Celebrating New Associate Leadership
Marianne Miller, CSJA
Saturday, March 4, dawned frigidly cold yet with brilliant sunshine as a full complement of associates and sisters gathered to celebrate the election of Laurie Abruzzi, CSJA, and Kathie Shute, CSJA, who will join Mary Ellen O’Connell, CSJ, as our new leadership team. Thanks to the care and work of the 2nd floor Bethany residents, we were greeted with beautifully crafted dining room table centerpieces - rich soil with seeds and touches of color, and noting, "Looking Forward to Your Growing Leadership".
We congratulated Laurie and Kathie, each of whom responded briefly and spoke of our having faith in one another. Rosemary Brennan, CSJ, followed by affirming the new team, and then gave us an overview of the upcoming Congregation Chapter and the opportunities for participation for us as associates, where where we might be welcomed into the shared vision.
Everyone moved then to the chapel for our prayer time. Joan Duffy, CSJ, led our reflection - "A Time to Gather the Fragments" - noting the sacredness of every piece of our lives - rather like how a quilt comes together! Our celebrating continued as we extended our hands in blessing our new leaders, and enjoyed a beautiful springtime cake. As Mary Ellen had noted earlier, "Truly we are blessed!"
Rosemary Mulvihill, CSJ, Daughter of Catherine McAuley; Women of Joseph in Harmony...
Excerpts from welcome and reflections by Rosemary Brennan, CSJ, and Cathy Clifford, CSJ
A day such as this is one of both blessing and mixed emotions. Today we have a woman who truly has a heart of mercy and is freely bringing her heart and her caring spirit as gift to us, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston. And we are profoundly blessed!
A transfer process is one of growing into relationship with the new Congregation; it is also a time to process the feelings and emotions that accompany such a significant transition. For the past three years, at the request of the leadership team, Joan Duffy, CSJ, has been the Sister of St. Joseph journeying with Rosemary. Joan has offered guidance, wisdom, insight, and hercaring heart to Rosemary in order to help her freely come to this day. To you, Joan, we are grateful.
Today we are also delighted to have Mary Lynch, RSM, a dear friend of Rosemary, here with us for this transfer ceremony. Mary has come from Australia, as friend, and to represent the Sisters of Mercy at this celebration.
Rosemary’s work is here and has been for the past 28 years. She is challenged by her work, she is respected and she is loved. Do not, however, for a moment, think that this is an easy transition. Her decision is costly. Her roots are deeply Mercy, and she will always be a daughter of Catherine McAuley. However, she will now blend that as she becomes a Woman of Joseph. She is greatly loved in two communities and on two continents.
In a recent a communication to the Sisters of St. Joseph, Rosemary’s brother Tony comments, “We say thank you. Thank you for your foresight in seeing what a great woman Rosemary is. Thank you for your welcome and support of Rosemary; it has certainly not gone unnoticed and is greatly appreciated." And so, as Rosemary makes her home with us, we remember the final line from the reading from Proverbs - women who witness with courage and compassion, bring hope to a wounded world.
Nothing Short of an Epiphany Story: Covenant Agreement is Signed between CJCs and CSJs
For almost seven years, the Sisters of Jesus Crucified and the Sisters of St. Joseph have been discussing the possibility of a covenant relationship between the two congregations. That covenant was officially signed on March 8, 2017, in the presence of those who have been part of the covenant process as well as Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap, and Bishop John Dooher. During his homily, Cardinal O’Malley remarked, “This morning’s ceremony is a sign of hope that needs to be celebrated. This takes place during Lent. Lent is an Old English word that means springtime, new life. It is fitting in this context because this is about new life, a springtime.”
After the signing of the covenant, Mary Valliere, CJC, offered this reflection: “We have just witnessed an astonishing, overwhelming event, which I would dare say was an epiphany experience! What the sisters of St. Joseph have done for us, the Poor Sisters of Jesus Crucified, is nothing short of an epiphany story. You, the Sisters of St. Joseph, have shown us more clearly who Christ Jesus truly is. You have manifested to us God’s tenderness, God’s goodness, God’s love, and God’s compassion. I cannot begin to tell you how overwhelmed we are with gratitude for your accepting our congregation into a covenant with you. If we could shout it from the mountaintop, we would do it with joy. This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”