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A workshop concerning Dignity for Immigrants was presented on September 25 at St. Aloysius Church, Caldwell. Presenter Sally Pillay, MSW, a member of the staff of First Friends, addressed the group of more than thirty people on the status of undocumented and detained persons in New Jersey, especially those in detention facilities. An asylum seeker accompanied Ms. Pillay and described his experience of being housed in the Detention Center. Funding for this meeting was provided by the 2013-14 grant from the OPSCC, representing the collaborative efforts of the Dominican Sisters of Amityville, Blauvelt, Caldwell, Hope and Sparkill. Suggestions for assisting the detainees include: visiting detainees at the Detention Center; collecting appropriate soft-covered books ; becoming a pen-pal; and participating in the “Stamp out Despair” program by providing stamped envelopes (number 10 size), note pads, loose leaf paper and greeting cards. Those participating in the “Stamp out Despair” program are asked to deliver their contributions to Sister DeMontfort Kinchellagh, St. Catherine Convent, 7 Ryerson Ave., Caldwell, NJ by November 9 and to mark the contribution package with their return address.
On Friday, September 27, six women pronounced the words of their commitment and became the latest Associates to join the Caldwell Dominican Family. The ceremony took place before a large gathering of Sisters and other Associates. Sister Arlene Antczak, Prioress, received their commitment and extended words of congratulations and appreciation for their willingness to join in the living out of the Dominican charism.
Patricia Fahey, Valerie Lewis-Mosley, Marcia Reyes, Rita Thompson, Mary Lynn Ventola, and Catherine Wessel have all completed a year of introduction and orientation to the meaning of the Associates’ commitment as well as to the history and mission of the Dominican Order. Vilma Mueller, OPA addressed the group, reviewing the nature of that commitment and the importance of the contemplative dimension of the Dominican charism. At the conclusion of the ceremony all Associates present renewed their commitment and the Sisters sang the Dominican blessing. The new Associates were warmly welcomed by family and friends at the reception which followed.
Leadership teams from all five Northeast Congregations gathered at the Sparkill Motherhouse on September 18. Amityville’s new leadership team was warmly welcomed. Updates were given on the Dominican Sisters Conference and on the work of the OPSCC Justice Promoter. Those present were invited to share their reactions to the recent LCWR experience and to reflect on collaboration priorities in the year ahead. Collaboration Coordinator Sister Mary Ellen O’Grady called attention to the volume of poetry recently produced by the Dominican poetry group, which collaborated throughout 2012-13 in a series of workshop sessions to create “Poetry as Preaching,” a small collection of original poetry written in response to Sister Ann Willits’ presentation at Molloy College in April, 2012. Prioresses of all five Congregations had received mailed copies of the work, which contained the contributions of some twenty sisters and associates of their respective congregations. The workshop series was funded by a grant from the OPSCC in 2012. Caldwell participants included Sisters Elizabeth Michael Boyle, Lois Curry, Vivien Jennings, Ann Marie Rimmer, Honora Werner, Patrice Werner and Ruthann Williams.
Sister Lena Pecillo, Principal of Aquinas Academy in Livingston, received word this week that Aquinas has been awarded the distinction of National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Notification came from the U.S.Department of Education in Washington, DC. Aquinas was one of only five Catholic schools in New Jersey and one of 286 schools nationally to be so designated this year. The Blue Ribbon designation recognizes academic excellence in the respective schools. While the formal recognition ceremony will come later in the nation’s capital, Aquinas staff, students and parents had an impromptu celebration when the good news arrived. (See photos)
Dr. Jim Morgan, who has been a moving force in the establishment of a healthcare clinic in Cite d’ Soleil in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, visited St. Catherine’s Convent and Healthcare Center on September 24 to update the Sisters on recent progress at the clinic. He introduced Dr. Hippolyte, the Haitian doctor who now serves as on-site director of the clinic. A slide presentation featured images of the new technologies and other improvements, including an EKG machine, Xray imaging, a blood-testing lab,a new electronic medical records system, a newly constructed shower/bathroom facility and a new water filtration system. “Most importantly,” Dr. Hippolyte emphasized, “each client is shown respect, listened to, and treated with care.”
Dr. Morgan expressed great gratitude to the Dominican Sisters for their consistent interest and donations, and most especially for their continuing prayers.
The 2013 Dominican journey attracted more than thirty persons who traveled to Strasbourg, Austria this past June under the direction of Sister Jeanne Goyette. Hoping to imbibe the spirit of the Dominican mystics, participants had the opportunity to hear presentations by Irish Dominican Sister Mary O’Driscoll, to learn details of the lives and teachings of such mystics as John Tauler, and to experience the rudiments of deeper prayer in a contemplative environment. The pilgrimage for 2014 is already filling up, an obvious sign of the continuing thirst for a deeper experience of the spiritual life. To read the reflection of Janice Stewart, one of this year’s participants, click here. Pleasse click to see more photos.
Very Reverend Father Bruno Cadore , Master General of the Dominican Order, is scheduled to visit New York City in October. Based in Rome, Father Cadore has held office since 2010 and brings a wide knowledge of the Order worldwide. Sisters and Associates are invited to view details of his visit on their respective OP and OPA pages.
About 180 guests gathered in the Motherhouse Chapel on Sunday, September 8 to honor Golden Jubilarians Sister Elsie Bernauer and Sister Eileen Ivory and to celebrate the memory of their deceased classmate and fellow jubilarian, Sister Barbara Cowan. Rev. Scott Schaffer, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church, Toms River, was the main celebrant of the liturgy and Sister Eileen was the homilist. Leading the singing were members of the staff and choir of St. Aloysius Parish in Jackson, NJ where Sister Eileen serves as a Pastoral Associate.
Sister Elsie Bernauer, who serves as a member of the Community’s Leadership Team, welcomed everyone and set the tone for the occasion. Following the liturgy the celebration continued over dinner at the Mayfair Farms, West Orange. Sister Arlene Antczak, Prioress, welcomed the gathering and thanked the Jubilarians for their years of service, naming each of parishes and places of ministry where each sister had served. Please click the here to view more photos from the event.
LCWR Statement on US Action in Syria
We, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, are compelled to work toward a world where reverence for all living beings finds expression in an approach to life free from violence. We stand in solidarity with the victims of violence everywhere and with the leaders of our Catholic Church as we heed the Gospel call to peace, reconciliation, and universal love.
Like so many, we are horrified at the violence we witness in our world and appalled by the continued carnage in Syria. We wholeheartedly condemn the use of chemical weapons along with the indiscriminate killing of civilians, and other violations of international humanitarian law. In the face of so much pain and suffering; confronted by so much evil and immorality; we know that we must act.
However, we reject the false choice currently being offered by our political leaders in Washington, DC. We need not choose between military action and doing nothing. Like Pope Francis we know that, "Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence." Only aggressive diplomacy and deliberate dialogue can end the violence and bring about peace in Syria.
We urge the U.S. Congress and the President, working with the international community at the United Nations to provide the leadership necessary to:
We will act to stop the killing and end the violence. We join with Pope Francis in appealing for an end to violence everywhere and calling on all people of good will to observe a day of prayer and fasting for peace on September 7. Let us pray for the grace to respond to violence, conflict, and war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation, and love.
The statement is posted on our website at: https://lcwr.org/media/lcwr-