Martha Associates Christmas Party, Lethbridge, AB

Saturday, December 19th, we came together at the Retreat Center, thirty of us in all, to fill up the gathering space for our Christmas celebration and though the weather was cold and frosty, the mood inside was anything but as the three Sisters warmly welcomed each and every one of us to their home.

This is always a special evening of friendship and joy but this was made extra special with the attendance of three members from one of our Syrian families, the mother, Amal, and her two teenage sons, Yaman and Elian. Their impressive English language skills allowed for some great conversations as we learned so much about their lives, before and after fleeing their country and immigrating here. How fortunate we are to have this family in our parish and city! Not here a year, they are contributing through volunteer work and one is enjoying his part time job with L’Arche. The mother, a former middle school French teacher, will soon start English studies at the college here.

The pot luck table provided a wonderful assortment of all kinds of luscious dishes from which to choose including a Syrian dish which Sister Theresa had gleaned and concocted from a recipe she found on the Internet. Of course there was wine and punch and a dessert table to die for, as the saying goes. The activity of the evening that sparked much laughter and fun was the gift exchange which may well have lasted close to two hours. The evening ended with carol singing around the newly tuned piano. Even our pianist managed to hit most of the right notes!

Our January meeting will begin with Sister Josephine leading prayer. Annella has returned, no worse from the wear, from her three week sojourn to India and is sporting a rather unique tint to her hair…Must be a tale there to share. She will speak to us about her travels with possibly some pictures to compliment.

And so with confidence, hope and trust in God as our guide, we will all have stepped boldly into the brand new year!

Ina Boyden