell you that he’s going ahead of you to Galilee and you’ll see him there.” So they leave the tomb with both fear and great joy—we all know thatSr. Merle celebrated mixture of emotions when something seems too good to beher 40th Profession true—and they obediently run to tell the other disciples.Anniversary on April19th noting that Then follows another dramatic moment though this one a40 is a propitious little quieter—Jesus himself suddenly meets them and saysnumber in the Holy “Greetings!” Greetings, of all things—this seems a bit of anScriptures. She is understatement after the earthquake and lightning. Thereseen here with Sr. is such a strong contrast to the angel’s appearance that theDoreen. two women fall down, take his feet and worship him. And what does Jesus say? The same thing the angel said—don’tSr. Helena died quite suddenly in our infirmary on be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee; they will seeSaturday April 9th. Her quiet contemplative presence and me there. Why did Jesus send the angel with the messagethoughtful intelligence will be greatly missed. We had hoped and then decided to show up himself? Didn’t he trust thethat she would be able to teach Centering Prayer at this angel? Or was he just so excited that he wanted to tell themyear’s Women at a Crossroads program in July. in person—show them that he was alive? I suspect it’s the latter.We had planned to celebrate Sr. Thelma-Anne’s 50thProfession Anniversary on May 6th, St. John’s Day, but Sr. But what exactly is the message here—the good news?Thelma-Anne died very unexpectedly on April 30th; so St. What is all the thunder and lightning and earthquaking andJohn’s Day became a celebration of her life. people-quaking about? It is no less than the rebirth of the world, even the cosmos. Imagine all the fireworks and noiseBy the time you receive this Eagle we will have enjoyed that happened at the time of the big bang. On Good Friday,a visit from noted author Kathleen Norris in late May. when Jesus died, there was an earthquake and thunderWe are so looking forward to her presence among us and and lightning and the veil of the temple was torn in two,hope that you were able to be with us for one or more of signalling that everything had changed—everything! Andthe events. Pentecost comes in June this year with Easter on Easter morning Matthew wants to be sure that no onebeing about as late as it can be in the calendar year. May misses the point. Jesus has defied death and offers all ofthe winds of the Holy Spirit blow fresh breezes into your us new life —not just after our own earthly lives but now,heart as you continue to listen to the leading of the Spirit at this moment, when we stand at the junction of God’sin your lives. Pray that many more new people will hear time and human time, the meeting of kairos and chronos,about the Sisterhood and the spirituality resources we have “when heaven is wedded to earth” as it’s expressed soto help deepen their lives in God. May God bless you all. beautifully in the Exultet. May we have the courage to accept the invitation to cross the threshold and to know the Sr. Elizabeth Ann, SSJD love and reconciliation which the risen Christ offers to us, and to share it with others.Taken from Prayers, Revised Common Lectionary12
    • PILGRIMAGE TO ISRAEL — THE TRIP OF A LIFETIMEThere may come a time in your life which is rightly called‘contentment’. You feel satisfied with where you are andwhat you are doing. Challenges and rewards are close by;what more could you want? Thomas Browne said it well inthe 17th century: “We carry with us the wonders we seekwithout us: there is all Africa and her prodigies within us.”However, this may be just the period of your life whenthere is going to be a big surprise.This was how it was for Sister Jean and me. Out of thewild blue yonder, the two of us were invited to join a groupof pilgrims to the Holy Land, departing March 20th andreturning March 31st. Suddenly our inner search-lightsbegan sweeping in wider circles, and my own grain ofrestlessness awoke. bends! So at Masada, I quietly joined the cable-car crowd,How good it is to know where you are even though you and felt grateful for its ‘made in Switzerland’ label.are aloft at 39,000 feet! We passed over Gander, then I experienced timesSalzburg and a piece of Slovenia. Then we flew over the of great interest, ofMediterranean and many other untold beauties until we enlightenment, and ofarrived at Tel Aviv. Almost immediately we were in the deep feeling. The wholetour-bus travelling north over the ‘Via Maris’. group stood in silence on the very steps leading to the Judgment Hall which Jesus is said to have ascended in chains. The Via Dolorosa, teeming with life and energy, offered me a commentary on the barren wastes of our own shopping- centres. The lovely Sea of Galilee flows into the brown waters of the Jordan River. At the site of Jesus’ Baptism, the Jordan is alive with muskrats and what I took to be cat-fish. The lush valleys and the rocky hillsides spoke of the triumphs of Israeli agriculture in covered greenhousesOur pilgrimage was not only to sites mentioned in the and vigorous date palms and olive trees. It was painful toBible, but also to some of the great archaeological digs and visit Bethlehem—to see the hideous wall, and to glimpsereconstructions whose names I knew: Caesarea Maritima, despair in the figures of men lounging around MangerAcre, Beth Shean, Megiddo, Qumran. The name Masada Square. “Why are you standing here all day idle?”gave me shivers. I was living again with my old fear of cable- Now is the time to read, to remember cars, hoping to be absent and to pray for the peace which is yet from the tour at Masada. to be fulfilled for those who are our However, I did not realize neighbours in the Middle East. that we were already tuning up for Masada. We were Sr. Beryl, SSJD (text) ascending a number of Sr. Jean, SSJD (photos) famous mounts: Carmel, Hermon, the Beatitudes, Tabor, and the Mount of Olives. The hills around the (In the order of the text) Sr. Beryl at Caesarea Sea of Galilee were high. Maritima; Sr. Beryl, the Rev. Canon Susan Sheen & Sr. The final ascent of Mount Jean at Masada; The Mount of Beatitudes; Jerusalem; Tabor had 16 hair-pin a Statue of Jesus blessing Peter. 3
    • Our Lives of St. Hilda’s Church played a prominent role in the early years of Sr. Jocelyn and her younger brother and St. Hilda of Whitby is still an lifelong interest. Jocelyn took commercial courses in high school, majoring in accounting, along with developing interests in Brownies, Guides, Cadets and enjoyment in walking. She worked for the Toronto Board of Education while leading Brownies and was a volunteer at the Anglican Congress in Toronto in 1963. She also helped set up the book room at St. Thomas’ Church. Three trips to England and an awareness of wanting “more than a 9 -5 job, I felt called to community, so I approached SSJD but was asked to wait”. Jocelyn then moved to Port Hope to be with the mentally retarded children from the Aurora and Ottawa houses, working alongside Srs. Anna and Eileen who had been SSJD. In 1969 she entered Community at the age of 26. “I first visited the Convent after Sr. Teresa made me promise on a flight from England that I would visit her, and that was the summer of 1965. . . . I have spent more than half my Community time at branch houses including three times at the Priory in Edmonton, and now in Victoria.” She took on the Altar Linen department in 1978 and it still goes with her wherever she goes. Jocelyn was involved with the TorontoDiocesan Healing Committee, the Miriam Dobell Centre Committee. She was inducted into the Order of St. Luke in 1978and was the first lay chaplain in Canada. An early “highlight” for Sr. Jocelyn in Community was “having cancer in 1970 andbeing given three months to live ; after making my Profession, the cancer signs disappeared”. She is enthusiastic about herstewarding experiences and contacts at the cathedral where she also “belongs to the Healing Committee, along with attendinglocal clericus, clergy days and doing the House finances and the white work.” Sr. Sarah Jean was born in Toronto, an only child to parents from Nova Scotia. In 1950 the family moved to Marathon, Ontario a pulp and paper town for six years where she developed her strong love of nature and sewing. She was involved with Brownies, Guides, Sunday School and, later on, church choir and teaching Sunday School in St. Patrick’s when the family returned to Toronto, and where she met Sr. Christine and Sr. Wilhelmina of SSJD. Trained as a nurse, Sarah Jean worked at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Victoria Hospital in London and Kitchener-Waterloo Hospital. Increasing church involvement, sewing, crochet and embroidery added to her skills. “I find it contemplative to sew —and especially ripping out! It frees my mind for other things.” She has also been making Anglican Rosaries and leading workshops to teach others. Sarah Jean entered Community at age 30 and recalls “one of my happiest times was living in Edmonton for 11 years, longer than I ever lived anywhere. We had poodles and cats which I loved even though allergic to them . . . . I also got to know the people over time and it was enriching to be with them. . . . We had a great sense of being part of the Diocese, something I also experienced in Montreal and now here in Victoria.” While in Montreal as Head of House, she sat on the Diocesan Committee for following up on candidates for ordination and was ableto take courses in prayer companioning. Another highlight for Sr. Sarah Jean was her first directed retreat at Loyola House,“a time of spiritual renewal for me and giving a new look at what ministry means. When something affects one that much, onewants to share it.” In Victoria she is the Director of Western Associates and speaks excitedly about her new opportunities ofexperiencing the wild beauty of the BC landscape while travelling to various communities. The eldest of six children, Sr. Brenda was born in Windsor, Ontario,. Her father a cabinet maker, her mother a woman of strong faith, Brenda was a cradle Anglican growing up in a rural church. She enjoyed Sunday School, Guiding, youth groups, participating on school teams, attending the YM-YWCA and, later on, taught swimming, gymnastics and judo. “Guiding had a tremendous impact on my life by opening doors for me to explore new things and learn about God, our environment and myself.” An RN, Brenda combined her interests of nursing, physical geography, social geography and culture, and adventure by nursing in Canada’s Arctic and abroad. She ventured deeper into the spiritual dimension of her life, her relationship with God and who she was as a Christian. Home on furlough from India, her minister suggested she go on a retreat at the Convent. “It was on this retreat that I heard God’s call for me to enter the religious life. With fear and trepidation but a desire to be obedient, I entered SSJD in June 1991 at age 40.” A highlight for Sr. Brenda was being on exchange with the Order of the Holy Paraclete Sisters in Johannesburg, South Africa. “It was the moment my past life as a nurse who liked to work overseas and my new life as a Sister met, and I found marvel, peace and joy with whatwas, for what is now, and for what is to come.” Another highlight was the first Christmas at the new, unfinished Convent. “Wewent to the Chapel and sang among the chaos of building material. As I sat on a pile of wood and soaked in the beauty of thecandlelight, the huge snowflakes gently falling on the windows, the singing of Silent Night and thinking of Jesus’ birth in a stable,beauty, peace, hope, joy and good old nostalgia danced within and around me. Gratefulness for God’s presence that Christmasin the messes and dreams of life, and for the gift of community, still flows forth when I think about that night.”4
    • Love and ServiceSr. Doreen was born in Verdun, Quebec, the eldest child of four. As her father workedfor the CPR, the family moved frequently, so her schooling was experienced in Winnipeg,Calgary, Medicine Hat and Vancouver. She was strongly influenced by her time in Brownies,Guides, Rangers and then as a leader with Guides, along with AYPA and teaching SundaySchool. Involvement in Rangers was a time of travel, fellowship and outreach projects to thedisadvantaged and handicapped. Holidays with family, friends and relatives travelling in Canadabrought enjoyment of camping and the outdoors. “Since the age of eight when an SSJD Sisterspoke to our Sunday School class, I had a longing to give my life to God in some way.” Teenyears in Medicine Hat surrounded by SSJD Associates and teaching Sunday School, continuedto nourish the spark. “I became an Associate in the early ‘60s in Vancouver and, after finishingmy BA at UBC in May 1965, I came for a month’s holiday to the Convent, hoping that wouldeither confirm my call to the religious life or free me to ‘get on with other plans’—marriage, lotsof children, teaching, postgraduate studies. . . . My call was confirmed, so I entered in October‘65 at age 22.” Highlights for Sr. Doreen “have always centred around our life together, doingwhatever was needed to make our Community strong and authentic in its outreach to othersand the world.” From retreats, missions, spiritual direction, cooking in the Convent kitchen to times in Regina and Edmontonhouses, and “our Home for the Elderly and Cana Place, VP at SJRH, starting a branch house in BC—and now a return to theConvent and Community life here—have all added their own highlights to the underlying foundation of prayer, hospitality andservice”.Along with her brother, Sr. Constance Joanna was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Herparents shared Swedish roots but met in Chicago at the 1933 World’s Fair. She learned to playthe piano early on but gave it up at age 10 “because I wanted to be outside playing not insidepractising”, then picked it up later along with the organ. “Music was a huge part of my life. Idon’t think I was ever away from a choir.” Constance Joanna got her undergraduate degreein English, and then her MA followed by a PhD in American Literature and Linguistics. Fiveyears teaching in Detroit and a year as a Fulbright Professor in Germany were followed by atenured position at Virginia Tech. “I grew up in the Methodist Church and, although I was laterconfirmed in the Episcopal Church, I always loved John Wesley, especially the way he talkedin his journal about how his heart was ‘strangely warmed’. I aspired to be that myself but it wasmany years before I discovered that God was around me all the time. This gave me the courageto accept that God could call me out of teaching into the Sisterhood. . . . I thought I wasgiving up teaching, but it was my first true ‘vocation’ in the sense that I felt God truly called meand gave me gifts for that. I had become an Associate through my friends at the Cathedral inDetroit and was a regular visitor at the Convent from 1972.” In 1984 at age 43, Constance Joanna came to the Sisterhood“not sure whether I was called to be a Sister or a priest. Eventually I had the great blessing of fulfilling both. . . . I’ve workedin several areas in the Convent and in many roles at St. John’s Rehab. I also had both the joys and the heartaches of beingReverend Mother for 11 years.”Sr. Anne was born in Ashbury Park, New Jersey, although her parents were from Montreal.Her father was an English Protestant organist and her mother a French-Canadian Catholicopera singer. The family moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania, and later, with her sister, toBaltimore, where “I experienced school integration of blacks and whites in the ‘60s. Moving toNew Glasgow, NS, however, racism was still apparent”. Her parents began teaching childrenmost of whom were black, sowing the seeds of Anne’s desire to teach music to disadvantagedchildren. Having taken up the violin at age nine, Anne studied at Dalhousie in Halifax and, atvarious times since, has played with the Atlantic Symphony, the Canadian Chamber Orchestrain Banff and several Ontario symphonies. She started choir involvement at age six in herfather’s choir and, along with Sunday School, “the two golden threads of music and theologybegan weaving through my life”, yet not quite taking hold at the times when she was ready tograsp them firmly. Anne was raised a Lutheran as it was considered a compromise betweenher parents’ traditions. “I experienced a call but I didn’t know what it was” after graduating inmusic. Waterloo Lutheran Seminary was followed by chaplaincy experiences, and then a priestsaid, “maybe you should enter a religious community”. Her initial contact with the Convent prompted an inner voice, “I don’tthink so, Lord”, and later on “maybe, it might be possible”. Although Anglican-Lutheran dialogues were occurring then, Annetook steps to become an Anglican, as “I sensed something’s going on. Then it became clear, so I entered on Holy Cross Day1994 at age 42 “. She has been involved in every department of the Sisterhood, including the branch houses. “A real highlightwas having my Lutheran Bishop participate in my Life Profession as it occurred the same year as the signing of the WaterlooDeclaration”. Another highlight for her was the OHP exchange and being able to visit Iona. 5
    • Sister Helena Ward, SSJD September 1, 1917 - April 9, 2011 Sister Helena was unique and when the time came to pour the water. Serenely she rose special—one of a kind. In the from her place, picked up the pitcher, moved quietly to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator sacristy, filled it with water and returned to the Chapel as she was an INTP, a rare though this were a usual part of the ceremony and returned combination. to her choir stall. We all marvelled at her seeming calmness but she later said that her heart was a-flutter, feeling Born in 1917 in Fort William anything but calm and composed. (now part of Thunder Bay) she and her brother, Harry, were Sr. Helena was among those of us who taught Sunday brought up by their parents, Percy School at St. Philip’s Church in Toronto in the 1950s and Ward, a hardware merchant and ‘60s. For several years she and I were responsible for the Clara Ward, who sold lace and class of lively six-year-olds. She was innovative in her ideas fine embroidery in her tiny store which were full of life, excitement and often included play- at the front of their home. Of acting, sometimes complete with costumes! One of ourrecent years her only nephew, Bob, kept in touch by songs was “We are climbing Jacob’s Ladder”.telephone from Thunder Bay which gave her great joy. Many years later she and I served together at CanaIn her typically modest, ethereal way Sister described Place. My mother was a resident during that time andher further education as “two year courses: Grade 11 I remember walking past her room one day, near theCommercial Course and Practical Arts: household science end of her life, to hear beautiful music. On investigationand dietetics”. In actual fact she also served in the CWAC, I found the small record(Canadian Women’s Army Corps) during World War II until player from the Chapelher discharge in 1946. She began her army career as a placed near my mother’sstenographer in the medical office, taking notes for medical bedside and a smile onexaminations of new recruits, and finally as a Recruiting her face. I knew this to beOfficer travelling around the country. Eventually she was Sr. Helena’s handiwork. Soposted to the Australian Military Mission in Washington. much could be written: Tai Chi meditation; singing inAfter her discharge she took advantage of a DVA education Chapel; daily intercessionsgrant to study theology at St. John’s College, Winnipeg, for the Bible Society; diligentwhich equipped her to work with Miss Eva Hazell in the attendance at recreation,Sunday School by Post. She was assigned as a van worker meetings, special events andin the Diocese of Athabasca where she met another van party suppers, even whenworker, Florence McKinnon, from whom she learned about she could see nothing or hear little of what was happening.SSJD and felt compelled to learn more; so she wrote to The evening she died, I sang her the song we sang at St.Mother Aquila who urged her to come and see. She came, Philip’s, “We are climbing Jacob’s Ladder, Soldiers of theshe saw and her life-long dedication to God in the Religious Cross”. This soldier, in her lifetime, truly reached for the top!Life began. Sr. Wilma, SSJD It seems to me that Sr. Helena’s An excerpt from Sr. Constance Joanna’s homily at Sr. greatest gifts to SSJD were her Helena’s funeral: presence among us and her undivided commitment to God. “Walk slowly, look holy.” Her assignments included Sunday This was the maxim that Sr. Helena School by Post, the Altar Bread taught all of us to live by – especially Department, sewing Sisters’ those of us who were trained by her habits, and time spent in most of in work of the sacristy and chapel. our Branch Houses. But we will She herself was calm, contemplative, remember her best as Sacristan serene and gentle in her approach to which she accomplished and chapel work, and she taught us, too, taught par excellence. not to take ourselves too seriously— to remember that everything we didOne recollection of Sr. Helena relates to when she had was for God. And because God’sforgotten to put water in the pitcher for our Saturday love is unconditional, our worship would not be spoiled inevening Vigil of the Resurrection. She realized her omission any way if we made a mistake.6
    • Sister Thelma-Anne McLeod, SSJD October 3, 1928 – April 30, 2011 Sister Thelma-Anne was After being diagnosed in 2001 with Parkinson’s, she a gifted musician, who in founded a Parkinson’s Support Group in St. Lambert, the words of an Associate, QC. Sr. Thelma-Anne’s journey with Parkinson’s, in ”lived with spark, pizzazz her words— “with this stranger who came to stay”—is and surprise”. She was movingly recorded in her book In Age Reborn, By Grace born in 1928 in Estevan, Sustained: One Woman’s Journey through Aging and Saskatchewan, to Thelma Chronic Illness. She lived faithfully with her condition to Audrey (née Kinnear) the end. and James Archibald McLeod. She was the sister of Jean Brunsell (dec.) of Yorkton, SK, and Squadron Leader Henry McLeod, a spitfire pilot killed in action overGermany in 1945. She attended Queen’s University;obtained her MA at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania,and did a further year of graduate work at RadcliffeCollege. She entered the Community in 1957 and madeher Profession as a Sister of St. John the Divine on May12, 1961.Sr. Thelma-Anne worked with the Associates and Oblates As Bishop Barry Jenks wrote, “Sister Thelma-Anne’s deathof the Sisterhood; led many missions and retreats; was a will be mourned throughout the Church which has beengifted organist and sang for a time with the Gallery Choir at so blessed by her ministry and, particularly, by her gifts ofSt. Mary Magdalene’s Church under the direction of Healey music for liturgy and hymnody.”Willan. She was a composer, poet, and author, as well as asought-after retreat leader. She worked in various ministries Fr. Andrew Marr, OSB, Abbot of St. Gregory’s Abbey inof the Sisterhood at St. John’s Rehab Hospital, St John’s Three Rivers, MI, wrote this about her: “I was impressedPriory in Edmonton, and St. John’s House in Montreal with her musical talents, as I’m sure everybody was. Butand served as the Assistant to the Reverend Mother for a there was something even more important that definesperiod. She was a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic my remembrance of her. I have met very few peopleDialogue, the National Doctrine and Worship Committee whose face had settled intoand the Hymn Book Task Force of the Anglican Church a permanent smile as Sisterin Canada. Sr. Thelma-Anne also served on the Toronto Thelma Anne’s had doneDiocesan Doctrine and Worship Committee. She has been by the time I got to knowa proud member of Integrity Toronto and served as their her. When I read the bookchaplain for many years. She made a major contribution to she wrote about living withthe Sisterhood’s liturgical music and in the renewal of our Parkinson’s, which includedcorporate daily prayer. The Sisters still sing many of her some reflections from earlierhymns and chants on a regular basis. in life, it was made clear that her perpetual smile came after many struggles. She was the kind of person who radiated peace and joy when she was in the room. Bp. Linda Nicholls wrote: “her life and ministry have been such an inspiration to so many people—through her music, through her theological reflections, through her spiritual direction, and latterly through her journey with Parkinson’s .” Someone else said: I am sure there’s a special place for her in Heaven!” Sr. Doreen, SSJD 7
    • Flickering LifeI am a flickering candleYearning to burn for YouSometimes my flame is steady and brightMore often I’m wobbly and faintBut still there’s a flicker from YouOft times when I fal terMy light fades and nearly goes ou t,You breathe intome to re-flame my soulMy trying spark quickensandstrengthens r e a c h ing into light,To growthrough times that seemed dark as night.You are always there in my flickering flameCoaxing, enabling, growing meThat I may yearn and burn for You. M.L. Stewart, Oblate, SSJD The Chapel all dressed for Easter Sisters Elizabeth and Thelma-Anne at Sr. Elizabeth Ann visiting our Sisters(?) in Victoria our infirmary tea party The Houses of the Sisterhood www.ssjd.ca St. John’s Convent St. John’s House, B.C. 233 Cummer Avenue, Toronto, ON M2M 2E8 3937 St. Peters Road, Victoria, BC V8P 2J9 416-226-2201; Fax: 416-226-2131 250-920-7787; Fax: 250-920-7709 email: convent@ssjd.ca email: bchouse@ssjd.ca The Eagle is published several times a year by the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, St. John’s Convent, Toronto, ON M2M 2E8. An annual donation of $10 to help cover the cost would be greatly appreciated. Please let us know promptly of any changes of address. The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine is a registered charity. Our charitable donation number is BN 11925 4266 RR0001.8