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.
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.
September 8 & 9, 2017
Halifax, Nova Scotia
A recent meeting of the ARCAN Steering Committee was held at Barat residence in Halifax, September 8 and 9th, 2017. Sr. Claudette Gallant, Director of Associates, Julia Townsend, Co-Director, as well as Linda Longmire, Associate, Trenton Group, joined with Sisters and Associates of other Atlantic Congregations for the annual meeting. Topics discussed included a review of the ARCAN Conference which was held in June “Greening Our Hearts” with special guest speaker, Dolores Hall. Overall, the Conference was enjoyed by all who attended. As well, the group discussed whether ARCAN should continue into the future. This lead to much reflection among the group, ending with a resounding ‘YES”. It was acknowledged that ARCAN provides a wonderful networking among Atlantic Congregations, Sisters and Associates. This followed with proposing ways to make ARCAN a better resource for us all. We also decided to continue with the Conference every three years. This time period was needed as booking speakers and making preparations requires an enormous amount of planning and work!! The group also discussed how to keep the Congregation Charisms alive over time within the hearts of the Associates. There will be much more discussion on this topic in the coming year!! It was a wonderful weekend and a great way to connect and network!!
The Sydney group welcomed Jean Peinsznski as a full member of the associates after her long journey with us. Sister Claudette Gallant presided over the ceremony and addressed the group with an engaging talk about vows the Sisters of Saint Martha take when beginning their own life as sisters. She talked about our baptismal call and asked us to reflect on how we are responding and how we will respond to the call. Then Julia Townsend our group coordinator conducted the Rite of Reception with Jean and her sponsors and the group, and Jean was welcomed. And we’re lucky to have her! Congratulations, Jean!
A meeting was held at St. Clare’s Convent Monday, April 24th, 2017. Coordinators were present from Sydney Mines, Glace Bay, Eskasoni, Glace Bay and Sydney. Regrets were sent from the Trenton Coordinator / Co- coordinator. After a warm welcome from Sr. Claudette, Julia lead us in the opening prayer. Then each group gave an update on their respective groups. Updates were also given on the progress at Bethany, the 2017 Associate Retreat, Sycamore deadlines, update on the Directory, the upcoming ARCAN Conference, and Mass for Shut Ins. Some discussion was held on concerns, ideas and visions for the future! Our day ended with the praying of our Associate prayer! Details of the meeting will be brought to each respective Associate group by the Coordinators!
As we Associates of St. Martha entered St. Clare Convent in Sydney Mines on a cold and blustery day in March we were greeted by the warmth of smiles and friendly chatter. We settled in and our meeting began with a prayer. Following our new way of folks conducting leadership for our meetings, we have two new volunteers each month. In March we were delighted to have one of our newest Associate couples, Harry and Norma Blinkhorn as the leaders. The results were outstanding. After prayer we were introduced to a very special lady named Dorothy Holliday. She leads, heads, coordinates, directs and with several members and volunteers runs an organization called Community Cares here in Sydney Mines. The title says it all. Dorothy and her “crew” run quite a ship! They help school drop outs, unemployed, and addicts, to name a few. Think of anyone needing assistance and then think of Dorothy and “Community Cares.” She’s been doing this with a loving, caring heart for twenty years! Have you heard her name? Probably not! So what does that say? She’s not looking for recognition just prayers and help. Please keep this amazing work in your prayers!
After a delightful visit with Dorothy some regular business was dealt with and with renewed spirit we closed with a prayer followed by our usual tea and chat.
As we donned our coats and boots to go home, our bodies warmed by hot tea and friendship, and our spirits renewed, we were able to face the cold, frosty, snow filled air outside.
Let’s always care and pray for each other.
Georgie Edwards, Saint Clare Associates
We met on Wednesday, March 8 for the first time since January, having been storm-stayed at home in February on the night of our meeting and it was great to get together. We welcomed a speaker, Reverend Robert Lyle, from upstairs literally – as we hold our meetings in a beautiful, cozy little room in his church, that being Bethel Presbyterian Church in Sydney. After we went over some business, Rev. Lyle joined us and gave us a talk about his work with the church and his journey with God and his faith. Very interesting.