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september/october 2010 volume 22 issue 5

in this issue... voices

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President’s reflection directions

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Theological reflection highly valued branches

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TRG makes green connection Pilgrimage embraces spirituality Graduates lend a hand Sisters tour Red Barn Revisiting Appalachia “Crabby” in Kensington Leaves

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Honoring the spiritual self Archivists, keepers of memory Radio ministry promotes prayer College honors Sister Marian Teresa nota bene

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new leaves

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Sister Mildred professes vows Candidates welcomed reflections

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A way of being at 90 Advancing the mission

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CIFP participants, front row, l to r: Sisters Lilian Briege Awino (Kenya) and Evelyn Ntiamoah (Ghana); back row: Sumona Costa (Bangladesh), Martina Dery (Ghana), Molly Jacob (India), Esperanza Sullca Clemente (Peru), Catherine Before (Ghana), Theresia W. Mbugua (Kenya), Arpita Rozario (Bangladesh) and Beatrice Driwaru (Uganda)

More on CIFP by Sister Mary Louise Full

The Common Initial Formation Program (CIFP) provides our newer members with the opportunity to get to know one another, to share a common experience, to promote unity within our cultural diversity, and to foster the Holy Cross charism and spirit. The first program, The Leaven, was presented in 1995 in Bangladesh. This year’s program, held June 10 to July 18, was the third conducted at Saint Mary’s in the past six years. During the four weeks of input, topics on the charism, history and the spirituality of the congregation were presented. Workshops included Conflict Management, Justice Education, Intercultural Living, Pastoral Skills Development, and Fostering Psychosexual Integration and Celibacy. Outings to Chicago, Illinois, and to Lakeside, Michigan, also were part of the experience. The program concluded with an eight-day retreat. continued, page 3


voices

Dear Sisters, I find the prayer of Ignatius of Loyola called the “Suscipe” (see text below) very challenging. While it expresses the generous desire to offer oneself to God wholeheartedly, it also reminds me that the only way this can happen is if I trust that when all is said and done, God’s love and grace are enough for me. I see this kind of trust in the life of Basil Moreau. Perhaps it was the belief in and reliance on God’s love and grace that enabled him to surrender all that he freely gave and all that was taken from him and still remain a loving and compassionate person. This simple prayer is lived out in the ordinary circumstances of daily life and in the day-to-day choices we make. There are both personal and communal aspects to this prayer. Just as God’s love and grace are enough for me, so too, they are enough for us as a community, a congregation—particularly as we make choices that enable us to respond to our Chapter Calls to Transformation, Right Relationships, Ecological Sustainability and Systemic Change. In a world where we often see only violence, war, poverty and division in the lives of so many, there are signs of hope—people whose lives reflect hope because they have allowed God’s love and grace to move in them and through them into the lives of others. It is God’s love and grace that are revealed in the faces of our brothers and sisters in the global community, in the beauty of nature and the mystery of creation; in insight given and words uttered when we long for the wisdom to know what to do or to say; and in the strength to take another step when the path before us seems unclear, to be silent when what is needed is our compassionate presence. My prayer is that we personally and communally continue to trust in God’s love and grace so that our lives help create a world of justice, love and peace. Devotedly in Holy Cross,

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Suscipe

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Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, All I have and call my own. You have given it all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace. That is enough for me. — St. Ignatius of Loyola


directions

ABOVE: Sister Marilyn Zugish, third from left with her back to the camera, leads the Adult Learning Models workshop. Sister Marilyn was one of 25 Sisters of the Holy Cross who served as presenters, guides and/or retreat directors. RIGHT: Sisters Beatrice Driwaru (left) and Molly Jacob share their thoughts during an excercise at one of the sessions.

L to r: Sisters Theresia W. Mbugua, Sumona Costa and Arpita Rozario enter into the reconciliation exercise.

More on CIFP, continued from page 1

september / october 2010

Not only the participants, but all on the Saint Mary’s campus this summer benefitted by the presence of our newer members who brought enthusiasm, energy and commitment to the future of Holy Cross around the world. Participants and members of the Leadership Team are grateful to all who made this program possible.¡

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Enjoying an outing at Lakeside, Sister Sumona Costa buries Sister Theresia W. Mbugua in the sand.

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directions

The Theological Reflection Planning Committee (seated, l to r): Sisters Sharlet Ann Wagner, co-chair; Marilyn Reiser and Patricia A. Dieringer; standing: Sisters Ellen Mary (Taylor), Theresia W. Mbugua, Elita Esméria de Oliveira, Elsbeth Mulvaney, Patricia Anne Clossey and Mary Louise Full, co-chair. Sisters Catherine Before and Joya Rozario were not able to attend, but offered input from their residences.

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Theological reflection highly valued

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The Theological Reflection Planning Committee met August 16–20 at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana. The committee was charged by the Leadership Team with designing the theological reflection process for the next four years, and preparing theological reflection materials that will focus on the Chapter Calls, examining one call each year. In this first year the focus is on the Call to Transformation. Distribution of theological reflection materials on the Call to Transformation will

begin in October. In response to the expressed desires of the sisters, the theological reflection process will include: • fewer primary materials; • focus on the theological reflection process of experience, leading to reflection, leading to a response; and • greater use of the congregation’s Web site to facilitate interaction. It was quite evident from the sisters’ responses that theological reflection is held as a strong value in the congregation. The committee is grateful for the work that has been done by the previous two Theological Reflection committees.¡


b r a n c h e s : Holy Cross Around the World

TRG makes green connection by sister mariLyn Zugish

september / october 2010

Last September as theological reflection groups were forming and re-forming, some of us decided to try another way of meeting: conference call. Originally, 11 sisters from across the United States agreed to meet monthly for one hour. Some of us are part of other theological reflection groups as well. There are now 10 members of our group. Two sisters who were in the United States for cross-cultural experiences joined us on several occasions and enriched our sharing. Part of the appeal of this group is the opportunity to “meet” regularly with sisters we do not often see. This format also allows those who travel for meetings or committees to call in from wherever they are. And this meeting practice is quite carbon neutral and economical. Each meeting costs about $25 for 10 people to meet. And no snacks are needed! Thus far, we have explored Marie Chin’s address to the 2009 General Chapter, articles by Sandra Schneiders, the theory and practice of sustainability using The Power of Sustainable Thinking by Bob Doppelt, and various requests for feedback from the congregation. In practice we meet every four to six weeks. We begin each meeting with a prayer and check-in and conclude with plans for the next meeting. One member created a chart with pictures of each person seated at a table so that we easily can go

around the group and hear from everyone. The size of the group has proved to be “about right” so that everyone has a chance to participate. This “way to gather” has proved to be fun and transformative. Some day we would like to try being more international in membership. This past year, however, we did enjoy hearing from Sister Arpita Rozario from Bangladesh, who joined Sisters Mary Ann Pajakowski and Suzanne Brennan in Park City, Utah, for her ministry experience, and from Sister Theresia W. Mbugua of Uganda, who lived in Andre House West at Saint Mary’s during her participation in the Common Initial Formation Program. Current members are Sisters Madeleine Marie (Clayton), Rita Slattery, M. Jacinta (Millan), Suzanne Brennan, Mary Ann Pajakowski, Judith Ann Murphy, M. Veronique (Wiedower), Linda Bellemore, Joan Marie Steadman and Marilyn Zugish.¡

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b r a n c h e s : Holy Cross Around the World

Pilgrimage embraces Holy Cross spirituality by sister Parboti (gomes)

The 2010 International Session in Holy Cross Spirituality was held June 15–25 in Le Mans, France. Altogether we were 57 participants from all the parts of the world wherever our Holy Cross men and women are in ministry. There were 30 sisters from the three branches (including 10 Sisters of the Holy Cross), nine brothers, nine priests and nine laity. The Marianites were most welcoming and demonstrated continual acts of kindness while we were there.

LifeSigns

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L ro r: Sisters June Ann Kirby, Joan Carusillo, Judith Hallock, Marietta Umlor and Patricia McCabe during a visit to Holy Cross Cemetery

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Monk Roberto leads the group to the grotto at Abbey of La Grande Trappe, where Father Moreau prayed frequently during his visits to the abbey.


B r a n c h e s : Holy Cross Around the World

Ten Sisters of the Holy Cross participated in the 2010 International Session in Holy Cross Spirituality offered in Le Mans, France. L to r: Sisters Joan Carusillo, Parboti (Gomes), Marietta Umlor, Lotika Gomes, Patricia McCabe, Mary Louise Deroin, Bashona Rebeiro, Judith Hallock and June Ann Kirby. Sister Angelica Birungi attended but is not pictured.

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LifeSigns

Also, this pilgrimage moved us to appreciate We began on June 15 with a welcome program. The next with a deeper identity and richer understanding day, presentations were made to help us understand and reflect the meaning of our call to Holy Cross. on our Holy Cross roots and the pioneers who shared and built people, we are rooted in a community of the foundations in France in faith. Jesus did not live alone and he did the 19th century: Blessed Basil Anthony not lead others alone in isolation. Moreau and his family, Mother Mary of Also, this pilgrimage moved us to the Seven Dolors, Father Jacques Dujarié appreciate with a deeper identity and and Brother André Mottais. Today, we richer understanding the meaning of our see the work of Holy Cross spreading call to Holy Cross. We know the words from Le Mans throughout the world. The we heard from different people will be dream and hope for Holy Cross at this embraced with a generous and good heart. present moment is being realized. It will bear fruit through our perseverance There were pilgrimage days in which and cooperation with the grace of God. we traveled to visit Laigné-en-Belin We thank God, our president, the (Father Moreau’s birthplace), Father Leadership Team members, our area Dujarié’s parish church, the Chartres coordinators, as well as all the community Cathedral, Abbey of Solesmes and Abbey members who provided us with this of La Grande Trappe. These places gave opportunity. We are grateful to those us a clear picture of the environment members who took on our responsibilities surrounding the history of Holy Cross. while we were in France. We also thank We experienced our identity as Holy very much the entire community of the Cross members. It was, without a doubt, Marianites of Holy Cross.¡ very enriching for all of us. As apostolic

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b r a n c h e s : Holy Cross Around the World

“It literally changed my life forever. I have never been so conscious of my actions and the way they affect others. Also, I now

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september / october 2010

have an appreciation for

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everything I have been blessed with in my own life. The memories I have from my year in Ghana will be with me forever.”

Ghana service program participants (standing, l to r): Megan Ryan, Becky Eckstein and Lauren Theiss; (seated in front) Katie Yohe

Graduates lend hand in Ghana Katie Yohe and Megan Ryan, 2009 graduates of Saint Mary’s College, spent the 2009–10 school year teaching at Our Lady of Holy Cross School in Kasoa, Ghana, West Africa. In August they returned to Saint Mary’s to reflect on their experience with Sister M. Madeline Therese (Wilhoit), who was instrumental in their participation in the Ghana service program. “I always wanted to do something bigger than myself,” Katie said. “I wanted to give back for everything that I had been given thus far in my life. It was my way to thank God for giving me so much. And the best part is that I now want to do more and more.” Getting to know her 27 students was most rewarding for Katie. “Hearing about their struggles in life really made me rethink my own life. The joy and dedication to school these kids had was incredible.”


B r a n c h e s : Holy Cross Around the World

Evie Kirkwood, director of St. Joseph County Parks, describes the work done to the Red Barn to (l to r) Sisters Roberta Bennett, M. Carolita (Hart) and M. Gladys (Dombek).

Sisters tour Red Barn Several sisters from Angela Area toured the Red Barn at St. Patrick’s County Park, South Bend, Indiana, August 5, as invited guests of Evie Kirkwood, director of St. Joseph County Parks. The barn serves as an icon for the parks department, and it has a unique link to the cultural history of the community and the Sisters of the Holy Cross. The congregation operated Saint Patrick’s Farm, located a few miles north of Saint Mary’s, from 1883 to 1976. Dairy cattle, pigs and row crops were once raised on site and transported by wagon to Saint Mary’s to feed the sisters and the students at Saint Mary’s College. In December 2009, the barn and surrounding buildings were honored with placement on the Indiana Registry of Historic Sites and Places.¡ Evie Kirkwood answers a question posed by Sister Dorothy Ann Reppen. Sister Miriam (Eckenrode) appears in the background.

september / october 2010 ¡

LifeSigns

Megan also found her work with the students most satisfying. “They brought life to me each and every day. They were capable of such simple love that it blew me away,” said Megan. The two young women also faced some difficulties. For Katie it was seeing all the poverty and not being able to do enough. “Sure, I was teaching the students how to add and subtract threedigit numbers, but I could not provide food and running water for them.” Megan’s challenge was community living. “Community living was a daily challenge for me,” she said. “You never realize how hard it is to live in one house with 14 people. It challenges your patience, your understanding and your faith.” Both women recommend the program to other Saint Mary’s graduates. “It literally changed my life forever,” said Katie. “I have never been so conscious of my actions and the way they affect others. Also, I now have an appreciation for everything I have been blessed with in my own life. The memories I have from my year in Ghana will be with me forever.” Lauren Theiss and Becky Eckstein, both 2010 graduates, were inspired to participate in the Ghana program. They began their year of service in August. Megan said it simply. “Go for it. You only live once. Ghana is a beautiful country. They are beautiful people and full of life.”¡

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b r a n c h e s : Holy Cross Around the World

Revisiting Appalachia

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by sister micheLLe toePP

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Sister M. Jean Barbara (Korkisch) is flanked by her program assistants, Debbie Mullins (left) and Leann Bailey (right).

The summer after my candidate year, 1985, I lived in Nora, Virginia, with Sisters M. Jean Barbara (Korkisch) and M. Clarissa (Conroy). I learned a lot and had many great adventures in this very poor area where they did a variety of ministries. Ever since then, Sister Jean Barbara has invited me to come back to Appalachia to visit during the summer and help with her projects. However, because of my ministry in Mexico and time spent with family during my short visits to the United States, it never worked out. But this year, since I am on sabbatical, I was excited and eager to accept her invitation.


b r a n c h e s : Holy Cross Around the World

Sisters M. Jean Barbara (Korkisch) and Michelle Toepp install new porch steps.

continued, page 12

september / october 2010

“Look, Ma, no hands.” Sister Michelle Toepp balances on a porch railing after climbing down a ladder that is tied to the house so she can paint without slipping down an Appalachian mountain (pictured on page 10).

So, 25 years later, I returned to Appalachia, where I spent almost two weeks with Sister Jean Barbara in Clintwood, Virginia, painting and working on three different houses for families in the mountains. About 17 groups of students and adults come each year to Sister Jean Barbara’s St. Joseph’s Housing Repair Program in Clintwood to better the houses of very poor families. Three women assist Sister Jean Barbara in the program: Leann Bailey and her daughter Brandi, who is a nursing student in college, and Debbie Mullins. The four women work alongside the volunteer groups to help transform the houses for families in need. But I learned that not only does a house transform, but each group also has its own transformation while spending time helping the family and getting to know one another. The first week I was there I quickly became a member of the housing program crew, sweating in the Mexicolike heat along with 20 high school students and four teachers from Chicago. We worked on three houses, doing whatever we could to make the homes safer, warmer, better places to live. We scraped off old paint and then painted; removed roofs and put on new ones; fixed floors; built patios, stairs, shelves and trash containers; put in gutters; and did many other tasks.

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B r a n c h e s : Holy Cross Around the World

Revisiting Appalachia, continued from page 11

During the second week, with a parish group of seven people from Norfolk, Virginia, I learned what I was made of. The edge of this house literally was the edge of the mountain—and the trim along this edge was in dire need of painting. We tied the ladder to the pillars on the porch and, while the house’s owner held the ladder steady, I climbed up the side of the house to paint. Did I mention I am afraid of heights? Well, when I saw the joy and appreciation of the family when it was finished, I knew it was worth it. We were touching people’s lives and immediately seeing the difference our small contribution makes. I again realized how much I enjoy working on a team and helping those most in need.¡

As part of the St. Joseph’s Housing Repair Program experience, volunteers are treated to an evening of Appalachian music.

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Getting “crabby” in Kensington

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Peel, eat, repeat. Sisters Maris (Bonnett), M. Jane Frances (Reus) and Marian Daniel (Creamer) say eating crabs is hard work, but well worth the effort.

Cravin’ crabs? And what could be more fun than eating this tasty crustacean with your fingers? The sisters at Saint Angela Hall in Kensington were treated to a Maryland crab feast on August 15 by Mr. and Mrs. Art Gehringer, whose three daughters graduated from the Academy of the Holy Cross. The Gehringers’ gift was a unique and entertaining dining experience. M’m, m’m, finger-lickin’ good.¡

Correction The last line of the article, “Society celebrates 50 years, supports sisters’ ministries,” which appeared on page 12 of the July/August 2010 issue of LifeSigns, incorrectly identified Sister Virginia Marie MacNeil as one of the past mentors of the Holy Rosary Orphanage Society. The line should have read: The society’s 26 members gratefully acknowledge the advice and help we have received from our dear Sister Virginia Marie (McHugh), Sister Mary Romanus (Smith) and Sister Elizabeth Panero. Also, it was Bishop Timothy Crowley, not Bishop Vincent McCauley, who with Sister M. Rose Bernard (Gehring) co-founded the Associates of Mary, Queen of the Apostles.¡


l e a v e s : Sisters in Ministry

Honoring the spiritual self: Where can women find a safe place? This article is adapted from an article written by Megan Cutter that appeared in the August 2010 issue of Natural Awakenings, a free publication devoted to living a healthier, more balanced life. It is used with permission.

In an age where there is increasing strife, political turmoil and even internal conflict over religious life and spiritual practices, where there is a safe place that a woman, regardless of background, can go to ask questions about how the spiritual life relates to her? Many women find themselves stuck, unable to voice the questions they harbor in their hearts. A few of the questions many women have but are often afraid to ask include: What can I do about my tepid faith and why isn’t it stronger? Where can I safely go to explore more deeply my relationship with the Holy? Is there anyone besides God the Father and God the Son—are there other images that could nurture me? Does God really love me? If God does, why is my life so hard? What does my religious practice have to do with anything?

Sister Mary Margaret Weber, co-founder of A Place for Women to Gather, comments, “One of our guiding principles is that questions about faith and the spiritual life are signs of spiritual health. Many women who attend programs at the Place discover they are seekers, searching for fuller understanding of their life journey. They meet other women who are asking similar questions and so are validated in their search.” A Place for Women to Gather hosts a variety of programs on many aspects of spirituality during which women can share their experiences in safety and without judgment. For many, it confirms what they have been experiencing for quite some time: old answers are no longer adequate. They begin to understand why they have not felt comfortable with a patriarchal model of religious practice. What can you do to discover and nurture your own spiritual health? Start by asking questions and spend time in contemplation; discovering compassion, faith, and other women to walk with you on your journey.¡

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l e a v e s : Sisters in Ministry

Archivists, keepers of memory

St. Joseph’s Home and School, a home for orphaned and dependent boys of the District of Columbia, was opened by the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1856. It closed in 1968.

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by Sister Jeanette Fettig

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December 12, 1960. First lady Mamie Eisenhower, wife of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, poses at the White House with two boys from St. Joseph’s Home and School to publicize a Dollars for Orphans drive.

Our Congregational Archives and Records Office abounds with requests for information on sisters’ family histories and on what happened to a particular sistereducator or to schools where Holy Cross sisters taught. In August we received the following response from Jim after answering his request: “Thank you very much for the information about Sister Clement Joseph. This will be very useful in our family history project. I was able to find basic information about the rest of her family, but wasn’t having any luck finding anything about Sister Clement.… I appreciate your help with finding the missing pieces. We’re looking forward to making the drive to Notre Dame to find where Sister Clement was laid to rest.”


l e a v e s : Sisters in Ministry

In June we heard from James, who was brought up in St. Joseph’s Home and School in Washington, D.C.: “Thank you, Sister, for your prompt, courteous and kind reply. I have already derived great enjoyment just hearing from you. My brother, John, was also a student and resident of St. Joseph’s and, I am sure he, too, will be thrilled. Thank you again. I would like to contact you after reviewing the material you are sending and share some thoughts with you. I have fond memories of St. Joseph’s and am really looking forward to reviewing the archives.” One woman wrote us in January last year after requesting information about her greatgreat-great aunt, who went to Holy Cross

Convent in the mid-1800s and died while still a postulant: “What a great find! Thank you so much for sending this information on and helping to solve another mystery in the Wurtz family. Barbara’s birthday was off a few months, but so are the birth dates for a few other siblings. Anyway, I just appreciate this so much. Thank you! Thank you!” October is American Archives Month. It is a time to focus on the importance of records of enduring value and to enhance recognition for all sister-archivists who are responsible for maintaining our congregation’s vital historical records. It is a great privilege for the archival staff not only to preserve the wealth of information already housed in our archives, but also to share it with others.¡

Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. attorney general, and children attend an open house at St. Joseph’s Home and School, circa 1963. Sister M. Melathon (Heister), superior, appears at his side.

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l e a v e s : Sisters in Ministry

Sister Theresia W. Mbugua, coordinator of the Holy Cross Family Ministries Office, broadcasts on VOT, the Voice of Tooro, in Fort Portal, Uganda.

Radio ministry promotes prayer

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by sister theresia w. mbugua

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Many people remember the catchphrase, “The family that prays together, stays together,” which was coined by Father Patrick Peyton, CSC, popularly known as the “Rosary Priest.” Father Peyton used radio and television programming to encourage families to pray the rosary daily. Presently, I work with a team of seven people at Holy Cross Family Ministries in the Diocese of Fort Portal, Uganda, that is continuing the ministry that Father Peyton started. We promote and support family prayer, especially the rosary. In Fort Portal, we “direct our efforts to the evangelization of culture using mass media to entertain, inspire and educate families,” specifically via radio programs on our local FM station, the Voice of Tooro (VOT). These programs run five days a week, Monday through Friday, and one on Sunday.

I assist in preparing and recording these programs, whose focus is on enhancing and promoting healthy family relationships and deepening people’s faith in God. We also expound on other catchphrases of the ministry, such as “A world at prayer is a world at peace” and “A powerful prayer is in your hand.” We share information about the life of Father Peyton, who was a Holy Cross man who loved the family and promoted the well-being of the family in his time. The main sources of our topics are the people themselves. We gather ideas by observing and listening to the views, opinions, feelings and struggles of people we meet. Sometimes people will request that we speak about certain issues that they feel need to be addressed. The church and day-to-day life experiences are other sources of program topics.


l e a v e s : Sisters in Ministry

The main sources of our topics are the people themselves. We gather ideas by observing and listening to the views, opinions, feelings and struggles of people we meet. Sometimes people will request that we speak about certain issues that they feel need to be addressed. On the local level, we address issues of poverty, health, family conflicts, communication styles, substance abuse, witchcraft and the like, which sometimes derail people into different lifestyles. On Sundays we broadcast a special program of reflections by a religious on the Sunday scriptural readings. A radio program reaches more people than we ourselves are able to reach personally or as a team. I feel proud and happy ministering

to the people of God through my radio ministry, and I thank the president and the international director of the ministry, my brothers and sisters in Holy Cross, and all who support this ministry in many different ways. May we continue praying and working together to realize the family aspect that our founder, Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau, had in promoting “the mission of Jesus” in “that union which moves, directs and sanctifies the world” wherever families are.¡

College honors Sister Marian Teresa by sister taPosi gomes

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LifeSigns

Sister Marian Teresa (Gomes) retired June 30, 2010, as principal of Holy Cross College, Dhaka, Bangladesh, after 38 years of service. At a July 1 celebration, the school paid tribute to Sister Marian Teresa for her years of faithful service and welcomed Sister Shikha Laetitia Gomes, who assumed the role of principal on July 1. Although its enrollment is small compared to other schools in Dhaka, Holy Cross College is proud of its rank as third in the country in results of the 2010 Higher Secondary Certificate Examination.¡

L to r: Sisters Marian Teresa (Gomes) and Shikha Laetitia Gomes are honored July 1 at Holy Cross College in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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NOTA BENE

Nota Bene

An article by Sister Kathryn Callahan, “Sisters of the Holy Cross and Kearns—St. Ann’s Orphanage,” appears in the summer 2010 issue of Utah Historical Quarterly, a publication of the Utah State Historical Society. The 21-page article is adapted from Sister Kathryn’s paper, “Sisters of Sister Kathryn Callahan the Holy Cross and Orphans,” which was presented at the 27th conference of the Holy Cross History Association held in Salt Lake City, Utah, June 12–15, 2008.¡

Sister Kathryn published in Utah

Historical Quarterly.

Article by Sister Philomena

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appears in LCWR publication.

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Is the role of religious life shifting? Eight members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), including Sister Philomena Quiah, share their insights in a feature titled “What We Believe is the Role of Religious Life in These Times,” published in the summer Sister Philomena Quiah 2010 issue of LCWR’s The Occasional Papers. Sister Philomena’s article, “My Life is My Message,” appears on page 28 and can be read in its entirety under Sisters in the News on the congregation’s Web site. See www.cscsisters.org/aboutus/media/sisters_in_news/ Pages/philomena_quiah.aspx.¡


NOTA BENE

Saint Mary’s College is one of the best among the colleges and universities in the Midwest, according to the Princeton Review. The education services company selected the school as one of 152 institutions profiled in the “Best in the Midwest” section of its Web site feature 2010 Best Colleges: Region by Region, which was posted August 2. The college has held the “Best in the Midwest” designation every year since the Princeton Review began the “Best Regional Colleges” categorizations eight years ago. The Princeton Review, which is not affiliated with Princeton University, is an education services company known for its tutoring and classroom test preparation courses, books, and college and graduate school admission services. In addition, Saint Mary’s College was recognized in the Center for Student Opportunity’s 2011 College Access & Opportunity Guide as an institution that promotes higher education opportunities for first-generation college-bound students. The school is among 284 colleges and universities included in the guidebook.¡

among the “Best”

Sister Barnita earns degree.

Sister Barnita Scholastica Mangsang

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LifeSigns

Sister Barnita Scholastica Mangsang recently earned her master’s degree in religious studies from the Institute of Formation and Religious Studies, Quezon City, Philippines. As part of her coursework, she submitted the major paper, “Understanding Creation: Towards Spirituality of Transformation.” “This topic challenged me to ask deep questions,” she said, “and look for the answers to how understanding creation can lead us to experience spiritual transformation.”¡

Saint Mary’s College

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n e w l e a v e s : Formation

My heart is filled with God’s love by Sister Mildred Nongsiej

“My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.”

*The holude is a Bangladeshi ceremony in which turmeric, a yellow spice obtained from a flowering plant in the ginger family, is used as a reminder of baptismal promises and Christian responsibilities. For religious, this ceremony is now a symbol of purification of body, heart and mind to prepare for a deeper call.

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On my initial profession, August 6, 2010, my heart was full of joy and gratitude to the Lord. I am grateful to God who has chosen me to live this life for him. As I was preparing for the initial profession, I had the great opportunity to make a fiveday retreat at Holy Cross Convent in Dhaka, Bangladesh. During my retreat Sister Marian Teresa (Gomes) guided me to gain a deeper understanding of the three vows. I reflected on a life for Jesus, and in the silence my heart was filled with his presence. It gave me courage to surrender willingly my life to God. The holude ceremony* helped me to prepare myself on the eve of my profession day. It was very meaningful and wonderful for me as I listened to the sharing of the sisters, who told their vocation stories and shared their feelings that night. The sisters blessed me with oil and

shared the light from my candle. I felt their full support and the strength to make my vowed commitment. When I was professing my vows my heart filled with joy and I thanked God that he had chosen me. I am grateful to my parents and to all the Sisters of the Holy Cross who walked with me and who continue to walk with me on my journey in Holy Cross, especially my directresses. The presence of the members of the different local communities gave me joy. I am grateful to all the sisters, to Sister Joan Marie Steadman, president, and all the Leadership Team members, and to Sister Violet Rodrigues, area coordinator for the Area of Asia, who was my novice mistress and who received my vows. My profession day is a memorable day in my life.¡

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Sister Mildred Nongsiej from India makes initial profession of vows as a Sister of the Holy Cross on August 6 in the chapel of the Formation House in Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh. L to r: Father Tushar Gomes, Sister Mildred, Sister Violet Rodrigues and Sister Pushpa Teresa Gomes


n e w l e a v e s : Formation

Two candidates welcomed in India L to r: Bijoyce Thongnibah and Khochem Mossang are welcomed into the candidate program in India by Sisters Rose Mary Marngar, M. Bruno (Beiro) and Parboti (Gomes).

Four candidates welcomed in Bangladesh by sister PushPa teresa gomes

L to r: Bithee Rema, Gidding Simsang, Semaria Tongpiar and Likha Ruram were welcomed August 15 into the candidate program in Bangladesh.

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LifeSigns

Sister Violet presented the congregation’s directory of Prayer and the Seven Dolors beads to the candidates. On behalf of all the members present, Sister Angela Golapi greeted the candidates with flowers. The ceremony was followed by a festive dinner. A spirit of joy permeated the entire house as everyone rejoiced in the addition of four new members to the community.¡

september / october 2010

“I have called you by name, you are mine.” —Isaiah 43:2 On the morning of August 15, 2010, the feast of the Assumption, four young women—Semaria Tongpiar, Likha Ruram, Bithee Rema and Gidding Simsang—arrived at Deepaneeta’s House of Formation in Dharenda, Savar, Bangladesh, and were greeted by Deepaneeta community members Sister Bernadette Shilpi Rebeiro, candidate Royne Josephine Costa and Sister Pushpa Teresa Gomes, candidate director. At noon, in a prayer service themed “I have called you by name,” prepared by Sister Bernadette Shilpi and Royne Josephine, the four women were welcomed into the candidate program by Sister Violet Rodrigues, area coordinator for the Area of Asia. Sister Angela Golapi Palma, the country vocation director, also was present at the ceremony.

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reflections

Leisurely contemplation, a way of being at 90

LifeSigns

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september / october 2010

by Sister Eileen Dewsnup

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was Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. There have been many since then,” Pat said. “At present I am On August 10, Sister Patricia Burke turned reading about the life of South African Archbishop 90, she was joined by the community at Saint Denis Hurley, a strident opponent of apartheid. Catherine by the Sea and her two first cousins. The book is entitled Guardian of the Light by That was the beginning of the celebration in Paddy Kearney. The Help by Kathryn Stockett is Ventura, California. By the end of the week, somewhat like the U.S. apartheid story. And lastly, the sons and daughters of her late sister, Mary Greg Mortenson’s two books, Three Cups of Tea and Kathleen Scully, and their Stones into Schools, give an insight families gathered at a rented into the people, values and culture beach house to be with their of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and “Aunt Pat” for an entire week. what one vigorous, dedicated man Saint Catherine’s joined the could do.” gathering one of those days Needless to say, these last three with play, good food and books are making the circuit a walk along the beach. It through the community here. brought us all to recognize the Generosity is a key gentle giftedness of life. characteristic of Pat. At a recent Pat is a collector of names. community meeting those on Her mom called her “Trish.” phone duty asked for help. Pat She was “Sister Loyola” as readily responded, “I can learn, a nurse in Boise and Salt teach me, and I’ll be able to Lake City, and as “Mother” help.” She is now on the weekly to orphans in Bengal. The phone list. One day at breakfast Sister Patricia Burke celebrates her 90th birthday. Pat mentioned her interest in Batooro in Uganda called her “Akiiki,” but to the Bukango learning to play the piano. Sister in Bundibugyo she was “Bira,” M. Margaret Andre (Waechter) offered to teach her the second girl in the family. She has worn too and now Pat enjoys, strictly for her own pleasure, many hats to describe her contributions to the playing a lovely melody. Kindom of God! Pat did not see any reason for this article to However, there is one attribute among several be written. “What’s so special about being 90?” that is so much a part of her that it needs to be she asked. The best conclusion I can bring is a mentioned. Her realistic love of this world—its quote from Contemplative Aging, A Way of Being life pulse ranges from an African violet brought in Later Life by Edmund Sherman: “Leisure and back to life, to politics, to the pursuit of learning. Contemplation are a different order, outside the Each Sunday she listens to the world news and its closed circle of work-relaxation; and they allow us commentators, and each day there is something to realize the natural bend of the human mind new to learn which she shares at table, along and spirit, to contemplate the larger whole.” with her current reading material. We elders and mentors in Holy Cross are I asked Pat for a short list of good books to called to hallow, as has Pat, this last graced period read. Here are her recommendations: of our lives. For all who have led the way, many “The first book I read that I could not put down thanks. May we follow their example.¡


advancing the mission

Hindu wedding rich in ceremony By RuTH JoHnSon, deveLoPment assistant

september / october 2010 ¡

LifeSigns

Dhaka, Bangladesh, is a bustling city of 13 million people. About 250 kilometers (155 miles) northeast of Dhaka is the city of Sylhet, about the size of Atlanta, Georgia. Tucked up in the hill country among the lush tea gardens of that district is a community of Sisters of ABOVE: Chamily with the Holy Cross. For many years the sisters have Sister Thecla Dinila Nokrek been offering health services and ministering RIGHT: Sister Promila among the tea garden laborers. Gomes adorns Chamily Recently, because of the relationship built for her wedding. through the years, Sisters Thecla Dinila Nokrek and Promila Gomes were invited to attend a local Hindu wedding. The father of the bride, Lakhia Alsick, is a worker at the Holy Cross Health Education Center in Kulaura. His wife is a tea garden worker. Three years ago, their amount of money. Lakhia is a poor man, and in elder daughter got married with a large dowry. order to provide this dowry for his daughter, he This year, their younger daughter, Chamily, must had to sell his cows and goats. get married or bring the family shame and Hindu Next, the Brahmin (a Hindu priest) blessed excommunication. the couple and led them through their wedding A suitable match was arranged. When the ceremony. Then he took them outdoors and had day arrived, Sisters Thecla Dinila and Promila them look up into the sky. He asked them, “Do joined the other guests at the bride’s house at you see anything?” In the traditional way, the 4 p.m. The wedding itself would take place at couple responded by saying, “No,” two times. The 12:01 a.m., since midnight is the customary time third time the question was asked, their answer was for weddings in Bangladesh. Although the guests “Yes, we see stars.” Upon hearing this answer, the dined sumptuously, the bride and her parents Brahmin blessed them again, saying, “Like the stars were obliged to keep fasting until after the may you have children.” wedding in order to assure blessings and goodness At long last, the bride and her parents were in their life. After dinner, Sister Promila was allowed to eat. Following this, the bride and the honored to dress and adorn the bride. groom took all of their relatives to the groom’s When the groom and his party arrived, everyone house for another ceremony. Sisters Thecla Dinila joyfully received them with aroti, a moving circle and Promila returned home from these festivities of candlelight, flowers and musical shell sounds. at 1:45 a.m. It was a firsthand look at one of the After this, both parties talked about the dowry. many ways love is celebrated among the varied In this case, the agreement included a complete cultures of Bangladesh.¡ set of furniture, bedding, a television set and an

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Pilgrimage embraces Holy Cross spirituality , page 6

Meet and greet Sister Catherine Before Sister Catherine was born in Duayaw Nkwanta in Ghana, West Africa, and has three brothers and five sisters. She learned about the Sisters of the Holy Cross through the Benedictine monks at their monastery Kristo Buase (Christ Among the Rocks), where she often attended Mass and went to retreats. “One day I expressed my desire to serve the Lord in a special way and they gave me a vocation book titled Called by Name with different religious congregations’ addresses,” explained Sister Catherine. “This is where I discovered the Sisters of the Holy Cross.” Sister Catherine contacted the congregation and met the sisters. “I entered Holy Cross because it is a life of prayer, discipline, love, commitment, sacrifice and joy,” she said. “Their hospitality and family spirit, as well as their simple lifestyle, attracted me.” Sister Catherine made her initial profession on August 25, 2007. Her local community is in Kasoa but she studies at the Catholic University College of Ghana, located in Sunyani, which is a distance away. During her holidays she helps at Our Lady of Holy Cross School in Kasoa, where she works with students wanting to learn more about the Catholic faith.¡

LifeSigns is published six times a year for the Sisters of the Holy Cross around the world. News items, draft articles and suggestions are welcome. Items must be in the Communications Office by the beginning of the month preceding publication to assure inclusion and may be edited for length and clarity.

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LifeSigns, Sep-Oct 2010