A SAIL Gathering
Sixty-five Sisters of St. Joseph, from the Toronto, Hamilton, London, Peterborough, Pembroke and Sault Ste. Marie Congregations, gathered at the Motherhouse in North Bay on the weekend of Aug. 26 - 28. On the beautiful shores of Lake Nipissing we prayed, reflected, sang and celebrated being together. In the past few years we have done this seven times in various locations in order to get to know one another and to ponder together our common identity as Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada.
Inspired by our charism of communion, of being gathered into the one love of God, and called to make that love present in the world, we adopted the name, “Sojourners in Active and Inclusive Love” hence the acronym SAIL. Heeding the gospel challenge of Jesus to Peter, we have “launched out into the deep.”
The theme of this August gathering was “Our Charismatic Story in a Time of Pain and Promise.” Sister Veronica O’Reilly of the Peterborough Congregation who is also Executive Director of the Canadian Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph was our guest speaker in North Bay. In a series of talks, Sr. Veronica highlighted the connectedness of what began as one and became six Communities. She traced our roots in 17th century France and sketched the new beginnings of each of the present groups. We heard stories of valiant women whose giant strides into the future left footprints in which we still walk.
Sr. Veronica challenged us to reflect on our personal stories of being called to live our charism in today’s world. She spoke to us about being present-day mystics and about prophetic mourning for the pain of the world; about having hearts big enough to hold all that pain and seeing life in it. Above all, she urged us to be beacons of hope, the kind of “hope that hopes God.” She shared her conviction that the role of religious orders today is more important for the world than it was when we were far more numerous. We are called to have a dangerous hope, as do the stunt persons in movies who dare to do what others won’t attempt.
Pictured above: Back row, l to r: Sisters Georgette Gregory, Ellen Leonard, Mary Fatta, Mechtilde O’Mara, Betty Lou Knox, Helen Kluke, Jane Wilcox, Pat Macaulay, Theresa Rodgers, Terry Dalla, Anne Purcell. (smaller group) Front, l to r: Sisters Anne Schenck, Nida Fe Chavez (in front), Grace Sauvé, Janet Fraser, Jacqueline de Verteuil, Dorothy Schweitzer, Elaine Guidinger, Ann Delaney
By Grace Sauvé CSJ