Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sisters of St. Joseph Christmas Soundings Update

Christmas Greetings!
The December 22 issue of Soundings Update is available at

There is also a slide presentation of our Advent/Christmas gathering on our website at:

Weston Vermont in December

Last weekend was spent in Weston, VT with some friends. We try to do this each December. It's a wonderful alternative to the pre-Christmas rush that so often characterizes city life and eclipses the Advent/Christmas spirit.

We prayed with the monks at Weston Priory. The reflections of the brothers during Eucharist are always inspiring. On Saturday one of the brothers focused on the significance of "Behold" in the day's gospel reading. He said that although it's a rather antiquated word, it carries the understanding of being "embraced and embracing." This is what God asks and offers us in this season. I started thinking of the two simple words BE + HOLD. We are called to "be" in this the imminance of the Incarnation. We are called hold and carry the presence of Christ Jesus among us in the ordinary moments of our life.

Here are some pictures from the weekend

The Village Green Gallery

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sisters of St. Joseph Associates Celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe

This Sunday is not only the Third Sunday of Advent. It's also the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Last Thursday was the Feast of Juan Diego. The two really go hand-in-hand. Today two of our CSJ Associates and I had the opportunity to give a morning of reflection about the story of Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe. We did it for our Boston CSJ Associates. They really seemed to enjoy it. I've attached a PowerPoint with some of the main componants of our presentation.

This story draws from the presentations of the Benedictine Sisters of Guadalupe who have been our hostesses for our pilgrimages to Mexico. I was surprised yesterday when I counted and realized that I've been to Mexico nine times; once with a program called "GATE" in 1989 and eight times -- mostly with high school students --  with the program offered by Weston Priory in collaboration with the Benedictine Sisters of Guadalupana.

Some other resources include:
The mandala below is what I call the "Tu Madre" mandala. Each time we go to Mexico the people repeatedly ask us to "tell the story" of their reality to those at home. I created this mandala as a way of telling the story. At one point it was printed on note cards. The words around the image are from the Nican Mopohua. They are the words inscribed below the tilma [the cloak with the image] where it is enshrined in the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. In English these words mean: "Am I not here, I who am your Mother? Have I not placed you on my lap? Who else do you need? Do not grieve or worry about anything."

Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to the Mestizo peasant, Juan Diego, in 1531 on Mount Tepeyac. She came, not to the center of power, but to the periphery of a society which had been oppressed and stripped of their indigenous culture, religion and dignity.

The "Tu Madre" mandala combines indigenous symbols of hope, resurrection and transformation from both the Aztec, "Piedra del Sol" and the Mayan Pyramids of Xochicalco with the traditional image of the tilma of Juan Diego. The Virgin wears the blue-green of divinity and her dress is the color of earth. Her head tilts in a listening contemplative glance that radiates concern and compassion. Her hands are clasped in a gesture of offering. The black band indicates the expectancy of new life for within her dwells hope for salvation 
However you celebrate this feast remember that the Guadalupe event marks the beginning of a new era. The story carries a universal message. It is not just for Mexicans but our Mexican sisters and brothers ask that we walk with those whose lives are lived on the periphery. They ask that we be open to their struggle even when it's painful.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Soundings Update, Credo Dancers, Concert to Benefit Safe House

Our latest edition of Soundings Update is now available on the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston website at: . In this issue read about a lovely evening with the Credo Liturgical Dance Co. of Boston.

Please note on page 2 that there is a concert this Sunday, December 12, to benefit the creation of a Safe House for survivors of human trafficking. If you're in the area, consider joining us. All the details are in the attached flyer.
Click the little gray box in the lower right corner for a full view of this flyer.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Advent Reflections by Sisters of St. Joseph

Advent Week 2, Boston CSJ Motherhouse Chapel
Where did Week One of Advent go? Each Advent, I really try to slow down and enter into this wonderful liturgical season. This year that has meant leaving this blog at the bottom of my "to-do" list.

However, I've received some links to Advent resources and sites created by Sisters of St. Joseph around the country. Here are two that didn't get lost in my email box:

...from the Sisters of St. Joseph, Carondelet, Albany Province:

...from the Sisters of St. Joseph, Carondelet, St. Paul Province:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sisters of St. Joseph join in commemorating churchwomen of El Salvador

Today is the 30th anniversary of the martyrdom of four churchwomen in El Salvador. Thirty years! It doesn't seem possible. Three of our sisters have joined a delegation that is in El Salvador right now to commemorate this anniversary. The group is going with SHARE. SHARE works with communities in El Salvador. They support the empowerment of historically impoverished and marginalized communities, as they strive to meet both their most immediate needs and construct long-term sustainable solutions to the problems of poverty, underdevelopment and social injustice.

SHARE's website has a wealth of information about this event and a 28 page Commemoration Guide that is worth exploring.