January News - Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston

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JANUARY, 2022

JANUARY NEWS Pope's Prayer For True Human Fraternity: We pray for all those suffering from religious discrimination and persecution; may their own Intention for January

rights and dignity be recognized, which originate from being brothers and sisters in the human family.


perpetual professions BEHOLD, I AM THE HANDMAID OF THE LORD

BY SR. HELENA ADAKU OGBUJI, CCVI PHOTOS BY MY-NGOC NGUYEN, CCVI POSTULANT Sisters Kim Xuan Thi Nguyen and Symphonie Giao-Huong Ngoc Ngo made their perpetual profession of vows as permanent members of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston, TX on Saturday, January 1, 2022. Most Rev. Italo Dell'Oro, C.R.S, presided at the Eucharist held at the Immaculate Conception Chapel at Villa de Matel. Fr. Dat Hoang was the homilist. In his homily, Fr. Dat likened Sisters Kim and Symphonie’s fiat to that of Mary’s fiat in consenting to become the mother of Jesus. According to Fr. Dat, “…only a woman who is madly in love with the Incarnate Word would profess for life the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.” He affirmed that both sisters were touched by LOVE, which allowed them to submit to the will of God just as Mary did. He reminded them that by Mary’s fiat Jesus entered the world, receiving his life, blood, heartbeat through her. We congratulate Sisters Kim and Symphonie and pray that God, who has begun this journey with them, will bring it to fulfillment. Ad Multos Annos!

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Praised be the Incarnate Word - Forever.


"GATHER THE PEOPLE, ENTER THE FEAST. ALL ARE INVITED, THE GREATEST AND LEAST. "

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Sr. Kevina Keating, Congregational Leader, summoned Sr. Kim Xuan Thi Nguyen and Sr. Symphonie Giao-Huong Ngoc Ngo to declare their intent. They each responded: “I ask to profess Perpetual Vows of chastity, poverty and obedience to God in the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.”

Sr. Kim recites her perpetual vows before the assembly.

Sr. Symphonie recites her perpetual vows before the assembly.

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Sr. Kim signs the Act of Perpetual Profession of Vows.

Sr. Symphonie signs the Act of Perpetual Profession of Vows.


the ring is the symbol of the permanent bond between God, Sisters Kim and Symphonie, and the Congregation.

Sr. Symphonie receives her ring from Sr. Kevina.

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Sr. Kim receives her ring from Sr. Kevina.


Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Italo Dell'Oro, C.R.S, and other concelebrants of the Eucharist on Jan. 1, 2022. Lower left corner: Fr. Dat Hoang, homilist

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CELEBRATING WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS The celebration was graced by the presence of their family members, friends, relatives and many CCVI Sisters. Following the Eucharist, a festive dinner honoring the Sisters was held at Dubuis Conference Center.

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"...all life is interrelated, that somehow we're caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Commencement address to Oberlin College June,1965

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setting fire to our words! Let's avoid being accused of more "blah, blah, blah" by taking action now to care for the earth BY SR. RICCA DIMALIBOT, CCVI Humans took a break in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Earth was able to be! With less human activity, the past year turned out to be the best breeding season in most of the animal kingdom. Monkeys gave birth to twice the number of babies; turtles laid a record number of eggs; and even endangered species such as the South African jackass penguin bred in peace and flourished. Less noise from machines meant the mating song of birds could be better heard, and the cheetah cubs were better able to survive under the protective growl of their moms. Fewer sea craft meant quieter waterways; humpback whales could communicate for longer distances, and killer whales could use their sonar more effectively to hunt. The benefits were not just for animals, though. During the days of the lockdown, we humans had better air quality, less toxic gases, and CO2 fell by 6%. With all this, can we fail to see the lesson nature is perhaps teaching us? That our only chance of survival is to lovingly coexist with all of creation? A few unintended benefits from the lockdown cannot now justify complacency in our environmental care efforts. With even the small ecological reprieve, 2020 still tied 2016 as the warmest year on record, registering record-high greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Let’s not run the risk of deserving the same critical condemnation from youth climate activist, Greta Thunberg, who declared the recent COP26 Conference a failure of so much “blah, blah, blah.” Let’s set fire to our words instead and respond with action! Pope Francis is pleading with world leaders, and with us, to act “urgently, courageous and responsibly” to care for our planet. He gives us a guide for such action in the Laudato Si’ Action Platform (LSAP), a global, seven-year journey toward total sustainability.

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In line with our congregation's 2018 Chapter Direction, we officially enrolled on Nov.14th in the Laudato Si' Action Platform by publishing our LSAP Commitment Statement (see December 2021 News & Notes). Aware that the origin of the environmental crisis is multifaceted and that our sustainability strategies need to address poverty, environmental justice, climate migration, etc., we share LSAP's vision to seek a comprehensive framework and innovative solutions, welcoming all ideas, including those from the people most affected. LSAP's seven Laudato Si' Goals (LSG's) will provide us with clear lines of action. The goals include the following:

1. Response to the Cry of the Earth – a call to address climate change, biodiversity loss and ecological sustainability equitably. 2. Response to the Cry of the Poor – a call for global solidarity with special attention given to vulnerable groups such as indigenous communities, refugees, migrants, and children. It is also a defense of human life from conception to death and all forms of life on Earth (non-human and nature). 3. Ecological Economics acknowledges that the economy is a sub-system of human society, which is embedded within the biosphere – our common home. 4. Adoption of Simple Lifestyles – is grounded in the idea of sufficiency (living with just enough and not excess) to ensure a good life for all. 5. Ecological Education – refers to the need to re-think and re-design curricular and institutional reform in the spirit of integral ecology to foster ecological awareness and action. 6. Ecological Spirituality – encourages greater contact and connections with the natural world in the spirit of wonder, praise, joy, happiness, and gratitude. 7. Emphasis on Community engagement and participatory action to care for creation at the local, regional, national, and international levels.

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As one family, the encyclical Laudato Si' calls us to a "new and universal solidarity" (LS 14) and in recognizing that "Interdependence obliges us to think of one world with a common plan" (LS 164). "All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents" (LS 14). To this end, LSAP invites the following seven sectors to participate in its environmental journey:

In the first month of the LSAP enrollment, more than 4,000 church organizations, including Religious Orders and educational institutions worldwide, have joined. It is encouraging that more than a thousand families have already enrolled. The prophetic role of Religious Life situates us at the forefront of the transition to Integral Ecology. As one of LSAP's seven sectors, we are encouraged to articulate Laudato Si' according to our charism. We can link local to the global and bridge the different realities to form a community of people through our ministries. The process of creating a plan for Religious communities follows the principles of synodality, solidarity, subsidiarity as informed by LSAP's four basic criteria: 1. It should build on what Religious communities are already doing. We tap into our creativity and existing initiatives. 2. It should be simple and gradual enough to be manageable. We recognize that we are often already overstretched with our many commitments and a limited number of personnel. 3. It should be inspiring enough to motivate. We need to see LSAP as an opportunity to live our charism and our prophetic mission to the fullest. 4. It should be flexible enough to suit different situations and contexts. Our plan needs to be adapted to the needs of our regions.

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"In this moment when we can't do everything, let's do what's possible." - Cardinal Braz de Aviz LSAP asks us to consider these three Components as we begin our Laudato Si' Action Plan:

1. Public Commitment: We communicate our LSAP pledge to be accountable to the public. 2. Transition to Integral Ecology: Through the "See, Judge, Act" methodology, we start with discernment and self-assessment concerning the 7 Laudato Si' Goals. Following SMART Objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound), we create a Laudato Si' Action Plan that we evaluate and track against set targets every year. Lastly, we certify your level of accomplishment and celebrate! 3. Journeying Together: We join the other sectors in networking, advocacy, and campaigns. We share and exchange experiences and invite other communities to form a relationship. To remain enrolled, we are required to submit: • A reflection (document or video) • An annual Laudato Si’ plan • An annual progress evaluation We need a new consciousness regarding our relationship with ourselves, others, society, creation, and God (LS 202-221). When we think about solving the environmental problem, we must work together for the common good; this is the path to Integral ecology. It emphasizes that "everything is closely related…and that today's problems call for a vision capable of taking into account every aspect of the global crisis," according to Pope Francis. In our effort to care for creation, we need to transcend differences of social class, creed, race, generation, gender, and culture. When the different sectors of society sit at one table, our hope is for a rich dialogue to influence better policies, advancement in technology, and research to serve the whole of creation with a preferential option for the poor. It's easy to be overwhelmed with the immensity of the climate crisis. When we start feeling hopeless, let us consider the words of Cardinal Braz de Aviz's (Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life): "In this moment when we can't do everything, let's do what's possible."

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May 2022 be blessed for you in a very special way. The Reflection on Saying Thanks is offered for your thoughtful consideration as the year progresses. May its practice make a positive difference in your life, and in the lives of others.

Reflection for the New Year Saying Thanks… The famed novelist Morris West suggests that when you turn seventy-five years of age there should only be three phrases left in your vocabulary: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! He’s right. At a certain point in our lives nothing else matters other than gratitude. We can be healthy, accomplished, famous, rich, and have left behind a legacy that will make us forever remembered, but if we are not living inside a spirit of gratitude, all of that will mean nothing. We will not be happy, nor will we be much of a source of happiness for others. Gratitude is the ultimate virtue and the only real route to happiness. It is more important even than love because anything which does not take its root in gratitude will be self-serving and manipulative in some way. Only when we give of ourselves to others because we are grateful for how we have been blessed—only then will our love flow out as pure and as not demanding something in return. When we are not acting out of gratitude, we may be well-intentioned and outwardly generous in our actions, but we will not truly be acting in love. We will be carrying other people’s crosses but, in however subtle the fashion, also sending them the bill. The entire spiritual task of growing into a truly mature and loving person consists in rooting ourselves more and more in gratitude, where love can flow out from a heart and demand nothing in return because it already has its return. To celebrate thanksgiving—to explicitly express and celebrate gratitude—is the singularly most important and healthiest thing we can do for ourselves, both spiritually and humanly. Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, “Saying Thanks . . .” from the November 2019 issue of Give Us This Day www.giveusthisday.org (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2019). Used with permission.

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“THE CHURCH IS CALLED TO BE A COMMUNITY OF MISSIONARY DISCIPLES” (EVANGELII GUADIUM BY POPE FRANCIS)

BY SR. FRANCESCA KEARNS, CCVI Jesus, the incarnation of God’s love, manifested that love in works of mercy to those in need. Each of us has been given a share in the mission of Jesus through our baptism. As a Congregation, we center all our life and energy in Jesus Christ, as we continue the work of the Incarnation entrusted to us by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit, who moved the Prophets, the Apostles, and our missionary founders, lives within us. The Trinity needs people who are docile, available and ready to be moved and energized. When a Congregation, a community, a person, surrenders to the Spirit, everything blooms and flourishes. The face of the Church becomes rejuvenated and creative and the world experiences the presence of God’s love. We pray that the love which unites the Father, Son and Spirit will flow out in mission that impels us to relieve the suffering of our brothers and sisters. May the Spirit that invaded Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and our Founders, always pervade our lives and transform them into a living expression of the Mission of the Incarnate Word.

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CCVI Leadership Team enjoys Light scape at the Houston Botanical Gardens in December. Left to Right: Sr. Ricca Dimalibot, Sr. Joyce Njeri, Sr. Kevina Keating, Sr. Marilu Reyes, Sr. Mary Patricia O'Driscoll

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