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April 2011, Vol. XXXI, No. 4

Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters Assembly/Chapter: April 26-29, 2011

Sr. Agathe Bramkamp reflects on our Chapter Icon Mary Magdalene, Companion and Guide


e chose Mary Magdalene as a companion throughout our preparation for the chapter of the Paraclete Province as well as a guide during the chapter. We are familiar with her discipleship, closely following the Lord, with her steadfast love and her mission of being the announcer of good news to the apostles: “I have seen the Lord.” She was our guide in the General Chapter that finally gave us the directions of the congregation for the next six years.

Assembly /Chapter Icon: Mary Magdalene

Theme: With open hearts we turn to the challenges that face us today.

We chose this particular icon of Mary Magdalene in response to many suggestions from the Sisters who proposed flowers, quite a variety of flowers, for a symbol of openness, joyful expectation and humble service, of being centered in God, and being connected with each other like the petals around the eye of a daisy. Mary Magdalene shows us her rich bouquet of flowers seemingly growing from her heart, offering it in all its beauty and richness of colors and forms. The heart of that lover and friend of Jesus grows faithfulness, steadfastness, joy and humble obedience to his word, joyful willingness to serve and great determination to fulfill his mission: “Go and tell my brothers and sisters!” (continued on page 2)

(continued from page 1) Mary Magdalene’s steady gaze knows of suffering and tears. Her rich flowers of love are symbolically woven together with a fine wreath of thorns, reminding us of the demanding love of our Lord. Her invitation is one to a dynamic life in the Spirit who works wonders of newness and fresh beauty. Let us invoke Mary Magdalene as our guide as we seek to know the direction for our province, how to best serve the Lord and His great mission that is entrusted to us.

small group discussions to reflect on each vow with material from three different theologians and then connected their views to our On Sunday, March 13, 2011, we had a one-day own experiences as religious living in this workshop with the theme ‘Living Our Vows in culture. Each of us was enriched by the Today’s World’. The workshop was given by Fr. group sharing. The workshop closed with Ed Peklo, SVD. There were 18 participants: 11 our Eucharistic celebration. SSpS, five SVDs and two Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. It was a very fruitful day. We thanked Fr. Ed who graciously said “Yes” to our request and The first idea regarding this workshop came from were grateful to all the participants who Sr. Stela Maris Martins and me as being a part of came and shared their experiences that conour program as junior sisters. Why this topic? As tributed much to the workshop. religious, we tend to associate vows with a life of More Peace and Justice News special commitment and dedication to God. This perspective no longer prevails if by vowed life we mean to separate ourselves from the world in order to be more fully committed to follow Christ The New Jim Crow and to live the spiritual life in a unique way. In Michelle Alexander, the author of “The New today’s world, the life commitment of the vowed Jim Crow – Mass Incarceration in the Age of life is challenged by pluralism, postmodernism Color Blindness”, gave a talk at Roosevelt and growing secularization. The challenge is, University on March 17, 2011 regarding the how can we maintain and nurture our commitNew Jim Crow. ment and responsibility to live the vows as witnesses of God's love in today's world? Living Our Vows in Today’s World by Sr. Aprilia Untarto, SSpS

Sr. Rose Therese Nolta attended. It offered an unflinching look at the US addiction to The morning session was divided into three sec- imprisonment, and came up with a startling tions: opening prayer and introductions, first pres- diagnosis: American corporate greed, politientation on “Identifying Today’s Culture and How cal opportunism and the exploitation of ageold hatred and fears have congealed to create This Impacts Our Living the Vows” and a quiet a monstrous explosion in the world's largest time before lunch. The afternoon session was prison industrial complex. mainly for group discussion and our Eucharistic celebration. Fr. Ed brought the participants into


Further, the author, a law professor at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, dug deep into US history, and deeper still into US criminal law and practice to conclude that the barbarous system of repression and control known commonly as Jim Crow, has had a rebirth in this era. That's why she calls it: The New Jim Crow.

Sr. Maria Burke, who was hospitalized and received a blood transfusion, but is not feeling well. Sr. Jeanne Blie, who fell and fractured her pelvis bone and is recovering in Maria Hall. She is receiving physical and occupational therapy. Sr. Terisse Zosso, who is suffering from a bile obstruction and is presently in the hospital. Chuck Wolff, brother of Sr. Vincent, who underwent surgery for his seventh stent and will begin treatment for bone cancer on April 7.

Rally in Evanston

On March 13, Sr. Rose Therese Nolta participated in a rally and vigil in Evanston to show support and solidarity with workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

For Your Prayerful Remembrance Please pray for our deceased: Sr. Rene Walsh, sister of Sr. AnnIta Walsh, who died on March 13. Ann Sokolski, former member, who died on March 3 in San Antonio, Texas. Richard Harding, father of Josh Harding, who died March 14. Gerry Morante, nephew of Lisa Aragon, (nurse in Maria Hall) who died in the Philippines. Please pray for our sick: Sr. Adelmara Eisenmenger, who was hospitalized for heart failure, but is now doing well again in Maria Hall.

Hubert Bramkamp, brother of Sr. Agathe, who is hospitalized with severe asthma and has a host of other complications. Mary Welp, sister of Sr. Carol, who is undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer. Salvador Juarez Palafoz, father of our novice Sara Guardado, who has heart blockage and is in serious condition. Natural Disasters: We also continue to keep in prayer our Sisters and the people of Japan who suffered a three-fold disaster with the earthquake, tsunami and radiation leaks from the nuclear plant. Also, our Sisters and the people of Bolivia who suffered from losing their homes in the mudslides. Indult: On March 23, Sr. Dinah Marie Aguirre signed an indult to leave the Congregation and be released from her seventh vows, which she made for one year on July 4, 2010. May God give her the grace to live her Baptismal call in the state of life that she, with the Holy Spirit, choses for her future. 3

Over the next few months, the bulletin will highlight the mission of individual houses in the U.S. Province. This month, we feature the community in New York. The Sisters share their stories: This is the second time I’ve come to New York and joined the community here. One of my ministries in New York is to work with special needs people. My other ministry is to go back to school and gain more knowledge in social work. I feel I need the basic knowledge and understanding of social issues, social programs and current regulations to do my job well. I love working with special needs people. I work two days a week at a center for disabled people. It is a joy for me to aid them in everyday tasks which most of us take for granted. Simple tasks such as walking, eating and everyday communication can be a challenge for them. I feel blessed that I can lend a hand. This ministry helps me to appreciate what God has given me and not to take anything for granted. It's a fulfilling experience. Have a good day. Sr. Maria Joseph Nguyen My ministry in Ridgewood, New York, involves participating in all church activities and serving as Minister of Communion when assigned. Every Friday evening, I participate in a Bible sharing group. Every Tuesday morning, I serve in a soup kitchen. We serve from a fully equipped bus which was donated to “St. John’s Bread of Life” for this purpose. Our clients are only men, most of them Mexicans. I am about to bring my ministry and presence in the New York community to an end. I thank God that I am still able to be of service to God’s people although 86 years young. Sr. Maria Elisabeth Klodt New York Community Members and visitor—Sr. Petra Bigge, Intern; Sr. Zelia Cordeiro dos Santos, VIVAT; Sr. Maria Joseph Nguyen; Sr. Maria Theresia Hornemann, Congregational Leader from Rome; Sr. Maria Elisabeth Klodt

Our Lady of the Angelus Church

When some friends heard that my mission is in Rego Park, they said to me, “You are in the heart of the world,” because this part of New York has more diverse cultures than any other area. Really I feel that I am in the heart of the mission: Cuba, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Honduras, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Indonesia, Barbuda, India, Filipinas, Ireland, England, Italian, Spain, Sudan,… Our Pastor is from India, the other priests are from Colombia, the Philippines and America. My challenge is to coordinate different ministries in the parish as well as the CCD program. I feel a lot of responsibility, but I receive help from the people who have been working there for many years. Always they are open to guiding me. Please, I would like to invite you to enter the website: www., so that you can appreciate all the different activities. I am so thankful to God and Mother Leonarda for making this possible. God bless our mission. Sr. Gladys Smith


Sr. Petra’s Visit to New York If you are coming to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you are coming because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together. -Australian Aboriginal Woman Our world is moving, advancing, developing and transforming at such an incredible speed. I have experienced this in the seven weeks of being here in the United States and at the United Nations Headquarters: the UN resolution about Syria, earthquake and tsunami, nuclear disaster in Japan, nanotechnology, geo-engineering, food and finance crisis and so on… Humanity is encountering deep crises and human institutions are undergoing structural changes. All these situations require new missionary responses. I am deeply convinced that justice and peace work is an integral part of our Mission and that this dimension gives focus to our responses today. I was touched and inspired by the testimony of a life lived in poverty and simplicity by Sr. Anna in the “Recycling Centre” in New York. She is living in a container, collecting empty bottles and tins, sorting them out and then selling them back to the companies. She is working and sharing life with people whom society often has forgotten. I am very glad and thankful for the insights I gained through Sr. Zelia Cordeiro, SSpS, and Fr. Felix Jones, SVD, at the VIVAT-NY - UN about the importance of working at the structural level. Together with other (religious) NGOs, they advocate with and for the people who are voiceless and excluded. They are all constantly knocking the rock to change society.

Sr. Petra, center, and Fr. Felix, second from right, with members of other NGOs.

During these weeks, I gained training and insights through the different events and the side events at the UN. While studying policies and forming my own opinions, I got involved in a European Union consultation process on the internet in preparation for Rio 2012. During my stay in New York, the Preparatory Commission for the Earth summit in Rio 2012 took place. The text of the Bolivian Mission to the UN was/is inspiring. In this text, they talk about sustainable development in the 21st century which requires a Social and Ecological Contract among human beings and our Mother Earth. In their Ambassador, Mr. Pablo Solón, I found a prophetic voice at the UN. For me, he spoke in a political and yet in a deeply spiritual way, with a clear option for the poor and disadvantaged. I am grateful for all the Sisters in Techny and in New York! You made my stay here in the Province possible! Thank you for your openness and readiness to take me to your work and ministry places. Thank you for allowing me to share life and mission with you! Sr. Petra Bigge, SSpS 5

We are very appreciative of Sr. Maria Theresia's visit to all our communities. She sparked a lot of life, enthusiasm and trust in us!

The Sisters gather for a farewell to Sr. Maria Theresia.

A party and something to remember us by.


to distribute the resources to support this kind of project.

JPIC SSpS USA April 2011

Ecumenical Advocacy Days By Sr. Angelica Oyarzo From March 25th to the 28th , I attended the Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington DC. About 700 people were present for this event. They came from all over the United States, as a large Christian family from different denominations and organizations to worship God, but mainly focused on the issues involving women.

So, to achieve our goal we went to talk with our Congressmen to confirm for them the reality of these people and to ask them to vote to fully fund, at or above FY2010 levels, programs that serve families - especially those struggling to overcome poverty - domestically and around the world. We also urged them to re-authorize and fully-fund the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and cosponsor the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) when it is reintroduced. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was the first federal legislation acknowledging domestic violence and sexual assault a crime. It also provides federal resources for community-coordinated responses to violence against women. The International Violence

With the theme, “Development, Security and Economic Justice: What's Gender Got to Do with It?� the workshops were instances of dialogue and encouragement to be the voice of those who are in need and are seeking for opportunities to

improve their life. As people of faith, we have to work together on making a better world where the most vulnerable, especially women, girls and families can live safely. We know that people in government have the responsibility to care for the poor and protect the vulnerable, and also

Against Women Act (IVAWA) is a needed legislation that would address rape during armed conflict; reform the judicial response to violence against women and enhance efforts to bring perpetrators to justice; help survivors escape and recover from violence; prevent transmission and deaths from HIV and AIDS; expand economic opportunities for women; and educate boys and men to be leaders and allies of ending violence against women and girls. It will make foreign assistance more effective and efficient, 7

increase transparency and accountability, and prioritize stopping violence against women and girls. Through attending different workshops those days, I was enriched and touched by diverse realities. I felt deeply shaken by the experiences of many women who had suffered all kinds of humiliations and tricks by being victims of human traf-

ficking, (a form of modern slavery), forced labor, forced prostitution, or by domestic violence. All these women had a common pattern: poverty. Migrant women, for example, seeking to improve their life and the life of their families, leave their loved ones and migrate to this country with the hope of finding a job. However, what challenges and dangers stalked these women along their journey? Women and girls who decided to make this journey are particularly vulnerable to abuse. Generally, they are mistreated by those who helped them to dream of a better well-being, by those who encouraged them to take risks in order to improve their life. These women believed in them. Many of these women were not only separated from their families; they also were deprived of their basic rights; even more, they were deprived of their dignity. As well as every one of us knows, when women work and get money, they return it into their families. They support

their children’s education and health. They try to enhance their environment by improving their own houses. Therefore, by helping women to move out of poverty, the communities are more likely to prosper economically, and our society shall be affected positively by better standards of living. That was what we had in our minds and hearts at the lobby that day. Hence, when we met the representatives of our State at Congress, we asked them to vote in favor of those legislations which will support women and families. We went there trying to explain to them the struggles of these people, and also the advantages to

Interfaith Vigil on the Budget

society by giving them the right tools and resources. Freed from violence, women and girls can succeed and contribute to economic growth of their countries, and they can develop abilities to participate more actively in decisions that affect them. In conclusion, the Ecumenical Advocacy Days gave me a great opportunity to meet many people and organizations that work passionately in building a better world. Their knowledge, their commitment to the evangelical principles and their sense of responsibility to care for the poor encourages me to work for peace and justice.


May 2011 - SSPS bulletin  
May 2011 - SSPS bulletin  

SSPS USA - Province Bulletin