was an emotional get together for all of us- Sisters, Martha Associates and
Board of Directors- meeting at the Retreat Centre the evening of May14th.
Indeed, a great deal of ground was covered that night. To set the tone, we
began with our Associates Prayer; ‘MAY WE CONTINUE THROUGH THE RADICAL CALL OF
THE GOSPEL TO BE INSPIRED BY THE MARTHA CHARISM AND THE MISSION, VISION AND
Magliocco led us in prayer and four Board Members were introduced: Elda
Barva, Deb Tarnava, Lise Schmidt and our own Associate member Kathy
Gillis. Oten through tears, Kathy spoke about the future, the loss and
the journey before us. She read us the history of Martha Associates and asked
us to think about and share with the group how our individual Associate roles
have been influenced through the years by the Martha Sisters.
Martin, Sister Theresa Parker and Sister Josie MacLellan took turns offering up
words of inspiration and hope while Annella Wehlage, who recently had the
privilege to attend the Antigonish Chapter Meeting (Keeping the Vision,) talked
to us about the impact it had on her.
Nixon, our new Executive Director, was also in attendance. He took over in
September and is being mentored by Sister Theresa Parker. He unveiled some
of his plans for the Martha Retreat Centre inviting us to continue to remain
involved and work together as the journey continues.Yes, it is daunting and
there is inevitable trepidation coupled with sadness and loss at the impending
departure of our precious Sisters, yet, what prevailed that evening was a
tangible sense of optimism and undaunted hope.
chapter has closed and the Sisters are now going home to rest awhile and work
out fresh ways in which to serve their own beloved members and their community
at large. We here in Lethbridge will move forward with solid leadership at the
helm and God as our Captain to help steer us safely through the calm and the
muddy waters. For this, O Lord, we pray.
a beautiful spring evening, Thursday, March 21st. what a pleasure it was for
all of us, Sisters and Associates, to welcome back Julia Townsend, Director of
Martha Associates, our guest and speaker from Antigonish.
was most fitting that in her forty five minute power point presentation, Julia
chose OUR CALL TO HOLINESS as her theme. This topic served to seamlessly
reinforce the message from the Document of Pope Francis’ Rejoice and Be Glad.
Our group has been reading and discussing this Document at our regular
meetings. In summary Julia stated that we are all called to the vocation of
holiness; called to be the best versions of ourselves. Through the grace of our
Baptism, she related various ways each of us can respond to this call to
holiness. Weaving in the lives of some well known Saints, it was interesting to
note how they each had experienced enormous struggles and challenges on their
own faith journeys. She closed her presentation with an inspiring and uplifting
message from Father Bill Burke which was followed by a quiet reflection.
had spent a great deal of time and prayer and preparation putting this
presentation to paper and we are all grateful and abundantly blessed by her
efforts and enthusiastic spirit!
Martha Associate meeting takes place A WEEK EARLIER, April 11th. All members of
the Martha Board of Directors will be invited to attend. We’re looking so
forward to building and exploring our relationships with them and with our
precious Sisters departing this summer, discussing how best to move forward
together as we ‘attempt’ to fill some awfully large shoes!!
is in charge of prayer and Annella, Kathy and Ina will provide snacks for the
last Saturday in May, the 25th, five o’clock,will be our bbq. Please mark this
date on your calendars!
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.
From left to right; Ken MacAdam, Linda MacNeil, Sr. Claudette Gallant, Joanna Crosby, Sylvia Chiasson, Fr. Ray Huntley, David Nearing.
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…
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”.
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!
On Thursday, December 14th, 2017, a wonderful gathering was held to celebrate the reception of a new Martha Associate, Sheila Morris. Sheila has been journeying over the past two years, and the Sisters of St. Martha welcome her as an Associate.
Our monthly meeting was held on Wednesday November 1, 2017. There were 15 members present along with a guest speaker Marjorie Serafinus. Colleen introduced our guest speaker. Harry did a prayer reading “Are You Listening.”
The reading gave us some thoughts about how seasons change and how we can change. Following the prayer reading there was a reflection. Several members joined in the discussion.
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.