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)