The invitation to family and friends stated: "As we prepare to move after 52 years at Morrow Park, the Sisters of St. Joseph invite you to join us for a Mass and Reception on Sunday, November 25..." And guests poured in, welcomed by Sisters who guided them up to the chapel through a corridor lined with banners showing images of Morrow Park and the activities there over the yearsThe "Eucharistic Liturgy of Thanksgiving" began at 2 pm with a welcome from Congregational Leader Sr. Thérèse Meunier who expressed the sadness (but also the joyful memories) that came from leaving the place where...
"... we received new members, and celebrated our Sisters' silver, golden, and diamond jubilees... we honoured the lives of our Sisters who have been called to God's heavenly home... many of our Sisters have and continue to live in community and ...we have dedicated staff who have supported us in our life and ministry, over these many years..."
In the process of transformation we are invited, as Joseph was, to trust in the God who supports us, knowing always that the journey itself changes us... — From the prayer card
In her talk, Sr. Thérèse looked forward with hope, "The Year of Faith, which was proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11, 2012, gives us an opportunity to see our move as part of our "journey in faith," our journey into the future. As we walk through this ‘door of faith' just as our early Sisters did, we find ourselves on a journey..."
From the Mass's beginning, with Sisters processing in carrying the cross, the candles and the CSJ banners, to the readings chosen, a tone of simplicity and beauty was set. Even the music of the liturgy held special meaning – from the gathering song "Be Thou King, O Lord" which the congregation composed to the final hymn, "Ode to Joy," to which Sr. Grace Sauvé had written new lyrics.
Following the homily of presider Father Bill Clarke's, Sr. Mary Rose Marrin offered a reflection that linked the readings to the Sisters' vision:
"Each woman called to this congregation had a vision, a vision of faith every bit as compelling as those described in our readings. It is this shared vision of faith that has guided our congregational life from its beginning and over these past 52 years. It is this vision of faith that has guided our congregational leaders in our on-going efforts to establish the reign of God within every new circumstance."
Sr. Mary Rose named each congregational leader since Sr. Maura and described how each had led the congregation by faith through the challenges of the time.
At the end of the Mass, everyone received a prayer card and was directed downstairs to the reception. Heard everywhere were comments about how well organized the celebration was. This spoke to the efforts of the Events and Ritual Committee who had organized this day, and all the Sisters who participated and assisted.
Tables of food and drink were located in the reception area which saw smiling faces and animated conversation. Participants also showed interest in the PowerPoint featuring the construction of the future residence and posters showing an artist's sketch of 2 O'Connor and the sustainable features of the building.
At the end of the day, the words of Sr. Mary Rose reflected the feeling of the day,
"As we offer ourselves and our lives to God in union with Christ our King, we do so in a spirit of gratitude for the gift of Morrow Park and for all the good that has been accomplished here and for the good that has gone out from here and we offer ourselves in a spirit of hope and trust for the future ahead..."
By Gisela Côté
Photos by Sr. Conrad Lauber, Sr. Lorraine Malo and Gisela Côté