Greetings from the Sydney group! We just ended another good year and again we wonder where the time went. It seems like we just got started. But it was a good year that began with the retreat in September and sped right by October into November where we met and listened to our coordinator Julia Townsend tell us (and show us) of her travels to workshops in the US (Cincinnati, Ohio), and to the Martha Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta. And then we were enjoying our Christmas supper in December at HERS in Sydney. The name HERS stands for “Hands Earning Respect for Self”. It is a project of the Every Woman’s Centre. At HERS, women living on a low income are provided with the opportunity to work together in a non-traditional work environment to help: Increase social connections and support, Improve quality of life, Increase employability skills, earn income in the form of goods and services, and work in a community kitchen. The setting is homey and the food delish! We had a fine meal for the second Christmas in a row there.
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…
We started the meeting with a check-in from everyone. On the whole we’re all good –knock on wood.
Terry led the group in saying the Rosary as our opening prayer and afterwards Sister Dorothy sang a beautiful rendition of Ave Maria in Mi’kmaq.
Then we moved on to business matters and decided to donate the social justice fund to Mass for Shut-Ins. And we talked about our then upcoming appearance on Mass for Shut-Ins on May 16 (which went wonderfully).
We talked about the annual retreat coming up September 15th at the new Martha Place, where Sr. Jovita MacPherson will give the retreat whose theme will be “Embraced in Love: the many faces of hospitality.”
Julia gave a report from Martha Place and distributed pictures of the scene at the new chapel there, which is a divided painting of a scene as it would look outside the building onto the landscape beyond the building. As though one were looking through a set of windows.
Julia brought beads and holy water from Lourds, France and we all were able to bless ourselves with it.
After this we watched an interesting YouTube video of Fr. James Martin talking about Lourds and St. Bernadette.