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The Eagle                                            Lent 2013 In earlier times, Christian labyrinths became an alternate ...
Dear Associates,             the Holy Eucharist, Evening Prayer and the                        Oblates, and Friends of    ...
people are able to be renewed in their own liveswhile being soaked in a community of prayer.As I write this letter, Sr. Co...
Associate    Epiphany    Tea 20134
Book Review     “Barefoot Disciple” Walking the Way of Passionate Humility.                          Stephen Cherry. Conti...
News from the Fundraising OfficeAs Sisters, we believe that God has called us to         Our budget for 2013 shows an expe...
Bread for TodayI live next door to the Virgin Mary. She inhabits a      the morning. But most of all, the bread; why it is...
Reflection       Which world                                                        Alongsiders          do we        choo...
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Ssjd the eagle-2013a-lent


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Ssjd the eagle-2013a-lent

  1. 1. The Eagle Lent 2013 In earlier times, Christian labyrinths became an alternate way of pilgrimage forthose who could not afford to journey to Jerusalem to follow the steps of Christ. Today the labyrinth is seen as a spiritual tool to connect us to the depths of our being, to the centre where God dwells. Lent invites each of us to journey within, to take time to listen, to develop ourinterior life. One small step, taken for forty days, can help us to walk with Christ more closely, to accompany him through his suffering and death to his glorious resurrection on Easter Day. 1
  2. 2. Dear Associates, the Holy Eucharist, Evening Prayer and the Oblates, and Friends of service of Compline in our chapel at the SSJD, Convent and at St. John’s House in BC. Our guests are always welcome to join us for any I send you greetings of these services. Many people tell us that our for this new year, but prayer permeates the very walls of the buildings what I really want to in which we live; guests who come here sense say to you is “Help!” the peace when they walk through the doors. I’ll tell you why. I was in a parish in the city The Sisters’ activities are not limited to the of Toronto helping to convent or BC House. We serve the Anglican lead the intercessions Church in many ways. Sr. Constance Joanna for a service of healing teaches courses at Wycliffe College: a coursein early January. At the end of the service a on Prayer in the fall term and a course entitledman approached me to say that he was a little “Monastic & Missional: Benedict’s Ancientconfused as to why there were Roman Catholic Future Spirituality” in the winter term. Sr. SueSisters helping out at the service. “But I am spent almost five weeks in September andAnglican,” I replied. Our Community was October visiting Associates on the East Coastfounded in Toronto in 1884 by an Anglican and leading retreats and quiet days in Novawoman. He told me that this was the first time Scotia and Newfoundland. I sit on the Areathat he’d ever heard that there were Sisters and Council, the Diocesan Council and the Bishops’Brothers in the Anglican Church! This is the Standing Committee on the Religious Life. Sr.reason I want to say to you, “Help!” We need Elizabeth was recently asked to be Chaplain foryour help to tell the story of the Sisterhood CoGS (Council of General Synod) and attendedof St. John the Divine so that everyone in the her first meetings of CoGS in November, andAnglican Church of Canada knows that we are Sr. Amy was asked to be part of the Nationalpart of the life of the Anglican Church. Consultation on the Structures of General Synod. In January they discussed “EmbodyingWho is Saint John the Divine? The God’s Call: Aligning General Synod’sword “divine” is a noun and means Structures for God’s Mission Today.”‘theologian’; and the definition oftheologian is someone who thinks The Guest House at the Convent isdeeply about God. The John to especially busy over Christmas andwhom we attribute the writing of New Year’s with our retreats. Thisthe Gospel, the Letters, and the year four of the Sisters each reflectedRevelation to John, was someone on one of the carols of Christmaswho thought deeply about God and during the Christmas Retreat whichGod’s love as shown to us through was entitled “Sing Your Way throughJesus Christ; hence, John is called a Christmas”. The guests helpeddivine. decorate the Convent to prepare for Christmas and helped to fill theAs Sisters of Saint John the Divine, chapel with song at each service.we are called by God to a life of The New Year’s Retreat, entitledprayer and service. Many people’s “Slow Down and Listen” was ledlives are touched and changed by Sr. Sue. We had a full house ofby their encounters with Sisters. guests who looked at the ways theyArchbishop Michael Peers, a former get caught in the noise and busy-Primate of the Anglican Church of ness of our society and how to freeCanada, once said that people get themselves from this. You can findto know us best when they come all of our upcoming events, quietand pray with us. Each day (except days, and retreats listed on the SSJDMondays) we have Morning Prayer, website ( The Guest House ministry is one way in which2
  3. 3. people are able to be renewed in their own liveswhile being soaked in a community of prayer.As I write this letter, Sr. Constance is stillalive after celebrating her 76th ProfessionAnniversary in the Sisterhood on December 21,2012. Her 109th birthday is on the Feast ofthe Presentation, February 2, 2013. She is anexample of a long life of exemplary prayer andservice to God, and she is much loved. Sr. Elizabeth Ann, Reverend Mother and Sr. Sue,Just before Christmas we heard a wonderful Associate Director, admit new Associates Patti Brace,homily by the Rev. William (Bill) Whitla, just Sue Ann Elite and Molly Finlay.days after the massacre of the children andteachers in the school in Newport, Connecticut. SSJD. The sense of being called by God wasHe said that, as Christians, we are living deeply felt by everyone in the Community.between two prevailing cultures: the one thatsays buy, buy, buy, and the other which says On Saturday, January 5th, we welcomedkill, kill, kill. Jesus came with good news over the Toronto Area Associates and Oblates to2,000 years ago, news which simply repeated our annual Epiphany Tea and admitted threewhat God has asked of us all along: justice Associates: Patti Brace, Sue Ann Elite, andfor the stranger, the orphan, and the widow. Molly Finlay. I had to postpone my JanuaryThis means that instead of a culture of buy, visit to the Sisters at St. John’s House inbuy, buy (think of the rich and famous such Victoria, BC. They have a happy and veryas movie stars and rock stars, the 1%, and all creative household. At the end of the yearthe advertising hype), we say “enough”. Let’s they said goodbye to Doreen Davidson, anshare with one another. Instead of a culture Oblate of the Sisterhood, who had been livingthat glorifies kill, kill, kill (video games, pop- and working with the Sisters there for theculture vampires, and guns in schools), we say past six years. Doreen has been a great helplove, show compassion, and live. We have good and support to community life in Victoria andnews to give the world and for the sake of the will be missed. Over Christmas Sr. Anitra wasworld. with the household for a two-week visit and had a marvellous time. The Sisters have beenIn November we said farewell to Rhonda Cross adjusting to being a smaller household–that’swho has left our Novitiate. We were sorry to where they’ve been quite creative!see her go; however, the ties of her familymeant that her heart was divided between her So again I would implore all of you wholove for the life of prayer in community and are Associates, Oblates, and friends of theher love of her family. We continue to seek Sisterhood of Saint John the Divine to letwomen under the age of 55, of good health in people know about the Sisterhood. Suggestbody, mind and spirit, to join the Sisterhood that they look us up on our wonderful websitein our life of prayer, love and service: women where they can download all sorts of helpfulwho can give their all to the work of God and information about the Sisterhood. We need tobring the good news of Jesus Christ to a world make sure that everyone in Canada knows thatdesperately in need of it. there are Anglican Religious, men and women who have dedicated their lives to follow the callAt the start of 2013 Archbishop Colin Johnson of God in a Religious Community. Our gratefulspent three days with us during which he was to have a visit with each of the Sistersas well as meet with all of us together. In his Sr. Elizabeth Ann, SSJDreflecting back to us what he had heard from Reverend Motherhis individual visits, he noted the deep gratitudethat each of us has for our life together as 3
  4. 4. Associate Epiphany Tea 20134
  5. 5. Book Review “Barefoot Disciple” Walking the Way of Passionate Humility. Stephen Cherry. Continuum, 2011. 172 pages.Autobiography is one of my favourite forms previously thought of empathy as somethingof reading. Therefore “Barefoot Disciple” we need to learn. I felt it just happened. Now Ihad a promising start for me when Stephen think about it, this seems absurd.” What can weCherry takes a fall down the long, steep and do with our ignorance? Humility asks that wedark staircase of the nineteenth century rectory cultivate a willingness to be open, even to whatwhere he lives. Ah, this is a good beginning. will always remain a mystery .He shakes himself, gets up, and wonders about At the end of his book, I realize that I likehumility. Is it a virtue which can be learned? Stephen Cherry, I like his style and am sorryHe decides to find out. He will tackle some to say good-bye. He has let himself becomeof the words which are often connected with a friend. He has shown me that humility is ahumility: pride, humiliation, modesty and such. real virtue, that it is central among the virtuesHe will watch himself in his responses to the and absolutely down-to-earth. And more thannew and different, especially when he is away anything else, it is what God teaches us as wefrom home. In fact, he will seek to understand follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and seekand to absorb that particular kind of humility, God’s kingdom.passionate humility, which we see in Jesus. Sr. Beryl, SSJDPerhaps the long fall down the stairs frees “Barefoot Disciple” was the Archbishop ofCherry to pursue his subject as he does–focused Canterbury’s Lenten book for 2011.and empty-handed. He reaches out and quotesan expert and then makes the connection withhis quest for humility; he tells a story and then Are you a Woman at auncovers the truth which fits with the question Crossroads in Your Life?of humility. He moves easily in differentcontexts, always in touch with his subject. He Are you considering a career change? Areis at home in his own interior landscape, and you looking for “something more” in yourhis most telling bulletins come from there. His life? Do you have a thirst for God? A hungerhumility is a work in progress; it is a movement for prayer? Do you desire to serve God in aaway from tedious expressions of Christian life new way? Would you like to experience life inand worship. community?Each chapter takes up the subject of humility Then you may be interested in attending afrom a different perspective. Chapter 6 is free three-week program (July 13 - Augusttitled “Giving up Grumbling”. It deals with 4, 2013) to discern where God is callingthe author’s choice of a Lenten discipline. He you. At the same time you will have thediscovers that “in the face of injustice, grumbling opportunity to experience the life of love,is a way to remain part of the problem, rather prayer and service in an Anglican religiousthan the solution”. community of love.Chapter 7 is about “Becoming a Stranger”. Women who are interested should contact:Being a stranger, being out of your element, Kelly Clark, The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, St. John’s Convent, 233 Cummeroffers new learning which could include a break- Avenue, Toronto, ON M2M 2E8. Phone:through into humility. He tells about visiting 416-226-2201, ext 301. Email convent@ssjd.cain the prison chapel group, where he hears Website: www.ssjd.caa prisoner telling the story of his crime. Theman is a new Christian who has just learned Applications for Women at a Crossroads,that his actions caused suffering to another 2013, must be in by April 22, 2013.person. Cherry writes: “I am not sure that I had 5
  6. 6. News from the Fundraising OfficeAs Sisters, we believe that God has called us to Our budget for 2013 shows an expected expensean extraordinary ministry of prayer, outreach, of $1,665,000 and revenue of $1,240,000. Wehospitality, compassion and education, all within estimate investment income from our Foundersthe context of living a vowed life in Community. Fund, without relying on gains on the capital, to beOur Narrative Budget for 2013 is in this issue of The $325,000. We therefore have a gap of $100,000–aEagle. It highlights different facets of our ministry, challenge if we are to go forward into a sustainableand complements the goals we have for 2013. future.What are our goals? How will we reach our goals?• the creation of a strong Community life–a The gap of $100,000 needs to be funded by an strong centre of prayer and service–from which increase in donations from people willing to pledge our hospitality and mission can flourish and an annual amount or to increase their annual reach out donation. For example, new or additional pledge donations from:• an ongoing Formation program for the training of new members for the Community 10 people pledging an annual amount of $10,000 or 20 people pledging an annual amount of $5,000 or• adequate supportive care for the Sisters in our 50 people pledging an annual amount of $2,000 or Infirmary 100 people pledging an annual amount of $1,000 or• an outreach ministry to our we face the unfortunate necessity Oblates and Associates of drawing on our Founders Fund capital to meet our needs. We• a vibrant Guest House ministry need help to close the gap between in response to the requests we the donations we receive from receive, and also to organized our stable donor-base, and the programs like “Food for the Soul” donations we need to meet our• spiritual care at St John’s Rehab goals and carry out our ministries without relying too heavily on our• a house of prayer and outreach in Founders Fund. Might you be one Western Canada of these people who can meet this challenge? Do you know someone• active short-term discernment who might be able to do so? Please programs for women at a time of let us know. transition in their lives Sr. Doreen, SSJD• the upkeep and maintenance of Director of Fundraising our buildings and grounds• adequate staffing to enable us to fulfil our mission Altar Linens Altar linens may be purchased from Sr. Jocelyn, SSJD,What is our challenge? at the Convent. All linens are hand-sewn from IrishTo meet our budget in recent years, we have had linen. Items which may be purchased include Fairto take more from our Founders Fund than it earns. Linens, Credence Cloths, Purificators, Lavabo Towels,This is partly the result of increased expenses Baptismal Towels, Fair Veils, Palls on Plexi Glass,and an unfavourable investment environment. Corporals and Sick Communion Sets.We are therefore in the dangerous position ofdrawing down a Fund that represents faithful For details, please contact Sr. Jocelyn: Telephone: 416-226-2201 ext 310. Fax: 416-226-2131.bequests and donations of many generations.6
  7. 7. Bread for TodayI live next door to the Virgin Mary. She inhabits a the morning. But most of all, the bread; why it isgrotto outside a Polish-language Roman Catholic that what we do in sacred space is to offer bread?church, and I am charmed every time I walk past It does not have the prettiness of flowers or fruit,by her vivid expression of teenage sullenness, as it is neither expensive nor attractive. But it is real,she seems to roll her eyes and mutter, “Yeah, and it is constant, and it is what those who yearnMother of God, whatever.” or grieve or rage or love in the presence of this statue have decided must be given.But I am also fascinated, and quite oftengenuinely moved, by the people who stand Bread. It is our selves, I think. Somewhereor kneel on the sidewalk in front of the deep in our symbolic consciousness, whengrotto; because someone is there almost we reach for the simplest and mostevery morning, and many nights. meaningful things our culture can tellThey come alone mostly. Sometimes us, we find bread, and we know thatthere are two people together, never the bread is something like a body, ourmore than that. They talk to her out body, our being. That hanging a plasticloud, they cry, they bow, they cross grocery bag of white bread on a fencethemselves or make namaste gestures. is a way of saying yes. Of saying, I willSometimes people lie down in the give myself to you. Of saying, withroad to pray in traffic, and I notice that sullen teenage girl in blue, let itthe courtesy of the drivers, who slow be unto me according to your word.down and negotiate their way past Perhaps, even, the bread is given withthese isolated and probably slightly mad the inchoate sense that such bread,worshippers. Those who come to talk such human selves, as we offer, we willto Mary speak to her in many languages, receive back as something unimaginablyand I am by no means sure that all of more.them would call themselves Christians. And people, random people, who couldAnd they leave bags of bread, hung on the not tell you a thing about eucharistic theologymetal fence. Sometimes flowers, as well; the and may have only a vague idea of who the girlchurch provides flowers for the grotto, but passers- in blue is, have found a way to say this, on oneby add more. Now and then, pieces of fruit. But small obscure corner of the city. In the mess andmost often it is bread, usually sliced white bread, in the moments of violence, the exclusion and socialplastic grocery bags. I do not know what happens division, still they come, still they do this, over andto this bread. Some of it, certainly, must be eaten our neighbourhood squirrels and raccoons. Ihope that hungry people take some of it; I hope Across the parking lot the St. Felix Centre, whichthat the broken-down men and women who began as a convent and now shares space withpanhandle outside KFC, and sometimes sit on the a small monastery, offers coffee and toast in thechurch steps to nurse their bleeding feet, feel that morning, hot lunches and dinners every day, freethey can share Mary’s bread. But I suspect that clothing, one-on-one counselling, classes andmuch ends up in the compost bins of the church, support groups for women and for children andthat this is the stubborn respect which popular for homeless men. Down the street, at Portlanddevotion demands. Place, hurt and lost people who have never known a safe place are creating a home together. WeAnd I think about it, this freelance sacredness, are all hungry, here in this city. We try to learn,a badly-made plaster statue and the demands in small awkward ways, to offer our selves, to sayof holy places, how this business of homemade yes. To be bread for each other. The pilgrimsimpromptu worship relates to the people walking come, and the girl in blue receives our offerings.and driving to work in early rain, how it relates tothe club down the street, loud music and alcohol, The Rev Maggie Helwigthe splatters of blood on the street sometimes in Priest-Associate, SSJD 7
  8. 8. Reflection Which world Alongsiders do we choose Are you between jobs, retired, to or wanting to take a year away live in? from your studies? World of buy, buy, buy? Consider becoming an Alongsider World of of the Sisters of St. John the Divine for a year kill, kill, kill? World of or two, “Living on the Edge” of the monastic love, love, love? life to explore living in Community and World of buy deepening your relationship with God. says love means Any woman who is interested in this money, the bigger program should call 416-226-2201 the present, ext 301 or email for a the greater brochure on this new program the love. and/or an application form. World of kill says Priority will be given to applicants love means violence, who can commit to at least 25 hours raping for honour, of work per week in the convent. killing for God. If you’re right, you’re right – force the rest along! The Houses of the Sisterhood The world of love says St. John’s Convent Stop. 233 Cummer Avenue, Toronto, ON M2M 2E8 Slow Down. 416-226-2201; Fax: 416-226-2131 Seek God. Care for neighbour. Know yourself. St. John’s House, B.C. Be honest. 3937 St. Peter’s Road, Victoria, B.C. V8P 2J9 Be kind. 250-920-7787; Fax: 250-920-7709 Listen. email: Love. The Eagle is published several times a year by the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, St. John’s Convent, Toronto, ON M2M 2E8. Which world do we choose An annual donation of $10 to help cover the cost would be greatly to appreciated. Please let us know promptly of any changes of address. live in? The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine is a registered charity. Sr. Sue Elwyn, SSJD Our charitable donation number is BN 11925 4266 RR0001. December 23, 2012 All Photos Sr. Elizabeth, SSJD8