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.
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.
At the end of September, our Lethbridge Associate members linked together with those from Calgary for our annual retreat. Sisters Theresa, Josie and Josephine took charge of the Friday evening session with their usual warmth of welcome, prayer, song and reflection. How fortunate we were to have Sister Marion Sheridan as our retreat presenter! Having faithfully served as the NGO liaison representative at the UN for the past thirteen years, she shared some of her vast knowledge and anecdotal experiences in a number of very interesting lectures and made us more aware of that vast organization’s inner workings, its goals, targets, successes, failures and the ongoing multiple and complex challenges therein. Following are some Associates comments flowing from the weekend:
Here are a few photos from the gathering at Martha Retreat Centre in Lethbridge!
A few photos from the Martha Associate gathering in the East!