the MORE… Online Updates Volume 4.1.9 March 20, 2019

CSSJ ATLANTIC FEDERATION LEADERSHIP GATHERING | Cycles of Religious Life, Where Are We Now?

by Marian Batho, CSJ

Joyful, energized, blessed and grateful are but a few of the adjectives that describe our experience at the CSSJ Atlantic Federation meeting from March 5 -7 in the Hamptons. It is always delightful to be with our CSSJ Sisters. Sister Vicki Wuolle, a Sister of Saint Agnes, facilitated our conversation and reflections on Teresa Maya’s 2018 LCWR Presidential Address with numerous references to the “wildflowers in the midst of the ashes.” Volcanic eruptions do give rise to surprising wildflowers that grow and share their beauty.

Our prayer and conversation invited us into a deeper experience of the life cycles of religious life. “Where are we now?” We were encouraged to name the place in which we find ourselves as individual sisters and congregations. In the midst of change and disruption we have experienced wildflowers growing in our midst. We were encouraged to name them: new relationships, new ministries, and new opportunities.

Another session took us into the Pando forest1. There the trees have difficulty cloning themselves. Many factors contribute to this difficulty. Yet, their roots remain very strong. Our CSSJ roots are strong. The emergence of the charism continues to guide and surprise us as we journey together in witnessing to unifying love.

Pictured: Candle with wildflowers was part of our prayer; Sisters Marian Batho, row 1 left, Betsy Conway, Row 1, third from left, Lee Hogan, Row 2 left, Denise Kelly, row 2 third from left, with other participants in the gathering.
1Learn about the Pando forest at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pando_(tree)

Seeking “the More”: Looking for God in All Moments

by Beth Sheehan, CSJA

Pictured: SEATED: Joyce Barney, CSJA, coordinator of the afternoon,and Helen Callahan, CSJ; Standing: Rita McCormack, CSJ, Jen Reis, Mary Rita Weschler, CSJA, and Janice Young, CSJA.

Sisters, Associates, a Partner in Mission. Five women. Five diverse backgrounds. One charism! Unity and reconciliation of neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God, was the common theme that permeated the reflection on life experiences of our panelists at the March 9 Associate Gathering. Sisters Rita McCormack and Helen Callahan, Associates Mary Rita Weschler and Janice Young, and Casserly House Director, Jen Reis, guided us through their journeys towards “the more” during the afternoon meeting.

Each woman shared profound moments of finding “the more” in her life as she reflected on looking for God in all moments. Feeling that there was more to life was a recurrent theme. Searching for a deeper relationship with God brought each to a deeper relationship with humanity and all creation. Listening from the heart to the “call” that God placed within has lead each to where she is today.

The importance of being ever present, always listening, and drawn near to God’s desire was felt throughout the room as we, associates and sisters, spent time reflecting on our own connection with God and the “Dear Neighbor” without distinction. How wonderful to have the opportunity to witness such passion as these women continue to explore their God-centered encounters!

Saying “Hi!” to the HiSET at Casserly House

by Emma Marshall, Casserly House JVC

At Casserly House, we encounter learners with all kinds of ambitious goals. One of our students, Margaret, came to us with such a goal – she wanted to study to achieve her high school equivalency, known in Massachusetts as the HiSET. The HiSET is a test much like the GED exam. It includes reading comprehension, writing skills, mathematics, social studies, and science. With such a wide range of material, preparing for the test can seem overwhelming, but Margaret was ready to take on the challenge with enthusiasm.

Margaret has been studying hard with the help of a variety of volunteer teachers. In particular, long-time Casserly House teacher Gail Grady has been tackling the demanding material with Margaret. Teachers encountering the HiSET material often have to reach into their own memories to retrieve skills and concepts learned in high school, but they are more than willing to take on the challenge. Some teachers have been “studying up” at home in order to maximize their time with Margaret in the classroom. We are so appreciative of their dedication to supporting learning in all its forms here at Casserly! We hope that you will keep Margaret and all of our learners in your prayers as they continue working hard and with enthusiasm. They are an inspiration to all of us as they challenge themselves every day!

Pictured: Gail and Margaret during a tutoring session.

Partners in a Single Mission of All-Inclusive Unity

by Mary Anne Doyle, CSJ

The CSJ Sponsored Ministry Team is responsible for providing programs for employees of our Sponsored and Congregation Ministries — all of whom are our Partners in Mission.

These programs break open what it means to be in mission, to work in a CSJ ministry, to be part of enhancing and carrying on the CSJ Mission. On March 14, the team led a prayer service for our Motherhouse employees. In her introduction Maryanne Doyle, CSJ, said, “We are equally grateful to each and every one of you, our Motherhouse employees. You, too, are partners in our mission. You carry our mission to all who come to the door, call to ask for your expertise and service, or correspond by email. We are all part of a single mission: Unity – all-inclusive unity. Today’s gathering is the first of periodic moments for our Motherhouse Partners in Mission. The hope is that this will expand and enhance your understanding and appreciation for this mission of unity.”

Pictured: Maureen Daley, Health Coordinator, and Betsy Conway, CSJ, during gathering; The CSJ Sponsored Ministry Team: Sisters Marilyn McGoldrick, Mary Anne Doyle, and Kathy McCluskey each led a portion of the prayer.

Volume 4.1.9 – March 20, 2019

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