The Eagle                              Christmas 2009                                                       All the Sister...
Dear Associates, Oblates and Friends,                                                           Two more of our Sisters   ...
The      Women’s        At the end of                                        Roundtable this fall    October, Sr. Teresa, ...
The Hidden Work of theTop Row: Sr. Doreen going through the files ofAssociates; Srs. Helen Claire, Elizabeth Ann andAnne p...
Sisters behind the Scenes                            Top Row: Sr. Elizabeth preparing to ring the                         ...
PLANTING A SEED!In early October, Sisters and guests of St. John’s Convent    The gardens, designed by landscaper Skai Lej...
“Who do you think you are?”“Who do you think you are?!” In essence, this is the                the craving for supremacy, ...
Music for the Soul – 2010                                    Are You at a Crossroads in Your Life?                        ...
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The Eagle - Christmas 2009

  1. 1. The Eagle Christmas 2009 All the Sisters would like to wish you the Blessings of peace, love and joy this Christmas season! Merry Christmas! He was born in a stable Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, behind the inn, He said to us. homeless, Heal the sick, visit the prisonersPrince of Peace, Wonderful Counsellor said the God-with-Us. Wonderful Counsellor, Son of Man, God-with-Us; Like the men who sleep huddled house the homeless, He says to us. on subway grates, the women living in cardboard huts, House the homeless, free the slaves, the children shivering in feed the children, gasless cars comfort the dying; He was born, and somewhere Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, deep within homeless. find a home in our hearts for Him. Sr. Sue, SSJD 1
  2. 2. Dear Associates, Oblates and Friends, Two more of our Sisters have had knee surgery:Once again we are approaching the Christmas Season and Sr. Brenda had surgerythe beginning of another year. For us, it has been a year of on one knee in June andcelebrating the founding of our Community on September Sr. Patricia had double8th, 1884 — 125 years ago. knee surgery in early October. Both Sisters areThe final event of our 125th Anniversary year was a doing well.Concert on September 27th celebrating both the Sisters’creativity (past and present) and our joy in worship, music Sr. Brenda and Sr.and praise. Poetry, Margaret Mary enjoyinghymns and music a conversation-on-wheelscomposed and written in the the Sisters werefeatured in the concert This fall we have been working on the gardens in theprogram. Sr. Anne Guest Courtyard. The pond area has been enhancedand Dan Norman, with a small waterfall and the gardens readied for plantingour organist, opened in the spring. (See page 6 for our exciting plans for thethe concert with courtyard.)Handel’s Sonata No.3 in F Major for pianoand violin. One of the highlights was a dramatic reading by Mary Druce who took on the persona of our Mother Foundress, Hannah Grier Coome; to the great delight of both Sisters and guests she shared some of the highlights of her life. The pond before and afterExamples of the creativity of the Sisters over the yearswere exhibited in the chapel narthex and front lobbyincluding historic embroidery work, calligraphy, pottery,carving, paintings and drawings, and many otherforms of creative artwork. It was a delightful eveningenjoyed by all who were able to attend. Upcomingconcerts in the Music for the Soul series are listed onthe back of The Eagle and posted on our website. The Sisters in Victoria have also been working on the garden outside their new chapel to the delight of all. There is much healing both through working in the gardens and enjoying their beauty.2
  3. 3. The Women’s At the end of Roundtable this fall October, Sr. Teresa, was well attended. the Superior of the Our theme was Community of the “Seven Sisters, Transfiguration in Seven Stories”. Cincinnati, Ohio, Each of the Sisters came for several related personal days with one of experiences of their their oblates, Toni work and ministry Thomas-Feren, to on behalf of the look at our guest Sisterhood including house ministry.Here Sr. Elizabeth Ann is seen They are planning to develop a similar kind of ministrywith Linda Elliott and Nora in Cincinnati in the not very distant future. Finally, Sr.McDonald Margaret, CSC, the newly elected Provincial of the Sisters of the Church, came to the convent for her long retreat atoutreach to youth through the end of, pastoral visiting at thehospital, worship and our life of This fall the Sistersprayer, the summer program, undertook a survey“Women at a Crossroads”, from Natural Churchthe hospitality of the Guest Development. In theHouse, stewardship, and the photograph, Heathergovernance structures of the Steeves of theSisterhood. Our chair, the Diocese of Toronto isRev. Margaret Fleck, did a explaining to us thewonderful job of enabling the results of our survey.evening to run smoothly. We are beginning to work with our results We’ve had a number of and also help parishes visitors this fall. Continuing around the Diocese of the tradition of the exchange Toronto in the area of between SSJD and the Order Passionate Spirituality. of the Holy Paraclete, Sr. The Sisters in Victoria, Helen, OHP, from Whitby, like the Sisters in Toronto, are in great demand for North Yorkshire, came for the workshops, retreats, spiritual direction and preaching, month of October bringing and continue to be a prayerful presence in the Diocese in her oboe to the delight of which they reside. us all! She played at several chapel services while she was Through the past year, we have become even more aware here. of the great cloud of witnesses which surround us (Sisters, Associates, priests and benefactors) and many others who Sr. Helen works continue encouraging us to “run with perseverance the at St. Oswald’s race that is set before us.” Pastoral Centre in England. Now as we look forward to the joy and wonder of Christmas, While staying we marvel at the awesome humility of God — the Word with us in of God which created the world, took on human flesh Toronto, she was and walked among us on this earth, not only setting us an able to see some example of loving and self-forgetful service to one another, of the beauty of but giving himself totally, even to death on the cross, in Canada including order that we might have eternal life. God is continuing Niagara Falls, to call each one of us, Sisters, Associates, Oblates andAlgonquin Park, and the Scarborough Bluffs as well as friends, to this same level of loving and humble service tosome of the cultural highlights of Toronto such as the Art one another which we have seen through the history ofGallery of Ontario, the Textile Museum and Kensington our Community.Market. Sr. Elizabeth Ann, SSJD The Reverend Mother 3
  4. 4. The Hidden Work of theTop Row: Sr. Doreen going through the files ofAssociates; Srs. Helen Claire, Elizabeth Ann andAnne preparing to share their stories of ministryat the Women’s Roundtable.Row 2: Sr. Sue doing “after-supper” work in therefectory; Sr. Jessica taking Sr. Thelma-Anne tochapel; Sr. Jean taking Sr. Constance to chapel.Row 3: Sr. Margaret Mary discussingadministrative details with Sr. Elizabeth Ann; Sr.Brenda leading the “hymn sing” in the chapelat St. John’s Rehab Hospital; Sr. Amy being aguardian angel for Sr. Helen, OHP, visiting theconvent from England.Row 4: Sr. Constance Joanna playing thekeyboard in chapel; Sr. Patricia Marion loadingthe dishwasher with Oblate Doreen Davidsonat B.C. House in Victoria; Sr. Margaret Ruthworking in the finance office. 4
  5. 5. Sisters behind the Scenes Top Row: Sr. Elizabeth preparing to ring the Angelus in chapel; Sr. Anitra looking for a photograph in the archives. Row 2: Sr. Merle preparing the list of Bible readings for the Daily Office; Sr. Sarah Jean doing the cleansing in the sacristy; Sr. Louise signing out a library book for one of the Associates. Row 3: Sr. Joyce accessioning a new book for the library; Sr. Patricia recovering from double knee surgery in the infirmary; Sr. Wilma selling books at the used book sale at St. John’s Rehab Hospital. Row 4: Sr. Dorothy cleaning up after a farewell party for Sr. Helen, OHP; Sr. Beryl guiding Sr. Helena to the chapel; Sr. Jocelyn shovelling snow in Victoria! 5
  6. 6. PLANTING A SEED!In early October, Sisters and guests of St. John’s Convent The gardens, designed by landscaper Skai Leja, are towatched with excitement as a team of landscapers (and provide the guests with a place for meditation and reflection.their helpful dog) dug out the outline of the new gardens The section shown below is part of the overall landscapingfor the guest courtyard. plan for the whole property. This landscaping project is the final stage of what was envisioned when the new convent was planned and built in 2005. Originally, it was hoped that this would be completed at the same time as the convent was built, but insufficient funds forced the postponement of the landscaping. Now, you can join with us to make this dream a reality! We are currently seeking individuals and/or groups that would be interested in taking a leadership role in funding the landscaping project. While all donations are welcome, we would really like to build a relationship with one or two major donors to be a part of this exciting undertaking.Within hours of starting, we could see the graceful, curved For more information, please call Sara Lawson, Directoredges of a new garden area against the walls of the of Development at 416-226-2201 x340 or email atcourtyard. This area was soon filled with rich, dark earth, for the winter months and the introduction of newplants, flowers and trees in the spring.6
  7. 7. “Who do you think you are?”“Who do you think you are?!” In essence, this is the the craving for supremacy, is addressed to all the disciples.challenge God puts to Job (Job 38:1-7; 34-41), answering He knows, I think, that the sons of Zebedee have simplyhis litany of lamentation and self-justification with a vast spoken aloud the secret, selfish desire which is really in allcosmological catalogue of questions which goes on for their hearts. Either they’ve completely failed to understandchapters, marking the vast gulf between what it is to be what Jesus has told them about what he will undergo indivine and what it is to be human: Where were you at Jerusalem, or at some level they have taken in enoughcreation? What great patterns have you set in motion? Do to make them afraid, and their fear has brought out theyou provide omnisciently for the creatures of the earth? worst in them – a childish grasping after prominence, onWhile it’s a great cascade of words and images, of which the one hand, and a disingenuous self-righteousness ontoday’s reading is only a tiny sample, it’s also, paradoxically, the other, two sides of the same debased coinage, botha striking example of the via negativa, because almost all attempts to persuade or manipulate God. Jesus offers themGod’s questions to Job demand the answers “No” or “I not comfort, but a remedy: the pattern of service and self-don’t know”. emptying which he shows them in his own life and death.“Who do you think you are?!” This is also, on a somewhat Job, of course, is left with a realisation of his completegentler and more personal scale, the question Jesus poses dependence — his contingency — upon the will of anto James and John (Mark 10:35-45). Do you have any idea utterly incalculable God (although the version of the storywhat it is you’re asking for, when you desire to be known which has come down to us does provide him with afor your intimacy with me? They think they do, of course, consolation prize in livestock and progeny). He will worshipbut Jesus realises just how feeble their understanding is. God the rest of his life from an utterly changed perspective, one which begins not with his own righteousness and“Who do you think you are?” It’s also the question which religious observance, but with God’s glory and creativefaces us in prayer. We cannot, through the use of intellect, force, experienced in the collision of incomprehensionor language, or our physical senses, give any meaningful and clarity. For the disciples, too, incomprehension anddescription of God. Whatever our mystical or affective clarity mingle and spark, throughout the ministry of Jesus,experience of God may be, I think it’s safe to say that but more particularly as the desolation of the cross unfoldsknowledge of God, in any cognitive sense, will always elude into the mystery of the resurrection: “Maria” - “Rabbouni”;us — such knowledge as we may acquire is self-knowledge. “Were not our hearts burning within us...?”; “My LordThe effort to be honestly ourselves in the presence of God and my God!” Unlike Job, however, the disciples are notmay at least bring us to honesty with ourselves — honesty simply returned to their former lives with a transformedabout who we are in relation to God, and what our real understanding and bigger, better fishing boats. Rather, theydesires and fears are. are called into the risen life of Christ, and into the pattern of service and self-offering which they have seen in the lifeIn a way, of course, Job is closer to this sort of self-knowledge of the incarnate Word.than his three would-be comforters, earlier in the narrative.He knows who he is, what he has and hasn’t done, and So God calls all of us to participate in the divine life, andwhat he doesn’t understand, while his friends are confident not only summons us but sustains us, with the joy of thethat they can explain the workings of God and fate and resurrection, the shared story of our redemption, thesin and punishment. It’s Job with whom God speaks, and mutual love and care which echo the love of God, andwhile it’s clear that his earlier assumptions about reward the sacraments which nourish us throughout our lives. Wefor righteousness and safety for sacrifice are completely can live this life in God because God in Christ has becomeoverthrown in the encounter, and that he doesn’t get an present in our human lives, present to us in the Gospel,explanation so much as a shattering experience of awe present with us in one another, and present in us in theand wonder, it’s also very clear that the petty calculations rhythm of the sacraments. We will continue to struggleand rationalisations of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are so with self-knowledge, in prayer and in community. We knowmuch further from the truth that they’re not even part of we cannot fully comprehend or describe the mysteries ofthe conversation. creation and the universe. But who do we think we are? Followers of Christ and servants of the living God, and thatReading today’s Gospel, it’s easy for us to share the is more than enough.disciples’ outrage at the effrontery, the sheer bloody nerveof James and John (asking Jesus if they may sit, one on his Homily preached by the Rev. Andrea Budgey,left hand and one on his right in glory), but we should also October 18, 2009, in St. John’s Chapelnote carefully that the response of Jesus, warning against 7
  8. 8. Music for the Soul – 2010 Are You at a Crossroads in Your Life? Sunday, February 14th, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. Are you considering a career change? Are you looking for “something more” in your life? Jazz Vespers: a contemporary service built around Do you have a thirst for God? A hunger for prayer? Jazz standards and led by Tim Elliott. (Includes Evening Do you desire to serve God in a new way? Prayer) Would you like to experience life in community? Sunday, March 21st, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. Then you may be interested in attending A concert celebrating music of the Renaissance period a free four-week program (June 29 - July 25) and highlighting the lute songs of John Dowland. Lorelle to discern where God is calling you. Angelo - Soprano, Juan-Carlos Luna - Guitar, Daniel At the same time you will have the opportunity to experience the life of love, prayer and service Norman - Harpsichord. (Evening Prayer to follow) in an Anglican religious community of women. Date to be announced Women who are interested should contact A keyboard recital centered around music of the Kelly Clark, The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, French Classical period. Organ and Harpsichord St. John’s Convent, 233 Cummer Ave, music played by Thomas Fitches (unconfirmed) and Toronto, ON M2M 2E8 John-Paul Farahat. (Evening Prayer to follow) Phone: 416-226-2201, Ext. 301. Fax: 416-222-4442 e-mail: Website: Concerts are produced in association with Applications for Women at a Crossroads, 2010 must be in by March 31, 2010. Taizé Services at the Convent Altar Linens Join the Sisters at St. John’s Convent on the third Friday of each month, at 5:00 p.m. for a Taizé Altar linens may be purchased from Sr. Jocelyn, SSJD, service. at St. John’s Convent. All linens are hand-sewn and made from Irish Linen. Items which may be purchased This meditative form of Evening Prayer includes prayer, include Fair Linens, Credence Cloths, Purificators, repetitive chants, candlelight and anointing for healing Lavabo Towels, Baptismal Towels, Fair Veils, Palls to enable us to focus on our spiritual journey. on Plexi Glass, Corporals and Sick Communion Sets. Future dates for Taizé services are: For details, please contact Sr. Jocelyn: December 18, 2009 March 19, 2010 St. John’s House, B.C. January 22, 2010 April 16, 2010 Telephone: 250-920-7787 Fax: 250-920-7709 February 19, 2010 May 21, 2010 Map and directions at The Houses of the Sisterhood St. John’s Convent St. John’s House, B.C. 233 Cummer Avenue, Toronto, ON M2M 2E8 3937 St. Peters Road, Victoria, BC V8P 2J9 416-226-2201; Fax: 416-226-2131 250-920-7787; Fax: 250-920-7709 e-mail: e-mail: bchouse@ssjd.caThe Eagle is published several times a year by the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, St. John’s Convent, Toronto, ON M2M 2E8. Anannual 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 RR000018