Thursday, November 26, 2020
   
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Wisdom Wednesdays

Celebrate and be grateful...
 
 
The month of November and the liturgical year are almost ended.
 
What a rich time as we celebrate 
our Saints,
our ancestors,
the Souls of all our dead.
 
On this past Sunday, 
the last Sunday of the Liturgical year, 
the four of us, Sisters of St. Joseph,
living in our Formation House, in Toronto,
gathered around the computer,
to watch Father Denis McBride CSsR celebrate Mass.
thousands of miles away, across the ocean.
 
This has been our Sunday celebration of the Eucharist,
with the Universal Church,
during these COVID-19 lockdown times.
 
This Sunday, we celebrated the Feast of Christ the King.
but as Sisters of St. Joseph,
we were also celebrating our sister, Mother St. John, 
who brought us back together in France, 
after we were dispersed during the French Revolution,
and who later sent Sisters to North America.
 
Our sister, Mother Delphine, her niece, was one of them.
She came to Toronto 170 years ago,
bringing the first Sisters to the orphanage on Power St.
so much to remember
so much to be grateful for
so much to bring to the Eucharistic celebration.
 
The scripture reading reminded us
that the ways Sisters of St. Joseph have ministered in Toronto 
for the past 170 years
are the ways we are to minister 
to the broken body of Christ
in our world each day:
feeding the hungry
clothing the naked
healing the sick
welcoming the stranger 
and visiting prisoners.
 
We have so much to remember,
to celebrate,
to be grateful for.
 
By Sister Rosemary Fry
 

 

November 18, 2020

 
November, starting with the Feasts of All Saints and then All Souls, usually means short dark rainy days and lots of remembering. This November has been different, however. 
 
 
We have been blessed with several days of sunshine and warm temperatures. My walks have increased above my usual November average.
 
As I delighted in shuffling through the piles of bright coloured leaves, I spent my time remembering. 
 
All my ancestors, those in my own family, yes, but also those in my religious family, the Sisters of St. Joseph, have been with me, along with all those we call to mind for Remembrance Day this month.
 
I have researched my family history and there I found valiant models for living with adversity.                                                     
 
I love the stories of the strength and courage of Mother Delphine and all my Sisters in those early days in St. Paul’s Parish, during the second half of the 19th century.
 
Memories come of my parents, and the Sisters who have been wisdom figures for me, who have molded and shaped my life.
 
Then one day, as I perused the computer, I found the words of the American writer, Linda Hogan, in a Google search. 
 
Her words give a deeper meaning to my wandering and remembering. 
 
“Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me.
Be still, they say.
 Watch and listen. 
You are the result of the love of thousands.”
 
Be still; stop your restless questioning.
Those who have gone before you are with you. 
They are no longer living with mystery. 
They know,
They love.
They guide.
 
By Sister Rosemary Fry
 
Excerpted poem from Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World, by Linda Hogan, lindahoganwriter.com
 

 

November 11, 2020

 
November always comes to me as the month of fallen leaves and saints.
 
 
 
Our parish puts out a book into which parishioners are invited to write the names of loved ones they wish remembered during the services of the month. 
 
With fidelity, each year, I enter the names of my brother and parents and those friends who have recently died.
 
This year is different:
 
I am not going to the Church. 
We are in the midst of a pandemic.
We have just begun to celebrate our 170th anniversary since coming to Toronto. 
 
Those early days are on my mind.
 
Sister Alphonsus Margerum died of typhus fever in 1855, 
during the epidemic of that time, 
while working to expand the Catholic schools in Hamilton.
 
Sister Delphine Fontbonne, 
from France, 
contracted cholera and died, 
while caring for a poor, Irish, immigrant woman with fever.
 
I could write a whole litany with the names of the young Irish Sisters who came as immigrants to our city, chose to become Sisters of St Joseph and died in their twenties while caring for their people.
 
Many died from hard work, 
not enough rest or food, and “consumption” or tuberculosis, 
which was rampant among the poor of the time.
 
Remembering the courage and generosity of these women 
and so many more 
causes me to ask: 
 
What is it mine to do
during this time 
of pandemic in 2020? 
 
The answer comes in the stillness of prayer.
 
Open the door of your heart
to the suffering around you,
to the ill, 
the grieving, 
the lonely,
the displaced, 
the refugees. 
 
Open your heart and hold them. 
 
Hold them in the Heart of Loving Mystery.
 
Sister Rosemary Fry
 

 

November 4

 
A photographic reflection from Sister Betty Lou Knox:
 
 
Absorb the beauty
in the dance of autumn colours
Sumacs are transformed.
 
 

October 28

 
Next Sunday and Monday, after Halloween or All Hallows Eve, we in the Catholic Church celebrate All Saints Day on November 1 and then All Souls Day On November 2. 
 

 
These are very old feasts originally created to celebrate those whom we believed to be in heaven and to pray for those we believed to be in purgatory. 
 
What I want you to notice is the words, “we believed.” This is our belief and judgement about certain persons, but can we really make this judgement about a particular person?  
“For who has known the mind of the Lord.” — Romans 11:34
 
It is a great idea to pray for and to those who have gone before us into the unknown. But let us leave the judgements to the loving Divine Mystery who knows better than we know ourselves and instead celebrate the fact that we are still deeply connected and united to all who have gone before us. 
 
We are their advocates, yes, but they are also ours as well. 
 
Let us really celebrate these days united in joy with all of them.
 
Sister Rosemary Fry
 

October 21, 2020

 
Is there a dream within you?
 
 
Pay attention! Do not doubt it, mock it or push it away…
The Dream That Will Not Depart
by Sister Mary Alban Bouchard
 
Stifle not the dream that will not depart.
With the dream will come the means.
The dreams that will not depart
Can change the world.
They are the little plants of God.
 
What are the dreams entrusted to you by the Creator and Sustainer of all?
 
What must you do in order to work toward their accomplishment? 
 
They are invitations on the journey. 
 
Listen and respond!
 
Sister Rosemary Fry
 

 

Who is God? - October 14, 2020

 
Are we involved with a small, parochial God?
 
 
Who is the God of our life?
 
Let the cosmos
give us a clue.
 
“There are more stars in the universe
than there are grains of sand
on the whole earth.”
 
Let Creation tell us.
 
the birds of the air
the flowers of the field
the grass
the trees
oceans, lakes and streams.
 
Walk in nature.
 
Allow your God 
to grow…
 
Beyond a particular 
religion
race 
skin color or
caste
 
Allow your God 
to grow
 
Beyond a particular 
language
community
tradition or 
venue
 
Enter into a Divine Mystery!
Let this Mystery 
fill your being
fill all those around you
fill your world.
 
Sister Rosemary Fry
 

 

Who is God? - October 7, 2020

 
Who is the God that I invoke upon rising each morning and going to bed each evening?
 
 
Who is the God invoked
in parliaments
in schools
in churches, synagogues and temples
in homes
on battlefields and warships?
 
I heard that a priest blessed the nuclear bomb that fell on Nagasaki.
Did my God hear that prayer?
 
How did this Divine Mystery who is the center of my life
who I depend on for everything,
who I trust completely,
who lives within me,
and all creation,
answer that prayer?
 
Will I ever complain again
about an unanswered prayer?
 
Or
 
Will I trust the Divine Mystery
Creator and Lover of all
to know what is best
for me
for all creation?
 
Sister Rosemary Fry
 

 

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