Wednesday, September 18, 2019

World Refugee Day

As we approach World Refugee Day (September 29), it might be a good idea to review this background information provided by Justice for Immigrants (JFI).  Additionally, JFI has provided this message that can be sent to President Trump to urge his administration to "affirm the inherent dignity of every person and the ability of refugees to seek security and safety for themselves and family members."

Monday, September 16, 2019

International Climate Accountability Act

As we have mentioned previously, the Season of Creation is celebrated by Christians around the world from September 1 - October 4.  During this year's Season of Creation, Catholic Climate Covenant has shared this petition, asking U.S. Senators to support the International Climate Accountability Act, calling upon the President to develop and submit a plan for the United States to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement and to prohibit the funding of our nation's withdrawal from it.


Thursday, September 12, 2019

How will you be remembered?

The family of Welles Crowther, who died at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, spoke at the 18th annual Morris County (NJ) remembrance service.  The Sisters from Assumption College for Sisters (ACS), Denville, NJ, were present for the service, as can be seen in the photos below.  Reminding those in attendance that we should be defined by how we live and the lives we touch, Honor Crowther Fagan, Welles's sister, asked "How will you be remembered?"  

A news story about the service is available here (where you will also find some of the ACS Sisters in the slideshow).   

The story of Welles Crowther is also told in the award-winning documentary, Man in Red Bandana, referring to the red bandana Welles was wearing when he rescued 18 people from the World Trade Center before losing his life.  

Thanks to Sister Joseph for alerting us to this important, touching story.






Wednesday, September 11, 2019

September 11

Today as we pause to remember those who were/are affected by the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States, let us remember to bring peace on earth, beginning with ourselves.  Here is a musical reminder. (Email subscribers: If you do not see a video below, please click here to view it.)


Monday, September 9, 2019

Prayer Resources for 9/11

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops provides these liturgical resources for commemoration of September 11 (also known as "Patriot Day").

Other resources are also available online.  For example, the Sisters of Mercy have shared this Prayer of Remembrance and prayers for use as intercessions in liturgy are available here

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Calendar for Season of Creation

The Sisters of Charity of Cincinatti have published this calendar for the Season of Creation (September 1 - October 4), with suggestions of small, daily tasks that could make a big impact on our care for creation.


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Stop Trafficking Newsletter for September

The September 2019 issue of Stop Trafficking is available here.

Season of Creation: Laudato Si

As we mentioned previously, the "Season of Creation" is celebrated by Christians annually from September 1 through October 4.  Perhaps this is a good time to continue to experience the richness of Laudato Si, Pope Francis' 2015 Encylical about the "care for our common home." The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has provided a Discussion Guide for Laudato Si (available here).  During the Season of Creation, we will share portions of that guide.

Excerpts from Laudato Si:

"I urgently appeal . . . for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all" (n. 14).

"The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all" (n. 23).

"The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change" (n. 13).

As you read Laudato Si through paragraph 61, consider these questions:

1. Pope Francis calls for dialogue that includes "everyone." Who should be included in the conversation who may not currently be?  With whom are Catholics called to dialogue about the future of our common home?

2. The climate belongs to all and is meant for all, yet a disproportionate amount of the earth's resources are consumed by the United States and other wealthy countries.  What does Pope Francis propose must happen in order to address this?




Sunday, September 1, 2019

Prayer for Labor Day

The USCCB has released this statement for Labor Day 2019 and has provided this Prayer for the Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers:

Lord God, Master of the Vineyard,
How wonderful that you have invited us
who labor by the sweat of our brow
to be workers in the vineyard
and assist your work
to shape the world around us.

As we seek to respond to this call,
make us attentive to those who seek work
but cannot find it.

Help us to listen to the struggles of those
who work hard to provide for their families
but still have trouble making ends meet.

Open our eyes to the struggles of those exploited
and help us speak for just wages and safe conditions,
the freedom to organize, and time for renewal.
For work was made for humankind
and not humankind for work.
Let it not be a vehicle for exploitation
but a radiant expression of our human dignity.

Give all who labor listening hearts
that we may pause from our work
to receive your gift of rest.

Fill us with your Holy Spirit
that you might work through us to let your justice reign.

Amen.

Season of Creation

From September 1 to October 4, Christians around the world celebrate the Season of Creation.  Click here to read the Message of the Holy Father for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation (September 1).  In his Message, the Pope points out that this is a season for letting our prayer be inspired anew by closeness to nature, for reflecting on our lifestyles, and for undertaking prophetic actions.  He concludes:  "Each Christian man and woman, every member of the human family, can act as a thin, yet unique and indispensable thread in weaving a network of life" that embraces everyone.  May we feel challenged to assume, with prayer and commitment, our responsibility for the care of creation. May God, 'the love of life' (Wis 11:26), grant us the courage to do good without waiting for someone else to begin, or until it is too late."


Friday, August 30, 2019

Fire at Straight and Narrow

Many of our readers are familiar with Straight and Narrow, an addiction treatment facility operated by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Paterson, NJ.  On August 24, a devastating fire caused the loss of one of the facility's buildings.  Thankfully, no one was injured, but much was lost.  Please click here to go to Straight and Narrow's donation page, where you will find information about financial and in-kind donations.  Let's continue to pray for everyone at Straight and Narrow as they rebuild.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Anniversary Celebration in Argentina

Thanks to our Sisters in Argentina for this video of the August 21 celebration in Buenos Aires of the 170th anniversary of the Sisters of Christian Charity.  (Email subscribers, please click here  to view the video if you do not see it below.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

A Deportation Story

Matt Cameron is an attorney in Boston, specializing in immigration law -- especially deportation defense and asylum. He has been doing Central American asylum cases since 2006.  He can be followed on Twitter (@matt_cam). Here is his tweet from August 27: 


Without violating attorney-client privilege, Mr. Cameron uses his Twitter feed to provide a detailed explanation of the law behind this decision.  It is worth reading if you can. 

In another post, he states, "I'm the person in this story whose life will be least affected by this tragedy, but it's been sitting with me. . . . I knew this news had to be coming, some day. I was never going to be ready for it."

Matt Cameron and others are attempting to open "Golden Stairs," a full-time legal services center to offer pro bono services to non-citizens in New England. 

Are you aware of such services that are available in your area and should be highlighted here in order to inform others?   Please comment on this blog post to share them.


Thursday, August 22, 2019

Anniversary celebration in Germany

The Archdiocese of Paderborn published this article about our German Region's celebration of  the 170th anniversary of the founding of Sisters of Christian Charity.  On August 21, the Archbishop of Paderborn, Hans-Josef Becker, celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving in the Motherhouse chapel.  At the end of the day, a prayer service was held at the grave of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt.

Congratulations to all SCCs who celebrated this anniversary and to our jubilarians who observed significant anniversaries in consecrated life.

Archbishop Becker and priests celebrate Mass of Thanksgiving

Prayer service at the grave of Blessed Pauline
(Both photos courtesy of Archdiocese of Paderborn)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

170th Anniversary of the Sisters of Christian Charity

A little over 170 years ago, on February 24, 1849, Mother Pauline received a document granting corporation rights to the Sisters of Christian Charity.  Exactly 170 years ago, on August 21, 1849, Mother Pauline and Sisters Maria, Mathilde and Elisabeth became the first four Sisters of Christian Charity.  This Congregation has spread from Germany to North America, South America and the Philippines.

As we gratefully celebrate 170 years of service to God by "giving Christ's love to everyone in cheerful, wholehearted service" (SCC Charism), we pray for the grace to persevere in responding to the needs of the "least" of our brothers and sisters.

Blessed Pauline, we pray to you, lead us to God!



Monday, August 19, 2019

"Holy Chaos"

Congratulations to Sister Norma Pimentel, a member of the Missionaries of Jesus and Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, who received the 2019 Outstanding Leadership Award from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) on August 16.  (You will recall from this and other posts on this blog that several SCCs ministered with Sister Norma in June.)

This Global Sisters Report story by Soli Salgado and Dan Stockman provides some background on Sister Norma and coverage of the presentation of the reward at the LCWR annual Assembly last week.  In her speech and in a subsequent interview, Sister Norma described her ministry as "holy chaos," noting that when she started doing this ministry years ago, serving 200 people in a day would have been considered a busy day.  Now, the ministry serves over 700 migrants each day.  Describing the urgent need, Sister Norma said, "There are times we must decide who we are, what we stand for.  We must ask ourselves, dear Sisters, 'What else must I do in the world today?' If it is not now, then when?  If it is not you, then who?  For it is in times of extreme pain and suffering that extreme measures of love are needed. . . . As consecrated people dedicated to our ministries, we must never lose sight of why we are doing this. I can be comfortable with chaos, and sometimes the Humanitarian Respite Center can be chaotic [in] how it looks, but there's a sense of order within that chaos, and that's why I call it 'holy chaos.' "

Sister Norma addresses the LCWR Assembly. (Photo from Global Sisters Report)

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Feast of Padre Hurtado


August 18 is the Feast Day of Chilean Jesuit, St. Alberto Hurtado, S.J. (1901-1952), who is featured in this article from America magazine by David J.W. Inczauskis, S.J., "Why more U.S. Catholics should know about St. Alberto Hurtado, S.J."

The article suggests that three features of Padre Hurtado's life are significant:  "his vivacious attentiveness to the material needs of the poor, his fervent commitment to justice for workers and his passionate prayer life."

In addition to addressing the immediate needs of the poor by founding Hogar de Cristo (Home of Christ), Padre Hurtado was known for the a spiritual life characterized by "a serious sense of Christ's oneness with the poor."  The phrase ser otro Cristo ("to be another Christ") permeates his writings.  Pope Benedict XVI said of Padre Hurtado: "The objective of his life was to be another Christ. He experienced the pain of others as his own, and this propelled him toward a greater dedication to the poor."

The article continues:  "The priest's writings reveal why the Mass was such a passionate moment in his daily life.  In a reflection titled, 'My Life is an Extended Mass,' he claims that, in addition to offering Jesus' body as a sacrifice to God the Father at the eucharistic table, we also enjoin 'our personal immolations, offering our work and difficulties . . . participating personally in the victimhood of Jesus Christ.' The people whose burdens Father Hurtado carried, the dreams for justice he longed to achieve, the pains of illness by which he died an early death -- all of these experiences found expression when he raised the host and chalice over the altar."

Today, let us remember St. Alberto Hurtado by praying this prayer that he wrote (taken from this website, where the Spanish version may also be found):

Lord, help me to speak the truth in front of the strong
and not say lies to gain the applause of the weak.
If you give me fortune, don’t take happiness away from me.
If you give me strength, don’t take reason away from me.
If you give me success, don’t take humility away from me.
If you give me humility, don’t take dignity away from me.
Help me always see the other side of the medal.
Do not let me blame others of treason
for not thinking like me.
Teach me to love people as myself
and to judge myself as others.
Do not let me fall into pride if I triumph
nor in despair if I fail.
Rather, remind me that failure
is the experience which precedes triumph.
Teach me that forgiving is the grandest for the strong
and that revenge is the primitive sign of the weak.
If you take away my fortune, leave me with hope.
If you take away success, leave me with the strength
to triumph from the defeat.
If I fail people, give me the courage to ask pardon.
If the people fail me, give me the courage to forgive.
Lord, if I forget You, don’t forget me.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

August Books

This month, we are introducing two newly-published books written by women religious:


River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey by Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ is somewhat of a "prequel" to Dead Man Walking (1993), beginning with days as a novice and ending when she was first invited to correspond with a man on Louisiana's death row.  In the description of the book, we read, "Sister Helen Prejean's work as an activist nun, campaigning to educate Americans about the inhumanity of the death penalty, is known to millions worldwide.  Less widely known is the evolution of her spiritual journey from praying for God to solve the world's problems to engaging full-tilt in working to transform societal injustices. . . . Sister Helen writes about the relationships with friends, fellow nuns, and mentors who have shaped her over the years."





Beyond the Crossroads: Religious Life in the 21st Century, by Amy Hereford, CSJ is somewhat of a sequel to Religious Life at the Crossroads (2012).  As a canon lawyer, Sister Amy works with various religious communities, which gives her the unique opportunity to engage with women and men religious whose communities are at various stages of evolution.  In the Preface of the book, we read, "This book continues the exploration of contemporary movements in religious life and emerging currents, particularly among the smaller cohorts of younger religious in mainstream communities of women religious. . . . This book is another series of extended reflections about where we are in religious life and where we're headed."

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Inherent Dignity

Today, on the U.N. World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, we are reminded of the advocacy guidebook provided by the Sisters of Mercy, "Inherent Dignity."  Last year, Global Sisters Report (GSR) provided this story about the July 30 commemoration and the release of the guidebook.  This year, GSR published a series of stories, including this one, to remind us of the various ways in which women religious work to end human trafficking.  More information is also available at the "Talitha Kum" website of the UISG (here).

Monday, July 1, 2019

From Denville to Uganda: 2019

You may recall this post from 2017 in which we shared with you the ministry that Ben Duphiney, then a senior at Morris Catholic High School in Denville, was doing in collaboration with then-ACS student Sister Mary Cecilia Akol in Uganda, Africa.  This year, Ben and his group are being joined in their mission by Sister of Christian Charity John Paul Thorley, math teacher at Morris Catholic.  We are grateful to Sister John Paul for sharing these photos with us.  Don't forget to follow the group's blog, where you will find photos and stories.  We continue our prayers for "Mission Madera" -- for the children, the families, the missionaries, the women religious and all who serve there. 






Sunday, June 30, 2019

Prayers for Our 24th General Chapter

As we have been sharing with you since January, our 24th General Chapter is being held from July 1-22 in Paderborn, Germany.  If you would like to refresh your memory about the history of our General Chapters,  go to the blog (sccjpic.blogspot.com) and -- under 2019 -- click on "January."  Scrolling through January's posts will bring you to the posts about the General Chapter.  These posts continue through February 2019.

Please pray for all the members of the General Chapter, the facilitator, translators, assistants and everyone who makes these days possible.  Would you like to join us in the prayer for our General Chapter?

O Holy Spirit, direct and guide our Congregation so that every member thereof may labor in a spirit of faith, and that all things may tend only to the greater glory of God, the sanctification of each Sister and the welfare of our neighbor.  Holy Spirit, ever preserve a Spirit of profound humility in our Congregation and a lasting conformity of our will with your most holy Will.  Amen.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

More SCC Volunteers at the Border

We are grateful to Sister Gabrielle and Sister Marie Jose for sharing these photos of their experiences at the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas. We continue to pray for them, for all the volunteers and staff, and especially for the refugees seeking help and comfort at the Center. 
Sister Marie Jose sets up a waiting room for the clinic.

Sister Gabrielle and other volunteers make lunch.

Sister Gabrielle and Sister Marie Jose join a youth group to sort through boxes of clothing.

Sister Marie Jose and another volunteer set up the clinic.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

June 20: World Refugee Day

Resources for commemorating World Refugee Day 2019 are available at the Justice for Immigrants site (here).  Additionally, there is a prayer for refugees, "A Moment of Grace," on the Catholic Relief Services website (here). 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

More from the Border

The women in formation of the Sisters of Christian Charity continue their work with Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.  In this photo, they are seen with Executive Director, Sister Norma Pimentel, MJ.  God bless the work that is being done at the border, especially by those who are under the direction of Sister Norma.  We pray for the ministry and safety of our -- and all --  missionaries to the border.


Saturday, June 15, 2019

SCC Volunteers at the Border

We ask for your prayers for our volunteers who are assisting at Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas this month. The Respite Center receives refugees who have been released from the nearby ICE Detention Center by bus, about 400-500 each day.  According to the website, "We believe that human beings who have no food, no security, no access to shelter, etc., are people in crisis.  We will continue responding to the needs of these families in crisis as long as there is a need."  Donations are always welcome!  Click here for more information about how to donate.

Here are some photos of our women in initial formation and their formators at the border.  Thanks to Sr. Bernadette for sharing them!





Through the intercession of Blessed Pauline and the patron saints of refugees -- St. Alban and Saint Frances Cabrini -- may our brothers and sisters in crisis, and all who assist them, receive blessings in abundance. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Mary, Mother of the Church

On this Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church (celebrated on the Monday following Pentecost -- liturgical resources available here), perhaps we could reflect with Pope Francis on a mosaic by Marko Rupnik, SJ, a Slovenian Jesuit based in Rome.



In a talk given to priests and seminarians in 2016, the Holy Father reflected on this mosaic:  "So let Our Lady take you by the hand, and cling to her mantle.  In my office I have a lovely image of the Synkatabasis that Father Rupnik gave me.  It shows Mary holding out her hands like a stairway on which Jesus descends.  What I like most about it is that Jesus holds in one hand the fullness of the Law and with the other hand he clings to her mantle.  In the Russian tradition, the old monks tell us that amid spiritual storms we need to take refuge under the mantle of Mary" (L'Osservatore Romano, June 10, 2016, p. 14).

Additionally, Pope Francis talks about this mosaic in the book-length interview with Fernando Prado, CMF, The Strength of a Vocation (see this post from our December 2018 blog posts for an introduction to that book):  "The Virgin is the frame, the human need that God had in order to come down; the hands of the Virgin serve Jesus as ladder.  It is the synkatabasis (condescendence) of Jesus.  God comes down, but needs the flesh of Mary and that is why she lowers her arms.  Jesus clings to her cloak.  Francis tells me [the interviewer] that this image could also be very 'eloquent' for consecrated life" (p. 38).

Today, we pray:

O God, Father of mercies,
whose Only Begotten Son, as he hung on the Cross,
chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, his Mother,
to be our Mother also,
grant, we pray, that with her loving help
your Church may be more fruitful day by day
and, exulting in the holiness of her children,
may draw to her embrace all the families of the peoples.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.  Amen

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

June Issue of Stop Trafficking Newsletter

The June issue of Stop Trafficking -- focusing on the issues affecting trafficked persons and what they see as helpful in their journey toward healing -- is available here

Saturday, May 11, 2019

World Day of Prayer for Vocations

The 56th annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations will be commemorated on Sunday, May 12.  More information and resources -- including prayers, a holy hour, and even a coloring page -- are available here and the message of Pope Francis for this day is available here.

Here is a prayer for vocations found on the website:

God our Father, You made each of us
to use our gifts in the Body of Christ.

We ask that you inspire
young people whom You call to
the priesthood and consecrated life
to courageously follow Your will.

Send workers into Your great harvest
so that the Gospel is preached,
the poor are served with love,
the suffering are comforted,
and Your people are strengthened
by the sacraments.

We ask this through
Christ our Lord,

Amen.


Monday, May 6, 2019

Prayer for Teacher Appreciation Week

It is quite a busy week!  Not only do we celebrate National Nurses' Week from May 6-12, but we also celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week from May 6-10!  Sisters of Christian Charity have been teachers since the time of our founder, Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt (1817-1881), who said, "Love for the children is the best instructor in their upbringing.  Only to one who loves children may they be entrusted."

Please visit our website to see the list of the various sites where Sisters of Christian Charity teach today.

Thanks to Education for Justice, a project of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, for this prayer (copyright 2019):

Prayer of Thanksgiving for Teachers 

As we enter into Teacher Appreciation Week,
We pause with gratitude to reflect
On all of the teachers who have influenced our lives.

We thank the teachers who patiently taught us to read.
The ones who persisted in teaching us
Addition and subtraction.
For those who taught us to think critically, write clearly,
And discern the questions
We should ask of ourselves and others.  
The teachers who taught us in a way
That made our hearts come alive.

As we continue our sacred vocation as educators, 
We pray that we might also inspire our students
To discover their talents and passions
And the unique ways that they can bring
Peace and justice into the world.

May we also recognize the honor and dignity in our work.
From early mornings prepping
To late nights at events or grading.
From difficult conversations with students
To "ah ha" moments that make it worthwhile.
We give thanks for this most holy vocation.

We pray for the continual guidance of Jesus,
The greatest teacher,
As we re-commit to this work each day.

Amen.


Sunday, May 5, 2019

National Nurses' Week

National Nurses' Week is celebrated annually from May 6 (also known as National Nurses' Day) to May 12 (the birthday of Florence Nightingale).  The Sisters of Christian Charity have a long history of caring for the sick, going back to the 19th century, through our founder, Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt (1817-1881).  Today, our Sister-nurses serve at various ministry sites in New Jersey and Pennsylvania (click here to see a listing of these on our website).   We are grateful to them and offer our special prayers for them this week.

The Catholic Health Association of the United States has provided this prayer for National Nurses' Day.  It is worth reflecting on the entire prayer at the link above. Here is a brief portion of the prayer:

God of healing and hope, you sanctify the call of the nurse as one who offers themselves in the service of others.  

Just as you willingly took on the lowliness of human nature and in doing so elevated it, the nurse willingly takes on thankless and commonplace tasks.  In doing so, she sanctifies and makes them holy.  

Remain with the nurses of Catholic health care.  Strengthen them as they serve with faithful devotion.  Be a strength to them that they may be strong for others.  Be a comfort to them that they may comfort others, and as their shifts come to an end, be a resting place for them that they may know your love, grace and joy.

Amen.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

May Issue of Stop Trafficking

The May 2019 issue of Stop Trafficking! -- highlighting forces that make people vulnerable to human trafficking -- is available here.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Feast of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt

Today, Sisters of Christian Charity and Companions of Pauline around the world celebrate the feast day of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, who died on April 30, 1881.  Pauline was born on June 3, 1817 in Minden, Westphalia (Germany).  Her family's wealth and prestige did not close her mind to the hardships of others.  As a young woman, she was particularly involved with the poverty-stricken families on the outskirts of Paderborn, Germany.  She nursed their sick and brought them food.  To aid them further, she opened a day care center for the children of working mothers -- an undertaking which brought to her attention the needs of blind children and led her to found a school for the blind.

When Pauline's works of charity became too vast for her to manage alone, she founded a religious community, the Congregation of the Sisters of Christian Charity, in 1849.  The story of the spread of the Congregation beyond Germany to other parts of Europe, the United States, South America, and the Philippines is worth exploring.  Discover more information about the Sisters of Christian Charity by visiting scceast.org or sccwilmette.org.

This video (located at scceast.org) provides a wonderful overview of the life of Blessed Pauline:


(Email subscribers:  If you do not see a video embedded above, please click here to view the video.)

Today, we pray:  Father in heaven, lead us in the way of love as you led Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt.  Open our hearts to others, that loving them as your Son commanded, we may be one with them in your heavenly kingdom.  Amen

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

For Your Easter Reflection

Albert Holtz, OSB, is a monk of Newark Abbey in Newark, NJ,where he is the director of formation and teaches New Testament in the monastery's inner city prep school.  He has written Faces of Easter: Meeting the Paschal Mystery in the People Around Us (Liturgical Press, 2019).  With a daily reflection from Easter until Pentecost, this book gives the reader an opportunity to accompany the author "through the fifty days of the Easter season, listening in on his intriguing interactions with local street people and his inner-city high school students, . . . giving an insider's look at what goes on in a monk's heart as he chants Vespers to the sound of police sirens" (from the publisher).


Monday, April 22, 2019

Earth Prayer 2019

Thanks to Education for Justice for providing this prayer, by Jane Deren, Ph.D., for Earth Day 2019:

In the light of this Spring, this Easter Season,
We see the beauty of your Creation, O Lord,
Resurrection mirrored in the green growth around us,
Rebirth visible in buds and branches.

Yet we also see the tragedy
Of the changes in climate
Bringing floods, the fear of famine,
Destruction of homes and habitats.
Growing landfills and polluted seas
Reveal our failure at containing
Plastic refuse and unending bags of trash.

How do we hold both these realities,
How do we reconcile gift and guilt,
How do we delight as well as debate?

Make our attention to your Earth --
Our common home --
A prayer that we utter every day,
A prayer of thanksgiving that becomes
Embodied in our advocacy and our actions
As we recommit, as the trees do every Spring,
To grow and to give glory to God,
Through greening and healing Creation.







Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!  Here are some thoughts from Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt (1817-1881), founder of the Sisters of Christian Charity.  This meditation is taken from her retreat notes in August 1849, just days before she and three other women became the first Sisters of Christian Charity.

"Jesus lies in the grave.  His soul is separated from his body.  On the third day, soul and body are reunited and he rises from the tomb.  The soldiers and the stone would like to hold him back, but he rises.  Thus it is with us.  Let nothing hold us back; let us, too, arise to a new life.  

What did Jesus do during the forty days he remained on earth?  He used it to structure his work, to institute the sacraments, to complete everything.  Let your life proceed that way.  

Peace came forth from him wherever he went.  Let your whole life henceforth be one of blessing and peace.  Be eyes for the blind, a staff for the lame, consolation for the discouraged, the way for the erring, and knowledge for the ignorant.

Oh, arise with Jesus, and remain with Jesus, then your flesh will arise in splendor and glory, too.  Amen."


Friday, April 19, 2019

Walking the Way of the Cross with the Poor: Sister Eugenia Bonetti's Meditations

Long-time readers of this blog will recognize Sister Eugenia Bonetti as a Consolata Missionary who is very involved in anti-human trafficking ministries.  This year, Pope Francis invited Sister Eugenia to prepare the meditations for the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum on Good Friday.  Those meditations are available here.  Drawing on her long experience of fighting human trafficking, Sister Eugenia's meditations focus on "Walk[ing] this via dolorosa in union with the poor, the outcast of our societies, and all those who are enduring crucifixions as victims of our narrowmindedness, our institutions and our laws, our blindness and selfishness, but especially our indifference and hardness of heart" (from the Introduction).

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Beatification Anniversary

On April 14, 1985, Pope John Paul II presided at ceremonies in St. Peter's Square for the beatification of two religious, the Servants of God Pauline von Mallinckrodt [Foundress of the Sisters of Christian Charity] and Maria Caterina Troiani [Foundress of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary].

During the Liturgy, which was attended by crowds of pilgrims from several countries, including sisters of the two congregations founded by the new Blesseds, the Holy Father gave a homily that is available (in Italian) here.  The May 13, 1985 Weekly Edition of L'Osservatore Romano provided this English translation of the homily, in which the Pope made special note of Blessed Pauline's love of the poor, her kindness, trust, faithfulness and self-sacrifice.  He also mentioned Blessed Pauline's exercise of humility and patience amidst her bold (some translators would say, "audacious") plans, which were carried out among struggles and difficulties.  Concluding his remarks about Blessed Pauline, the Holy Father noted that her message is always relevant, "for the search for God is always relevant."

More information about Blessed Pauline is available here.

Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of the beatification of our Foundress, we pray that we may continue to follow her example.  "Blessed Pauline, we pray to you: Lead us to God!"


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Have you seen "Unplanned"?

Unplanned, the movie about Abby Johnson's conversion from Planned Parenthood clinic director to pro-life activist, opened in theaters last Friday.  Have you seen it?  Reply/comment to let us know your thoughts about the movie.  Click here to read a review by Emma Winters in America and here to read a review by Sister Rose Pacatte in NCR.  Winters writes that the movie will "get under your skin," and Pacatte writes that the movie is "important, but not exactly entertaining.  What do you think?  Please let us know.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Stop Trafficking Newsletter for April

Please click here to access the April 2019 issue of the Stop Trafficking newsletter, which highlights housing for trafficked survivors and the healing that is needed.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Sowing Hope for the Planet

"Sowing Hope for the Planet" is a project in which every Sister whose Congregation is a member of UISG, and their connections are provided with an opportunity to make a difference in our care of the planet.  This project is a collaborative effort of the JPIC Commission in the name of  UISG and the Global Catholic Climate Movement.  As part of the project, a webinar will be offered.  Here are the details:

April 11, 2019  (times listed on registration page)
"Sowing Seeds of Hope: Listening to the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor"
Click here to register.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Remembering Romero

Over the years, we have shared many posts about Archbishop -- now Saint -- Oscar Arnulfo Romero, who was murdered while celebrating Mass in El Salvador on March 24, 1980.  Today, on his Feast Day -- the first since his canonization in October 2018 -- we share something very simple and brief from Franciscan Media.  Click here to access a multimedia resource about the life of Saint Oscar Romero.

Let us pray:  God of power and mercy, who have granted to Bishop Oscar Romero to give his life while celebrating the Eucharist, in a supreme act of love for you, grant us, we ask of you, that as you gave him the grace to imitate Christ's suffering by his death, may we, by following in your martyr's footsteps, gain eternal life.  Amen.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Message of Pope Francis for Lent 2019

The message of the Holy Father for Lent 2019 (available here) focuses on Romans 8:19: "For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God."  In his message, Pope Francis reminds us that:

  • Fasting is "learning to change our attitude towards others and all of creation"
  • Prayer "teaches us to abandon idolatry and the self-sufficiency of our ego and to acknowledge our need for the Lord and his mercy"
  • Almsgiving helps us to "escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us."
May we be open to God's abundant blessings as we continue our Lenten journey!

Monday, March 11, 2019

More Lenten Reflections

Thanks to several of our faithful readers for suggesting these Lenten reflections:

This week, the Sisters of Charity Federation offers reflections on prayer, fasting and almsgiving each evening at 9 pm on Facebook Live.  Go to www.facebook.com/scharityfed to attend live and/or to view the archives.  The reflections are being offered by Sister Kara Davis, Daughter of Charity (March 10, prayer); Sister Rejane Cytacki, Sister of Charity of Leavenworth (March 11, fasting); Sister Celine Belliveau, Religeuses de Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Coeur (March 12, almsgiving); Sister Annie Klapheke, Sister of Charity of Cincinatti (March 13, wrap up).

We are grateful to have these reflections during National Catholic Sisters Week (March 8-14).

Would you like to suggest your favorite Lenten reflection?  Please reply and let us know.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

For Your Lenten Reflection

As noted last week, we would like to share some resources that might assist with your Lenten reflection.  While these do not bear the word "Lent" in their titles, we feel you might find them helpful during this sacred time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving in prepartion for Easter.
  • How to Live: What the Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning, and Community, by Judith Valente. In 22 short chapters, the author weaves The Rule of St. Benedict with practical stories, prose and poetry to bring the title alive. If you tend to shy away from books that have the words "How to," in their titles, consider this thought from the Afterword of the book by Martin E. Marty, emeritus, The University of Chicago:  "Many, many thousands of book titles begin with "How to. . . ."  Critics, snipers, humorists, reviewers, and the professionally bored find it easy to dismiss everything in this category.  Certainly the author of How to Live had to know the risks they were taking by adding one more title to the list.  It was even more daring to link "How to" with the word "Live," which represents the most challenging concept this side of "Die."  We picture that authors who hope to be of service to readers would compete for attention with emphatic, boisterous, noisy claims.  Yet readers of How to Live will treasure this approach precisely because it is marked by quiet and simplicity."    [If you are in the mood for a book of poetry reflections only, it is possible that The Art of Pausing: Meditations for the Overworked and the Overwhelmed, co-authored by Valente, Brother Paul Quenon, and Michael Bever, might appeal to you.]
  • In this post from December 2018, we shared the publication of The Strength of a Vocation, a book-length interview with Pope Francis about Consecrated Life today.  Perhaps Lent would also be a good time to catch up not only on the writings of Pope Francis on Consecrated Life, but those from other sources, as well.  The CMSWR website lists the Magisterial Documents related to Consecrated Life.  Click here to access the list.
  • "Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, A Pastoral Letter Against Racism," by the USCCB is available here. This pastoral letter, approved and published in November 2018, represents the first time in 40 years that the USCCB has spoken collectively on racism.
Do you have a suggestion for Lenten reflection?  Please reply and let us know!


Sunday, March 3, 2019

Our Provincial Chapter in the Beacon

We are grateful to everyone at The Beacon, the newspaper of the Diocese of Paterson, for featuring our Provincial Chapter in the February 28, 2019 edition.  Click here to read the article.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

March Stop Trafficking Newsletter

The March issue of Stop Trafficking, focusing on corporations and organizations that profit from sexual exploitation, is available here.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

"Savoring Lent"

We are grateful to the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, NJ, for sharing this Lenten calendar, "Savoring Lent," which contains daily, simple actions to make this Lent a "season of deep joy."

We hope to share other possibilities for your Lenten reflection in the days to come.  Stay tuned . . .

Thursday, February 21, 2019

February Issue of Stop Trafficking Newsletter

The February 2019 issue of the Stop Trafficking newsletter -- highlighting the growth of networks and partnerships -- is available here.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Days of Grace

We have experienced days of grace during our 15th Provincial Chapter as we met for sacred discussions about what is most important to us.  Thank you for accompanying us with your prayers.

We have reflected on the "new wine" in our lives and have challenged ourselves toward transformation into fresh wineskins.  This is no small task. We ask for your continued prayers and we promise you our prayers as we journey.  

Here are some photos from our final day: 

Sister Mary Edward addresses the Sisters during the closing ritual.
Sister Mary Ann explains an artistic representation of our Chapter.
Sister Josita leads us in our closing ritual.

The Sisters receive a memento of the Provincial Chapter.
Our faithful trumpeters share their gifts during liturgy.
Hopefully, you were able to join us on Facebook for our Provincial Chapter closing liturgy.  If not, check it out here. Thanks to Casey and Brent Dolan for helping to make this happen.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sundaes on Sunday

After a full day of prayer and work, we were treated to ice cream sundaes!  We are grateful to our recreation committee for preparing the treat and serving us so generously.  The smiles on these faces show how much the sundaes were enjoyed.







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Please join us on Monday, February 18, at 2:00 P.M on Facebook for our closing liturgy.  Thank you for your prayers for our Provincial Chapter.

Sunday's Reflection: Good Wine Overflows

We are grateful to Sister Ann Marie Paul, SCC, for today's haiku reflections on our Chapter theme:

Mary at Cana
Son, they have no wine to drink
Do what he tells you

Jesus at Cana
Bring the water of your lives
Leave the rest to me

Servers at Cana
Water jugs filled to the brim
Good wine overflows

- Sister Ann Marie ministers at the Passaic Neighborhood Center for Women (Passaic, NJ).
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The Sisters of Christian Charity of the North American Eastern Province began our Provincial Chapter yesterday, February 14, 2019. The Chapter will close on Monday, February 18.  Please join us in praying the prayer for our Provincial Chapter.

During the Chapter, we are posting updates here and on our Facebook page.  Also, we are very happy to announce that the closing liturgy of our Provincial Chapter can be viewed live on Facebook.  Tune in on Monday, February 18 at 2:00 P.M. EST.  Hope to see you there!