Recognizing a Need and Responding
By Ellen Powers, CSJ
"They are so positive and helpful. I don't know what we would do without them." These words of gratitude from a staff member summed up the spirit of the St. Francis House Volunteer Appreciation Dinner 2017. Among the fifty volunteers honored at the annual appreciation dinner at Tapeo on Newbury Street were Jean McKinney, CSJ, Claire Morrissey, CSJ, Ellen Powers, CSJ, and Kathy Tighe, CSJA.
Since 1984, St. Francis House has been the largest day-shelter in Massachusetts. Located in the heart of downtown Boston, 600 homeless and poor men and women are served hot meals 365 days a year, and are provided with clothing on a regular basis. For eight years, sisters and associates have served at St. Francis House both as part of our Volunteers in Mission Program and on a weekly basis throughout the year.
Recently, these volunteers learned there was a shortage of travel-sized soap and shampoo for the homeless people who are provided with showers when they come to St. Francis House. The recognition of this need set in motion a collection of toiletries from sisters, associates, and freshmen at St. Joseph Preparatory High School. The need continues. If you have travel-sized soap or shampoo, you are welcome to contact Ellen Powers, CSJ, at email@example.com or leave them at the Motherhouse in her name.
Associates Reflect on Living the Charism
By Carole Anne Scott, CSJA
On May 20, over fifty associates, candidates, and sisters gathered in Nahant for a retreat day with Dorothea Masuret, CSJ, and Betsy Conway, CSJ, focused on Our Charism – Impossible without God. As proof of that, Dorothea offered, “The good news is found in how fortunate we are to be living out our charism. The bad news is that it is hard.” Sharing even her tears, she said, “Mary pondered. She looked deep in her heart, and she trusted God.” In these times of divisiveness, Dorothea advised, “We’ve been asked to live unity with great intention. Unity is best promoted in community.” She described the progression from those first to live a “religious” life as hermits in the desert, to monastics, to cloistered, and then to the active ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph lived out among the people and continuing today in the entire Family of Joseph. In the “bad news” section
In the “bad news” section of the day, Betsy pointed out that “The gospel calls us to radical love, and Pope Francis calls us to a ‘Revolution of Tenderness.’” Betsy shared that she prays in images, evoking the richness of life and God’s many miracles, and urged all to believe in the possibility of what appears impossible, to hope against all hope, and to love even what seems unlovable. Inspired by the day, participants left with a blessing in which Dorothea and Betsy prayed that “…you can see more clearly your own journey with all humankind as [one] of peace, hope and love.”
THE WOMAN'S TABLE FOURTH ANNUAL EVENT | A Place at The Women's Table
On May 17, Mary Rita Weschler, CSJA, Director of The Women’s Table, welcomed participants to its fourth annual event, “A Place at The Women’s Table!” In her introduction in the program, Mary Rita commented, “We are honored to be supported by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston who dared to dream and bring to life programs that meet the needs of the ‘dear neighbor’ since 1873. This has been an active focus of the CSJs and The Women’s Table is a further example of this. Founded in 2008, The Women’s Table is nine years young and has become a vital partner in the Allston-Brighton Community.”
Before the Rose Auction, which raised significant donations for the work of The Women’s Table, three women were honored for their contributions to the Allston-Brighton community.
Donna David received the “Connecting Neighbor with Neighbor Award.” Donna has been a vital bridge between the Belmont Hill School community where she coordinates the collection of food at Thanksgiving, enabling families to experience a traditional New England Thanksgiving dinner.
Michelle Duval received the “Building Inclusive Community Award” for her work as Adult Education Coordinator at the Gardner Pilot Academy where she challenges adult learners from diverse cultural backgrounds and helps them set personal education goals.
Anna Leslie received the “Unity and Community Award.” Anna has been a guiding force in unifying community groups in the Allston-Brighton area. She uses her energy to bring people together, create networks, and provide access to concrete resources.
The event was an opportunity for participants to learn more about the “ever-widening circles” and the reach of The Women’s Table. Critical to this work is connection and relationship.