That Supreme Love That Gives Life
by Betty Cawley, CSJ
Just prior to their 36th anniversary we honored and remembered the Churchwomen martyrs of El Salvador—Ita, Maura, Jean, Dorothy and Carla. We think of them in a long line of witnesses to the Gospel in Central America, many of whom gave their lives in service to the poor and marginalized. The Gospels present Jesus as one who spoke truth to those with political and religious power, rejecting their values in favor of the poor and the outcast. As Jesus did in his time and place, Archbishop Romero, our women martyrs, the Jesuits and their housekeepers, and—more recently—Berta Carceres of Honduras aroused anger in the authorities because their actions demanded justice for the poor and the powerless. As in the case of Jesus, they had to be silenced.
In the liturgy for the First Sunday of Advent, St. Paul declared to the Romans: “You know the time in which we are living.” Sadly, we know that in our times, the suffering of the people of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and many other places continues, with many fleeing in desperation from violence, poverty, and dislocation.
We acknowledge that our country has been complicit in contributing to the causes of violence that have driven many Central Americans to flee their countries.
At a memorable concert in our Motherhouse chapel on November 20, 2016, Sara Thomsen led us in a haunting refrain to one of the songs: “By our silence, we gave our consent.”
On November 30 we raised our voices in song and prayer, to praise and commemorate the Salvadorian and other martyrs and to declare our solidarity with the poor in the Northern Triangle and elsewhere. We honored both those who suffer within their countries, and those who flee from violence and poverty and seek refuge in neighboring lands, including the United States.
In the words of theologian Jon Sobrino: “Salvation comes to us through all women and men who love truth more than lies, who are more eager to give than to receive, and whose love is that supreme love that gives life rather than keeping it for oneself.”
We Receive More Than We Give
by Mary Ellen O’Connell, CSJ
On Saturday, December 3, Associates Laurie Abruzzi, Linda Boothroyd, Elise Cheverie, Rita Cormier, Mary Gaudet, Marianne Miller, Mary Rita Weschler, Kathy Teahan, and Janice Young were joined by Sisters Roberta Ristuccia and Mary Ellen O'Connell in their yearly visit to Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center. Attractively wrapped gifts were presented to the 60 residents who were delighted to receive their presents. These were prepared by all of our CSJ associates and assembled by Associates Margaret Lelakes and Linda Boothroyd. We sang Christmas carols, joined the residents for wonderful conversation, and enjoyed delicious homebaked goodies generously provided by the visitors as well as the Motherhouse Community.
This tradition, begun almost 20 years ago by Sister Kathy Hagerty, is a special ministry of the CSJ Associates. Not only are there enough gifts for those presently at Solomon Carter, but extras for those who arrive in the next few weeks.
Sharing gifts, songs, and time with the Solomon Carter Fuller residents is always a very meaningful way to begin the Christmas season. Each year we are humbled to be among these men and women who are so grateful for our visit and their gifts! Indeed, we receive more than we give, in full measure and flowing over!