Wednesday, July 26, 2017
   
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Rosemary Merkley

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Looking for "something more" for my spiritual life as well as joining the Sisters of St. Joseph in their "preferential option for the poor" have kept me in the associates of the Sisters.

I worked with Sister Dorothy Dwyer doing discharge planning for patients who needed rehabilitation, nursing home or chronic care. After many talks together, Sister Dorothy mentioned that the Sisters of St. Joseph were starting a group of "co-members." In March 1981 Sister Dorothy invited me to join Sister Virginia Varley and Sister Anne Marie Carey to form a new group of persons looking for "something more" in our spiritual life. This echoed the vision of Father Jean Pierre Medaille, founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Bill and Edythe Rutledge, their son John, Rosann McInroy and I along with Sister Virginia and Sister Anne Marie formed the first "co-member" group now known as the Matt Talbot Associate group. Sister Dorothy inspired me and had a hand in changing my life. I will always be grateful to her for this.

About our Group: Matt Talbot

As years passed we had many other people join and leave our group for various reasons. Bill Rutledge died after being with us for many years. Several of our members are living with life altering illnesses at this time. We support each other through prayer, our monthly meetings and ongoing contact throughout the months. We used to meet in the Matt Talbot House Homes on Carlton and Gerrard Streets and then at the Mustard Seed. We now meet in each other's homes in order to meet the physical challenges that some of us are experiencing at this time. Another advantage of meeting in each other's home is that we have supper together as part of our monthly meetings.

Being an Associate

Being a part of the Sisters of St. Joseph has been a profound experience. The Sisters and associates have supported me through my life-changing illness. They have helped me get through tough days at home for over two years while in severe pain 24 hours a day. They have helped me to cope with a return to work and eventually with leaving work.

How have these wonderful people helped? They have supported me with prayers and with emotional and mental support. Because I have been supported in so many ways I have been able to help others. Advocating for my patients resulted in better care and sometimes it meant that they stayed in hospital a little longer. To me the patient came first.

This is the 3rd time that I have been a co-coordinator of my group. This is a great opportunity as it has allowed me to become closer to the work of the Sisters. I helped to arrange the first conference at St. Joseph's College (God's way of weaving our lives). This was a wonderful experience. Having retreats at Invermara was always a special time to get closer to God and our dear neighbour.

In May of 2007, I will make my 25th recommitment to the Sisters of St. Joseph to walk with them and our Associates in my life journey with God. I have been blessed. I have discovered that with God, there is always "something more." I look forward to the rest of my life in this community. I have certainly received more than I could ever have imagined.

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