Sunday, November 29, 2009

Soundings Update: November 25, 2009

Read our Thanksgiving issue of Soundings Update at:

In this issue read about:
  • Annual gathering of the CSSJ Federation Leadership Assembly
  • Celebrating the Feast of Mother St. John Fontbonne -- You can view pictures of Fontbonne Academy's celebration of this feast on their "Recent Events" page

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Advent with the Sisters of St. Joseph and more

Advent begins this evening. A friend of mine who is a Sister of St. Jospeh of Carondelet-Albany Province sent the link to this wonderful page with Advent daily reflections, resources, and links to other Advent sites. Although as one with a degree in Liturgical Theology, I look forward to the Paschal Triduum each year, Advent is still my favorite Liturgical Season. Even though I love to shop, I make an effort to complete my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving in order to really attempt to slow down -- at least a little bit -- and really "be" with the spirit of this season. In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm never totally successful at this. But I really do try!

If you're in the greater Boston area, our Retreat Center is offering two mornings of prayer during Advent:
  • December 3, 2009: PLACED ALONGSIDE MARY
    And two weekends of prayer:
  • December 11 - 13, 2009: QUIET ADVENT WEEKEND

A few weeks ago I subscribed a site called 3-Minute Retreat from Loyola Press. Loyola Press is also offering an Online Advent Retreat. So if you're unable to get to the St. Joseph Retreat Center with it's spectacular views of the rocky New England Coast, maybe you can make time for this online retreat from the comfort of your own home.

...And there's one more resource with Advent Reflections that just came into my email box. It's a site with Advent Reflections from the Sisters of Notre Dame in California. This icon of "Our Lady of the New Advent" accompanies the main page for the reflections.

Happy Advent!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"...a generous heart" from Medaille's Maxim 54

It's Thanksgiving! We just celebrated evening prayer in our local community. Doris Klein, CSA, has written, "Gratitude is expansive, leading us outward beyond ourselves." That's the kind of gratitude to which Jean-Pierre Medaille, SJ, called the first Sisters of St. Joseph and Associates in the Maxims of the Little Institute and continues to call us each and every day.
In Maxim 53 he writes, "Keep an open and free heart...." and in Maxim 54, "...declare with a generous heart never to yield to anything that would be against God's will." It's not as if I went out and searched for these Maxims for this blog post. The reality is that these Maxims seem to have found me. They've been surfacing in my prayer over the past week or so. I delight in the images of fulness and abundance at Thanksgiving. I've posed a few pictures I took in Vermont, New Hampshire, and one in New Mexico [at the top] that speak of Thanksgiving's abundance.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stop Trafficking Newsletter

Just in case you're not familiar with the Stop Trafficking Newsletter I thought I'd mention it. It's a free online subscription and it comes out monthly. As the site explains:
The Stop Trafficking newsletter, hosted by the STOP ENSLAVEMENT web domain, serves as a forum for exchange among religious congregations and their collaborating organizations:
• to promote awareness re. human trafficking;
• to exchange best practices in advocacy for and empowerment of survivors of human trafficking;
• to recommend actions to counter human trafficking.
Last winter the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston took a corporate stance against human trafficking so we are listed on the website. You can read our corporate stance at . We are part of an Anti-Trafficking Coalition composed of religious congregations in the Boston area. I've spoken about this group in several previous blog posts.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sisters of St. Joseph: Deep Listening

Our latest issue of Soundings Update is available on our website at . In addition to an article about the LCWR Region I autumn meeting, there are some important upcoming dates that may interest.

Of most immediate interest is Taizé Prayer at our Motherhouse Chapel on November 19, at 7:00pm. If you are in the area, know that you are most welcome to participate.

I also invite you to read a great online article titled "Experience, Service, Reflection in a Boston neighborhood." It's about Jesuit Volunteer Ministry at Casserly House, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sisters of St. Joseph Retreat Center

Yesterday's work day was pure gift. I had a meeting at our retreat center with two of the staff members. Our purpose was to discuss the possiblities of social media networking for the retreat center. This is an area that is growing so fast that most of us are unable to keep up. St. Joseph Retreat Center on the beautiful rocky New England coast is celebrating its 35th year and realizes this kind of networking is one more way to spread the message of the varied spiritual opportunties offered there.

Facebook, Twitter, and Blogging are only the beginning. But it's how people, organizations, and all kinds of groups are connecting. As Sisters of St. Joseph, we see relationship at the heart of mission. Central to that mission for 360 years is that we "move always toward profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction." [Consensus Statement, Sisters of St. Jospeh] Once again, I guess one never knows where this phrase "without distinction" will bring us. It seems to be bringing some of us into the new frontier of social media networking.

The gift of yesterday was not only the interest and enthusiasm of the staff members, not only the delicious brocolli soup the retreat center chef had prepared for lunch, but also the spectacular ocean views that surround the St. Joseph Retreat Center. I've posted a few here. You can visit the St. Jospeh Retreat Center for more pictures, views of the beauty of the place, and a full listing of the retreats, days and mornings of prayer, and other spiritual programs offered there.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Welcoming the Neighbor without distinction at Halloween

Last night was Halloween. While I’m not into the whole sinister climate that sometimes surrounds the evening, I must say I really enjoy the delight in little children’s eyes as they go house to house proclaiming, “trick-or-treat.” We live in one of those destination neighborhoods where families from all over the area drop off their kids. Even the parents in the neighborhood dress up.
It may not be the what Jean-Pierre Médaille and the first Sisters of St. Joseph had in mind when they spoke of reaching out to the Dear Neighbor without distinction, but it certainly is an opportunity to be neighbors and welcome the every kind of neighbor. There were wizards and winged creatures, princesses and pirates, transformers, superheroes, and even a human ketchup bottle!
A part of me wonders what happened to all hallowed eve when my mother dressed me up as Joan of Arc in a cardboard suit of armor all painted silver. I could barely move! Although it’s not the same as it was “back in the day,” it’s good to know there are still neighborhoods where young and old can feel welcome to use their imagination and enjoy the wonder of being a child.