This Is Holy Ground...
By Betty Cawley, CSJ
We came together on April 22, 2017, to celebrate Earth Day and the 25thAnniversary of our Corporate Stance on Behalf of the Earth. Sisters, associates, and friends gathered at our Motherhouse, Fontbonne Convent, and Bethany Health Care Center Chapel to commit ourselves anew to the Care of our Common Home.
At the Motherhouse, we began around the fountain nestled behind the Motherhouse and paused to pray at sacred earth spaces around the property. At each stop, we blessed the space and sang Monica Brown’s mantra, “Holy Ground.” Sisters at Fontbonne Convent gathered in the dining room overlooking the beautiful outdoors to pray and reflect on Earth Day. Sisters from Bethany Health Care Center and St. Joseph Hall gathered in Bethany’s chapel for a similar service. In each place, cards with our corporate stance were distributed and all renewed the commitment made 25 years ago.
The journey to the formulation and acceptance of the original corporate stance began with the 1990 Congregation Chapter which called us to “education and action on behalf of Earth.” Following this Chapter, a committee of more than 40 people worked on the process that included retreats, lectures, workshops oﬀered by experts in the New Cosmology, such as Thomas Berry, CP, Miriam Therese McGillis, OP, and Mary Southard, CSJ, as well as cluster meetings that encouraged discussion to promote Earth Literacy. All this culminated in the vote to aﬃrm our Corporate Stance on Behalf of the Earth.
On April 12, 1992, as part of a dynamic Arts Festival, we gathered to oﬃcially aﬃrm our Corporate Stance on Behalf of the Earth, whereby we committed ourselves—individually and corporately—to its values and to its implementation in our lives. The implementation of the corporate stance included the formation of an Earth Committee and Earth Book Clubs, all of which have served over the past twenty‐five years as part of our ongoing education in Earth Literacy, the New Cosmology, and our understanding of the interconnectedness with all of creation.
Our April 22, 2017, recommitment to our corporate stance on behalf of the earth, is part of our rich history, our lived experience, and numerous resources provided by those who have gone before us, all of which enable us to enter more deeply into the mystery of God’s love continually manifested through God’s creation.
PICTURED TOP TO BOTTOM: Masthead: Budding trees on Fontbonne property; Earth Day at the fountain behind the Motherhouse; Earth Day blessing at Motherhouse garden; Fontbonne Convent dining room — the perfect setting to renew our corporate stance on behalf of the Earth.
SOURCES FOR THIS ARTICLE: Helen Sullivan, CSJ, CSJs Take Strong Stance on Behalf of the Earth, Soundings, Fall 2014, pg. 16-17; Conversations with Pat Keefe, CSJ; CSJ Boston Archives
LIVING THE DREAM DINNER 2017
Sisters of St. Joseph Honor Jim and Mary Judge & Family
Nearly 500 friends, former students, and supporters packed the ballroom at Boston’s Seaport Hotel on April 19, 2017, for the fourth annual “Living the Dream” dinner which honored Jim and Mary Judge with the “Dear Neighbor” Award presented by Rosemary Brennan, CSJ.
In accepting the honor, Jim said, “I credit my success to my moral compass and Catholic upbringing,” and continued saying of the Sisters of St. Joseph, “You work tirelessly for the dignity of others. Your programs make an extraordinary contribution to the greater Boston area. Your core values of gracious hospitality, love and service of the ‘dear neighbor’ without distinction, peaceful resolution of conflict, care for all God’s creation are values shared by Eversource.”
An important moment in the evening was the dinner video, One Foot Forward, which featured Sisters Betty Cawley, Ann Grady, and Denise Kelly whose witness as actively retired sisters, demonstrates how these sisters continue to put one foot forward, ready to respond to the “dear neighbor” and the changing needs of changing times.
The guest speaker for the evening was Deb Chausse, Executive Director of House of Hope, Inc. in Lowell. Deb was passionate about the impact of the Sisters of St. Joseph on her life. “I was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph that leadership is both a gift and a responsibility and that how I lead is far more important than the outcome of my leadership. It has been my great blessing to have the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph to guide me.”
Karen Holmes Ward, Director of Public Aﬀairs, Community Services, and Host of City Line at WCVB Channel 5, was Emcee for the evening. In her remarks, Karen pointed out, “Many sisters who are ‘supposedly’ retired continue to reach out and respond in simple and, at times, hidden ways.” Thanks to the tireless work of a diligent and dedicated dinner committee, co‐ chaired by Joe Baerlein and Joe Nolan, the event raised close to $900,000.00 in funds to support the retired sisters, many of whom continue in active ministry through volunteer services, as well as the care of our elderly and infirm sisters.
PICTURED TOP TO BOTTOM: Honorees Jim and Mary Judge holding the “Dear Neighbor Award” presented to them by Rosemary Brennan, CSJ; Standing L-R Jack Connors, Co- Chairs Joe Nolan and Joe Baerlein; Seated L-R Eileen Connors, Emcee Karen Holmes Ward, Keynote Speaker Deb Chausse, Rosemary Brennan, CSJ; Joe Nolan and Jack Connors with Gail Donahue, CSJ, affectionately dubbed, “The Closer” of the evening; Anne Marie Garrity, CSJ, poses for a picture of her as a younger Sister of St. Joseph. Many pictures of our past and present were placed around the gathering space where dinner attendees socialized before the dinner.