Wednesday, November 22, 2017
   
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Associates’ Annual Retreat 2017

The Associates’ Annual Retreat this year was entitled The Lace Isn’t Finished Yet and occurred at Queen of Apostles Retreat Centre in Mississauga from August 25 to August 27. The facilitators were Sister Dorothy Schweitzer, CSJ, and Sister Theresa Rodgers, CSJ. 

The retreat was adapted from a workshop created by Sister Jane De Lisle, CSJ, Orange County, California. It aimed to deepen the CSJ Associates’ knowledge about their founders and encourage a call to action. Forty-one people attended. The priest who journeyed with us this weekend was Fr. Peter McKenna, SCJ.

The original Sisters of St Joseph were formed in 1650 by a group of seven women and two priests. All of them lived at a time of great poverty, violence and oppression in Le Puy en Velay, France. Steeped in the love of God, they were sensitive to the needs of their time and desirous to serve the dear neighbour. We were asked to reflect on the question, “Who will be my love today?”

 The Associates discussed ways of “drawing all into one” or “that all may be one” (John 17:20-25). Three such methods discussed were: inclusive love, self-emptying love and all permeating love. These were equated with the Trinitarian life: the Father (God for us), the Son (God with us) and the Holy Spirit (God within us).

Together, the Associates watched DVDs, sang inspiring songs, shared stories, prayed the breviary and attended two Masses. These events also included a candlelight vigil for deceased Associates, a candlelight vigil for Associates in Prayer, a reconciliation service, and the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. 

The Associates also ate meals together (some in silence) and had social time in the evenings. Many enjoyed the outdoors and nature.

The Associates were challenged to “journey from our head to our heart” (by Sister Virginia Varley) when responding to the deep questions that were posed during the retreat. And in response to the intention of the retreat (“The Lace is not finished yet”), Sister Theresa Rodgers reminded the Associates that “We are the loose threads.”

Sister Thérèse Meunier joined us at Mass time on Sunday and missioned us, through our prayer and action, to help create an environment of justice, peace, and beauty.

By Natasha Pierre

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