Hospitality, Conversations, Questions, Answers, and Compliments
by Barbara Reney, CSJ
Mother Olga, founder of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth, presently lives with her sisters in the convent at St. John’s Parish, Quincy. She wanted them to have the opportunity to meet the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Sisters of Charity of Halifax who had previously lived and served at St. John’s. Some Sisters of Charity of Halifax, as well as Marian Batho, CSJ, Barbara Reney, CSJ, and Josephine Perico, CSJ, accepted the invitation to join at Mass on Sunday, May 8, and visit them after Mass in their new home.
Father Robert Cullen, the pastor, warmly welcomed the visiting sisters at the liturgy. It was easy to see that the parishioners remembered them with great affection. The choir was extraordinary and it was wonderful to sing along with them. A man sitting behind us had a powerful voice. When we complimented him, his response was, “those who sing pray twice.”
Following the Liturgy, we traversed to the convent and received another very warm welcome. The atmosphere burst with hospitality and conversations were filled with questions, answers, and compliments. Before settling in to our waiting refreshments, all processed outside and had a lovely crowning of the Blessed Mother in honor of Mother’s Day.
Later, in the dining room, we enjoyed a variety of delicious foods, wholesome conversations, and stories of how life used to be at St. John’s Convent. Father Cullen presented each community with a letter of gratitude, a donation, and a picture of the church that had been created for the parish anniversary in 2013.
To end our time together, Mother Olga and her Sisters serenaded us with hymns whose words they had written accompanied by the melody of popular music. Afterwards, we were shown the granite marker placed where the school once stood. The inscription on the stone reads, “Former site of St. John’s School 1913-1974 - In gratitude to the Sisters of St. Joseph.” We left , knowing that Mother Olga and her community are grateful to be living at St. John’s Convent and are also very grateful to those sisters who lived there in years gone by.
A Ministry of Ever-widening Circles in the Brighton/Allston Neighborhood
Since the Sisters of St. Joseph founded The Women’s Table in 2008 this ministry has become a vital partner in the Allston-Brighton community. On May 18, 2016, approximately 160 sisters, friends, CSJ Associates, and community partners came together to celebrate this relationship. It was an evening to learn more about the ever-widening circles of The Women’s Table. Critical to this work is connection and relationship of neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God, a focus that is at the heart of all ministries of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
After a reception with ample time for connecting and conversation, participants proceeded to the chapel where Mary Rita Weschler, CSJA, Women’s Table Director, presented honors to three women of the Brighton-Allston neighborhood. Jo-Ann Barbour, executive director of an affordable, mixed housing development in Brighton, received the Building Inclusive Community Award for her 25 years of advocacy and building community partnerships. Francisca Guevara, director of a community health center in Brighton, was honored with the Connecting Neighbor with Neighbor Award for the manner in which she works with clients to obtain a range of services. Rhonita Hargrow, a wife, mother of six, and active member of her church and civic community, was presented the Compassionate Strength Award. As a member of the Women’s Table gathering circle for mothers of children with special needs, she shares support, information, and experience with other mothers.
The evening concluded with the announcement of voting results for the creative table settings that were displayed in the foyer, door prize drawings, and a spirited “Rose Auction” conducted by our very own auctioneer, Carol Mack, Director of Mission Advancement. Theevent raised over $17,000 for The Women’s Table programs. Read more about The Women’s Table at: http://thewomenstable.org/ . A slide presentation with many pictures of this event is available at: http://www.csjboston.org/