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Sydney Martha Associates Meeting of November 8, 2017

We began in our usual way with a check-in, and then Mike, with his guitar, lead the opening prayer with the song “How Can I Keep from Singing?”.

Then we moved on to business and, among other things, decided what to do with the social justice fund.  As it stood we decided to let it build a little more and then give the funds in December to St. Vincent de Paul.

Then we made plans for our December 6th Christmas dinner at “Hers” in Sydney.

We looked at possible speakers to bring in or ideas, such as movies or documentaries to view and discuss as our year moves ahead.  We’re interested in visiting the Muslim mosque on Grand Lake Road in the future for one thing and are making strides toward that end.

Next, Julia gave an interesting and informative report on her trips to Cincinnati, Ohio, and Lethbridge, Alberta where she attended retreats and workshops, and she showed us a slideshow of pictures from her travels.

We finished up with a prayer – a reprise of the song.  We couldn’t keep from singing.

And lunch, delicious as always, was provided by Julie and Julia.

A good meeting with good friends and good food.

“GO WITH THE STRENGTH THAT IS IN YOU”

Amy Brierly. Coordinator Martha Justice Ministry and Sr. Catherine MacFarlane CSM

Nov. 3-5, 2017

Canadian Catholic Student Association Conference

Cape Breton University Chaplaincy Office hosted this wonderful Conference from Nov. 3-5, 2017 at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton. Sr. Catherine MacFarlane CSM, is a member of the Chaplaincy Office and was involved with the planning and organization of the Conference.  There were 28 students and Chaplains in attendance from several Atlantic Universities. It was a blessing indeed to see young people interested in their Catholic Faith!!

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CHARITY FEDERATION GRASSROOTS RETREAT

CHARITY FRIENDSHIPS: DEEPENING our RELATIONSHIPS through CONTEMPLATIVE CONVERSATIONS 

From October 15 – 21, 2017, I was blessed to be able to attend the Federation Grassroots Retreat at St. Joseph Motherhouse, Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati, Ohio. The weather was beautiful and provided an incredible backdrop to a wonderful week of sharing, friendship and conversation!

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Grass Fires in Lethbridge

Tuesday evening, October 17 a grass fire started on the coulees in Lethbridge. The winds were 130 kilometers an hour and the fire moved quickly. It came very close to Martha Retreat Centre, even burning part of the lawn. The sisters evacuated and spent the night with friends. The firefighters got the fire out in time. Many people were praying for the Sisters and the Centre.

MARTHA ASSOCIATES OCTOBER MEETING

Fifteen of us attended the meeting Sunday, Oct. 22 which began with Caroline leading a beautiful PRAYER OF ACCEPTANCE and closed singing the hymn Immaculate Mary in gratitude for keeping our three Sisters and their home safe. Tuesday evening, hurricane force winds had fed a rapidly moving grass fire in the coulees right behind the Retreat Center. Too close for comfort, the flames leapt hungrily right up to the grass on their property, licking at its edges! Sisters Theresa, Josephine and Josie each told their own emotionally charged stories of how they fled their home in a matter of minutes. It was a night to praise God for His mercy and His saving power! Continue reading

A Visit From A Hermit!!

Sydney Martha Associates

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A regular meeting of the Sydney Martha Associates was held October 11, 2017. After a check in and a beautiful prayer, we welcomed our special guest for the evening, Sheila O’Handley. Sheila has made a commitment to live within the Diocese of Antigonish as a Hermit.

And what does that mean? Sheila enlightened us greatly!! A Hermit, according to Canon Law, is one who lives an Arametical Life, a person who lives alone, reads, reflects and helps people. A Hermit is not necessarily one who lives out in the desert, wears odd clothing and does not interact with others!! Although in the early 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries, Hermits may have gone to the woods. They went there in search of God, they went there to purify themselves because often they had a very negative image of God. They wanted to understand God, but God is mystery, we cannot understand God.

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WESTERN ASSOCIATES ANNUAL RETREAT PHOTO GALLERY

WESTERN ASSOCIATES ANNUAL RETREAT

September 29 – October 1st, 2017

Martha Center, Lethbridge, Alberta

The annual Fall Retreat for the Western Martha Associates was held Sept. 29 – Oct 1st, 2017. Amid the beautiful backdrop of the coulees, a wonderful gathering of 18 Associates, 1 journeyer, 3 Sisters of St. Martha, plus two guests from the East, Sr. Claudette Gallant, Director of Associates and Julia Townsend, Co-Director, participated in a Retreat called: “The Vocation of the Baptized”. The sessions were presented by Bishop Gerald Wiesner, a retired Bishop who lives in Saskatchewan.

Bishop Wiesner gave us much reflect and ponder. These are just a few points that he shared with us.

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The Art Of Grieving

Martha Associate Day

September 16, 2017

The Eastern Associates held their annual gathering on Saturday, September 16, 2017 at Bethany. It marked the last time that the Eastern Group would meet at Bethany. As well, it marked a new beginning to the face of the annual gathering: a day as opposed to a full weekend retreat. The topic of the day was; therefore, very appropriate, “The Art Of Grieving”.

Sr. Franklyn Ferguson, CSM, lead us through a beautiful presentation, reflecting on a more complete understanding of what it means to grieve. Sr. Franklyn opened her presentation with a lovely song: “There is a Season”, reminding us that there is a time for every purpose under Heaven!

Sr. Franklyn explained that grieving is a process of how we perceive loss: psychologically, socially, behaviorally, physically and spiritually.  Naming our loss and our feelings helps us to bring an understanding to it, and allows us to move forward and to do something about it. When we do not allow ourselves to deal with our grief, it can become a pathology and makes us sick!

It is important to remember that we all grieve in different ways and in different periods of time.  It is also noteworthy that grief does not only occur with death, but with the loss of many things ie: Hearing, eyesight, mobility, etc. Any change can constitute loss.  Awareness of these changes, and naming them allows us to move forward.

Mourning is a part of grieving and it is something we must do. It too is a process and must be done in each person’s time.

Sr. Franklyn described grieving in this way: Grief is like a cut, acute and numb, followed by bleeding, eventual healing and finally a scar. The scar may shrink, but it is always there. But the cut has travelled through a process of change and has been transformed, and the healing allows us to continue forward as all life must.

Our day ended with a prayer and song of Thanksgiving to God.