Feast of All Saints & All Souls - Nov. 1 & 2
Pope's Prayer Children Who Suffer: We pray for children who are suffering, Intention especially those who are homeless, orphans, and victims of war; may for November they be guaranteed access to education and the opportunity to experience family affection.
MY EXPERIENCE IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW ORLEANS RETREAT CENTER
BY SR. ANN MARY BRANGAN CCVI
In August of 2022, I took part in a graduation ceremony amid a Eucharist Celebration and celebratory meal at the historical New Orleans Archdiocesan Retreat Center in Metairie, Louisiana to become a certified spiritual director and a retreat director in Ignatian Spirituality. A CCVI community member, Sr. Annastacia Mutiso from Kenya who had never visited New Orleans before, traveled with me and we were hosted at the church community of Holy Rosary in St. Amant, LA. This seemed to be the end of a journey, but where was the beginning? When I was asked to write this article, I was puzzled as to what the emphasis and focus should be, so I went back in memory to several years ago. I had been working as a chaplain and pastoral counselor at St. Frances Cabrini Hospital, Alexandria, LA. The Mission Vice-President asked if I would work with some of the chaplains in spiritual direction. I did my first work in spiritual direction previously at a Jesuit University in California many years before. I felt the need to get an up-date, and therefore I contacted Grand Coteau’s Spirituality Center and asked for suggestions for spirituality today and any new suggestions on spiritual direction. They suggested the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center in New Orleans as the place to obtain new training and to be recognized as a certified spiritual director/retreat director in Ignatian Spirituality. As part of a two-year internship, I started working with chaplains, people from the churches, then some of the clergy of the diocese and afterwards, from an ecumenical perspective, some of the ministers of other denominations. While a challenge, it was also a wonderful adventure as to the Lord working in the lives of pastoral workers in the state of Louisiana.
I consider it a miracle of miracles, to have found this wonderful program in Louisiana and to have been accepted into its internship program. It began for me as a two-year practicum program under the direction of ASC Director, Dorothy Trosclair, O.P. and Wendy Enloe, MA. (Creighton University) as part of the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center. I was the last intern accepted into this group of intern-directors who had already spent a year doing the 19th Annotated 34-week program of the Spiritual Exercises. Because I had done a 30Day retreat previously, I did not complete the 19th Annotated although we were to study it in detail as we progressed through the studies. It would take a full two years and a formal internship working with directees and giving retreats as a spiritual director in order to complete this program and be certified. I found it a truly captivating program! What was the core of the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center (ASC) Program? Basically, the core is the realization that Spiritual Direction should be distinguished from teaching, counseling and faith companioning. What distinguishes it is the development of a faith conversation with the goal and purpose of discernment. A spiritual director journeys with individuals on a path with the specific purpose of the individual developing a deepening relationship with the Holy One and growing in a greater awareness of God's Presence in their lives. This awareness of intimacy with the Lord creates the situation of spiritual direction. As I look over this time, one of the very spiritually rewarding areas was with individuals who were true seekers of the Lord’s Word and the Holy Presence. While I was fascinated with God working in my life the challenge in spiritual direction was helping different individuals recognize the divine movement specifically in each one’s own life, the life of the directee.
The other intern-directors with me in the program work in various church organizations such as retreat centers, college pastoral programs, or they have parish leadership roles always working in direct contact with members of their church congregations or organizations. Three of us work in other sites outside of Louisiana and hopefully the influence of this wonderful program will extend to many other areas that need spiritual directors and retreat directors.
SAN JOSE CLINIC CENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY GALA BY SR. BETTY CAMPOS, CCVI
Sr. Celeste receiving a gift of gratitude in honor of the Congregation from San Jose Clinic.
Sr. Pauline Troncale, Sr. Gemma Stanford and Sr. Betty Campos with a CVI sister
Sister Celeste Trahan with Bishop Italo Dell’Oro, CCVI Sisters at the gala with Bishop Italo. C.R.S., Auxiliary Bishop of Galveston-Houston
Some of our Sisters attended the Centennial Anniversary of San Jose Clinic on October 10, 2022. This clinic shares a long history with our Congregation. Many CCVI Sisters have worked at San José Clinic and the Congregation have collaborated and have supported the Clinic in many ways. Since the beginning, when the San Jose Clinic opened its doors, several sisters had worked in administration and had been members of the Clinic’s Board of Directors. Currently, Sr. Pauline Troncale is a Board Director of San Jose Clinic’s Board. During the celebration San Jose Clinic presented their gratitude to our Congregation for all the support they have received throughout the years. As Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, we are honored and happy to continue to extend the healing ministry of Jesus through organizations such as San José Clinic.
FEAST OF ALL SAINTS IN EASTERN GUATEMALA, CHORTÍ AREA BY SR. MARIA UBALDA
During the Feast of All Saints in eastern Guatemala, parishes and oratories in rural communities celebrate activities of liturgical nature. Before or after the liturgical celebration, families visit and bring flowers for the graves of the deceased children and young people, remembering them as pure souls. In the morning of November 2, everybody goes to the cemetery and bring flowers to their departed loved ones. The men prepare a provisional altar, which is used for the celebration of the Word and to place the food that each family brings with them to share after the celebration of this holiday. Part of the tradition is to decorate the altar with seasonal flowers, which evokes a feeling of festivity. The candles represent the presence of the deceased. Families organize themselves by bringing fruits, seasonal vegetables, tamales, made of chicken or turkey, tortillas with cheese, coffee, and bread. Everything is left on the altar during the celebration, which means that the food is blessed. At the end of the liturgical celebration, the women proceed to take food from the altar and distribute it among the attendees. They do this with the utmost care and ensure each plate contains a variety of products. The first to receive a plate are the Liturgy Presider and his assistant. Then, the children, the elderly and, finally, all other attendees. This is a very important celebration for the different communities. Everything is organized in advance. After sharing, people begin their journey to leave the cemetery making sure no one is left behind, unless it is their wish to stay. Each area has a particular way of celebrating this day, which it is still part of our country's culture.
Happy Thanksgiving RESEARCHED BY DOROTHY HARRIS, VILLA DE MATEL LIBRARIAN
Thanksgiving is a federal holiday in the United States, celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, as specified in a joint resolution passed by Congress in 1941. In the early days, typical Thanksgiving celebrations were marked by religious services to give thanks to God, or to celebrate a bountiful harvest.In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. Today, Thanksgiving may be one of the biggest holidays of the year, but the traditional dinners today no longer resemble the first feast in 1621. A Thanksgiving meal today may be as diverse as the different cultures that one will find in the United States; however, the traditional Thanksgiving meal today may include a roast turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, gravy, and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving is a time when American families reunite to express gratitude, give thanks for the many blessings in their lives, and spend time with loved ones. Through the years and because the United States is the land of immigrants, people who originally came from other countries all over the world has adopted and adapted Thanksgiving as part of their life in their new homeland. With the creation of events such as the Macy’s Day Parade in 1926 and the massive sales on Black Friday, over the years, Thanksgiving has become far more extravagant. With social media, international travel, and many foreign exchange students who get to experience the holidays in the United States while completing their studies, Thanksgiving has also become a more international celebration. Additionally, various countries worldwide celebrate Thanksgiving based on their traditions and culture. Canada, Liberia, Grenada, and the Australian territory of Norfolk Island are ones whose Thanksgiving holiday has a historical connection to the United States.
"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough."
- Meister Eckhart
Our Lady of La Vang A Vietnam Saint The Feast Day of Our Lady of La Vang is November 22. The first apparition of the Lady of La Vang to the Vietnamese people was noted during the great persecution in 1798. The ruling king began a fierce persecution of Vietnamese Catholics which lasted until 1886. All Catholic Churches and seminaries were destroyed and Catholic lay people and priests were maimed or killed in gruesome ways. In the year that this persecution began, 1798, Our Lady of La'Vang first appeared. Catholics from the town of Quang Tri had come to the forest of La'Vang to hide. They suffered from cold, were in fear of wild animals and were sick with jungle fever and hunger. During the night they prayed the rosary and while praying one night they saw an apparition of a woman in a long cape, with a child in her arms, and with an angel at each side. They recognized the woman in the apparition of Mary, the mother of Christ. Mary comforted the people and told them how to make medicine for their sickness from the leaves of the surrounding trees. She also told them that whoever came to this place to pray would have their prayers answered. Throughout the almost one hundred years of persecutions as many Vietnamese Catholics were burned alive for the faith. Mary continued to appear to the people who came to that spot in the forest to pray. From the first apparition a small chapel had been built and even though it was in an isolated situation in the mountains, groups of people continuously went there to pray. In 1886, when the persecutions had finally ended, the construction of a larger church was begun. When it was finished in 1901, Our Lady of La'Vang was proclaimed the protector of Vietnamese Catholics. In 1928 a larger Church again was built to accommodate the growing numbers of pilgrims but this basilica was destroyed during the war in Vietnam in 1972. On the 200th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of La'Vang, Pope John Paul II called the basilica to be rebuilt and stressed the importance of our Lady of La'Vang in the devotion of Vietnamese Catholics who have suffered much from war and post war persecution.
The Nun Run 2022 BY SR DEENAN HUBBARD
Bishop Italo Dell'Oro and Jim-Matress MackMcIngvale race to raise money
Sr. Deenan and Sr. Fran with Bishop Italo Dell'Oro Nun Run October 15, 2022
L-R-- Sisters Celeste, Kim-Xuan, Betty, Ricca, Megan, Benedetta, Symphonie, Ethel
Aaah—Weee! Wow, the Nun Run again! The 18th one in fact…can you imagine? We had 300 bikers register. I counted 200+ ride out the front gate. Everyone is saying it was great fun. Some new experiences were had. Some past experiences were shared. Some early experiences were retold with smiles to new folks who “never heard that before.” Personal instructions were given to Sister Bikers by their Escorts. Some Sister Bikers even tried their bikes on for size in preparation for the Ride. Some Sister Riders, even though they had the experiences of riding before, got a new experience this time of riding in a side car or on a trike….I think we made some converts there. A secret team of two Sisters surveyed the bikes and chose the Nun Choice Award, who received a trophy to memorialize the event. Lots and lots of pictures were taken and will probably be shared among the partakers. An important part of the Nun Run was putting one’s raffle tickets in the appropriate bin for the item you desired. Some Riders were observed walking about carrying strings and strings of raffle tickets purchased in addition to the one granted at registration. Many of the gifts resulting from the raffle tickets were yummy…restaurant gift cards; others were happy makers…wine gift cards. One raffle gift was for a handcrafted afghan donated by Sister Ernestine. That item fetched scores of purchased raffle tickets.
Part of the entertainment was presented by the East End Mexican Folklorico Dancers. The little muchachos and muchachas were precious and so beautifully costumed and danced professionally. The Adult Lady Dancers were also beautiful. So many people, especially the ladies watching, around me were all commenting on how beautiful they were and whispers of “where can I get a dress like that” were quietly expressed. A unique part of the entertainment was a scooter race between two big dignitaries: Bishop Italo Dell’Oro, Auxillary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese here and Jim McIngvale, aka “Mattress Mack”. Mattress Mack is a prominent businessman and long-time friend of the Nun Run who acts as MC for the morning’s proceedings. Bishop and Mattress Mack were challenged to the scooter race. Nun Run participants bet on who would win by placing money in Bishop or Mattress Mack’s helmet. There was exuberant cheering to encourage them on and…in the end, Bishop Italo won! After a few words by Mr. Torres, Director of the CHRISTUS Foundation for Healthcare, thanking people for their participation in the Nun Run and what their donations were supporting, Jeff Tippit, President of the Blue Knights gave his safety talk. Chaplain Harry Stafford prayed for the group and then it was “kick-stands up”! Biker Escorts and Sister Bikers quickly went to their bikes, donned jackets, gloves and sun glasses, helmets, mounted their bikes and started their engines. Bishop Italo took his place at the Blessing Station and began blessing the bikers as they rolled past him. The Blue Knights led. I counted 200+ bikers going out the Villa front gate. We went down the highways and byways to Top Water Grill, San Leon, Texas. Multiple biker volunteers helped the bikers park their bikes safely and then we went to eat. The food, shrimp, fish, chicken, slaw and potato salad were fabulous! Sr Rosanne and Danielle exchanged raffle tickets for won prizes and trophies were given for the oldest rider (Sr. Elisabeth Therese got honorable mention for being over 90, but Sr Rosanne didn’t reveal her immediate age). Other trophies were given for the youngest rider, the one who rode from the furthest and the one who came with the most members of their biker club. Not only is the Nun Run great fun, but it really contributes to the health of so many children in need in the area. The Bikers go away with positive images of what we do as Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and they have satisfaction in knowing they helped.
CCVI Participate in Planning, Presenting at First Archdiocesan Laudato Si’ Conference. BY MONICA HATCHER
During this year’s Season of Creation, the Congregation co-sponsored an ecological conference on Oct. 1 in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Sr. Ricca Dimalibot, CCVI, and Social Concerns Director, Monica Hatcher, were part of the planning team that began organizing the half-day event in March, which focused on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’. With the Director for the Archdiocese’s Secretariat of Social Concerns, Sr. Maureen O’Connell, they helped determine the theme, format and speakers for the morning conference which drew more than 100 attendees, including 19 CCVIs. Daniel Cardinal DiNardo participated with prayer and introductory comments on the landmark environmental encyclical. Sr. Ceil Roeger, OP, Promoter of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation for the Houston Dominicans, Ms. Reyna Anderson, the associate director in the Donald S. Nesti Center for Faith & Culture at the University of St. Thomas, and Mr. Roger Ingersoll, a Houston-based Catholic climate educator were also part of the team. The CHRISTUS Foundation for Healthcare also co-sponsored the event. The conference represented the first time the Archdiocese had formally hosted a major ecological event on Caring for God’s Creation. The involvement of CCVI Sisters and staff also helped deliver on the Congregation’s first year commitments to the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, specifically the goals of Ecological Education and Community & Participatory Action. Sr. Ricca was a featured speaker delivering a talk on the health impacts of air pollution. She was joined by four other featured speakers and a panel of local activists that addressed the issues of climate change and environmental degradation from theological, spiritual and scientific perspectives. The event was featured on the front page of the Texas Catholic Herald.
Now is the time to act to protect the planet, advocates say BY ANNETTE BAIRD, HERALD CORRESPONDENT
HOUSTON — Scientists and local leaders at a recent Archdiocesan conference on environmental issues said the Church must do more to heed the call of Pope Francis’s environmental encyclical “Laudato Si’” to mitigate and prevent the dire consequences to human life stemming from climate change caused by human activity. Quoting the encyclical, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo opened the Oct. 1 conference by emphasizing that the call to action and solidarity by all to be responsible for the care of “God’s handiwork is not an optional or secondary aspect of our Christian experience.” More than 100 people attended the “Faith in Action for Our Common Home” conference held at St. Dominic Center. The Archdiocese’s first-of-its-kind conference was prompted by growing concern about the state of the environment in light of the pope’s encyclical in which he calls on Catholics and non-Catholics unite to protect “our common home. To read the full story, click here. (https://www.archgh.org/news-events/news/texascatholic-herald/texas-catholic-herald-news/texas-catholic-herald/now-is-the-time-to-actto-protect-the-planet-advocates-say/)
Free Flu Shots The CHRISTUS Point of Light staff joined the Healthy Living Mobile Unit on October 19th at Margaret S. McWhirter Elementary School in Webster to give free Flu shots to 172 children and adults. The Rotary Club of League City sponsored the event in collaboration with the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare.
The school’s Principal, Dr. Mike Marquez, receiving a flu shot from Sr. Ricca Dimalibot, CCVI.