Saturday, February 28, 2009

Together In Mission

Together in Mission is the title of a new newsletter to be distributed electronically for Sisters of St. Joseph, Associates, and those who partner with us. It will be printed in six languages and I’ve been doing the layout. I wrote about this in an earlier post. It’s been quite a learning experience to work with sisters from Rome, India, Canada, and Brazil. I’ve learned a lot of little things – including all the different ways to spell Joseph and country names. The details were endless but there was one sister in Rome who kept sending edited translations and encouraged me to keep going. She’s originally from India and is currently living in Rome. I’m astounded by the brilliance of someone who can edit articles in six languages.

Sisters of St. Joseph are all over the world but because a lot of our congregations became autonomous over the course of history, we sometimes forget how international we really are. That process of becoming autonomous is a long and convoluted story. This newsletter is one attempt to strengthen a more international awareness. The work is very time consuming but I feel privileged to be a part of something so global in its reach.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Come to the Sea: A Women’s Weekend

Some of our sisters are offering a weekend of prayer for women. It takes place near the ocean in Nahant, MA March 20 - 22, 2009, and is geared for women ages 20-40. If you’re reading this and are interested, check out our website for details on how to register. If you know other women looking for a weekend that offers time to be still and tap into her own Sacred space, invite her to Come to the Sea…for quiet, listening, and praying with other women. The suggested age is between 20 – 40 years.This information is also available at http://www.csjboston.org/ . Just click where it says "Upcoming Events" and scroll down to the bottom of that page or just click the title of this post and it will bring you right to the page with this information. This page also links you to other prayer opportunities we offer such as Taize Prayer and regularly scheduled liturgies at our Motherhouse.

Friday, February 13, 2009

News Articles and Learning Curves

I guess I’d call today a pretty full news day. We were highlighted in the the local newspaper, The Allston-Brighton Tab. The editor of the Tab contacted me after another article appeared in one of their partner newspapers. I wrote about that article in my January 12 post titled “Reporters’ Stereotypes of Sisters.” I must commend the editor of the Allston-Brighton Tab for taking the time to rework the story into a more accurate portrayal of how and why we are using the internet to tell others about our life. The title of the article is Roman Catholic sisters turn to technology to build community Here is the link to that article: http://www.wickedlocal.com/allston/news/lifestyle/x776739258/Roman-Catholic-sisters-turn-to-technology-to-build-community . The link is painfully long but I want readers to be able to find the article even when it’s not on the paper’s home page. I will probably say more about the content of this article in a later blog.

For now I also want to offer a link to another article where we were mentioned today. It’s an article in The Pilot, our archdiocesan Catholic newspaper. The title is Cardinal welcomes visitation of institutes for women religious. The link to that article is: http://www.thebostonpilot.com/article.asp?ID=7566 . As the spokesperson for our congregation, I’m quoted about 2/3rds of the way into the article. As I told the reporter when he called last week, we really don’t know much more about this visitation beyond what is on the official visitation website.

While these are two very different articles, perhaps one thing they have in common is that both represent a learning curve. The first demonstrates our learning curve in reaching out others through technology. The second is about how we are learning the process of this visitation as it unfolds.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Anti-Trafficking Coalition of LCWR Boston Unit

Yesterday I was at a meeting of The Leadership Conference of Women Religious Region I, Boston Unit Anti-Trafficking Coalition. Yes! The name is a mouthful! But during the past year I have had the privilege of helping this group with pr and communications. It’s a group of sisters from various congregations in the Boston area who are working to raise awareness of the crime of human trafficking. The group represents sixteen Congregations of sisters and over a thousand women religious in the greater Boston area.

I’ll spare you the details of how this coalition evolved but we have offered two symposia for sisters, associates, and others in the Boston area who are concerned about this issue. We hoped that we’d draw 50 participants for the first symposium. We had to cut off registration at 200 because we were running out of space! The same thing happened with the second symposium. One thing this taught us is that there is wide-spread concern about this issue and a deep desire on the part of people of all ages to act on behalf of victims of human trafficking.

Trafficking is modern-day slavery. Human trafficking involves the sale of persons and is becoming as common as the sale of illegal drugs and weapons. The U.S. government estimates that criminals are making $9.5 billion a year from this industry.

Human Trafficking violates basic human dignity and as women of the church rooted in the Gospel of Jesus, we can’t sit by knowing that human trafficking happens right in our own neighborhoods. We are aware that our efforts are a small part of many other things going on in the Boston area and we continue to network with others in the area who are committed to putting an end to this horrible crime.

Here are just a few websites where you can learn more:
Stop Human Trafficking Newsletter:
http://homepage.mac.com/srjeanschafersds/stoptraffic/index.html
serves as a forum for exchange among religious congregations and their collaborating organizations.
A web resource for combating human trafficking:
http://www.humantrafficking.org/
provides worldwide information and updates on human trafficking.
Not for Sale Campaign:
unites individuals, musicians, artists, people of faith, businesses, schools, and sports teams to stop human trafficking. The site provides course outlines, how to run anti-trafficking groups.
leads a worldwide effort to eradicate sexual slavery...one life at a time.
Rescue and Restore Campaign:
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking/
seeks to rescue and restore victims of human trafficking.
Every person has a role to play in ending slavery. Free the Slaves educates, motivates, activates - helping people discover their unique role in this great endeavor.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Apostolic Visitation

Just last week there was a news conference announcing that there will be what’s called an “Apostolic Visitation” of over 400 congregations of apostolic religious women in the United States. There have been many follow-up articles in newspapers around the country as well as blog posts by those who write about these topics. One newspaper already called our office but we can only respond to questions based on the information available to us. There’s a very comprehensive website explaining the process. If you want to learn more, a good place to find links to these resources is at the February 2, 2009 post on the blog called “A Nun’s Life:” http://anunslife.org/2009/02/01/apostolic-visitation-of-institutes-of-women-religious/
This graphic from the Apostolic Visitation website shows the goals of the visititation. I don't know too much more about this visitation other than what's on this website. All I can say is that apostolic women religious continuously seek to deepen and intensify our commitment to God, our faithful living of the vows, and our vigilance to addressing the needs of the Catholic Church and the world. Opportunities such as Our Congregational Gathering and the Weaving Relationships weekends that I wrote about in previous blogs are just a couple of examples. We believe that women are still being drawn to a vowed life of prayer and service and we welcome any information that will help young Catholic women know that apostolic religious life is an option for them.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sisters of St. Joseph Worldwide


In addition to the 16 congregations of Sisters of St. Joseph in the United States, our sisters are in about 57 countries all over the world. Connections are growing between the various federations of Sisters of St. Joseph around the world. Representatives from these federations and from the communities of St. Joseph are already international met in Le Puy, France last October.

As one might expect, the meeting generated a lot of subcommittees and working groups. One of these committees is The "Shared Mission Communications Committee." I’ve been asked to work with this committee in creating a global newsletter for all Sisters of St. Joseph around the world. It’s quite an exciting venture and something totally new to me. We had a skype call yesterday. There we sisters from Italy, Brazil, Canada, and the United States on the call. Luckily, I get to do the fun part of designing the publication. The others are going to submit the articles and translate them into six [yes six!] different languages to be distributed to sisters all over the world.

This is just one more reason I love my ministry. The scope of the work seems endless. It’s as local as the person next to me, as regional as the Atlantic Federation meeting I went to last Saturday, and as global as this newsletter that is beginning to take shape.
At the U.S. Federation website, http://www.sistersofsaintjosephfederation.org/ you can scroll down and link to the other federations around the world.