Category Archives: Martha Associate

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

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.

St Clare Associates, March Gathering 2017

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.

God Bless!

Georgie Edwards, Saint Clare Associates

Lethbridge February Group Meeting

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.”

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Sydney Mines Reception & Meeting

Our monthly meeting on Feb.1st was bitter sweet. We were saddened to learn that Sister Claudette’s sister had died suddenly the day before, having just lost her husband to death just three weeks prior. We continue to hold Sister Claudette in our prayers and invite you to do the same. On the same day we invited Sister Clarine O’Leary to our meeting so we could say a proper farewell to her, since moving to Sydney after spending 24 years at St Clare Convent. It was so nice to have her back. We miss her but wish her well at her new residence in Sydney.

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Lethbridge Martha Associates January Meeting

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

Greetings from Emmaus Group, Calgary, AB

Our group of four, Barb, Mary, Sheila, Yvonne, met for lunch on January 17th.  It was great to “catch up”.  We do not meet regularly since the Sisters left.  Geographically it is difficult.  However we do stay in touch.

We feel gratitude knowing the new building is well on the way at Bethany. Our prayer is for a peaceful transition in this new beginning.  All the Sisters who have gone through many changes since the founding of the congregation are watching over, and rejoicing with you.

We remembered SIster Yvonne Vigneault who was my classmate.  I remember very well the day we met at Bethany, and remained friends through the years.  Her gentle, pleasant personality, sense of humour and deep spirituality endeared her to all who knew her.  Heaven has been enriched.  May she rest in the presence of God with all the other Marthas who have served so well.

We enjoy our get togethers with the Martha Associates in Lethbridge.  We were with them in September 2016.  However we were unable to join them for their Christmas party due to winter driving conditions.

May 2017 bring good health, peace, and many blessings to us all.  We will continue to pray for each other and our loved ones.

Yvonne D.

Glace Bay Associates

Glace Bay Associates of the Sisters of St Martha met on Sunday January 22, 2017, at the home of David and Paula Nearing. Our meeting opened with a “Prayer of Trust & Confidence” by Thomas Merton. A discussion soon followed concerning the National Catholic Register article titled “Women’s March draws large crowds in worldwide demonstrations for equality” A main theme that seemed to emerge from the article protesting the results of the USA election seemed to be to celebrate the “Wisdom of Women”  and abolish “Hate in the World Today”

In response to the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism, it was noted that there would be a week of prayer for Christian Unity2017 on Sunday, January 29, 2017 @ 3:00pm at All Saints Anglican Church in New Waterford. Many Associates had noted that information about  this celebration had not been shared in their respective parishes. A discussion followed on the merits of diversity and on our calling to be reconsiled with one another in order to give a more faithful witness.

Our group also reviewed some chapters from Pope Francis book Amoris Loetitia, The Joy Of Love.  This book if filled with much information and some challenges for us today. We will examine other chapters in the weeks ahead.

There was a great deal of interest in Sr Shiela O’Handley’s role in the Hermitage; our leader David, will cont her and invite her to speak at a future meeting

Our meeting closed with our Associate prayer and a wonderful lunch was enjoyed compliments of our Hostess Paula.