Sisters of St. Joseph Honoured with the Magis Award
Small circles of conversation in the aisles, between the pews, and in the foyer were evidence that this was a community of friends, gathering to worship in this Church. Words coming from the celebrant, readers, and homilist were welcoming, friendly, and inviting, while the full-throated hymn singing filled the sacred space.
It was St. David's Church in Maple, Ontario and the occasion was the annual Mass prior to the Provincial's Dinner, held by the Jesuits in English Canada on April 22, 2009. The celebrant, Fr. Jim Webb, as well as the homilist, Fr. Bernie Carroll, pointed to Jesuit founder St. Ignatius, and to his love for the Mother of Jesus, Mary, who was honoured in this celebration as the Mother of all the men in the Jesuit Society.
The Bishop of Ottawa was present on the altar as were young seminarians who served the celebrant. Seven Jesuit Jubilarians, celebrating fifty years of fidelity in the Society, were also seated to the right of the altar. The whole community of priests, Sisters, and laity seemed totally engaged in the sacred liturgy of praise and thanksgiving.
After communion all present were directed to the location of the festive dinner to follow, prior to the joy-filled concluding hymn 'Let Heaven Rejoice.'
— Sue Mosteller CSJ
Dinner at Le Parc
The third Jesuit Provincial's Dinner on Wednesday was a festive occasion for the Jesuit Fathers, their Jubilarians and their many friends. Indeed, the spacious Le Parc Banquet Hall lent itself to spirited exchanges among the guests, both old and new, who came to support this fundraiser for the Jesuit ministry in Canada and the missions.
For me, the dinner held a special attraction, inasmuch as our community was chosen to receive the Magis Award. According to the invitation, "Magis is a key word for Jesuits: it means doing more in our service of God's people, more compassion, more effectiveness, more relevant wisdom for our difficult times."
Prior to the actual presentation Fr. Jim Webb, Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in English Canada, announced a number of reasons for their choice, going back in time to the gift of land on Ballyconnor Court, which became the site of Regis College in 1961. The most recent form of assistance, added Father Webb, has been the Congregation's support of Regis College's relocation into Christie House and Fontbonne Hall at the corner of Wellesley and Queen's Park Crescent East.
Needless to say, we Sisters of St. Joseph who attended this year's Jesuit Provincial Dinner were delighted to applaud as our own Margaret Myatt received a gorgeous crystal vase, which she graciously acknowledged on behalf of the congregation.
— Marie Tremblay CSJ
Sister Margaret Myatt accepts the Magis Award
"Thank you so much for this great honour you have given to our Congregation. The language of the Magis/the More/ is a part of our soul as we were founded by six women together with a Jesuit in the 1600's. Jean Pierre Médaille, SJ was a prolific writer – I'll mention only one of the 100 maxims he wrote for our edification back then:
Maxim #65 – "Be courageous in undertaking whatever God asks of you, and be constant in carrying it out. No matter what difficulties arise or what obstacles are put in your way, never give up unless you find yourself powerless to remedy them in any way."
I must confess the reference to the maxims is not a daily activity for me – however on reflection I realize that we live them in different ways:
- we are artists, administrators, advocates, board members, care givers;
- we offer support to all ages: women with babies, young adults, mature adults;
- we are educators through R.C.I.A., U.S.M.C. and St. Augustine's Seminary;
- we engage in social services – through Fontbonne Ministries – Mustard Seed, In Good Company, and Studio on the Hill, etc.;
- we are missionaries – Haiti, Honduras, Thompson Manitoba;
- we are pastoral associates and chaplains in parishes;
- we serve in health care facilities;
- we are spiritual directors;
- most of us have as our primary ministry prayer.
Recently we have opened four new ministries:
- To minister to and with the First Nations People, we're now in Fort St. James, B.C. and a second Sister is now in Thompson Manitoba;
- To minister to mature adults: Frontbonne Ministries has opened Village Mosaic in Etobicoke, and in Barrie we are now providing programs at St. Mary's Parish.
We're a pretty active group of 149 apostolic women between the ages of 49 and 102. We like to say that where one of us is – we all are!!"
Sister Margaret went on to describe the collaborative ministries of the congregation:
- The Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada: in which the six congregations of St. Joseph Sisters are "always striving for the 'more' through common mission, committee structures and Board leadership;"
- WRP Neighbourhood Housing: how 41 different women's congregations – for the past 10 years – have worked to obtain approval to build 60 affordable homes in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Toronto and the Daniels Corporation, with the first home available for ownership by working families with children in August 2009;
- Becoming Neighbours: how 19 women and men's religious congregations have created a joint apostolic ministry providing support and prayer for immigrant and refugee families;
- Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation: a group is engaged in issues relating to urban farming and social change.
She then invited all the Sisters of St. Joseph to rise, saying, "I try not to miss an opportunity to relate how the grace of God and the inspiration of the Spirit continues to call us to 'the more'."