SSJD The Eagle Michaelmas Newsletter 2012


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SSJD The Eagle Michaelmas Newsletter 2012

  1. 1. The Eagle Michaelmas, 2012Dear Friends, Associates and Oblates,Each fall the Sisters rejoice with thanksgiving for thefoundation of our Community on September 8, 1884.This year we celebrate 128 years of history together asa Community called by God to a life of love, prayer andservice.The Sisterhood worked hard this past year negotiating with Sr. Elizabeth Ann, MalcolmSt. John’s Rehab Hospital (SJRH) and Sunnybrook Moffatt (former CEO of SJRH)Health Sciences Centre (Sunnybrook) as they sought to and David Zimmerbecome a merged organization. As the founders of SJRHwhich opened in 1937, we wanted the core values of thehospital to be maintained in the merger. The hospitalwas then and still is a pioneer in rehab medicine, helpingpeople on the road to recovery. One of the main concernsof the Sisterhood was to maintain the beautiful gardens promote health care in Ontario andand grounds around SJRH for their therapeutic value. A Canada. The first medal was givensmall group of the SJRH Board—consisting of Hilary Short to Mother Hannah Grier Coome, the founder of SSJD,and Joyce Bailey from the SJRH Board, and Srs. Doreen, in 1885 in recognition of the work she and the fledglingConstance Joanna and myself—was formed in January to Community did in opening and operating a hospital inwork out the details between the Sisters and SJRH. Moose Jaw for the soldiers injured during the second North West Rebellion. Sr. Constance Joanna was presented withThe merger was voted on at a special meeting of the the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal in 2002 in recognitionCorporation in June, followed by a vote by the Sunnybrook of many years of service in health care in Canada by theBoard a week later. The Minister of Health, Deb Matthews, Sisters of St. John the Divine. As we move forward in ourannounced that the merger would be effective on July work at St. John’s Rehab, especially in the area of Spiritual1, 2012. Since that time, we have been saying goodbye Care, we trust that God is calling us to continue a missionto many of our colleagues who have worked at SJRH for that began at our founding.years and who are now taking this opportunity to moveon to other positions. The Sisters are endeavouring to In May we welcomed the world-strengthen our presence in Spiritual Care to help support renowned author Diarmuidthe patients, staff, volunteers and visitors during this time O’Murchu as speaker andof transition in what is now the St. John’s Rehab site of workshop leader. His topic wasSunnybrook. One of the results of the negotiations will be “Developing an Adult Faith for thea new parking gate on the convent property. (See the back 21st Century”. We had a lively openpage for details.) lecture with many good questions raised. He got us thinking aboutAt the last SJRH Annual Meeting the symbols and metaphors we useon June 28th, David Zimmer, in Christianity and how we need toMPP for Willowdale, presented re-imagine them in order to mature in our faith and moreme with the Queen’s Diamond effectively share the good news in a post-ChristendomJubilee medal recognizing the society. At our Women’s Roundtable evening in May, weentire Sisterhood for our long welcomed the Rev. Carol Finlay as our guest speaker.history in health care and our She spoke of her work in setting up book clubs in in the community. This is It is a wonderful and creative ministry which captured thethe third medal that has been imagination of all present.awarded to the Sisterhood forour dedication and service to This past year we have begun investigating the solarthe community and especially microfit program of the Ontario Government, whichfor the work we have done to pioneer and provides non-profit organizations the opportunity to invest1
  2. 2. in green energy. The initial cost is substantial, and we hope company when he was not engaged in giving talks or givingthat some generous donors might help us with the initial individual spiritual guidance to the retreatants.investment. We have just finished our AnnualThis summer’s Women at a Crossroads program was General Chapter. Each year theheld once again in July. We had eleven women join us whole Community gathers tofor nearly a month immersing themselves in the monastic spend time together discussingrhythms of prayer, work, study and recreation. They our vowed community life andlearned new forms of prayer and tools for discernment. The the ways in which God is callinggroup formed a good community within Community. One us to serve. We have fun timesof the women came from the Yukon, and another from together as well and renew ourKawawachikamach, a remote village in Northern Quebec. relationships with other SistersA third woman came from Boston, MA, accompanied by we don’t see so often. This yearher guide dog, Doc, who was a great hit with both Sisters we invited the Rev. Rob Voyleand guests. Others came from across Ontario. All went to lead the Sisterhood through aaway with new perspectives on their baptismal commitment process of Appreciative Inquiry (AI). He will be back laterand new thoughts and ideas about living it out. in the fall to do some more AI training in the Diocese of Toronto and we hope to see him again then. Last year at Chapter we decided to begin an experiment with having Alongsiders, women who live and work alongside us. Susan Murphy began living with us as an Alongsider last September and it’s hard to believe the year is now over. We said goodbye to her as an Alongsider although she will continue to live in the Guest House as a long-term guest while completing her studies at Tyndale University. She has been reflecting on her time as an Alongsider in a blog which you can read online ( Susan helped us in so many ways with our Guest House ministry, with the volunteers at the Convent, and with the publicity of retreats and workshops offered by the Sisterhood through an email newsletter called “Home for the Heart”. Most of all we are grateful to Susan for her faithfulnessWe have begun updating our computer system. It in prayer and in living the religious life alongside us.has been cobbled together over the years and various parts Jeanette Ratz, Amy Joy Wong, and Joyce Lambert beinghave been causing others to crash. It is time for us to get welcomed as Alongsiders by Sr. Elizabeth Ann.everyone on the same operating system and to bring ouremail in-house. I have appointed Sr. Constance Joannato oversee the IT (Information Technology) process andrenewal. At the same time our website has received areal makeover. Please take a look at our new site, We think you will find it easier to navigateand find the information that you require. Homilies andreflections by various Sisters will be added, along withvideos. So keep checking in to see what might be new! Br. Jude from the Anglican Society of St. Francis, was our retreat conductor this year. He gave a wonderful retreat reflecting on the lives of St. On September 8th we welcomed three new Alongsiders Francis and St. Clare in the whom we had come to know through the Women at a context of Jungian psychology. Crossroads program. Two are alumnae of this summer’s Most of the SSJD Sisters, Crossroads program—Jeanette Ratz and Amy Joy several Oblates of SSJD, and Wong—and one hails from the program two years ago, four Brothers from the Order Joyce Lambert. These women are joining us in our life of of the Holy Cross participated. prayer and service in various capacities around the convent.Those of us not able to be in retreat enjoyed Br. Jude’s2
  3. 3. On September 25th we There is much good news to rejoice in as we begin anotherreceived Amanda Taylor fall season. We ask your continued prayers and support ofas a Postulant. Amanda the Sisterhood as we continue to pray for you and to serveattended the Women at a the world God loves through love, prayer and service.Crossroads Program in 2011and has attended several Sr. Elizabeth Ann, SSJDother retreats and quiet Reverend Motherdays. It seems that the HolySpirit has been working SSJD Vision Prayeraway in her soul and gentlyencouraging in her a desire to be part of the Sisterhood. Almighty God, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, we thank you for all your deep love for us Sr. Sue Elwyn became a throughout our SSJD history, Canadian citizen on August for the vision you have always had for us as a Community, 31st. She has taken and for your love for each one of us advantage of a welcome in our personal journeys. gift to new citizens by using We ask you to fill our lives with your love and grace, her free pass to the Royal and to open our hearts to the vision you have for us. Ontario Museum. She is now Help us never to forget that the past has been absorbed looking forward to voting in in your love and forgiveness; the next Canadian election. the present shines with the light of your presence; and the future beckons with your vision and plan for us. Keep us centred on gospel roots and values, refresh and sustain us as we go forward into the future, and accept our offering of praise and thanksgiving, through the grace and power and love of the Blessed Trinity. Amen. (Sr. Frances Joyce, 1993) Standing: Sisters Elizabeth, Anne, Rhonda, Debra, Dorothy, Wilma, Jean, Sarah Jean, Brenda, Jocelyn, Constance Joanna, Helen Claire and Margaret Ruth Sitting on chairs: Sisters Patricia, Margaret Mary, Joyce, Merle, Doreen, Beryl and Jessica Front row: Sisters Sue, Louise, Amy, Elizabeth Ann and Susanne Not in photo: Sisters Constance and Anitra 3
  4. 4. The Joys of Working at St. John’s Rehab HospitalThis year at St. John’s Rehab Hospital (SJRH), we have A few days before Christmas Eve we plan a visit to thebeen living in that in-between time. It has been a year of patients from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Last year Sr. Annewading through countless meetings about the proposed was a good sport and dressed up as Santa and Sr. Rhondamerger between Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and was a wonderful Mrs. Claus. The rest of us were reindeerSJRH; a year of looking at what Spiritual Care is at SJRH and helpers. We travelled to each floor and visited everyand how we, the Sisters, can improve the delivery of care patient and gave each one a little gift. This tour is filledand keep our core values of meeting the needs of the whole with laughter but also with tears. This past year it wasperson, being present to them wherever they are. We’ve the gentleman whose wife had just died and who did nottried to make sure that the staff know that we are there want to celebrate Christmas; but when asked to pose for ato be that listening ear for them as well, especially during photo with me in reindeer ears and antlers, he sat up andthis time of transition as we discover what it means to be smiled for the camera. This was followed by a hug frommerged with a much larger organization. him thanking us again for visiting him and seeing him, I wanted to thank him! It was such a blessing to walk withMany joys and sorrows come with our work. Being able to him through his grief but also to share the small joys.journey with people through the ups and downs of theirhealing is such an honour and privilege. To be trusted withpeople’s stories is very humbling. At the end of the day, wedo not leave the hospital as the same people we were whenwe went to work. The people we meet daily help us in ourown growth and development.One of my favourite times of the year at the hospital isChristmas, when we have extra services and events whichmakes life very busy. But there is something so specialabout looking out at an overflowing chapel on ChristmasEve filled with patients, families, guests and Sisters. Afterthe service we offer homemade cookies to everyone whocomes. I remember one patient grabbing my hand, withtears in her eyes as she thanked us for being there andfor making her Christmas so special and reminding herthrough my words that she is loved and special—not just a“hip” or “knee” but a person. The year ahead will be filled with change as we grow into this new relationship with Sunnybrook. We have already said good-bye to many staff who have been working alongside us, but in turn we will also be greeting new members of staff and welcoming them to this very special place. The one thing that will remain the same will be the Sisters’ vision for Spiritual Care at SJRH: to provide spiritual support for all with whom we journey. Our challenge will be to allow it to take new shape and form and grow into whatever and wherever the Spirit is calling and leading us. Sr. Amy, SSJD Spiritual Care Coordinator Back row: Sr Anne (Santa) & Sr. Rhonda (Mrs. Claus) Second row: Sr. Wilma & Sr. Beryl Front row: Sian & Sr. Amy4
  5. 5. St. John’s House, Victoria, BCI am reminded of the quotation—“Blessed are the flexible us will keep in touch with those in Saskatchewan, Manitobafor they will not be bent out of shape”—as I think about the and Overseas. I visited the Associates in Vancouver andpast year. It was a year of practising flexibility and giving enjoyed meeting many of them and Sr. Sarah Jean visitedthanks for lessons learned when flexibility was not wanted the Associates in Edmonton last fall. Unfortunately anbut needed. In October 2011, Sr. Jocelyn returned to the outbreak of the Norwalk Flu in the place where Sr. SarahConvent and Sr. Louise came back to the House here in Jean was to stay in Calgary prevented her from visitingBC. Then in March 2012, the Convent needed assistance the Associates there. We are looking forward to visitingwith providing Pastoral Care at St. John’s Rehab Hospital, Associates in the Kamloops and Kelowna area in the fallso Sr. Sarah Jean returned to Toronto to help the Sisters and we hope to visit Winnipeg as SJRH for six months. A highlight for Sr. Louise andDuring the past 12 months, we have had visitors from me was helping out at the TruthEngland, India and from across Canada. It has been good and Reconciliation Commissionto have visits with Associates whenever they were in town. Weekend here in Victoria. ItBp. James Cowan and his wife Annette introduced us to was very educational and weBp. Probal of Durgapur, India (See below with Srs. worked with some interestingSarah Jean and Jocelyn). We were surprised to learn that First Nation people. Prior to thethere are Indigenous East Indians who do not have the weekend we all attended somesame rights as other East Indians. The church is helping of the hearings on the Island. Itthese people with education, health care and obtaining was difficult to hear some of theircitizenship so they can vote and receive government stories but it is so important thatassistance. we do listen. Sr. Louise and I also attended a workshop sponsored by “Returning to Spirit”, an organization which focuses on reconciliation between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people, especially in the church. It was a rewarding experience for both of us. Another highlight was attending a prayer service with 2000 other people to support the Jewish community when the headstones in the Jewish Cemetery in Victoria were desecrated with Nazi symbols. The message was clear that the action was unacceptable. Unfortunately, we were unable to show our support to the Sikh community by attending their prayer service for those shot in Wisconsin.We continue to visit various churches on Vancouver Island Aging seems to be catching up with us and things aroundand the Gulf Islands and to conduct retreats and quiet days. the house are not always up to our standards. We areRosary workshops have been popular this year. We have learning to do what we can and not fuss about what isn’tattended each of the Ordinations in the Diocese. It is so done. The garden has a few more weeds than usual but wegood to see the future of the church in their hands. Our did get some major clearing of alder saplings and bambooresident Oblate, Doreen Davidson, and the Sisters are each done with the help of Victoria Associates and Oblates.volunteering in the community in a variety of ways ranging This summer we learned the tricks of the trade involvedfrom helping out in soup kitchens, providing pastoral in painting over paneling in one of the bedrooms. Thecare, stewarding at the cathedral, and sitting on diocesan Diocese bought us new rugs for two rooms for which wecommittees. SSJD Associate, the Rev. Brian Evans are thankful.came from Nanaimo to celebrate the Feast of St. John’s inChristmastide with the Victoria Associates. We are so grateful to the Associates, Oblates, friends, parishes and the Diocese of British Columbia for theirOne change in the work of St. John’s House is that we have support of us through prayer, donations and helping us outbeen asked to correspond with the Associates who live in with keeping up the house and gardens. Thank you to allthe Prairies and Overseas. We all look forward to getting to our celebrants. We are so blessed.know them through letters and e-mails. At this time, we aretrying something different. Everyone in the house will be Sr. Brenda, SSJDcorresponding with Associates. Sr. Sarah Jean will continue Head-of-Housecorresponding with the Western Associates and the rest of 5
  6. 6. Guest HouseWelcome, Bienvenue, Welkom, Bem-vindo, Vitejte … One of our more memorable groups was a young adult group from London, Ontario. They came in early JanuaryNo matter what language you speak, you are welcome to when a light blanket of snow had just covered the grounds.our Guest House. Webster’s dictionary defines hospitality While they came to be silent, pray, learn and just “hangas “Kindness in welcoming guests or strangers.” It is this out”, their youthful energy was still tangible. They walkeddedicated mission work that has led to the growing success the labyrinth in spite of the cold. They played music, theyof the Guest House. People from all walks of life come laughed and they bonded. Their time at SSJD was evenhere seeking peace from the busyness of the world and a captured on video and uploaded to of quiet from the burdens of life. Each of them leaveshaving experienced a profound sense of serenity and areconnection with their higher power.More and more people are finding us through the SSJDwebsite ( Our guests come from as far awayas Australia, England, Korea and the U.S.A. as well as fromacross Canada—from B.C. to Newfoundland. And theycome from just around the corner to find their solace in theoasis of this place—to rest, renew, and reflect.Our first-time visitors are continually amazed at how muchattention to detail has gone into making the Guest House ahome-away-from-home. Adjectives like ‘beautiful’, ‘clean’,‘cozy, ‘quiet’ and ‘comfortable’ are commonly heard. One Another local, even younger, youth group from St.guest commented that she felt a great presence and power Matthew’s Bloor Street joined us in mid-May to learnin St. John’s Chapel and fully embraced by its peace. about Community living. They are seen here with Sr. Amy and Sr. Susanne who enthusiastically answered all theirFamily members of patients at St. John’s Rehab Hospital questions.stay in the Guest House to be close to their recoveringfamily members. All report that the Guest House eases All who enter here are welcome. It is this openness thattheir stress knowing they are not only close at hand but also invites those of other denominations, spiritual traditions,surrounded by a praying Community. and non-religious affiliations to seek out the hospitality of the Guest House. Our guests walk in silence, pray in unisonThe “Food for the Soul” retreats bring new perspectives and sing in harmony. They sit and listen to their hearts; doto our human striving. The opportunities to expand something or do nothing. Even our resident family of foxesknowledge, share experiences, and reflect peacefully enrich finds it hard to leave the blessed grounds of SSJD.the soul in ways that are hard to describe. The work of the Guest House is constantly changingThis photo was taken at the and evolving. Dietary concerns seem to be on the rise,“Spirituality in Focus: Recognizing and we do our best to cater to all needs. The Guestthe Sacred through Your Camera House Bursary Fund continues to support those withLens” retreat. It was taken by Susan financial hardships. The requests for spiritual direction areMurphy, a long-term guest and increasing. Sabbaticals, short term personal retreats, longformer SSJD Alongsider. Susan term stays, the Women at a Crossroads program, Foodcredits this retreat with changing for the Soul, Oblate time, Diocesan conferences, groupher “lens” on the world. meetings, parish retreats, men’s retreats, women’s retreats … the list goes on. Each person is greeted with a warmThe popularity of our retreats has smile and a prayer. It is our mission of hospitality, but weso grown over the years that we are repeatedly sold out. call it a Home for the Heart.We encourage people to get their registrations in just assoon as they have selected a retreat. Registration forms can If you would like to receive our monthly Guest House e-newsletter with updates about our retreats and otherbe found on the SSJD website under “Retreats programs, please go to our website and click the Guestand Quiet Days”. House tab. You will find the place to sign up for the e-newsletter on the side bar.Groups also come from near and far. The Guest House iseasily accessible for many local parishes. The comfort and Frisca Ozoriotranquillity offered here creates a prayerful environment. Guest House Administrator6
  7. 7. Reflections of a Long-Term GuestAs I was preparing to move out of the Guest House of St. I am moving to Ramallah this fall, a city about 10 kmJohn’s Convent in Toronto, I wanted to take a moment north of Jerusalem in order to complete the internshipto reflect on my two years living as a long-term guest at component of my master’s program through Wycliffethe hospitality of the Sisters. I was first introduced to the College. I will be serving the staff and students of the ArabSisterhood through the Women at a Crossroads program Evangelical Episcopal School in the capacity of a schoolin which I participated during the summer of 2010. Having chaplain. I invite anyone who is interested in following myput off acceptance to the program the two consecutive time there to access my blog at www.fromramallahwithlove.summers prior, I was hesitant to come—apprehensive where I will post photos, stories and musings.about what I might discover about myself, about God, As I look ahead at this upcoming internship, I find myselfand about change in general. I told myself, however, that experiencing the fear of starting something new, of creatingif the Sisters were still willing to take me after the third change yet again in my life. Then I am reminded how I hadapplication, I would accept. As it turned out, I had nothing similar feelings before coming to the Convent and realizeto fear. that God not only provides, but that blessings overflow—I need only put my trust in God. So to the Sisters, I say thankThe program was a wonderful gift of living the rhythm of you for the gift of opening your home and heart. I havemonastic life, of learning new forms of prayer, of life-long been shaped by my time here and I trust God will use this tofriendships, of taking stock of one’s life and of discerning help me become the person God created me to be.and reflecting. It was during my time on this programthat I noticed a few individuals living in the Guest House. Sonya DykstraNeeding to move out of my own apartment at the end of a long term guestthe summer, I inquired of the Sisters about the possibilityof continuing to live in the Guest House, to which theyagreed. Here are a few excerpts fromI never imagined myself living in a convent, let alone for Sonya’s first email:two years. I recall with fondness my own sister’s responsewhen I told her where I would be living: “Get thee to a September 2nd I spent mynunnery!” It has been an incredible two years, the only first night in Jerusalem, stayingdrawback being the commute (both my school and work at St. George’s Cathedral’sare located in downtown Toronto—an hour’s commute guest house, a lovely haven with a quiet inner courtyard.on a good day). Living here has been a constant growing Shortly after arriving, I went for a stroll through the Muslimexperience, interacting with the Sisters, gleaning tidbits of quarter in the old city and delighted in the sounds, smellstheir wisdom, humour and a life deeply rooted in God. I had and sights. I returned to the Cathedral in time to attendmany wonderful encounters with Associates, Oblates, other Evening Prayer. They used a smaller space for this service,women on the Crossroads Programs, long-term guests, an intimate setting for the four of us in attendance. . . . Infriends of the Sisters and guests in general. I didn’t know so the evening, I sat in the inner courtyard of the guest housemany people could pass through these halls! and wrote in my journal as I listened to the call to prayer and enjoyed the cool levantine breeze. It was the perfectWhile I wasn’t able to maintain the regular chapel attendance end to a first day in the Holy Land.I had adopted during the Women at a Crossroads program,I have been able to attend a few services a week and Now I’m in Ramallah getting settled into the life here.discovered a real and unexpected joy in the worship. I The school week is Monday through Thursday and thenkeep being drawn back and no matter how busy or hectic again on Saturday. Their weekend is Friday and Sundaylife gets, the collective prayer grounds me each and every to accommodate both thetime. What a blessing it has been to have a chapel under Christian and Muslim students.the same roof where I live. God is good! The city itself is quite a bustling place and there’s constructionMany people have told me they do not understand why I everywhere. Apparently manyhave chosen to live at a convent. As one individual once people from the surroundingtold me, “your room is smaller than a prison cell.” I, villages and countryside arehowever, believe I have had the fortune of living in a space moving into the city for betterbeyond compare—with two well-stocked libraries, ample opportunities. so the lovelysitting-rooms, gorgeous grounds and gardens. And how hillside landscape is becomingmany homes can boast a labyrinth?! But, more than the speckled with buildings.physical structure of the Guest House, I have been blessed With love, Sonyato experience the Community and love of the Sisters. I A Melkite Church in Taybehtreasure Sunday evening suppers, the one talking meal ofthe week, where I can sit and catch up with the Sisters. 7
  8. 8. “We, being many, Sisters Doreen Elizabeth and Elizabeth Ann Sisters Beryl Debra and Margaret Mary Sisters Joyce Wilma and Merle Below: Sisters Dorothy Susanne Jessica and Brenda8
  9. 9. are one body...” Sisters Constance Joanna, Amy and Rhonda Sisters Margaret Ruth Helen Claire and Sarah Jean Sisters Jean Jocelyn and Sue Below Sisters Anne Louise, Patricia, and Anitra 9
  10. 10. Our Associates from Coast to Coast and OverseasEastern & Central Associates I’ve never met saying “I’d like to find out about being an Associate” or I’ll open my e-mail and read the same thingAs you can see from the Associate Milestones, we’ve had from a total stranger. Some of you have visited the Conventmany admissions in the Eastern and Central provinces this or attended a course or retreat or Quiet Day led by one ofpast year. Ann Cruickshank of Hudson, Quebec, came the Sisters; some of you know someone who has been anto the Convent in Toronto to be admitted, along with Associate; some of you found us on the website. WhateverBetty Hooper of Lindsay; Bishop Ron Cutler of Nova your path, I know that God has called you to us, and I amScotia was also admitted here in Toronto. Pat Powers was grateful for each and every one of you.admitted in Huntsville; Edna Parsons and Helen Maynardwere admitted in Corner Brook NL; and Judy Beaver was As most of you know, I have been Director for the Easternadmitted in Nova Scotia. Associates since 2010, and became Director for the Central Associates last September. My major focus this last year has been to get to know the Associates in the Central Province, and I feel I have succeeded fairly well. I’ve travelled to Sudbury, London, Kingston, Peterborough, and Ottawa. The Associates from the North Muskoka Pioneer Parish came down to the Convent for a retreat in February, and I was able to visit with most of them. During my visit to Ottawa I met with about 20 Associates, in addition to Joan Johnson, who hosted me during my stay, and Sheila Pitt and Vicki Milnes who transported me all over Ottawa to visit with Associates who weren’t able to attend the AGM. Mary Ann Graham, Helen Maynard, Karen Laldin, It was great! In fact, all my visits have been great! I had and Edna Parsons a lovely time in each place, getting to know more of the people who make up SSJD’s extended family. For the Eastern Associates, I was able to get back to Montreal for two weeks during Lent. I led a Quiet Day hosted by St. Barnabas Church in St-Lambert, and visited Associates as far west as Salaberry-du-Valleyfield and as far east as Mansonville. The rest of the Eastern Province has had to make do with e-mail and snail-mail this past year, but I plan to make up for that in October. I’ll be in Nova Scotia September 27-October 11; New Brunswick October 11-16; Central Newfoundland October 17-19; Western Newfoundland October 19-21; and Eastern Newfoundland Bernice Logan, Rosemary Boutilier, Joan Kennedy, October 22-31. I’ll be leading some retreats and quiet days Judy Beaver, and Katie Tate. and a clergy day in Nova Scotia, but have left plenty of time for individual visits. I admitted Lynn Wilson, Judith Challis, and I could not do what I do without the assistance of many Laurel Dempsey (left to people. At the Convent, Sr. Margaret Ruth does a right in photo) during wonderful job of filing, checking e-mail addresses, snail- my visit to Kingston last mail addresses and phone numbers. In Montreal, Gayna January. Knowles, Mary Pickup and Shirley Smith are working together to organize events and maintain communications; Susan Hill keeps the list of e-mails and sends out notices as needed. Davena Davis continues to organize the Nova Scotia Associates. Nancy French and Trudy Gosse do the same for the Associates in Eastern Newfoundland and Mary Ann Graham keeps me up-to-date on what is happeningThe rest of the admissions took place at the Convent. It’s in Western Newfoundland. In New Brunswick, Shirleywonderful to be able to welcome so many new Associates. Tapley, Hope MacMullen and Cora Krommenhoek have been generous with their time and energy.We also have many new discerning Associates. Mostof them are from Ontario, but we have two from In the Central Province, Ruth Corston continues to keepNewfoundland as well. It is a source of wonder to me how me informed about the Associates in the Sudbury area,people come to us. The phone will ring and it’s someone10
  11. 11. and makes all the arrangements for my visits there; Connie We had a very successful picnic at the ConventGardiner does the same for Kingston; Sheila Pitt, Marion for Associates, Oblates, friends and familiesStalter, Vicki Milnes and Darryl Banke are stalwarts for on Saturday, July 27, 2012.the Ottawa ward; Val Kenyon and Elizabeth King for theLondon Associates; and here in Toronto, I depend on theExecutive of the Ward of the Ascension: Judith Combdon,Carol Brunton, Jean Robinson, Esther Lucas, VirginiaFinlay, Daphne Lynch, Anne Day and Julie Peter. Blessings to you all and thank you. Sr. Sue, SSJDWestern, Prairie and Overseas AssociatesAnd now the news from the west: A few Associate eventswere mentioned in the St. John’s House report so I will notrepeat them.Last fall, Sr. Sarah Jean visited Associates and friends inthe Edmonton area. Due to an outbreak of the Norwalk Flu,she was not able to visit the Associates in Calgary. It wasgood to hear what the Associates are doing.In May, Sr. Brenda passed through Kelowna and had timeto visit with some Associates on the phone. It was a verypleasant way to pass airport waiting time. I am sorry Imissed many of you. In June, I attended the meeting ofthe Associates in the Vancouver area and was able to visitor phone those Associates who were not able to come outto meetings. A family retreat using trailers on one of thechurch sites was discussed. Do pray that it is a possibility.We also enjoyed the visits we had with those of you whovisited Victoria.With the retirement of Sr. Patricia as Associate Directorof the Prairie and Overseas Associates, St. John’s Houseis pleased to continue the work. At this time, no Sister hasbeen assigned as Associate Director. We would like to tryhaving all the Sisters at St. John’s House correspond withthe different Associates. There is the disadvantage of nothaving one person but we hope that you will get to knowdifferent Sisters and we all will get to know you.This summer has been memorable because we have saidgood bye to four long-term Asssociates who have returnedto our Lord. Thank you to those who informed us of theirdeaths and sent your memories of them over the years. Asa fairly new Sister in Community, it was special to read yourmemories of each Associate. The admission of Valerie Rossand Patricia Wood as Associates on July 22 in Winnipeg isa great way to end the year’s report.We wish to thank each of you for your prayer and supportof us. We are truly blessed. Sr. Brenda, SSJD 11
  12. 12. Associate Milestones: 2011-2012Admissions Deaths (Admission date in brackets)Newfoundland: Edna Parsons of Gallants, Helen Maynard 2011of Corner Brook May 3 Constance Gray, Toronto, ON (May, 1961)Nova Scotia: Judy Beaver of Murphys Cove, Bp. Ron Oct 25 Bp. Fraser Berry, Kelowna, BC (Jan, 1958)Cutler of Lower Sackville Oct 26 Rev. Bernard Barrett, Vancouver, BC (Apr, 1963)Quebec: Ann Cruickshank of Hudson Nov 2 Barbara Sinclair, Toronto, ON (Jul, 2002)Ontario: Betty Hooper of Lindsay; Jane Christmas of Nov 3 Florence Weale, Richmond Hill, ON (Feb, 1981)Hamilton; Krista Fry, Rev. Claudine Carlson ELCIC, Rev. Nov 13 Muriel Newton-White, Haileybury, ON (Apr, 1948)Maggie Helwig, and Beth Shier of Toronto; Nov 16 Jean Allen, London, ON (Sep, 1965) Nov 25 Mary (Molly) Sergent, Victoria, BC (Apr, 1967) Nancy Broschell of Nov 26 Dorothea Howell, Carnduff, SK (Oct, 1946) Newmarket (left) and the Dec 30 Phyllis Anderson, Edmonton, AB (Nov, 1963) Rev. Gordon Finney of Peterborough (right) being 2012 admitted by Sr. Elizabeth Feb 1 Mary Margaret Ward, Buffalo, NY (Sept, 1959) Ann and Sr. Sue at St. Apr 15 Margaret Gilhula, Chatham, ON (Dec, 1952) John’s Convent. Apr 20 Barbara Tremills, Bedford, NS (Dec, 2002) Jun 24 Patricia Bloomfield, Kelowna, BC (July, 1983) Jul 1 Linda Campbell, Regina, MB (Aug, 1977) Jul 19 Dilys Speight, Tsawwassen, BC (May, 1962)Judith Challis, Laurel Dempsey, and Lynn Wilson of Jul 25 Mary Coleman, Victoria, BC (Feb, 1985)Kingston; Donna Oliver of Huntsville; Pat Powers of Port Aug 3 Rosa Gabay, Toronto, ON (Apr, 1973)Sidney; Rev. Samantha Caravan and Christine Gregory of Aug 15 Joan Harrison-Edge, Toronto, ON (Feb, 1975)Brampton; Rev. Susan Sheen of Bowmanville; Deb Reilly Aug 28 Mary Abley, Montreal, QC (May, 1981)of Markham; Valerie Chambers of Scarborough Date unknown Manitoba: Valerie Ross and Patricia Wood of Winnipeg Patricia Dillon-Davis, Sidney, BC (Mar, 1991)Special Anniversaries (for the calendar year 2012): Transfers25 years: Leslie Bennett, Marilyn Black, Rev. Jackie April, 2012 Alison Morrow from Ontario to CalgaryBoutheon (D), Rev. Jeffrey Brown, Karen Capelazo, Evelyn July, 2012 Jane Christmas from Ontario to the UKElliot, Betty Gillham, Rev. Pat Hill, Margaret Hodgins,Most Rev. Colin Johnson, Kay Jolly, Judy MacPherson, Withdrawals (admission date in brackets)Dianne Marshall, Beverly Myers, Virginia Rodriguez, Rev. Nov 24, 2011 Celia Klukach, Portland, ON (April, 1987)Nancy Selwood, Rev. Archibald Skirving, Morag Telfer,Heather Westbrook No Recent Contact/Address Unknown:30 years: Rev. Donald Bailey, Martha Bartlett, Rev. If you have information about any of these “lost”Kathleen Bowman, Sylvia Finch, Florence Gurr, Norman Associates, please contact the Associate Office: 233Gurr, Vivian Lawrence, Wendy Nelems, Joan Steer, Natalie Cummer Avenue, Toronto, ON M2M 2E8; 416-226-Wheatstone, Rev. Robert Wright 2201, ext. 308; sue@ssjd.ca35 years: Ruth Brown, Linda Campbell, Joan Duckett,Rev. Michael Ebsworth, Sally Raymond, Barbara Reckord Name and Last Known Address40 years: Beverley Barnes, Margaret Dungan, Betty Cecily Blackstock, 203-20 Avoca Avenue,Harris, Mary Lobb, Rev. Maylanne Maybee (D), Rev. Toronto, ON M4T 2B8Lawrence Mitchell, Isabel Scandrett Midge Coleby, 30 Charlotte Street, Belleville, ON K8P 1E245 years: Genevieve Ashwell, Hazel Birt, Rev. Ronald Jackie Crighton, Unit 407, 2185 Marine Drive,Davidson, Bernice Logan, Meg Seaborn Oakville, ON L6L 5L650 years: Rev. Arnold Hancock, Rev. Joyce Hilton, Val Karen Ehalt, 306 Norwalk Lane, Austin, TX 78703 USASmylie55 years: Rev. Roland de Corneille, Rev. Frere Kennedy60 years: Mary Frances Allin, Rev. James O’Neil, EvelynRubie, Vera Shurvin61 years: Constance Corkum, Mary Ann Graham63 years: Dorothy Johns64 years: Margaret Wackett65 years: Ada Potter66 years: Joan Trowles67 years: Muriel Browne, Rev. C. Russell Elliott68 years: Ven.William Wright12
  13. 13. The OblatesBy the time you read this, I will have been the OblateDirector for a year. It has been a year full of learning anddiscovery as I explored the Oblate Program more fully andgot to know most of the Oblates.With the recent addition of Mrs. Dorothy Dahli of Victoria,BC, our number is now 22 and pretty much at par withthe number of Professed Sisters. In consultation with Sr.Elizabeth Ann and as outlined in our Oblate Handbook,we have decided that we will not be accepting any furtherapplications to the program for the time being. If wereceive any enquirers, they will be put on a waiting list.As a few of our Oblates are entering into the senior phaseof their lives and unable, for various reasons, to attendretreats and/or Residential time, I would like each of us to Nora Bottomley, Mervat Iskander, Jean Gandon,remember them fondly as our “Front Runners”. We keep Janice Barnes, Bunny Stewart, Phyllis Beauchampthem abreast of our comings and goings with letters, calls with Sr. Louise sitting in front on the floor.and visits when possible. Seven of our Oblates in Ontario were able to attend theI have had the pleasure of receiving the Renewal of Sisters’ Long Retreat in August this year. Brother Jude,Promises from Julie Poskitt, Susanne House and Nancy SSF did a wonderful job of encouraging us to find out whoScott this past year at St. John’s House in Victoria where we are and who God is for us. As you can see from theI reside. Nora Bottomley and Janice Barnes each renewed photograph we were all able to tap into our artistic side bytheir Promises at the Convent with Sr. Elizabeth Ann in making masks of our persona.January. At the Sisters’ Long Retreat in August, BeulahWalcott and Chris Hooker also renewed their Oblate The SSJD Oblate program continues to fulfill spiritually thePromises. vocational calling of those who are led to the monastic life within a secular setting.Each of our Oblates makes time in her busy schedule tofulfill her commitments by being in residence with the It is my hope that both Sisters and Oblates will be genuinelySisters. Throughout this last year many have either come blessed by this the Convent or to the BC House to do so. Each Oblatehas her own Rule of Life that reflects her own personal Sr. Louise, SSJDcommitment to both her spiritual growth and to SSJD. Oblate Director Women at a Crossroads, 2012 13
  14. 14. Oh, To Be in England in May and June!As the SSJD exchange Sister to The Order of the Holy me. My favourite service was Compline, usually said in theParaclete (OHP) in Whitby this year I was looking forward apse, with subdued lighting. OHP recites the same psalmsto experiencing first-hand what another order is like. I fully every night so everyone knows them by heart.expected the weather to be chilly, to get some ideas, towalk DOWN those 199 steps from Whitby Abbey to the Meals at the Priory are fairly simple. Kedgeree and Scotchtown, to do a bit of travelling and to return home glad to eggs were new to me and I really enjoyed them. There isbe an SSJD Sister. Things did not work out quite this way. always a tasty dessert at the noon meal. I was not surprised to learn that the part-time cook runs a catering serviceI arrived in Manchester on May 26 armed with a train ticket called “Posh Puddings”. On my last day I was treated togood for a trip between Manchester and Malton, via York. ‘Summer Pudding’ a wonderful dessert of mixed berries,I missed the train I had hoped to catch but to my delight pressed down overnight into a bowl lined with bread, anddiscovered that another train for York was just pulling into served with custard or whipped cream.the station. I clambered in, got help from a woman to hoistmy suitcase onto the rack and then relaxed. Even in summer, England and rain and cold go hand in hand. The warm sunny spell at my arrival lasted fourAt York train station I felt absolutely brilliant as I managed days; then it became rainy and cold. We had moderateto find a phone booth and make a phone call to St. Hilda’s temperatures for the Alnmouth and Lindisfarne trip, andPriory (British phone booths and phones take some getting overall I experienced a few warm days scattered here andused to). When a Sister answered the phone I told her there. What surprised me was how quickly the weathermy new arrival time in Malton and she confirmed that my could change. One minute it was bright and clear, the next‘buddies’ would be waiting for me. it became dark with sheets of rain at about a 30 degree angle.Sr. Dorothy Stella, Prioress of OHP, had advised me thatmy ‘buddies’ or guardian angels would be Carole and Karan, It was exciting to be in England for the Diamond JubileeSisters who had returned in February from Swaziland where of Queen Elizabeth II. On the Jubilee weekend the Priorythey had run an orphanage. When they collected me the hosted a Jubilee lunch for parishioners of St. Hilda’ssun was shining brightly. It was about 25 degrees, so warm Chapel. The Infirmary staff held a great Jubilee party forthat I saw more than 12 convertibles with their tops down all Sisters on the Tuesday. The Infirmary sitting room wason the road across the moors! The Yorkshire moors were decked out in red, white and blue balloons and bunting andlike a lunar landscape—wasteland waiting to come alive in Sisters were requested to dress in these colours. Some ofAugust with purple heather. the costumes were extremely creative. From the exterior St. Hilda’s That Jubilee weekend the Sisters and I watched many of Priory looked austere. What the special events on TV. The first was a program hosted had I got myself into, I thought; by Prince Charles on his mother’s life. He remembered a month can be a very, very how she had practised wearing the coronation crown in the long time. The warmth of the house for several days prior to the big event in order to get Sisters put me at ease. We went used to its weight! We watched the flotilla of boats going straight into the refectory which down the Thames, the Jubilee thanksgiving service at St. was bright, surrounded by large Paul’s Cathedral in London and finally the terrific Jubilee windows. You can even glimpse concert on the Tuesday night. Archbishop Rowan Williams the North Sea if you sit in the right was in the front row of the Royal Box for the concert. spot. My bedroom overlooked the rose garden with the walled I was impressed by the generosity of the Sisters, how they garden in the background. quickly responded to requests for help and how everyone made an effort to engage me in some activity—a walk toIn the Benedictine tradition OHP keeps Silence and the beach, a visit to a museum, and a drive to get the bestLesser Silence. However, my arrival was in the Octave of ice-cream in the neighbourhood. Then there were thePentecost, which they designate a ‘talk’ week. This meant longer road trips.that conversation was possible in places that were normallysilent during the Lesser Silence. Last year when Sr. Anita, OHP, was the exchange Sister I enjoyed showing her my Toronto. She reciprocated byOHP has four Offices and the Eucharist daily, beginning taking me to Durham, where the Venerable Bede is buried.with Lauds at 7.30 am and ending with Compline at 9 pm. It is a place very dear to her heart. My memory of DurhamThey have a bell 10 minutes before each service to give from an earlier visit was of the immense, varied pillarsyou fair warning so you have no excuse for being late. It of the Cathedral. The attraction was still strong. I had towas wonderful to worship in that space, for which I had no fight hard to resist hugging one of those oh-so-spectacularresponsibility. I could just sit back and let the chant surround pillars.14
  15. 15. OHP has a house very close to York Minster and twoSisters work in and around it. When I visited York, Sr.Linda, a Minster Guide, showed me around the Minsterand town. We toured the Minster, walked on the city walls,around the abbey ruins, down the Shambles and evenvisited St. Helen’s Church, the only one I know of thatname. It was good to reconnect with Sr. Linda and sharememories of her visit to Toronto some 10 years ago.On my arrival at the Priory I had been given a schedule ofplanned activities for my month. Three days were devotedto Alnmouth, a place whose name meant nothing to me. And those famous 199 steps from Whitby Abbey to theWhen I learned that Carole, Karan and I were to spend two town of Whitby? There was no way I could walk either upnight at a Franciscan Friary in Alnmouth and from there or down them. I had to be content with standing at the headmake a day trip to Lindisfarne I became quite excited. Carole of the stairs and watching the replica of Captain Cook’sand Karan’s guardianship played a large part in my time Endeavour come into St. Hilda’s Priory. We took the coastal road to Alnmouthwhich is about two hours north of Whitby. The Friary at I came away with a deepAlnmouth is on a cliff overlooking the North Sea. It’s one of sense of respect for OHPthe most popular retreat houses in the U.K. because of the and their ministry over thestunning view from the chapel, terrace and several other years in several countriesrooms—a wide sandy beach, almost completely deserted. in Africa: Ghana, SouthBrother Jason had served in the U.S. and had visited St. Africa, Swaziland, andJohn’s Convent on Cummer. The Provincial General who Zimbabwe. I had known thatwas visiting Alnmouth while I was there had lived for several the Sisters were involved inweeks with SSJD in Victoria. I felt at home. After supper Africa; however, I had noCarole, Karan and I walked down to the beach and enjoyed idea of the extent of theirthe sound of the waves breaking. involvement until I read their history “The Whitby Sisters” and discovered that most of the Whitby Sisters have taughtThere was something special about the crossing over to and lived in Africa for significant periods. Their first postingLindisfarne or Holy Island as it is also called. Lindisfarne in Africa was in the l920’s.seemed truly a place apart, a ‘thin’ place with saintshovering close by. It is connected to the mainland by a During the apartheid years in South Africa, OHP openedroad which becomes impassable when the tide is in, so their retreat house in Rosetteville, outside Johannesburg, toyou have to be aware of the time of the tide or else you all races. The experience of serving in Africa has coloredmight find yourself literally marooned. The island was home and shaped the life of the community. In their schools theto Aidan and Cuthbert, two of the well-known Northern Sisters educated some of the leaders of today and taughtSaints. It was here that the famous Lindisfarne Gospels the students gospel values by the way their lived their liveswere illuminated by an 8th century monk. Lindisfarne is the and welcomed new girls into the school family whateverheadquarters of the Aidan and Hilda community, one of the their family background.newer dispersed monastic communities of today. We alsovisited St. Mary’s Church where worship continues daily,morning and evening as it has done for several hundredyears.I spent a couple of hours in Goathland, a village in the NorthYork Moors. Goathland is better known as Aidensfield in“Heartbeat”, a British TV police drama series of life in aYorkshire village in the 1960’s. It is a very popular touristspot and much remains as it was for the series. I enjoyedhaving my picture taken beside the police car used in“Heartbeat”. I admire OHP’s stewardship of their resources, theirMy activities got curbed the last week in Whitby as I fell, dedication to simplicity and their commitment to continuinghurt my left foot and ended up on crutches for three days to support local ministries in Africa. The Sisters remainwhile I waited for the orthopedic surgeon to make his a good example of the balanced life of prayer and activeweekly visit to Whitby. I had to cancel a planned visit to service which has much to teach 21st century people whoRievaulx; however Sr. Maureen Ruth, who had lived in the are looking for something more than the next quick fix.OHP house at Rievaulx, ‘toured’ me with her scrap bookof her time there. Sr. Helen Claire, SSJD 15
  16. 16. All creatures, both great and small, We launched our new website enjoy the comforts of our gardens and grounds on August 31st, 2012. Do visit the website and let us know what you think. Alert: A New Parking Gate! On July 1 this year, St. John’s Rehab Hospital merged with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and officially became the St. John’s Rehab site of Sunnybrook. Even before this occurred, many people visiting St. John’s Rehab were parking on Convent property to avoid paying the parking fees to the Hospital. Whenever this happens, the Hospital loses parking revenue, and we don’t have enough parking places for our guests. We anticipate this problem to continue growing, especially each time the Hospital raises the parking rates. Therefore we are having a parking gate installed this fall, near the car turn-around at the front lobby entrance of the Convent. When you come to the Guest House, please check in (as usual) at the main reception desk in the lobby. The door code we give you to open the outside doors will also open the parking gate and give you access to the parking spaces beside the Convent and Guest House. The gate will open automatically when you are ready to leave. We ask for your patience as we all get used to this new system. ALTAR LINENS Altar linens may be purchased from Sr. Jocelyn, SSJD, at the Convent. All linens are hand-sewn from Irish linen. Items which may be purchased include Fair Linens, Credence Cloths, Purificators, Lavabo Towels, Baptismal Towels, Fair Veils, Palls on Plexi Glass, Corporals and Sick Communion Sets. For details, please contact Sr. Jocelyn: Tel: 416-226-2201, ext. 310 Fax: 416-222-4442 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 RR0001.16