What’s New

The Sisters of Charity I.C. and Associates seek to offer their assistance wherever the “Spirit of Charity” unfolds.  
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REMEMBERING INDIGENOUS WOMEN & GIRLS

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Sister Mary Beth McCurdy raised awareness in Carmel Chapel here about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Oct. 4, 2017.  Before a eucharistic liturgy on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, among Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (SCIC) and Associates, she highlighted the meaning of such Sisters in Spirit vigils in many parts of the country.  A singer and drummer, Sister Mary Beth is SCIC congregational leader.   She prepared this symbolic centre (shown in photo) which includes an art card print by Maxine Noel entitled, “Not Forgotten.”  The artist is donating part of the proceeds from the sale of her creation to the Native Women’s Association of Canada which initiated the Sisters in Spirit Project.  During the liturgy, Rev. Don Breen called for “a better deal” for Canada’s Indigenous peoples and prayed especially for Indigenous women.  On Oct. 3, Sisters Mary Beth and Roma De Robertis also participated in a Sisters in Spirit vigil at New Brunswick Community College, Saint John campus.  On Oct. 4 in Vancouver, Sister Maureen Fowler also participated in a Sisters in Spirit vigil at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. For more, see www.nwac.ca  KAIROS Canada (ecumenical justice movement) also offers an information hub at www.kairoscanada.org/missing-murdered-indigenous-women-girls   (SCIC photo)

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LIVING IN DARKNESS, GROWING TOWARD LIGHT

MONTREAL, Que. -- Seeds of the future of religious life are nurtured in today’s darkness and uncertainties, Franciscan Sister Nancy Schreck said during the 30th anniversary conference of the Association of Treasurers of Religious Institutes held here Sept. 29 to Oct. 2, 2017.  Present diminishment and darkness allow wisdom to emerge, inviting us to “let go of what no longer assists us in mission” and become spiritual leaders in our time, added the biblical scholar who works with persons in poverty in Mississippi.  

The other plenary presenter was Rev. Frank Morrisey, an Oblate priest, Canadian canon lawyer and internationally known adviser to religious institutes.  The conference theme was, “Reaching for the Stars.”  Participants from Saint John, N.B. included (photo, left to right), Sister Mary Beth McCurdy, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity, I.C.; Debbie Montgomery, director of finance and Sister Roma De Robertis, SCIC.  (Photo: Sister Darleane Pelechaty, SSMI)                                                                    


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SISTER CELEBRATES 100TH BIRTHDAY

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Sister Eleanor Bednar celebrated her 100th birthday at Ruth Ross Residence Oct. 8, 2017 among other Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (SCIC), Associates, staff and family members from Nova Scotia.  Father Michael LeBlanc presided and offered the homily during the eucharistic liturgy in Carmel Chapel.  Celebrations continued with a festive dinner on Thanksgiving weekend.  Enjoying the party, Sr. Bednar played a medley of songs on piano. Read More

STANDING UP TO OVERCOME POVERTY

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – On a day both cold and clear, three Sisters of Charity, I.C. and one Associate joined the public gathered here in King’s Square Oct. 17, 2017 -- the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.  The annual gathering was part of similar initiatives in many parts of the world marking the United Nations observance.  Here it was sponsored by KAIROS Saint John and Area which focuses on ecumenical initiatives for social and ecological justice.  Through song and brief presentations, those gathered heard about harmful effects of poverty locally and globally.  All pledged to stand up and take action against poverty and inequality, and to hold elected leaders to their promises to overcome it.  (In photo, left to right:  Sister Margaret Rose Nickerson, Sharon Jacquard, Associate and Sister Muriel Buckley.   Photo by Sister Roma De Robertis)

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ADVOCATING WITH WOMEN AT THE HEART OF PEACE

Sisters of Charity, I.C. and Associates are participating in the 2017 fall education and action campaign of Development and Peace – Caritas Canada.  It focuses on “Women at the Heart of Peace” with the phrase, “May Peace Be With Her.”  The campaign is underway as Development and Peace celebrates its 50th anniversary as Canada’s official Catholic development aid organization in partnership with grassroots organizations in the Global South.  In Saint John, N.B., Sisters and Associates gathered in Carmel Chapel Oct. 17, 2017 on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty to pray for peace with justice.  Engaging fall campaign resources, they focused on women’s role as weavers of peace in countries such as Colombia, Afghanistan and Lebanon.  They also signed action postcards calling on the Canadian prime minister and federal government to increase overseas development assistance.  Sisters, Associates and friends in western Canada are also responding to the fall campaign resources and initiatives.  (Photo in Carmel Chapel by Sister Monica Plante.  Left to right:  Sister Roma De Robertis and Associates Mike Campbell and Sharon Jacquard)

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DEEPENING RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH CONTEMPLATIVE CONVERSATION

CINCINNATI, Ohio – Sister Pat Poole of Saint John, N.B. (photo, second from right) participated in an international gathering here Oct. 15-22, 2017 as a member of the Sisters of Charity Federation Grassroots Planners.  The theme of the retreat and workshop was, “Charity Friendship:  Deepening Our Relationships through Contemplative Conversations.”  The retreat was facilitated by Sister Judith Metz, SC of Cincinnati.  The Grassroots Planners committee organizes regional gatherings for Sisters, Associates/Affiliates and friends to deepen their understanding and practice of the Charity charism which they share.  Photo, left to right:  Rose Marie Smith, Sister of Charity of Halifax Associate;  Eileen MacDonald, SC Halifax Associate; Julia Townsend, Associate, Congregation of St. Martha (Antigonish, N.S.); Sister Jovita MacPherson, CSM (Antigonish);  Sister Pat Poole, (SC of the Immaculate Conception) and Sister Alice Ann O'Neill, SC of Cincinnati.  For more about the SC Federation, see www.sistersofcharityfederation.org

KNITTING SCARVES FOR WARMTH & AWARENESS

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – For World AIDS Day 2017, Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception and animator Andrea Butler were busy knitting red scarves in response to a request from AIDS Saint John. The annual red scarf campaign represents those lost to and still affected by HIV-AIDS. The local AIDS organization ties donated red scarves on lampposts and benches in uptown Saint John for the United Nations observance on Dec. 1. Members of the public are free to take the scarves for warmth and also for awareness. Sisters and Associates are also active participants in the annual AIDS Walk, sponsored by AIDS Saint John to raise money and awareness. Annually, Sisters and Associates also participate in a candlelight memorial prepared by Sister Margaret Rose Nickerson and colleagues at AIDS Saint John and held in the nearby Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. In photo, left to right, standing: Sister Margaret Toner and Andrea Butler. Seated: Sisters Therese Kergoat and Ruth Monahan (Photo by Sister Mary Ann Maxwell, SCIC)

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SISTERS RECEIVE HONOUR FROM DEVELOPMENT & PEACE

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (SCIC) gratefully received a certificate of honour from Development and Peace – Caritas Canada Nov. 29 in Carmel Chapel here.  Sister Mary Beth McCurdy, congregational leader (photo, centre) received the certificate on behalf of the Sisters for “exceptional commitment to the cause of social justice” and efforts to improve living conditions for those living in extreme poverty in the Global South.  The certificate was presented by Donna LeBlanc of Fredericton (left), Saint John diocesan chair of Development and Peace and Mary Hanson (right) of Northampton, who is the anglophone representative for New Brunswick on the national council of Development and Peace.  They also presented Development and Peace certificates of honour to Sisters Angie Martz and Roma De Robertis.  Earlier, they offered one for the late SCIC Associate David Lewis.  Sister Mary Beth and SCIC Associate Donna Schroeter invited Sisters, Associates and staff to join in blessing the visitors and their ministry.  The recent recognitions came at the conclusion of the organization’s 50th anniversary year.  (Photo:  Sister Mary Ann Maxwell, SCIC)

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SISTER CELEBRATES 80TH ANNIVERSARY

SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Sister Cecile Dionne celebrated her 80th anniversary of religious life on her congregation’s feast day Dec. 8, 2017 in Carmel Chapel here.  She entered the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (SCIC) on that date in 1937, taking the name Sister Mary Rosanna.  Father Don Breen presided at the eucharistic liturgy on the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is also the patronal feast of the Diocese of Saint John.  

Sister Mary Beth McCurdy, SCIC congregational leader, offered thanks and congratulations.  Addressing Sister Cecile she said, “You came with an open heart and open hands – a woman steeped in the land and her Acadian culture.  These gifts blossomed in all your missions and still do today!”

Originally from Saint-André, N.B., Sister Cecile served as a homemaker for 32 years at SCIC houses and missions in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Alberta.  From 1972-81, she ministered as a ward and medical records clerk at Rocmaura Nursing Home in Saint John.  She then volunteered there for years as a receptionist.  She was also an active member of the Rocmaura Auxiliary.  Sister Laura Dionne, her late sister, was also a member of the SCIC.  Sister Cecile resides at Ruth Ross Residence.  (SCIC photo)

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WRITING FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (SCIC) and Associates organized and participated in Amnesty International letter-writing initiatives in honour of Human Rights Day here.  The first “Write for Rights” gathering took place at St. Vincent Residence on Dec. 11, 2017 -- the day after the United Nations observance.  The second event was held at Ruth Ross Residence Dec. 15.  Participants chose one or more case outlines offered by Amnesty International to advocate for prisoners of conscience and other human rights defenders who are unjustly treated.  Other Sisters and Associates responded online at writeathon.ca  Participants in the first gathering included Sister Margaret MacLean (photo, left) and SCIC Associate Mary Matheson (right). The event was one of many in Canada and around the world.  Organizers paid tribute to the late John Peters Humphrey of Hampton, N.B.  The international lawyer drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights while working at the UN.  It was unanimously adopted by the UN General Assembly on Dec. 10, 1948.  (SCIC photo)

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SCIC CELEBRATE ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception and staff celebrated St. Elizabeth Ann Seton here on her Jan. 4th feast day.  Staff member Bernadette Mantin (left) played the saint during a skit at Ruth Ross Residence.  She was “interviewed” by Sister Mary Ann Maxwell, SCIC (right) about her remarkable life, mission and canonization.  SCIC and staff from two residences gathered to enjoy the conversation and receive a blessing with a relic of the saint offered by Sister Mary Beth McCurdy.  The SCIC congregational leader also read an inspirational message she composed for the feast day and had sent earlier that day to SCIC and Associates.  Sisters each received and proclaimed a saying by St. Elizabeth Ann.  All enjoyed treats as part of the celebration.  The Sisters of Charity Federation feast day prayer was also shared earlier with Sisters and Associates.  (Photo by Judy Glennie)

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LEARNING EXPERIENCE INSPIRES HOPE FOR JUST RELATIONSHIPS
On the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, new relationships are coming to birth!  Since September 2017, the students and staff of Saint Patrick Regional Secondary School have engaged in the KAIROS Blanket Exercise: a learning experience opening possibilities for mutual and just relationships between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians.  Musqueam, Coast Salish author and artist, Melaney Gleeson-Lyall (photo, right) welcomed all participants with sacred song; sharing how the 500 years of colonization has affected her life, her families and her communities, and inviting us forward together in hope and reconciliation.  Co-facilitators in photo, left to right:  (Standing, back)  Anne Wicks, Janette McIntosh, Jodi Spargur and Melaney Gleeson-Lyall.  (Seated, front) Maureen Fowler, scic and Stephanie Kim.  (Photo by Dave Wicks)  Maureen is Pacific coordinator for justice, peace and integrity of creation with Sisters of Charity, I.C.

TOGETHER FOR PEACE

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Sisters and Associates gathered in Carmel Chapel here March 7 for a Share Lent solidarity ritual with symbols honouring the Development and Peace 2018 campaign theme, “Together for Peace”.  In response to the campaign, Sisters of Charity, I.C. and Associates also distributed Share Lent educational materials and offered donations for D & P partners in the Global South.  For more about the campaign and work of D & P, see www.devp.org  Photo L to R:  Sisters Rose Mulholland, Irene Buechler and Muriel Buckley;  Associate Sharon Jacquard; Sister Anne Wanner and Associate Mike Campbell.  Artwork by Sister Muriel. (SCIC photo)

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SISTER OF CHARITY RECEIVES POLAR MEDAL

VICTORIA, B.C. – Longtime northern Canadian missionary Sister Fay Trombley received the prestigious Polar Medal from Governor General Julie Payette at Government House here March 21, 2018.  The Sister of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (SCIC) has ministered in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T. since late 2005 among mainly Inuvialuit Indigenous people.  Governor General Julie Payette, left, with Sister Fay Trombley, SCIC wearing her Polar Medal on a garment made by Indigenous women in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T.  (Photo by Master Cpl. Vincent Carbonneau, Rideau Hall, Ottawa) Read More

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DEEPENING AWARENESS TOWARD RECONCILIATION & JUSTICE

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Sisters of Charity, I.C. and Associates participated in the KAIROS Blanket Exercise here April 14, 2018 guided by regional facilitators from the United Church of Canada.  The popular participatory exercise explores historical and contemporary relationships between Indigenous and other peoples in Canada.  Photo of facilitators, left to right:  Ida MacPherson, Sheila Croteau, Bette Ashley and David MacPherson.  Sheila is an Indigenous elder and drummer from Saint John and a member of KAIROS Saint John and Area.  Ida, Bette and David are with Two Rivers Pastoral Charge of the United Church in Westfield and on the Kingston Peninsula at Summerville and Long Reach, N.B.  As members of a committee called Church in the World, they facilitate the Blanket Exercise in the area as part of their commitment to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada relating to education.  After participants engage in the Blanket Exercise, they are invited to share feelings and insights in a talking circle.  They may also express earlier experiences relating to Indigenous awareness. For more, see www.kairosblanketexercise.org  (SCIC photo)