SSJD The Eagle - Epiphany 2012


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The Epiphany 2012 newsletter of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine Anglican monastic order - Toronto, Canada

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SSJD The Eagle - Epiphany 2012

  1. 1. The Eagle Epiphany 2012 “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5)February 9th — The Feast of Hannah Grier Coome, Mother Foundress of SSJD 91st Anniversary of Mother Hannah’s Death in 19211
  2. 2. Dear Associates, Oblates In October we had twoand friends of SSJD, admissions to the Sisterhood. Susanne Prue was re-admittedMay God bless you all throughout as a Postulant on October2012 and may each of you know 20th and Sian Phillibert (seeGod’s love, joy and peace. photo), on October 25th. Susanne is working in theI would like to tell you in words Guest House and Sian in ourand photographs what has been Chapel. Both are involvedhappening since the last issue of The Eagle in the fall, in the EFM (Education forboth here and at St. John’s House in Victoria, BC. At the Ministry) program at theConvent we hosted a Discovery Day in September which Convent along with the otherwas well attended. Associates, Oblates, and friends of the novices.Sisterhood bring others who might have an interest in theSisterhood to learn more about us and the resources we Thanks to some generous donations through the Motherprovide to help meet people’s spiritual hunger. We’ve also Hannah Appeal for the Sisters in the Infirmary, we werebegun a new contemplative prayer service every Thursday able to purchase and install a new walk-in tub. This hasat Morning Prayer: we begin with a brief prayer, sit together been a real asset to the Sisters in the infirmary. We arein silent meditation for thirty minutes, and end with a few so grateful to everyone who contributed to the Motherprayers and the dismissal. Hannah Appeal for the care of these Sisters who have given their lives to prayer and service for others and whoAt the end of September Sr. Anita from the Order of now need care themselves. In addition we were able tothe Holy Paraclete (OHP) in Yorkshire, England, came get a new electric Hoyer Lift to assist us in moving Sisters to the Convent for a month’s when they are incapacitated. Again, our thanks. exchange visit. While she was here, she spoke about her November is budget time in the Sisterhood and we have work with OHP in Zimbabwe been working hard to reduce our costs. We had several at our Women’s Roundtable large unexpected costs this year (repair of a leak in the roof in October and was very well and of the bell tower, and replacement of a car following received. Everyone appreciated an accident). In tightening our belts, we have had to say her delightful sense of humour. goodbye to some of our staff (May Whyte and Lorraine Bell) We took Sr. Anita on many and realign job positions for more volunteer and part-time special trips to give her a feel work. Our part-time Fundraising Director, Cathy Waiten, for our great country including will be leaving us at the end of January to take on other Niagara Falls, the Muskokas work. Sr. Doreen is taking on a more active role in theand Algonquin Park, a weekend visit to Montreal, and Fundraising Office and will be assisted part-time by Lynnevarious places in and around Toronto. We thoroughly Samways-Hiltz and Mary Balicka. In December the Sistersenjoyed her time with us although it seemed far too short. also said goodbye to Boris and Maria Davidowich whoThis year Sr Helen Claire will go from SSJD to visit OHP retired after 20 years of working with Whitby. You’ll hear about her visit in the fall edition ofThe Eagle.Sr. Louise went to join the household in Victoria, BC, thisfall and is delighted to be back in the province of her birth.Sr. Jocelyn returned to the Convent. Sr. Dorothy wasexpecting to go to Victoria in November, but I realized thatwe really needed her at the Convent, so she is now helpingSr. Constance Joanna in the Guest House. (Flexibility is amuch appreciated characteristic in a Sister!) Sr. Brenda,along with her responsibilities as head of the household atSt. John’s House, BC, has been taking the Jubilee Coursefor Spiritual Directors and has also continued with the“Returning to Spirit” Healing and Reconciliation programfor Aboriginals and the church/non-aboriginals around The Sisters were part of the opening of the new Ambulatorythe Indian Residential School issues. Sr. Sarah Jean Care Wing of St. John’s Rehab Hospital. We werewas in Edmonton this fall to visit Associates. She and presented with a lovely plaque honouring the Sisterhood’sresident Oblate, Doreen Davidson are the other members foundation and work for the Hospital since 1937. Youof that household. The Western and Prairie Provinces of can see the plaque in the dramatic new front entrance ofAssociates now report to St. John’s House in Victoria. the hospital.2
  3. 3. On December 6th, Sr. Susanne Sr. Merle was very was received as Novice after excited to receive a shortened Postulancy. She a special computer is feeling quite settled again with a very large in the Sisterhood. We were screen through delighted when both her the assistance of daughters, Chrissy’s husband, the Department of and baby granddaughter came Veterans Affairs. one evening for Evening Prayer Now that she can see and supper following. the much brighter and larger print on the screen, she is once more able to read and send emails. During an unusually quiet week in December, the GuestWe had a splendid evening with Don Morrison, formerly House office was enlarged and renovated. There is now aCOO of Research in Motion and featured speaker at the front office for looking after the needs of our guests and aBishop’s Company Dinner in 2010. He told us about more peaceful back office where the work of the staff canhis new undertaking to make spiritual resources more be done without as many distractions. One of the reasonsreadily available to anyone who is interested. It soundslike a wonderful project and we are excited about how theSisterhood might connect with this new venture.You may be familiar with the hymn, “O come, O comeEmmanuel”. The hymn is based on a series of antiphonsfor the Song of Mary (known as the O Antiphons becauseeach one begins with “O”) used in the last week beforeChristmas. Each of the O’s gives another biblically-basedtitle for Christ. Sr. Constance Joanna gave a wonderfulAdvent Quiet Day based on these Great O’s to a full house.This year we held our first Advent Lessons and CarolService based on the Great O’s. We hope to do this again we moved from the Botham Road Convent to the Cummer Avenue site was in response to the growing demand for guest accommodation. People continue to hunger for a place where prayer is continually practised and peace is palpable. Being a resident monastic community gives our Guest House a ministry surrounded and upheld by the daily prayer of the Sisters. Perhaps that is why we hadnext year so watch for the date and time on our website. a full Guest House for both the Christmas Retreat and theFor each of the “O’s” a Sister placed a symbol on or in New Year’s Retreat. If you want to experience a prayerfulfront of the altar. Christmas or New Year’s at the Convent next year, you may want to book ahead to ensure that there is space.Sr. Constance celebrated her 75th Profession Anniversaryon December 21st (see pp 9-11). It is quite an achievement We wish you all a healthy and happy 2012.for a woman who entered the Sisterhood at age 30. OnChristmas Eve she was heard singing “O Holy Night” to Sr. Elizabeth Ann, SSJDherself.Sr. Anitra is now resident in St. Hilda’s Towers, happilyensconced in the apartment once inhabited by our formerAssociate, Barbara Sinclair, who died unexpectedly this fall.Her e-mail remains the same if you would like to contact her. 3
  4. 4. What Log? Whose Eye?I have a vivid memory of a Sunday morning back when I was And thirdly, would be to find trusted individuals who will helpa teenager and my family was living in Ottawa. My father us to get the barriers out of our inner vision, someone whomwas rector of St. John’s Church; it was a flourishing parish . we invite to help us in our journey of discernment. It will, of. . . my father was on the radio, many interesting politicians course, have to be someone whom we trust, someone whomattended. I was heavily involved in the choir, scouts, youth we will permit to critique us without us puffing up in outrage.groups, etc. It will, therefore, require us to find the humility to listen and mature as a spiritual being.But I was going through that usual rebellion of the teenageyears and when I got up that morning I announced in a In practical terms I suppose one of the challenges forself-righteous voice that I was not going to church anymore me would be my perception of what is happening in ourbecause the church was completely full of hypocrites. Anglican Church and the Anglican Communion. I find it so disturbing and intractable and yet I hear the specificMy mother just looked at me calmly and said, “That’s all right command in the introduction of our passage today. Forson, come along. There’s always room for one more.” some reason, even though it comes just prior to our reading and sets the tone, it is not included. It says, “Be merciful, justI think of that experience every time I hear today’s Gospel as your Father is merciful.”story. Once more the wisdom and down-to-earth sensitivityof Jesus and his teaching dazzles me. His insight into human Dr. Philip Turner, interim dean of the Episcopal seminaryfoibles is so clear and even understood with some empathy. in Austin, Texas, explains, “The arrival of God’s KingdomAnd the imagery he uses is so vivid—the vulnerability of an is marked by love seeking reconciliation. Life within theeye and the discomfort of a huge stick or even a miniscule church is marked by love seeking reconciliation. A failurespeck, make us squirm. on the part of the church to display such love will be judged with the result that the house intended to be God’s houseProbably all of us should hang our heads when we read this will fall.”.. and as Luke says, “the ruin of that house will bepassage because, sadly, it is so easy to slip into smugness and great”.duplicitous judgments of others and be blind to one’s owninadequacies and defects. Very sobering words from Turner, and I don’t know where to go with them. I have tried to be understandingAs Herbie O’Driscoll says, “Modern psychology has made and accepting of the Network and the negativity of someus painfully aware that the log in our own eye is often what African and South and North American bishops. But amprompts us to focus on the speck in another’s eye.” I blind to something within myself in this case? It may be a shaded spot for me and it will be an ongoing struggle toBut then Herb goes on with a comment that is very perceptive comprehend it. In the meantime I probably have lots ofand unsettling: “In other words,” he says, “we tend to project other logs to get out and I am working on them.the shadowed parts of ourselves on to others, making themthe opponent or the enemy or the personification of some May we all work on those painful logs and specks in ourevil that is, in fact, part of our own nature and most of the eyes, knowing we have the comfort, support and benefit oftime we are totally unaware of what is happening.” the Spirit. With wisdom and hope we listen to the insightful words of our Teacher on this challenging journey in theThat thought sets me back on my heels. It makes me think faith. Amen.of all those places where I have made judgments aboutothers and challenges me to question if those are the verycharacteristics that I am afraid to admit are part of my owninterior personhood. Am I ashamed of that part of my Archbishop Terence Finlaypersonality and am I willfully ignoring it in me but seeing it Homily, September 9, 2011vividly in others? What an alarming concept. Luke 6: 39-42It becomes clear then that our spiritual maturity in this areadepends on a couple of important elements:One, is probably to pray with a purpose of delving into ourattitudes, even questioning them over time and perhapsdeconstructing them, taking them back to their basics andexploring where and how they came to be.Secondly, is to practice mindfulness, to be aware of thesacredness of each moment and what we are bringing to thatmoment.4
  5. 5. Reflections of the Life of Mary MagdaleneIn the shadow of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code that Part of these exercisesgathered fame a few years ago, I felt the need, at that time, involves praying withto shed a bit of light onto the life of Mary Magdalene. This has the imagination, puttingled me to give several retreats and Quiet Days. yourself in the scene depicted in the GospelWhy has this enigmatic woman from the New Testament and becoming part of it.made such a lasting impression on my life? Each time a new It was Mary Magdalenebook about her life or her ministry is published, I’m the first who accompanied me,in line wanting to read it. I feel I have to ask myself, why? fielding my questionsWhat makes her stand out above the rest of the people who and reactions. She stoodsurrounded Jesus? with me at the well as Jesus spoke to theMary Magdalene’s life, as shared with us in scripture, gives us unknown woman. Shea glimpse of a truly remarkable woman. From the depths of walked with me alongdespair, through the healing grace of Jesus, she became the the roads that took Jesus“Apostle’s Apostle”, demonstrating to me the true meaning from town to town. She stood with me as I knelt at the foot ofof faithfulness and discipleship. the cross. It was by allowing her to journey with me along my path of introspection that I really got to know who she wasHer life resonates with many women throughout the Christian and how important her moments with Jesus must have, possibly because she was a woman who becamewell-known and respected in a male-dominated society. That It was the faithful Mary who walked with Jesus along thosealone sets her apart. Her journey from bearer of demons to dusty hot roads, and who very likely spent her eveningsbearer of precious ointments touches those who have walked talking with him. I imagined her and Jesus talking over thethose pathways themselves. events of the day as he shared his ministry with her. It was the “healed” Mary, who gave her new life to Christ, and was withShe was one of several women who followed Jesus during him to the end, when she stood at the foot of the cross andhis ministry and provided for him and his disciples. Yet Mary watched as her friend was crucified. That act of faithfulnessMagdalene was one of the few who is mentioned by name. reaches out to me over the centuries and has changed meThis indicates to me her special relationship with Our Lord. forever.According to the Gospel of John, Mary was the first personto see Jesus after his resurrection — the one who was given I can only imagine the joy she must have felt spending timethe task of bearing this news to the other disciples. with Jesus. How she put herself at risk journeying with him and how she mourned there in the garden.However, it is the intimate relationship that she had with OurLord that touches me most deeply. It was while participating She is the disciple I would hope to be. She is the womanin the Ignatian Prayer Exercises that I first found myself whose strength and stamina I would hope to achieve. Shewalking hand in hand with Mary. She became my guide and was the friend of Jesus I want to confidante. Sr. Louise, SSJD Mary of Magdala drowned in insanity Mary of Magdala followed her rescuer, all but consumed by sev’n devils of hell; spent of her fortune to help and support; shunned by her kinsfolk, cast out by society. quiet disciple and witness to miracles. Mary of Magdala floundered and fell. Mary of Magdala sped Jesus’ work. Mary of Magdala found a phenomenon Mary of Magdala stood by an empty tomb Jesus the healer, revealer of light; weeping and grieving and lonely and cold; sanity came back as demons were driven out; Jesus appeared to her, said “Do not cling to me”. Mary of Magdala reclaimed her life. Mary of Magdala knew joy’s bright gold. Mary of Magdala, teach us your faithfulness, teach us endurance in good times and hard. Pray that we too may be centred on sanity, loving our Saviour and trusting our God. a hymn written for SSJD by Sr. Sue, SSJD 5
  6. 6. Our Lives of Sr. Elizabeth was born in Vancouver, BC, joining a brother nine years older, and attended Crofton House School for 12 years. She loved photography, hiking, and camping and was extensively involved in the Girl Guides which led to her attending an International Guide Camp in Switzerland in 1957. Later as a Guide Captain she met (Sr.) Doreen who told her about SSJD. Although planning a secretarial career, she spent a year at Neuchatel Junior College in Switzerland where she took up skiing and fencing along with developing her love of travelling which would later include much of Europe, Australia and the Far East. Back in Vancouver she worked in the tourist and travel industry. While working with a new employee, Elizabeth was told, “You should become a teacher!” A B.Ed. at UBC followed where she was “urged to go into Honours English”. Travel and church interests increased culminating in two years teaching in Japan as part of the Anglican Church’s Volunteers in Mission. On her return she joined the staff at Crofton House “teaching English and religious studies and stayed for 26½ years”. Having learned earlier from Sr. Doreen about SSJD, Elizabeth had become an Associate and, “in 1969 felt called to the Community but my parents were unsupportive, so I gave up the idea”. In 1984 Elizabeth was married “gaining not only a husbandbut two sons”. In late 1992 a brain tumour ended Ben’s life. In her Associate annual report in 1995 Elizabeth noted she “waspart of a small group of women searching for something more, perhaps Oblates”. She attended The Women at a Crossroads in1996 without any thought of joining the Convent. After four days of the programme she felt a call to the religious life, and enteredSSJD in 1997 at age 55. Highlights have included her time in Montreal, being Director of Associates, Novitiate Director (“It’sa great privilege to nurture new members”), leading retreats and quiet days, assisting Sr. Elizabeth-Ann, and editing The Eagle. Although born in Peekskill, New York, Sr. Sue’s childhood was spent in New York City, Boston and Chicago before she went to university in St. Louis. After working full-time for several years she attended the University of Pennsylvania, including a year in Rome on a Fulbright Fellowship. In 1984 she returned to New York City to work and do further research, commenting “I was still an atheist”. While dealing with health and family relationship issues, she began to sense a developing relationship with God. “My early concept of God was like a great big electric blanket wrapped around me and keeping me warm and comforted.” After completing her Ph.D. in ancient history in 1991, she went to Brigham Young University in Utah to teach “and found my spiritual home on earth in the rocks and valleys”. Before her baptism in 1990, she sensed a desire for a community based on a common faith. In 1999 the desire for community again surfaced. A new spiritual director helped her to sense a call to the religious life, and internet contact “put me in touch with SSJD”. She came to the Convent thinking “I really don’t want to like it up there, but I got here and felt at home.” Following her discernment time, she shocked her still-atheist family (three sisters) and friends by saying: “I want to join a religious community”, and entered in 2000 at age 50. “Life inCommunity has been very healing. . . . I learned that I could do all sorts of things with the help of God. . . . Now as AssociateDirector, it’s challenging and it’s wonderful.” As well, Sr. Sue is involved in Natural Church Development, EFM for the Conventand the Diocese of Toronto, along with continuing her creative expressions as poet and hymn-writer. Hamilton, Ontario, was Sr. Dorothy’s birthplace, but she moved to Burlington following her adoption at the age of four, and lived there until she was 10. She has a younger sister and brother, an older sister and, until his recent death, an older brother—all of whom were adopted. After moving to Bracebridge, she attended school taking business and commercial courses and became a legal secretary. “At age 17 I asked my priest about Anglican orders and he contacted SSJD who advised that I had to be 21”. She married in 1973, had two sons, and “was an at-home Mom and returned to work in 1989”. Her interests had included horseback riding, cross-country running, nature and the out-of-doors, church groups, Bible studies and volunteering at a retirement home. After her divorce in 1995 Dorothy, in frustration, explored a variety of jobs and activities “seeking the path God was calling me to”. A visit to the Convent was suggested and “I knew as soon as I entered the door”. Weekend visits in 2000 to experience the Community, “a talk regarding becoming an ‘Associate’ only it came out ‘Sister’—and the process started”. Dorothy entered in September 2001 at age 48. Highlights have included “learning and experiencing community in a different way when I thought I was being called to a deeper sense of prayer”. Regarding her timeat Maison “I didn’t want to go, but it was the best experience I could have had . . . . Every ministry has its own blessings andgives something God wants you to have.” Throughout her experience with breast cancer, Sr. Dorothy was very aware of muchcaring support from all levels of the Community. “One of the things I really like about Community is the way we work towardsconsensus—discussing and making decisions together—something the monastic life can offer the world.” A personal highlight forSr. Dorothy this fall was attaining the status of “new Grandma”!6
  7. 7. Love and ServiceBorn in Sudbury, Sr. Elizabeth Ann recalls “a happy city where multi-cultural people helped eachother through hard times—a good place to grow up”. She was one of six children (but two brothersdied in childhood). She now has two brothers and a sister. Her parents sponsored several childrenthrough Foster Parents Plan including one foster brother from Korea whom she met this summerwhen he came to visit Canada. At age 10 she moved to Toronto and connected with St. Matthew’sIslington. Then at age 16 she moved to North York and joined St. John’s York Mills. High school,mainly through the Alternate and Independent Studies Program, was followed by Forestry atLakehead University while attending church in Port Arthur. Having had earlier involvement withchurch pageants, Sunday School, and Junior Auxiliary, she joined the choir, drama group andbecame a server. She began to explore Christian Meditation, reading The Cloud of Unknowing,The Philokalia, and going for a month’s visit to the Convent. “I was caught up in the silent pausesin the recitation of the psalms; the touch of God was in that silence.” She returned to university andthen worked at Weall and Cullen Nursery Garden Centre and in 1987, entered SSJD at age 30.Her interests have included science fiction reading, Chinese brush painting and art as an expressionof spirituality, calligraphy and writing Haikus. “I love to cook and I love to bake!” Highlights for Sr. Elizabeth Ann in Communityinclude her time in Montreal “helping to open the house and getting the ministry going; living in a different kind of culture. . . .I lovelife in general—there’s ups and downs.” Called back from Montreal in 2000 to be assistant to the Reverend Mother, she was thenelected to that position in 2005, and states that “although you experience difficulties at times, you really get to understand what isthe grace of the office. . . . God really does sustain and help you do what you could not do alone . . . . It’s really quite amazing!”The path to the Convent can be rather circuitous. Although a cradle Anglican, like many othersSr. Helen Claire didn’t know Anglican convents existed until the 1980s. “I grew up in Kingston,Jamaica, towards the end of the colonial era. I had an idyllic childhood in a gentler time and place.”After graduating from the University of the West Indies in Spanish and economics, she workedwith the tourist board for two years then emigrated in 1970 to Toronto, “the city I know best andlove,” she says. “I’ve been here ever since, except for a year in Paris to try and learn French and ayear at our branch house in Montreal.” For 13 years Helen Claire was with the Ontario provincialcivil service in communications working on internal house publications. When she returned tothe church in 1984, she met an SSJD associate who introduced her to the Sisterhood and theConvent. Laid off in June 1996, she did the Women at a Crossroads programme that July, statingclearly on the application form: “I’m not interested in the religious life but I am at a crossroads.”When the programme ended, seven of that group expressed the intention to join the Convent. “Iwas not one of them.” Months and travels went by and then she returned for a retreat and realized“why my job-hunting had been half-hearted”. Entering in 1998 at age 54, Helen Claire has workedmainly in the Associate Office and Guest House. She says, “My new assignment as sacristan in the chapel suits me as I preferto work in the background and am good at details.” She ended by saying, “If you want to learn a language, you go and live withpeople who speak it. I came to SSJD to learn the language of love. It will take me the rest of my life to do so.”Sr. Louise was born in Victoria, B.C. her parents’ first child, followed three years later by hersister. She attended early school there before moving to Chemainus, BC, for high school and thento Nanaimo for college. Her interests included swimming, sewing, ballet, figure-skating, Brownies,Guides, Pathfinders, eventually taking on leadership roles. (She still does warm-up exercises as“it’s really helped with maintaining my joint flexibility”.) “We always had a dog which helped meto have a love of animals.” Louise was married for a short time (very young) and has a son andtwo grandchildren. She worked at Eaton’s in a variety of departments, then back to college forcomputer courses and into office work. When that company closed “I found it difficult to find workwithin that field—I was just too old”. Louise finally settled on a seniors’ residence where “gettingto know those folks greatly enriched my life”. This was a turning point for her as she became veryrestless in her spiritual life. She learned about SSJD and attended the discernment programme in1999. “This seemed to be the answer to the deep calling I was feeling at the time—and it still is.”Entering the Community at age 47, Sr. Louise’s first branch house experience was at SJRH which“was—and remains—one of the most fulfilling ministries I’ve been involved in”. Other highlights forher included trips to Anglican/Episcopal religious communities which “helped me to discern moreclearly my call, not just to the religious life but to SSJD in particular”. She is now “back in Victoria with a new ministry—OblateDirector—a position I take very seriously and with deep regard for the women who are Oblates”. Through family and marriagedifficulties, “I have always felt God’s presence with me—and now . . . I have the love and prayers of my Community and I haveSisters that I love and pray for.” 7
  8. 8. News from the Fundraising OfficeIn a world desperate for peace and reconciliation and in a society withlittle space and quiet to hear the still, small voice of God, the Sisters ofSt. John the Divine are committed to helping people find that peaceand to hear that quiet voice of God. As we do not earn salaries, ourlife and witness require funding. For most of our ministries, we receivelittle or no remuneration. Our Associates, Oblates, families and friendsof the Community are essential partners in our ministry through theirprayerful support and generous ongoing financial donations.Our founding Associates in 1884 started an Endowment Fund tosupport the establishment of the new Sisterhood and the work Godcalled us to do. Without the help of our Associates, Oblates andfriends over the years, our ministry would not exist. Today we areworking with our investment managers and advisors to maximize thereturn on our investments in order to build that fund and so cover our expenses.We would like to thank our donors for their generosity in 2011. Including the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine in yourcharitable giving is a wonderful way to link your life with our mission and ministry. It helps us build upon our foundation andensures that our fund continues to grow to sustain us into the future. As well as these ongoing donations in support of our ministry, during the past year (2011) we had a special appeal focussing on the lives of our retired and infirm Sisters living with us in community. Our goal was to raise $100,000 to help with the ongoing costs of our infirmary. One of our dreams was to be able to install a walk-in bath tub that our Sisters would be able to use. Through the generosity of many who contributed to this Mother Hannah Fund, we were able to realize this dream! Sister Jessica, who oversees our infirmary, is seen relaxing in the new walk-in bathtub. Already it is very popular, and has been such a blessing to our Sisters. Thank you for helping us to make this possible.There are many ways that you can help support our life and ministry. We always welcome your prayers. You can become apart of the ministry of the Sisterhood by volunteering at the Convent or at St. John’s House in Victoria. Come as a guest orinvite the Sisters to come and preach or lead a retreat or quiet day in your parish. Help us financially through donations tothe Sisterhood.Here are some of the ways that you can make a donation to the Sisterhood:• Write a cheque made out to The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine.• Use your Visa or MasterCard—arrange this by contacting Sister Doreen in the Fundraising Office: or call 416-226-2201, ext. 303.• Donate on line through PayPal which offers a secure online site that is easy to use.• If you would like to support us monthly, we now have a Preauthorized Remittance option (PAR). Contact or Sister Doreen at 416-226-2201, ext. 303. You will be sent a form to fill out and return along with a voided cheque.• Remember the Sisterhood in your Will or as a beneficiary in your Insurance Policy or you can make a donation of securities. For these and other planned-giving options, contact or Sister Doreen at 416-226-2201 ext. 303.Thank you for your continued financial support and for your prayers. We are truly grateful for the kindness and generosity thatwe receive daily from our friends and benefactors. Your continued love and support of our Community is remembered daily inour prayers and we trust that God will continue to bless both you and our Community as we serve the world God loves. Sister Doreen, SSJD8
  9. 9. Sister Constance Murphy, SSJD celebrated 75 years in Life Profession on December 21st, 2011 Sr. Constance was School (QDS) as a “junior mistress” under Sr. Francesca. born in Baltimore, She had seventeen challenging years there, becoming Maryland, on Sr. Francesca’s assistant headmistress in 1940, acting February 2, 1904, headmistress in 1944 and finally headmistress in 1947. the Feast of the Presentation of Sr. Joyce and Sr. Beryl have both known Sr. Constance Jesus in the Temple since 1943; Sr. Joyce entered the Community in 1943 also known as and Sr. Beryl was sent to be a boarder at QDS in 1943 Candlemas, and and knew Sr. Constance first as a teacher and then as Ground Hog Day, headmistress. Sr. Beryl says that “Sr. Constance was the which she delights first black person she had ever met apart from sleeping-car in reminding us of porters on the railway.” She was “to become someone Sr. every year. Her Constance would care about for the rest of her life”. grandfather wasthe founder and editor of a newspaper called the Afro-American in Baltimore and her father was the principal ofan elementary school for fifty years. Back row: (Sr.) Beryl Stone as a teacher (far left) 1953; Front row: Sr. Audrey, Sr. Constance, Sr. Elvira and Novice Margaret Ann. In 1955 Sr. Constance returned to the Convent to be the Assistant Warden of Associates and Guest Mistress. In 1958, she became the Sister-in- Charge of the Church Home for the Aged whereConstance had a wonderful trip to Europe in 1929 with she worked until 1972. Sheher older sister. She is seen here in Rome and Lausanne. kept everyone busy doing something, especially theConstance graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Sisters who worked 1928 with a B.S. in Education and taught in Baltimore Whenever she saw a Sister,until the end of 1932, when she came to Toronto to test she would say, “Sister, three things: do. . . . and . . . and .her vocation in the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine . . .” Usually the Sister hadn’t had time to complete the lastbecause segregation prevented her from joining the All 2 or 3 tasks assigned to her. She completed her CertificateSaints Sisters of the Poor in Baltimore, the Community she in Administration of Homes for the Aged at McMasterloved. She was admitted on January 13th, 1933, in the University in 1970.middle of a flu epidemic at the Convent. With Fr. Charles Feilding she was one of the foundingAfter her Life members of the Canadian Institute of Religion andProfession in 1936 Gerontology in 1975. Through this Institute and with theshe spent some help of others, she produced A Book of Prayers in Largetime at the school Print, designed a “Pray and Play” cart, and began a ministryin Aurora where of pastoral visitation to shut-ins, nursing homes and Homesshe taught mentally for Seniors. For many years she was an associate pastoralchallenged children. care co-ordinator at Castlewood-Wychwood Towers. InIn August, 1938, 1990 her 18 years of service as chaplain to the residentsshe was sent to of Lambert Lodge and Castleview-Wychwood Towers wasQu’Appelle Diocesan celebrated by the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto. 9
  10. 10. In 1975 she was appointed as chair of the Diocesan In 1985 Sr. Constance receivedCommittee on Aging by the bishop of the Diocese. She was an Ontario Senior Citizensalso a Canadian observer at the White House Conference Achievement Award from Premieron Aging in 1971 and 1981. From September, 1976 David Peterson in the presenceto September, 1977 she studied at the University of of Queen Elizabeth, the QueenMichigan and received her M.A. in Adult Education and a Mother. She was one of 500Certificate in Gerontology at the age of 73. nominated for the award and one of 22 seniors honoured for the work they had accomplished after retirement. In April, 1986 she was presented with a Certificate for Volunteer Services in recognition of services provided for residents of the Metro Homes for the Aged. Sr. Constance setting off for work on her bicycle (1977) and working in the gerontology office in 1978.Sr. Constance continued working with the elderly almost tothe present day. In 1977 she was appointed the DiocesanCo-ordinator for Work with the Elderly; apparently shemade annual attempts to “resign” but the “bishop bade mecarry on year by year”. She finally resigned in 1983 so thata paid, qualified person could work for the Diocese—The Nothing stopped Sr. Constance from her pastoral visiting—Rev. Keith Nevell. In October 1980 she was asked to help not even a fresh snowfall—although she was confined toout at St. John’s Convalescent Hospital because both Sr. the Convent for a few months after she broke a bone in herMay and Sr. Christine had fractured hips. From then on foot while running through the infirmary in her late 90’s.she worked part-time at the Hospital as a pastoral visitorand part-time doing the same work outside the Community. In 1997 she was elected an Honourary Member of theHonourary Degrees and Other Awards: Ontario Gerontology Association. The letter which she receivedIn 1982 she received an to inform her of this decisionHonourary Doctor of Divinity referred to her as “a pioneerfrom the University of Emmanuel in the study of aging both atCollege in Saskatoon and in McMaster University and the1984 an Honourary Doctorate University of Michigan. As onein Sacred Letters from Trinity of the subjects in the BaltimoreCollege, Toronto. Longitudinal Study of Aging, you have added to our knowledge of the aging process”. Sr. Constance was always looking for materials which would The Commemorative Medal be helpful to the elderly. for the 125th Anniversary She saved everything of Canadian Confederation and found ways to use it from His Excellency the Right all. When it was time to Honourable Ramon John move from the Convent Hnatyshyn. (1992) on Botham Road to ournew location on Cummer Avenue, Sr. Constance still hadboxes of materials which she would take on her visits tothe elderly most of whom were younger than she was.10
  11. 11. On February 2nd, 2004, she celebrated her 100th Birthday with many friends and several members of her family. Sr. Constance making a speech at the launching of her book. On her 105thSr. Constance produced several books: A Book of Prayers birthday, in 2009,in Large Print; Sing Your Way Home; and in the 1990’s she received ashe wrote her autobiography, Other Little Ships, which congratulatorywas officially launched on September 27, 1997. certificate from the U.S. Consul General, John R. Nay, honouring her as the oldest American in Canada. On December 4, 2009, the newly appointed American Ambassador to Canada, David JacobsonIn the International Year of Older Persons (1999), Sr. came to Toronto to presentConstance received the Toronto Senior of the Year Award Sr. Constance with ain recognition of her ongoing ministry to seniors. The personally signed letter ofaward was presented by Toronto Mayor, Mel Lastman, congratulations from theat a function at Metro Hall on November 2. At that time recently elected President ofSr. Constance was regularly visiting Castleview-Wychwood the United States, BarackTowers where she ran a Bible Study, a Christmas Card Obama.Club and made personal visits to elderly and bed-riddenresidents.Shortly after this event Sr. Constance went to Israel(November, 1999) with the Rev. Leslie Barclay and a groupof parishioners from the Church of the Annunciation. Sr. Constance has made many friends On January over the past 78 11, 2004, years in SSJD. One Sr. Constance of her most faithful was made a friends and personal Canon of the chauffeur for several Cathedral. years was Mr. Erwin She is seen Hart who came each here with week to take Sr. Archbishop Constance to visit her Terence elderly friends. He is Finlay. seen with her here on her 70th Profession Anniversary. Sr. Elizabeth, SSJD 11
  12. 12. Silent Sounds Are You at a Crossroads in Your Life? The wind is silent Are you considering a career change? through the trees Are you looking for “something more” in your life? Do you have a thirst for God? A hunger for prayer? The window’s pane between us Do you desire to serve God in a new way? holds the sound Would you like to experience life in community? at bay. To see and not to hear Then you may be interested in attending the voice of God a free 3½ week program (June 29 – July 22, 2012) that looks so near. to discern where God is calling you. The measured movement At the same time you will have the opportunity to of the stately trees experience the life of prayer, love, and service Calls for my attention in an Anglican monastic community of women. but I do not hear. I can only see the sounds. Women who are interested should contact How long will they keep trying Kelly Clark, The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, before their voice St. John’s Convent, 233 Cummer Ave, goes still? Toronto, ON M2M 2E8 Is this what it’s like Phone: 416-226-2201, Ext. 301. Fax: 416-222-4442 when pain in me Email: Website: puts up a wall Applications for Women at a Crossroads, 2012 Through which I can see must be in by March 31, 2012. but cannot hear God? M.L. Stewart, Oblate SSJD Altar LinensAltar linens may be purchased from Sr. Jocelyn, SSJD, atthe Convent. All linens are hand-sewn from Irish Linen.Items which may be purchased include Fair Linens,Credence Cloths, Purificators, Lavabo Towels, BaptismalTowels, Fair Veils, Palls on Plexi Glass, Corporals and SickCommunion Sets. For details, please contact Sr. Jocelyn: Can you identify these three people? Left to right: Sr. Su- Telephone: 416-226-2201 sanne (Novice); Susan Murphy (Alongsider) and Sr. Sue, Fax: 416-226-2131 SSJD (Associate Director) 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 email: email: 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 RR0001.12