The Eagle - Christmas 2008


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The Eagle - Christmas 2008

  1. 1. The Eagle Christmas 2008May God Bless You God incarnate, Mighty Lord, Yet most meek and lowly, One and All! Sacred heart and living Word, Wisdom high and holy; Child at rest on Mary’s breast, In excelsis gloria. Highest Son of Love divine, Born on earth our Brother; Flesh he takes of David’s line Through his maiden-mother, Jesse’s rod bears fruit to God, Christus natus hodie. He the Dayspring, shining bright; Death and realms infernal Flee as shadows of the night From the Sun eternal; And his ray makes glad our way. In excelsis gloria. Gentiles’ King and Ruler blest, Answer to their yearning; He by all shall be confessed, All to him be turning; Humankind true peace will find, Christus natus hodie. God-with-us, Emmanuel, Bringer of salvation;Christian folk, your praises sing, Let the joyful tidings swell,Tell the wondrous story: Hymns of exultation;Jesus Christ is born our King, Heart and voice in him rejoice,Light breaks forth in glory; In excelsis gloria.Comes the hour of grace and power,Christus natus hodie. Sister Rosemary Anne, SSJD 1
  2. 2. Dear Associates, Oblates and Friends, Most Sisters today have some creative outlet: embroi- dery, knitting, crocheting, painting, photography,As you know, the Sisters are celebrating 125 years of singing, making cards, playing an instrument, not toprayer and service in Canada. In this Eagle we are mention writing homilies, retreat talks, handouts forhighlighting our three major “caring” ministries. From Associates, and articles in The Eagle. On October 3rd,the foundation of our Sisterhood, we have provided Sr. Thelma-Anne celebrated her 80th birthday byleadership in caring for reading some of her poetry to the Sisters and guests.the sick and we continue Later in the month she attended the Fanfare ofto do so through our Canadian Hymns — featuring two of her hymns —ministry of pastoral care by the Pax Christi Chorale con-at St. John’s Rehab ducted by Stephanie Martin. AndHospital (see pp. 6 - 7). this fall Sr. Anne joinedOur second caring min- Orchestra Toronto — a commu-istry has been the care for the elderly (see pp 4 - 5). nity volunteer symphony orches-Now our ministry to the elderly is mainly concerned tra — dedicated to providing with our Sisters who live in our affordable family entertainment, infirmary. A third ministry has been music education and full reper- in the area of education (see pp 8 - toire in all its programs. 9). Our present involvement in education comes in different Sadly this issue also includes an obituary for Sr. forms: leading quiet days, retreats, Philippa who died suddenly on September 1st, two missions and workshops at both days after our portrait photograph was taken for our our Houses and across Canada. 125th Anniversary year.Several Sisters are also involved in spiritual direction. Our exchange visitor this year fromOther educational opportuni- the Order of the Holy Paraclete, inties include Education for Whitby, England, was the Prioress,Ministry, our summer Sr. Dorothy Stella, OHP. She expe-“Women at a Crossroads” rienced beautiful fall weather withprogram, and Sr. Constance trips to Niagara Falls, theJoanna’s courses at Wycliffe. McMichael Gallery, Black Creek We also have a long history of Pioneer Village, and our summer creativity in our Community. house on Mary Lake. We enjoyed It began with coloured her participation in our daily round embroidery — chasubles, stoles, of prayer and worship and other copes, altar frontals—which special Community events and were sad to see her go have graced many churches in home on October 24th. Canada as well as our own The Three Cantors gave a tremendous performance Houses. On the front cover is a for the Sisters on October 26th as part of our Sunday piece of embroidery by Sr. Concert Series. More than 100 people joined us to Joanna, the Madonna and Child, hear these men fill the chapel with song – both which has been framed and is sacred and secular.hanging outside the vestry at the convent. Today Sr.Jocelyn continues in this tradition through making Looking ahead, all our Sisters will be home overand embroidering white altar linens. Many Sisters Christmas as part of our 125th Anniversary celebra-over the years have written poetry and hymns; tions. On December 27th, St. John’s day inSr. Rosemary Anne’s Christmas hymn is on the front Christmastide, there will be a festal Eucharist at 10:30cover of this issue. Sr. Thelma-Anne and Sr. Sue a.m. at St. Thomas’ Huron Street. Come and join ushave both written a number of hymns and poems. for a service of celebration and the reception fol-For many years Sr. Thelma-Anne was the organist lowing in the church hall. Associates can also lookfor the Community and composed forward to visiting with all the Sisters at the Epiphanymany pieces of music including Tea on January 3rd at 2:00 p.m.several that we use regularly. Christ Jesus is the Lord of Hope for us all as we waitWe have had a number of artists with patience through these days of economic tur-and sculptors among the Sisters moil. The King of Kings, born in poverty, reminds usincluding Srs. Miriam, Winifred, to remember the poor always. God bless you all withRosemary Anne, Nonah, Anitra, a holy and blessed Christmas.and Jean; on the back page is anoil painting by Sr. Miriam. Sister Elizabeth Ann, SSJD2
  3. 3. Sister Dora, the Reverend Mother of SSJD (1916-1945) was the niece of Hannah Grier Coome, our Mother Foundress, and of Rose Grier, principal of Bishop Strachan School in Toronto. She joined the Sisterhood in 1900 and in 1905 was appointed the Sister-in-charge of Bishop Bethune College in Oshawa. In 1909 she became the Novice Mistress and soon added the responsibilities of Assistant Superior. When the Mother Foundress resigned in 1916, Sr. Dora was elected as the next Reverend Mother. Our Sisters who remember Sr. Dora describe her as tall, erect, and very attractive to others. During the twenties and thirties many young women joined the Sisterhood which enabled Mother Dora to respond to the calls of the churchboth in the Diocese of Toronto and in other parts of Canada. These calls included opening Qu’Appelle DiocesanSchool in Regina (1918), taking charge of St. Christina’s School in Cooperstown, N.Y. (1930), Bishop MountainHall, an orphanage in Quebec City (1927), and two schools for the mentally handicapped: Shernfold School inOttawa and Saint-John’s-on-the-Hill in Aurora around the same time. Then she convinced Mr. Vincent Massey tochair a committee to raise funds for a convalescent hospital (now known as St. John’s Rehab Hospital) which wasopened in 1937. He said that as soon as he met her he knew what his answer had to be! “She had all the com-pelling force of a medieval Abbess.” She was a good friend of Charlotte Whitton, the mayor of Ottawa, who fre-quently came to the convent to visit Sr. Dora who was particularly fond of chess. Apparently after she retired shehad an ongoing chess game with Charlotte by mail. After resigning in 1945 at the recommendation of her heartspecialists, she could often be found peeling vegetables in the kitchen.The Sisters remember her best for her loving interest and advice for everyone. As the Mother she often gave talksto the novices and continued taking an interest in them right up to the end. Sr. Merle remembers being a noviceand visiting her on Sunday afternoons in the infirmary. Sr. Dora was full of fun, loved being at the Sisters’summer cottage, and was known for her friendliness.Sister Aquila, the Reverend Mother of SSJD(1945-1970) entered the Community in 1932. Althoughin her younger days she had been quite opposed to thereligious life, she responded generously when she heardGod’s call to the Sisterhood. The Sisters who remember Sr.Aquila say that she was very contemplative but not practi-cal. Smokey, the convent cat, loved to lie either on her lapor on top of the ledgers she was working on. Her prayerlife was extremely important to her and she was keen tofoster prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit in the Sisters.It was during Mother Aquila’s time, that the decision wasmade to build a new convent. A quiet, peaceful site wasfound outside Toronto’s city limits—12 acres of land on theedge of a ravine. The old property on Major Street became the site of The Doctors’ Hospital. She was responsi-ble for several other changes in the life of the Community such as the modification of the habit and experimentingwith new liturgical forms of worship.She was much in demand as a leader of quiet days and retreats, but as her responsibilities as the Reverend Motherincreased, she could not continue with this ministry. However, during Advent and Lent she would give weeklytalks which were much appreciated by both Sisters and staff. She travelled a great deal and sent out Sisters tospeak to ACW meetings as a way of encouraging vocations. When Sr. Thelma-Anne was considering a vocationto the Sisterhood, she had an interview with Mother Aquila who told her “not to quench the flame”. When Sr.Helena asked her about the necessary qualifications for a woman desiring to enter the Sisterhood, Mother Aquilareplied: “The one thing necessary is that she be seeking God with her whole heart.” This was exactly the rightanswer for Sr. Helena. Sister Elizabeth, SSJD 3
  4. 4. Photos (clockwise from top right): Church Home: Sr. Constance with some of the ladies. Cana Place: Sr. Margaret Mary with two residents; Srs. Wilma and Doreen in the kitchen; some residents; Sr. Merle; Sr. Wilma with “Cat-Cat”; Sr. Doreen.4
  5. 5. OUR LIFE WITH THE ELDERLY Over 100 Years at the Church Home for the Aged, later Cana Place “What’s in a name?” To those But it is the stories of people that live in our memories! who loved the Church Home for the Aged and later, Cana • One resident had been a teacher. The young son of Place, they are significant the Portuguese couple who worked at the Church names and precious memo- Home was having difficulty learning to read. This res- ries. Let me tell you about ident asked his parents to bring him to her during the them. In 1887 the Sisterhood, summer, which they did, and by the time he returnedin its third year, was asked to manage the Church Home for to school in the fall he had proudly learned to read.the Aged, established a few years earlier. This work was • I learned something special from another resident asundertaken by the Sisterhood until 1994, a total of 107 years. she reached her 100th birthday. Her party includedThe Church Home was founded in the late Victorian era, as members from her former Church, two women fromits name reflects. Old financial records tell their own story the restaurant across the street, and several young girlsabout the needs of its first residents as well as modest finan- who served in the dining room. Their ages rangedcial resources. Later, the Community Chest, forerunner of the from about 15 to 90, friends old and new. She hadUnited Way, helped with grants. As the Ontario government kept in touch with old friends and made new ones, ofbecame financially involved, standards of care developed. all ages, throughout her long and fruitful life.The Church Home was located in an exciting, vibrant neigh- • In 1978, when the idea of women priests was still new,bourhood, at the south end of a block that included the we asked Sr. Rosemary Anne to celebrate theChurch of St. Stephen-in-the-Fields, the Rectory, Bellevue Eucharist. Several days after being told of this a resi-Day Care, St. Stephen’s Community House (formerly the dent said, “I have been thinking about what you toldNathaniel Institute), and finally the Church Home, with me. Jesus did not say, ‘I give you all truth’. He said,Kensington Market close by. In the ’70s we knew the day ‘I will lead you into all truth’, and it seems this may bewas approaching when we would have to leave this the truth he is leading us into today.” She attendedbeloved but outdated building. these Eucharists each week.After several years of searching, planning then packing, the • We remember, with appreciation, the loyal, dedicatedmove was made to Cana Place on October 25th, 1978, amal- staff and board members, too many to name. Recently,gamating the Church Home for the Aged and Strachan at the Convent, we enjoyed a Sunday evening supperHouses (formerly operated by the Toronto Diocesan together with former Cana Place staff.Women’s Auxiliary). The name Cana, suggested by Father I have a vivid remembranceBrian Freeland, comes from Cana in Galilee, the place of a of my last day at the Churchwedding and family gathering, where Jesus and his mother Home, the day we moved toand disciples were present, and where a miracle occurred. Cana Place! Sr. Doreen had“You have kept the best wine until the last” suggests that the gone to Cana Place, Sr. Jeanlast years of life are intended to be the best. “Place” is both was commuting between thecontemporary and biblical, “I go to prepare a place for you,” two places and Sr.the suggestion of Miss Myrtle Stevens, a 92 year-old resident. Madeleine Mary was at theCana Place, in Scarborough, brought us into a different cul- Convent with some of the residents, while other resi-ture, neighbourhood and building. We became part of St. dents were staying with family. Only Sr. Merle and I werePaul’s L’Amoreaux Centre for senior citizens and the Church left with nine residents too frail to leave us. Early in theof St. Paul L’Amoreaux. Our move emphasized the many afternoon a huge ambulance arrived, and Sr. Merle withchanges among Homes for the Aged that were happening the remaining residents was swallowed into it. I watchedduring that time. One change was the new Ontario as it slowly moved away. They had all gone! My grief atExtended Care program to provide funding for additional leaving the Church Home instantly disappeared as mycare that we had not previously been able to give. Also, desire now turned toward Cana Place. Truly, it is theboth men and women lived in a home that had previously people who make a home, not the structure!been only for women. Sister Wilma, SSJD 5
  6. 6. In 1885 Mother Hannah was asked toundertake the work of nursing soldierswounded in the Northwest Rebellion.When the Sisters arrived in Moose Jaw,there was only a large frame building— lined with tar paper — which theytransformed into a hospital. Later, theCommunity received a War ServiceMedal for their work in Moose Jaw.St. John’s Hospital in Toronto began later in 1885 in a small house next to the first little convent on Robinson Street.It had several private rooms for paying patients and an eight-bed ward for non-paying patients. They soon neededmore space, and money was raised by friends and Associates to buy land and erect a convent and hospital on MajorStreet (see below). Graduating class of St. John’s Hospital, 1928In the 1920s and 1930s there were two other very different buildings used for the care of the sick. Below on the leftis the House of Rest, a small convalescent home on Bayview Avenue with lovely gardens and grounds. On the rightis the Old Garrison Church on Portland Street which housed an out-patient department in the basement!In 1936 the Sisters answered an appeal from Bp. MacKenley of Nova Scotia to take charge of All Saints’ Hospital inSpringhill, NS, a 50-bed hospital serving the mining community and surrounding farming district. They worked therefor 12 years until the hospital closed because the Diocese lacked sufficient funds for the necessary upgrading. Thephoto below shows Srs. Anna, Dora and Thelma with the graduating class of nurses.6
  7. 7. PIONEERS IN CONVALESCENT CARE AND REHABILITATIONIn the 1930’s the Sisterhood felt God was leading sun as part of their treatment or enjoying a sled ride in thethem away from surgical care into the new field of winter sun. To develop the mind, the Bigwood Library wasconvalescent care or rehabilitation. Dr. Harvey Agnew, established. The Sisters provided spiritual support as well asthe leading authority on hospital organization in Canada, nursing care and physical therapies.was consulted by the Sisterhood and he gave hisenthusiastic support to the proposal, provided that the Almost immediately, the hospital found itself “bursting athospital was equipped to offer all the active therapeutic the seams” and by 1951 it was undergoing majortreatments necessary to restore patients to complete construction to accom-health. And so St. John’s Convalescent Hospital was born. modate more than 100It would, in fact, set the new standards for rehabilitation patients. Additional staffmedicine for the North American College of Physicians. were hired to help pro- vide patient care and the The Sisters arrived at the new property hospital became a popu- on Cummer Avenue — 25 acres of a lar place for nursing, former farm and golf course — in 1936 medical and physiothera- to plant the vegetable gardens for the py students. Sr. Vera graduated in the first Health patients and Sisters. In 1937, Lord Administrators’ Course in the province. Sr. Philippa was Tweedsmuir officially opened the hos- one of the leaders in developing relationships between pital. Sr. Beatrice spoke of patient care hospitals at a time when hospitals “kept to themselves”. being based on science and treating the As it was a pioneer in the convalescent field, doctors, whole person. She stressed that the priests and health administrators from England and thehospital should not be institutional but rather more USA would tour the hospital and receive whateverhome-like so as to promote true healing and be a information they needed.welcoming place for all. Over the years medicine improved and governmentThe first patients, referred regulations changed. In the 1960s, the hospital helped Sickby the “downtown” hospi- Kids by taking children for rehab. With the introduction oftals, were from different universal health care, the era of private and public patientsnationalities, classes, and came to an end and a new way of reporting to governmentreligious traditions. The began. In the 1980s St. John’s Convalescent Hospitalpatients’ needs varied changed its name to St. John’s Rehabilitation Hospital todepending on whether alter people’s perception of the work being done.they’d been injured or hadsurgery or a debilitating disease or were recovering from In 1996, the SisterhoodTB. Convalescent time could be several weeks. Each recognized the time hadpatient would receive nursing care, physiotherapy and come to let go of the occupational therapy which had administration of the three branches. The men would hospital. However, the be in the shop making something Sisters still provide spiri- from wood or leather and the tual care and sit on women would be sewing or Senior Management and ironing. What they made was sold the Board. at an annual bazaar. If there were The founding values and vision of having rehabilitationchildren, a Sister certified in teaching would provide care recognized and being leaders in this field haveeducation; all would participate in the recreational continued to the present. Today the patients’ needs areactivities often provided by the local churches, Jewish more specialized. St. John’s is the Ontario burn-rehabgroups and clubs. centre and has an established transplant and oncologyThis was before rehab programme. The length of stay in the hospital isantibiotics, so much less than it used to be, but the patients’ personalthe patients needs are basically the same as those of yesteryear: to becould be seen provided with a welcoming environment to nurturein the summer physical, psychological, social and spiritual healing.basking in the Sister Brenda, SSJD 7
  8. 8. Shernfold School in Ottawa (1927-1947), a schoolfor the mentally challenged, provided loving trainingand care for approximately 16 children and youngadults ranging in age from 7 to 20 or 30. On the left,Sr. Paula teaching bed-making, circa 1946. On theright, Sr. Ella giving guidance in prayer. A line-up of young children at Bishop BethuneSr. Cora with a group of children at St. John’s-on-the- College in Oshawa (1893-1932) which was housed inHill in Aurora, north of Toronto, a dairy farm and a a beautiful and rather elegant house surrounded byhome for the mentally challenged. It closed in 1955. lovely gardens.In 1930 the Sisterhood was asked to take charge of St. Christina’s School in Cooperstown, New York, which theydid for eight years. It had been founded by the Sisters of the Community of the Holy Child Jesus in 1870 and wasco-educational up to grade 8. Both the Sisters and the children appear to have had a very happy eight years.8
  9. 9. REMINISCENCES OF SCHOOL DAYS ON THE PRAIRIES IN THE 1940SBefore the days of school bus service in Saskatchewan, one Everyone did prep after supper. The prep-hall wasmight have to leave home to continue school. One supervised by a prefect. At the end of each half hour, theremorning, my mother and I were making up a bed together was shuffling as the young ones went off to bed and othersand, as we straightened the sheets, she said, “Would you like went to practise the go away to school in Regina?” I said, “Yes.” We had school prayers in the morning before school and inSo I went as a boarder to the evening before bed. Bedrooms were for two or three,QDS, the Sisters’ School. Its and sometimes for four if there was a bunk-bed. Silencefull name was the after lights-out did not come easily as there was always a lotQu’Appelle Diocesan to talk over. Later on, a bat might be fluttering around theSchool (not the Queer halls, and one might get a glimpse of a brave Sister in aDuck School!). Going to dressing-gown pursuing it with a tennis racquet.Regina involved a full dayof travelling. I would leave All the boarders went to church together on Sundayhome early in the morning to catch the train in East Poplar, morning. The church-line ended with a Sister or two, andchange at Assiniboia and again in Moose Jaw. Then in it moved rather slowly in order to keep everyone together.the late afternoon, I’d arrive in Regina. This is what I did We filled a few rows of seats in the transept of St. Paul’sseveral times a year for the next five years until I finished Pro-Cathedral. Sunday afternoon and evening were just forhigh school. being, having an afternoon rest and writing a letter home.Of course, attending QDS was very important for me, but There were some sports. We had a playing field at the backa little disappointing for my parents because in 1962 I of the School and two cinder tennis-courts. We walked tojoined the Sisterhood! Several years later, however, they the YWCA to use their gym and swimming-pool. There waswere happy when I became the headmistress of the school never enough time to dry your hair after swimming and, infor a while. My own school-days were much easier than the winter the walk back to the School could require a stopbeing headmistress, however! at the Broadway Tea-room. Ascension Day, which was a holiday, was Sports Day.QDS was a school which expected its students to make thebest of themselves. My first year was spent doing Grade 8 There was music andagain. My desk was at the back of the class, under a drama. Sr. Cecilia taughtwindow. There was a big tree outside, and I did a lot of us singing. Sr. Audreyday-dreaming as I looked out the window. prepared the Christmas Tableaux which wereWhat about classes? We always stood up when the teacher presented in Chapel on theentered before settling down to work. During my time at the evening before school-holi-School, Sr. Constance was often my teacher; history, algebra, days. It was a great privi-scripture, and literature were her subjects. Sr. Francesca was lege to get a part, or to be the reader. The opening linesboth Headmistress and a teacher, and Sr. Audrey also taught return to me easily: “Ye gentles, and all who come here toas well as overseeing the kindergarten. Sr. Amelia, Sr. Mary watch this play, Put we beseech you thoughts of us away.Grace and Sr. Mary Esther influenced us through their No standing here have we, in heart we kneel.” It seems topresence in the dormitory, the kitchen and the laundry. me that any experience of dramatic acting, even in ‘tableaux’, is a great contribution to the whole of one’s life.Friday was the day that the Black Book was brought to theclassroom. Sr. Francesca read out the account of our Of course, there were rules at the School. Chewing gumacademic progress over the past week. Each student, and was forbidden. Sr. Lydia was good at teaching table then the whole class, had a report. manners, and many of the other courtesies of life. Being Order marks and Sent-Up-For- responsible and on time were very important and always Good’s affected the final result. A expected. When Sr. Constance finished announcements SUFG recognized an outstanding in the morning, she often said, “and govern piece of work. You took your work yourselves accordingly.” to Sr. Francesca’s office, and she looked at it, praised it, stamped it The motto of the School was ‘Fais ce que dois’. It was about SUFG and signed it. making the best of yourself and acting responsibly. Sister Beryl, SSJD 9
  10. 10. HOW CAN GOD BE LITTLE?I had a dream a few days ago. I was the crucifer in a This God that we worship is both great and little. Theliturgical procession and, as I lowered the processional cross processional cross I was carrying in my dream reminds meto go through the door and out of the chapel, I heard myself that the baby we worship in the manger is the broken bodyproclaiming in a loud voice, “It’s all about the greatness of of Jesus in the tomb. And we see the same juxtaposition ofGod and the littleness of God!” I awoke thinking, “I can images in our Chapel during the Christmas season, whereunderstand how it’s about the greatness of God — but how the crucifix at the east end is balanced by the picture of thecan God be little?” I knew instantly the answer, even before virgin and child above the fireplace at the west end. AndI was fully awake. It’s about the Incarnation. we see it in the Refectory, with the gentle, lovely quilt of the nativity at one end and the crucifix at the other end.So much of the longing and the waiting that we experience inAdvent focusses on the greatness of God — the God of Israel These images remind us that the Incarnation begins with thewho brought his people out of slavery, the God who inspired birth of Jesus, but it doesn’t end until the resurrection. Thethe prophets with dreams of a Saviour who will come and incarnation is all about the greatness of God and thesave us, the God of the psalmist who is enthroned upon the littleness and vulnerability and humility of God as they arecherubim. “Stir up your might and come to save us!” the poet expressed in Philippians 2:cries. And we cry with him to the God who will come again“in power and great glory” as the gospel writers tell us. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not regard equalityBut for all this greatness and power of God, we wonder, why with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself,does our world seem to be getting more violent? Why does taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.God not bring an end to war? Why is our beloved church And being found in human form, he humbled himself andso fractured? Why do people keep hurting each other? Our became obedient to the point of death — even death on alonging and our waiting seem to have no answers. cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave himMaybe we’re asking the wrong questions, implying that God the name that is above every name, so that at the name ofhas failed us in not fixing our world and our own lives. Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth andMaybe we need to look not only at the greatness of God but under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesusthe littleness of God, the God who answers our longing and Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.waiting by coming among us in the vulnerability of Jesus That is the summary of the Incarnation. God became little soand who empowers us to help bring about the Reign of that we do not have to cling to our greatness but may acceptGod. Our God is known in simplicity and ordinariness as our own vulnerability. Joseph accepted his vulnerability aswell as in greatness and power. he listened to the angel’s preposterous claim that Mary wasThe Spirit that hovered over the earth at creation is the same pregnant by the Holy Spirit and took her as his wife, withoutSpirit that caused a young peasant girl to become pregnant knowing what the consequences might be. Like Joseph, wewith the Saviour. The greatness of an angel is transformed may find our true greatness as we accept our littleness,into a quiet voice who whispers to Joseph in a dream, recognize the coming of God among us, receive the powerreassuring him that it’s OK to take Mary as his wife, that she to confess Jesus as Lord, and help to birth the reign of pregnant by the Holy Spirit, not by some man she has Accepting both our greatness and littleness, and thebeen sneaking around with. The power and glory of an greatness and littleness of God, creates in us a perfectangel choir and wealthy magi are contrasted with the balance, what one poet has called “the holy harmony”:vulnerability and simplicity of a young couple expecting achild, an inn-keeper who compassionately finds space in the Thou shalt know him when he comesstable for Mary and Joseph, and a few scruffy shepherds Not by any din of drums,with their smelly but comforting animals. Nor his manners, nor his airs, Nor by anything he wears,The imagery of great and small carries through the life of Not by his crown or by his gown,Jesus, where a very ordinary little Jewish boy is trained by But his coming known shall be,his father to be a carpenter and then grows up to become a By the holy harmonyprophet and teacher and healer — but is overcome by Which his coming makes in thee.a powerful government threatened by expectations ofrevolution. He is crucified. He is raised from the dead by It’s all about the greatness of God and the littleness of God.the power of God. Then he sits and eats breakfast with hisfisherfolk friends by the lake. Sister Constance Joanna, SSJD — Homily, Advent 4, 200710
  11. 11. SR. PHILIPPA WATSON, SSJD (1922 - 2008)Sr. Philippa was born Dorothy Watson in Winnipeg, Manitoba, June which frequently includedeldest daughter to Helen and William Watson, on December a group of Scottish Country21st, 1922. Her parents were both from Aberdeenshire, Dancers, and a Lord SimcoeScotland. After the birth of her younger sister Lillian, the par- Day in August. On Hallowe’enents took both children to Scotland to be baptised. She was she would lead the Sisters (all inextremely proud of her Scottish heritage and took every costume) through the halls —opportunity to celebrate Scottish events such as Robbie Burns she herself might be dressed asDay and St. Andrew’s Day. a pumpkin, the Bishop of Philippi or Wee Willie Winkie —“Dorothy” came to Toronto to and of course, Christmas wasattend Library School after com- not complete without a party,pleting a BA at the University of dancing, and Santa and Mrs. Claus and all the elves.Winnipeg in 1944. She lived inthe residence run by the Part of this tradition still continues today. The Sisters alsoSisterhood on Brunswick remember her playing “Amazing Grace” over the PA systemAvenue. On September 1st, whenever she had an important announcement to make.1949, she entered SSJD as aPostulant and was clothed as a Novice on March 7th, 1950. As In 1992 she was awarded the Order of Ontario, on behalf ofthere was already a Sr. Dorothy in the community, she chose SSJD, for her work as CEO of SJRH and in the field of healththe name “Philippa” because it means “Lover of Horses” which care in the community at large. In June of 1996 she retired asshe was – along with cats and dogs! During her years in President and CEO but continued on boards and committeesCommunity she had a number of cats all with Scottish names. at the Hospital and began archival work at the Convent.As a novice she went to St. John’s Convalescent Hospital for On June 11th, 2003, she celebrated her 50th Anniversary of11 months in 1952, and was assigned by Sr. Beatrice, the first Life Profession in SSJD; a piper was invited to help toast heradministrator of the hospital, to work in the Admitting on that day. She had many loves besides horses, cats andDepartment and the Accounting Office. She became the librar- SJRH. These included fish ’n chips (especially in the Scottishian after her return to the convent and began packing books style), liver & onions, and ice-cream. She also thoroughlyfor the move to the new Botham Road site. Four days before enjoyed our Friday night videos at the convent; even if she hadthe move, on June 11th, 1953, the feast of St. Barnabas, she been lying down most of the day in the infirmary, she wouldand Sr. Marilyn were Professed as Sisters of St. John the Divine. get up for our movie night. Sr. Philippa returned to the hos- Latterly, Sr. Philippa was a resident of the Sisters’ infirmary in pital in 1954 to be the Assistant the new Convent on Cummer Avenue. She loved people and to Sr. Vera, the new opportunities for visits, especially to St. John’s Rehab Hospital; Administrator. After obtaining she enjoyed sitting in on choir a degree in Hospital practice as she had been unable Administration she succeeded to attend for many years. She her mentor as Administrator of wanted to be a part of every- the Hospital in 1969. Over the thing that happened at the years, the title was changed to Convent. Her declining healthExecutive Director and then to President and CEO. During brought increasing pain whichher tenure, the name of the hospital was also changed to St. she coped with by being inter-John’s Rehabilitation Hospital. Throughout her 43 years at ested in other people and beingSJRH, she served on many boards and committees at the hos- available for conversations inpital, the convent and in the healthcare field. She was the lobby with anyone who passed by. Her niece, Heatherinvolved in getting various facilities to communicate with one Macdonald, only daughter of her late sister Lillian, would stopanother and was a founding member of HIROC (Hospital by for visits when work brought her to Toronto. “Aunt Dodo”,Insurance Reciprocal of Canada). as she was affectionately known by her family, leaves a slew of Macdonald relatives behind. Her wonderful sense ofHowever, she was not simply the CEO of SJRH. She was the humour will be missed but most especially, her loving andenthusiastic organizer of all kinds of social events: a Robbie prayerful presence among us.Burns’ Night in January which always included the address to Sister Elizabeth Ann, SSJDthe haggis and Scottish Country Dancing, the Garden Party in 11
  12. 12. PLEASE JOIN US for a Festal Eucharist on St. Johns Day • 10.30 am — S aturday, December 27, 2008 at St. Thomas’ Church, 383 Huron Street, Toronto, to celebrate our 125th anniversary. Celebrant is the Rt. Rev. Patrick Yu. Reception follows in the Church Hall. ALTAR LINEN DEPARTMENT Prices effective May 2006 Fair Linen 120 inch length finished with 5 crosses $310 ($35.50 per foot for longer) Fair Linen 120 inch finished with 5 crossesPainting bySr. Miriam & borders on ends from $390(circa Credence Clothearly 20th Tables up to 30 inches, with 1 cross $97Century) (For each inch extra $2.90) Credence Cloth Tables up to 30 inches with 1 cross and end borders from $130 Baptismal Towels ea. $25 Purificators 10 1/2 inches square, per dozen $204 ea. $17 SUNDAY AFTERNOON RECITAL SERIES Lavabo Towels – per dozen $228 ea. $19 February 1 4:00 pm Jazz Vespers with Tim Elliott and other musicians Fair Veils ea. $51 Palls on Plexiglass ea. from $45 March 8 Stephanie Martin & Schola Magdalena Corporals ea. $45 4:00 pm Recital — 5:00 pm E vensong Sick Communion Sets includes 1 pall, 1 corporal, 1 fair veil, A free-will offering will be taken. 3 small purificators (6 pcs) from $95 Both concerts will be followed by Sunday Supper (reservations required) All Fair Linens and Credence Cloths are made to Call to reserve for supper ($10.00) at 416-226-2201, x 305 order. For more details, please contact Sr. Jocelyn at All programs are in the Chapel of S t. John the Divine St. John’s House, 3937 St. Peters Rd.,Victoria, BC at St. John’s Convent V8P 2J9 — 250-920-7787 — Map and directions at The Houses of the Sisterhood 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 e-mail: e-mail: 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 ofaddress.The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine is a registered charity. Our charitable donation number is BN 11925 4266 RR0001. Visit our website at www.ssjd.ca12