Thursday, December 14, 2017
   
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Ministry with Maturing Adults Moves Forward

A synergy results when Sister Mary Rose Marrin, CSJ and Mary Perry White come together. In addition to sharing a name, they share a passion for supporting people who are in their second half of life.

The Ministry with Maturing Adults, initiated in 2007 by Sister Mary Rose Marrin for adults 50-years-plus, is also in its second half of life so to speak. In 2012, Sister Mary Rose welcomed Mary Perry White as the new Maturing Adults Minister for St. Mary's Parish in Barrie. Meanwhile, Sister Mary Rose continues to facilitate programs in Toronto and raise awareness of the need for this ministry. 

History and Meaning

Mary is a Barrie-area resident engaged in working with maturing adults in a faith-based setting. “Sister Mary Rose is a visionary,” explains Mary, acknowledging her mentor’s determination and fortitude in seeking out and initiating this “emerging ministry which is breaking new ground.”  
 
In addition to her career expertise, Mary Perry completed professional courses for her new position and now holds a certificate in Spiritual Gerontology from the Johnston Institute in St. Louis, Missouri. "Spiritual gerontology is the study of how faith develops in the course of aging," says Mary, "The maturing years are a wonderful but often ignored opportunity to engage with faith to find new gifts, talents and purpose while also taking stock and reflecting on life up to this point." 

Perception

Sister Mary Rose, who completed the same program, continues to help Mary get comfortable in the role. As a result of discussion and education, Mary Perry White continues to gain insight. For instance, she and Sister Mary Rose explain that the Ministry with Maturing Adults holds a “counter-cultural” approach to aging where the process of maturing recognizes loss but also the unparalleled potential for inner growth.  The women also speak of our “ageist society” — one that puts youthfulness on a pedestal and disregards the potential for older adults. 
 
“The media tends to focus on ‘frail elders’,” explains Sister Mary Rose, “but that is a very limited view.” This ministry is inclusive toward people who are retired and nearing retirement and is open to a much larger population. The two women feel that aging is an important step and the ministry engages with an ever-widening range of programs. This work helps maturing adults grow in wisdom and awareness as they continue their journey.

Looking Forward

In addition to welcoming the new Maturing Adults Minister, Sister Mary Rose has been working toward the future of the program. She was interviewed in The Catholic Register and appeared as a guest on the TV program Context with Lorna Dueck, reaching a wide audience with her thoughts on how maturing years are a vital period for spiritual growth. 
 
Sister Mary Rose is also working with the Office of Formation for Discipleship at the Archdiocese of Toronto to plan initiatives for promoting this ministry. “We now have potential for moving forward,” says Sister Mary Rose, pleased that an inclusive and welcoming ministry will have many opportunities to not only survive — but develop and even thrive.
 
By Lisa Tabachnick

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