Jubilarians 50 - My Journey As A Sister of St. Joseph
Sister Anne Marie Marrin
"Home was the foundation of my vocation where faith was lived, not necessarily talked about, and living in the community has given me great opportunities to express that love in ministering to others. In 1970 Sister Mary Zimmerman asked me to open the first Hospital-based Storefront Clinic. That was a great challenge to me, and her confidence in me encouraged me to move forward.
"I later opened a clinic in Commerce Court, and then moved "officially" into the field of social work. I began my ministry at St. Joseph's Health Centre where I developed and implemented the Social Services Department. Following that I was the Executive Director of Rosalie Hall, a service for single mothers and their children. Living at St. Joseph's College, a women's residence for university students, gave me experience of a ministry very different from the previous ones. In my years as Dean, I was blessed to work with young women as they matured, growing into the women they would become. I moved from there to working at Village Mosaic, a seniors' centre that offered greater opportunity to work directly with people. I have come full circle — back to Morrow Park where I entered community in 1960 before the building was finished... to be local leader before we move out.
"The women who mentored me in all these experiences taught me that everyone is to be treated with respect and dignity. They also taught me the value of collaboration with others, whether staff, agencies or volunteers. I am grateful to them, and for the many opportunities to make a difference in peoples' lives."
Sister Margaret Mary McGurk
Before Margie entered, she worked for several years at St. Michael's Hospital, so she knew a few of the Sisters. When a mission in her parish brought into focus the desires she had been experiencing for some years, she turned to Sister St. Nilus at St. Michael's to inquire about entering the Sisters of St. Joseph. She made an appointment and within a week the deed was done. "You know," she said, "I hadn't really thought about joining the Sisters of St. Joseph, but when I stepped into 89 Wellesley Street I knew I was home."
Margie worked in food service for many years, mainly in large institutions where she supervised trays that went off to people she never met. But then she was asked to go to Oshawa, where she ran the school cafeteria as well as looking after the Sisters' dining room. She met people face to face and life was much more interesting. She was planning meals as well as serving them, and found herself in charge of a whole jubilee! Then came her 1985/86 Sabbatical. What a time! "I'd never traveled, never even been on a train, and here I was on my way to Spokane!" The wonderful speakers, the meeting with Sisters from many countries and many communities, the trips both local and to the Holy Land all culminating in her 25th Jubilee celebrated both in Spokane and Toronto. She felt renewed and reborn. "And here I am, ready to celebrate 50 years. How blessed to be called to so many places, to have 50 years of opportunity for ministry. What a wonderful sign of Jesus' love for me — and mine for him."
Sister Rosemary Fry
"Many years ago, near the beginning of my journey, this passage entered my heart and became my own as well, so that I grew in attentiveness to all the ways God accompanies me as I follow the longings I experience. As I reflect back, I perceive care and delicacy in this accompaniment and also amazing surprises. As a young nurse, I did not like the intensive care unit — too many machines. Yet I was responsible for visiting each night to verify that all was well and so I did in fear and trepidation. One night, a Mr. Bingham, who was clearly close to death, asked me to pray with him. At that moment, I found a person in the midst of the machines and a way to be present to the situation. After all these years, Mr. Bingham, who died a few days later, is still with me as gift.
"This experience and so many others in which the human relationships seemed much more important than the task we had to accomplish led me to dream of a palliative care service that would create a community of professionals and volunteers to meet the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of dying patients and their families. The group of people who created this with me — staff, volunteers and patients - will always be a special part of my life. And yet, still I was waking each morning to listen and was being led to those who did not have the care and support our society has to offer when they are ill. As I waked and walked on my journey, I learned that it was Haiti. Each step of the way, there were people who made the impossible seem possible and who affirmed the path I was on. Now 25 years later, I am here in Cap Haitien, Haiti, waking each morning attentive to all the ways our God of mystery wants to be present to me, to call me forth, to invite me to fullness of life and to use me to do the same for others."
Sister Barbara Grozelle
After graduating from nursing, Barbara worked as coordinator of ambulatory care with Inner City Health. Here are some of her memories: "Just recently, while at St. Michael's, a receptionist called me over to hear this story: ‘Sister, this man remembers when he got a sandwich when he needed it. He doesn't need a sandwich now, but he hasn't forgotten the love and care he received from your group at Inner City Health.'
"Another time, I met a man about to be discharged from St. Michael's — to the Salvation Army Hostel on Sherbourne Street. I went to visit him and found him in need of more care than was available there. I called Matt Talbot, asking for help, and they even sent a taxi for him. He was exceedingly grateful to have a warm and caring home. Recently, I have been teaching sewing and crafts at Fontbonne Ministries. The women find companionship, a sense of community and gain confidence in their own abilities. Some make their own clothes now, while others have progressed to being able to get a job. They are grateful for the time we have together, as well as what they learn, and so am I. I give thanks to God for his unconditional love for the last 50 years as I celebrate my golden jubilee."
Contributors: Sisters Anne Marie Marrin, Margaret Mary McGurk, Rosemary Fry, Barbara Grozelle and Mary Buckley