Category Archives: Martha Associate

Sydney Martha Associates Meeting of November 8, 2017

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.

CHARITY FEDERATION GRASSROOTS RETREAT

CHARITY FRIENDSHIPS: DEEPENING our RELATIONSHIPS through CONTEMPLATIVE CONVERSATIONS 

From October 15 – 21, 2017, I was blessed to be able to attend the Federation Grassroots Retreat at St. Joseph Motherhouse, Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati, Ohio. The weather was beautiful and provided an incredible backdrop to a wonderful week of sharing, friendship and conversation!

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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