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Dr. Ellen Leonard Honoured

Dr. Ellen Leonard CSJ will receive the Ann O'Hara Graff Annual Award for 2004 on June 10 in Reston, Virginia at the annual convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America. The Women's Seminar in Constructive Theology, the awarding body, looks for "women whose accomplishments include both womanist, feminist or other woman-defined scholarship and liberating action on behalf of women in the church and in the broader community." The award honours the late Ann O'Hara Graff who made significant contributions to women both in the academy and beyond.

April 22: International Earth Day

The CSJ Cherish the Earth Group invites everyone to celebrate this day through deeper reverence and care for life on our planet. Join millions of people in the world as they engage in peaceful thoughts and prayers to nurture neighbour and nature.

Here are some actions to celebrate creation:

As on the first day of creation:

St. Joseph's College Students Lend a Hand

A number of the university women who live in residence at St. Joseph's College volunteer for the Out of the Cold program sponsored by the University of St. Michael's College chaplaincy department. Every Tuesday for November to March, between 70-80 homeless people receive a meal.



Every Saturday, three or four students go to a bakery to pick up fresh submarine sandwich bread for sandwiches.

Morrow Park Recruits New Volunteers

The Morrow Park Volunteer Association is currently winding up a very successful recruitment campaign. Throughout March and April, several new volunteers will join the association. Two of our new members will be helping on Thursday afternoon in the craft program in the infirmary. Julie Assad (seated right) brings with her years of experience and lots of new ideas for projects. Marta Lou (seated left) is finding a new outlet for her creative energies.

Sister Nida's First Profession
I promise to love tenderly...
I promise to act justly...
I promise to walk humbly with God...
— Sister Nida Fe Chavez

On Jan. 24, 2004, in Morrow Park's chapel, Sister Nida Fe Chavez made first profession, joining the Sisters of St. Joseph and taking vows of chastity, poverty and obedience for the next three years.

Here I am, send me!

World Day for Consecrated Life: a day to recognize and give thanks for those who have consecrated their lives to God, to learn more about the consecrated life and to pray for future vocations to this life. Feb. 2, 2004, the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, commemorates the day that Mary and Joseph presented Jesus to the Lord. This is the day that we associate with the celebration of consecrated life in the world.

Retreat For Busy People

During Advent, a "Retreat for Busy People" was offered to 17 parishioners of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Toronto. For this five-day retreat, people continue with their usual schedule and agree to spend approximately 30 minutes in prayer daily and to meet with a Prayer Guide each day. In this way, it is possible to make a retreat without going away to do it.

Six Morrow Park Volunteers Honoured

The Ontario Government recognized volunteer services and volunteer achievement in an award ceremony held at the Toronto Centre for the Arts on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2003.

Sandra Desjardins, Mary McDonald, Lolita Gallardo, Rita Mendes de Franca, Laura Keegan and Christine Rentschler received Ontario Service Pins and Certificates from Dr. Marie Bountrogianni, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Children's Services. She was assisted by George Smitherman, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

St. Francis Xavier 'Diploma in Ministry' Prayer Service

"May you be open to all the places your feet carry you." These were the opening words of the Prayer Service at the November Session of the St. Francis Xavier 'Diploma in Ministry' Toronto Group. This theme was especially chosen to honour the five graduating students of 2003.

Blessing Fontbonne's New Trees and Shrubs
Praise with elation
Praise every morning
God's recreation
Of the new day

From Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens and Eleanor Farjeon

Actually, it was afternoon that had "broken" when the song rang in our hearts. Thursday afternoon, Oct. 30, the residents of Fontbonne Place, the volunteers and participants from Mustard Seed and the Gardening Angels blessed the newly planted trees and shrubs on our front lawn at 791 Queen St. E.

Annual Associate Retreat: A New Heart and a New Spirit

Close to 60 CSJ Sisters and Associates gathered at Mount Carmel in Niagara Falls on Sept. 12 - 14, 2003, for our Annual Retreat. The Program was prepared and facilitated by Sister Grace Sauvé CSJ and Associates from the Galilee, St Luke's and Lalemant Communities. Our Celebrant for the weekend was Fr. Chris Iredale. The theme, "A New Heart and a New Spirit" was explored more fully in the presentations given by Sr. Marie Bouchard CSJ.

'Keeping the Sabbath' Weekend

On Aug. 15, 2003, over 35 Sisters of St. Joseph gathered in North Bay, ON for the bi-annual SAIL weekend (Sojourners in Active and Inclusive Love). Our theme for this week-end was: "The Sabbath: Gratitude, Rest, Awe." Sister Mechtilde O'Mara CSJ from the Toronto community was our keynote speaker. The timing was appropriate: this event took place on the "black out" weekend.

Sisters and Religious Leaders Demand End to Child Poverty

In Toronto, on Sept. 15, 2003, Sister Margaret Myatt, General Superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph, represented the Catholic position at CACP's press conference on the topic of child poverty. She deplored that child poverty and lack of adequate housing still exist while neither issue is a prime agenda item on any party's election platform. Meanwhile, 40,000 children are still waiting for affordable housing.

Another year at St. Joseph's College

Preparations to receive the 75 new students and all the returning students have kept everyone busy at St. Joseph's College, especially the Dons. A Don is a senior resident appointed by the Dean to look after the wellbeing of the girls on her floor. This covers everything including building spirit, enforcing the code of conduct, assisting with personal or university matters and showing leadership.

Missioning Sunday

On Sunday, Sept. 7, 2003, at the community Eucharist in the Motherhouse chapel, 190 Sisters were "missioned" by Sr. Margaret Myatt, their elected leader.

According to their 350-year tradition, members of the community are "sent forth" to live out their religious commitments to God, society and community. Through the years, the format of this "missioning" has changed to best reflect contemporary insights. This year the service even included a missioning song.

Sr. Margaret addressed the community in these words:

Women's Drop-In Centre Reopens

Five months ago, few of us had heard of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). In time we became aware that strong action was necessary to fight its outbreak.

Because we are located in the West Annex Building of St. Michael's Hospital on Shuter Street and access to the hospital was restricted due to the SARS directives, the Women's Drop-In Centre was closed for five months.

Art as Prayer

I am not an artist, but I do like to use "Mandalas" in my prayer as a way of expression or to get in touch more deeply with my feelings. So when I first saw a retreat being offered in May 2003 on "Art as Prayer" I was very intrigued. Before signing up, I made inquiries asking if I needed to be an artist to take this course. Since I had used Mandalas and had previously combined art with prayer, I was advised to go ahead. I trusted this and signed up. Reflecting back since then, I am sure the Holy Spirit was leading me all the way.

One Year Anniversary of WYD's Papal Visit

Last year at this time, the Sisters of St. Joseph had a very honoured guest. On Saturday, July 27, 2002, Pope John Paul II arrived at St. Joseph Morrow Park, the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, by helicopter from Strawberry Island. The occasion: the 17th World Youth Day. The world then came to the motherhouse.

Dignitaries arrived at Morrow Park for individual meetings. They included Canada's Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, the Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarkson, Ontario's Premier, Ernie Eves, and Toronto's Mayor Mel Lastman.

Commemorative Tree Planted

On the bright, sunny, afternoon of June 17, 2003, a brief but significant ceremony marked the planting of a sturdy young maple tree on the lawn at Morrow Park to commemorate Sister Winnifred O'Mara, who died in June 2002. Planned and led by sisters Eva and Priscilla Solomon, Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sault Ste Marie Congregation, the ritual led us to see the hole as representing the void left by Winnifred's death; this we filled with our private memories of her life.

CSJ Associates Picnic

One picture is worth a thousand words, isn't it? Welcome to our CSJ Associates' Annual Picnic on June 28, 2003 at Morrow Park. Here are two pictures that tell the whole story, one of Sister Roberta Freeman cutting the cake, the other of CSJ Associates and Sisters gathered around the table.

Jubilee Day at the Motherhouse

On June 8th, 2003 the Sisters of St. Joseph held a Jubilee day at the Motherhouse and most of the Sisters of the Congregation were present. Twenty-two celebrants marked the special anniversaries of 75, 70, 60, and 50 years as Sisters. The collective total comes to almost 2000 years in God's service! It was a three-fold celebration of God's faithfulness in our lives as Church, as congregation, and as individuals.

Fontbonne Place Welcomes the Neighbours

It's official! Fontbonne Place was opened, blessed, written up and celebrated on March 19, 2003. On the feast day of St. Joseph, we welcomed over 400 neighbours and friends. Fontbonne Place, located in Toronto on Queen St., offers affordable housing to 18 women. They are housed in one-bedroom apartments on the top two floors while many community-building programs take place on the lower levels of the building. Judging from the crowds, smiles and general spirit, the day was a success.

Fontbonne Place Fundraiser

The residents of the affordable housing site, Fontbonne Place, had baked to-die-for lemon-squares and pecan cookies. On Saturday morning, June 21, 2003, they added flowers and cellophane and sold their wares from the front lawn. The Craft group offered up Raggedy Ann's, plaques and mice dolls.

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