Greetings from the Sydney group! We just ended another good year and again we wonder where the time went. It seems like we just got started. But it was a good year that began with the retreat in September and sped right by October into November where we met and listened to our coordinator Julia Townsend tell us (and show us) of her travels to workshops in the US (Cincinnati, Ohio), and to the Martha Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta. And then we were enjoying our Christmas supper in December at HERS in Sydney. The name HERS stands for “Hands Earning Respect for Self”. It is a project of the Every Woman’s Centre. At HERS, women living on a low income are provided with the opportunity to work together in a non-traditional work environment to help: Increase social connections and support, Improve quality of life, Increase employability skills, earn income in the form of goods and services, and work in a community kitchen. The setting is homey and the food delish! We had a fine meal for the second Christmas in a row there.
Our May Meeting opened at the home of David and Paula Nearing. Special guest for the session was Father Ray Huntley. Father Ray opened with a scriptural passage which we contemplated and discussed which then led our discussion on L’Arche and the early works of Jean Vanier.
Father Ray spoke of his upbringing in the Town of Sydney Mines, stating that parents made sure that he and his siblings were aware of people experiencing poverty, disabilities, or culturally differences, highlighting that we are all children of God and share in His love.. Through these differences, they began to see many treasures…
We started the meeting with a check-in from everyone. On the whole we’re all good –knock on wood.
Terry led the group in saying the Rosary as our opening prayer and afterwards Sister Dorothy sang a beautiful rendition of Ave Maria in Mi’kmaq.
Then we moved on to business matters and decided to donate the social justice fund to Mass for Shut-Ins. And we talked about our then upcoming appearance on Mass for Shut-Ins on May 16 (which went wonderfully).
We talked about the annual retreat coming up September 15th at the new Martha Place, where Sr. Jovita MacPherson will give the retreat whose theme will be “Embraced in Love: the many faces of hospitality.”
Julia gave a report from Martha Place and distributed pictures of the scene at the new chapel there, which is a divided painting of a scene as it would look outside the building onto the landscape beyond the building. As though one were looking through a set of windows.
Julia brought beads and holy water from Lourds, France and we all were able to bless ourselves with it.
After this we watched an interesting YouTube video of Fr. James Martin talking about Lourds and St. Bernadette.
It was World Day of Prayer for Vocations which Annella utilized as her theme for the prayer part of this April meeting. We began and ended with the hymn The Summons then proceeded to the common room for the evening. The following items were discussed:
- Saturday, May 26 will be our summer bbq at five o’clock
- Sunday, JUNE 24, OPEN HOUSE: MARTHA ANNIVERSARY, DAY OF CELEBRATION (9 A.M.) Mass, Sisters and Associates only and one to five, OPEN HOUSE, COME AND GO TEA. (Kathy Gillis will be chief organizer, Caroline Martin assisting.)
- September Retreat, 28,29 and 30th…Guest speaker to be determined. Please mark these dates on your calendar.
Using the last three chapters from The Decree of Lay People, Sister Josie and your scribe posed questions and guided discussion with the group on the role of the laity in the church. “By right of our Baptism we are all strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit and called by God to make of our apostolate, through the vigour of our Christian spirit, a leaven to the world.” For these past months it has been a somewhat nostalgic journey back in time for us all as we shared and thoughtfully made our way through those Vatican 11 documents.
And yes, as always, the discussions seem to follow us right into the lunch room!
Blessings from your Scribe Ina.
REGULAR MONTHLY GATHERING
A lovely gathering of the Sydney Martha Associates was held on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at the Bethel Presbyterian Church Hall. Everyone was welcomed and we began the night with a round the circle of “How do you come”. All were glad to be together for our evening.
The gathering continued with Associate Co-ordinator, Mike Finigan leading us in the opening prayer. Mike provided the group with a print out of selected verses from Chapter 24 of Luke’s Gospel. We each took turns to read various sections. It was beautiful to hear each of our voices proclaim parts of the Resurrection story! Mike then invited us to pray together……The Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, and the Glory Be to God. Finally, Mike sang a beautiful Hymn: “ Because He Lives”.