our February evening meeting, a huge harvest-like moon hanging low in the sky
served to direct us as we made our way to the Retreat Center situated on that
Gillis used her book SACRED SPACE thoughtfully leading us in chapel prayer.
Caroline followed to shepherd discussion on the third chapter of Pope Francis’
document, GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE (Rejoice and Be Glad.) This one dealt with the
Beatitudes, and in the Pope’s own words, is a “Christian’s identity
card.” To quote further from the document, Pope Francis writes,
“Jesus explained with great simplicity what it means to be holy when he
gave us the Beatitudes.” I think we all agreed that within that chapter’s
nineteen pages, there was much to ponder and pray over, to guide and challenge
everyone of us.
our March meeting, we will be graced by the visit of Julia Townsend from
Antigonish. We are all looking forward to her message of inspiration as well as
her generous happy spirit. Romano will be our leader of prayer while Sharon and
Caroline have volunteered to provide snacks. Our April meeting will be moved a
week ahead to the 11th.
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.
Mary Kennedy, Yvonne Donahue, Barb Learmont, Calgary, Feb., 2018
Calgary Ladies with Sr. Claudette and Julia, Feb. 2018
Sr. Claudette and Julia were in Calgary on Monday, Feb. 26th, 2018 to meet and visit with three of the Ladies who were active members of the Calgary Associates. Due to the challenges of an Associate group meeting together in such a large city, the Calgary group has had to disband. However, a small group of 4 Ladies remain connected to the Martha Associates. They continue to be invited to the Western Retreat weekend each year, and they still receive a visit from the Martha Associate Director which helps to keep them connected! It was a lovely visit with these wonderful Ladies!!
Sr. Claudette Gallant and myself made our second trip together to Western Canada to visit the Sisters and Associates in Lethbridge! Needless to say…..we left Spring and found Winter!!! There was lots of snow and ice in Lethbridge, and it was cold!!! Thank goodness for my Canada Goose jacket!!
Julia, Sr. Josie, Sr. Claudette, and Sr. Theresa
We were greeted warmly by the Sisters who live in Lethbridge, Sr. Josie, Sr. Theresa, Sr. Josephine and Sr. Madeline!! We also had a warm welcome from the Associates who were able to make it to the meeting!
Before launching into the summary of our January meeting, allow me to touch on the enjoyable annual year end Christmas gathering held at the Retreat Centre on December 15th. All our Lethbridge group members were graciously welcomed at the door by our beloved Sisters. Conversation and catch up over a glass (or two) of spirits was followed by a variety of festive pot luck dinner dishes and then, moving into the common room, a gift exchange ensued which took at least an hour leaving us with sore sides from the gaiety and laughter. Before we left for home, we joined our hearts and voices in a carol singsong. The joy and goodwill of the entire Yuletide evening was not lost on anyone!
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
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.
On a chilly winter’s evening, our two Lethbridge Associate groups joined forces for this Sunday evening meeting and as always prayer is paramount. With obvious joy, Sister Theresa and Annella introduced our guest, Stephanie Sawchuk. She begins journeying with us over the course of the next year. Welcome Stephanie!
As Lenten season beckons, to assist us, Sister Theresa handed out copies of an email sent by Sister Sheridan, NGO Liaison. The “MARCH JUST LOVE AND LENTEN CALENDAR, LIVING A LAUDATO SI LENT” provides us with various ideas and suggestions for Lenten reflection and prayer. To quote LS 217:
“Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or secondary aspect of our Christian experience.”
A nasty virus kept a few Associates home but the rest of us braved freezing fog/mist to attend the first meeting in the New Year.
We began in Chapel singing TAKE MY HANDS to compliment Sister Josephine’s beautiful “Hand Prayer.” Thanks to Annella and guest friend Stephani who gave a presentation with numerous accompanying pictures and stories of their trip to south eastern India this past autumn. This gave us all a good glimpse of that part of this far away country, its friendly faith-filled inhabitants and beautiful vegetation. We were all grateful no incidents marred their eighteen hour flights and holiday with their attentive and generous host, Father Alphonse, the hospital priest here in Lethbridge. And yes, we’ve grown accustomed to the henna that remains still in Annella’s hair!
For our February meeting, both Lethbridge Associate groups will welcome our Eastern guests, Sister Claudette and co-coordinator Julia Townsend. James Spiess from Catholic Central High will be present to thank the Associates for our communal donation and inform us of that school’s Christmas project to help feed and gift needy area families. If there is time, Mary Schimd will share the story of Canada’s own beloved Saint Andre.
As always, table conversation along with an array of nibblies and dainties with tea, coffee and juice brought the evening to a pleasant close.
Ina (Catarina) Boyden, Associate Scribe