Associate Director Julia Townsend’s presentation to CSM Chapter 2019
This 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 VALUE STATEMENTS’.
Joan 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.
Caroline 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.
Mark 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.
A 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.
Ina Boyden (Associate)
On 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.
It 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.
Julia 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!
Next 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!!
Joan is in charge of prayer and Annella, Kathy and Ina will provide snacks for the evening.
The last Saturday in May, the 25th, five o’clock,will be our bbq. Please mark this date on your calendars!
Your Associate Scribe,
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.
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.