Lessons from the Street: Three Decades of Boston’s Rough Sleepers
by Pauline Curley, CSJ, and Betty Cawley, CSJ
On Sunday, January 29, Dr. James O’Connell, Co-Founder and President of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program [BHCHP], was warmly welcomed by Pauline Curley, CSJ, to a diverse audience in the Motherhouse Chapel.
Pauline recalled how inspired she was by the way Dr. Jim lifted up street people in his presentations and noted she was at Pine Street Inn when Dr. Jim was there in 1985 and knew his mentor, Barbara McInnis. “Barbara taught him he didn’t need his stethoscope in his work with the homeless, but a bucket to wash feet. Dr. Jim has been washing feet ever since, truly living the Gospel, imitating Jesus, who washed feet, and walking on the periphery as Pope Francis has encouraged us to do.”
Dr. Jim’s talk, “Lessons from the Street: Three Decades of Boston’s Rough Sleepers,” traced the history of the BHCHP through stories and pictures of patients he has encountered. Each person was presented with deep sensitivity to the individual. Indeed, the central theme of Dr. Jim’s message, and the core value in his work, is recognition of the dignity of each individual and the importance of listening deeply to each person. Also evident in the presentation was the flexibility of BHCHP in its thirty-year history of responding to different and growing needs within the homeless community.
In thanking Dr. Jim, Betty Cawley, CSJ, quoted from Pope Francis’ Joy of the Gospel as an apt description of our speaker: “Our commitment does not consist exclusively in activities or programs of promotion and assistance; what the Holy Spirit mobilizes is not an unruly activism, but above all an attentiveness which considers the other ‘in a certain sense as one with ourselves.’” (No. 199)
Ever-changing and Growing in Beauty, Faith, and Grace!
by Jean McKinney CSJ
During the weekend of January 21, 2017, CSSJ novices and candidates from Philadelphia, Brentwood, Albany, Springfield, and Boston together with their directors and mentors, gathered in Latham, New York.
It was a wonderful weekend of sharing and building relationships! Immersed in a setting reminiscent of the original kitchen in Le Puy-en-Velay, France, we participated in “The Lace Is Not Yet Finished," a presentation based on the program designed by Jane DeLisle, CSJ/Orange.
It is amazing how the Spirit can move! As we discussed the lives of the original sisters, and intermingled our discussion with life in the 21st century with issues we confront today, it felt like we were right there present in that kitchen in Le Puy with those first sisters sitting right beside us, listening, and even participating in our conversation!
Tracey Watson, a candidate from Albany, summed up the weekend in this way: reflecting on the picture found on the program cover, Tracy noted, ". . . the hands are those of God, each bobbin is one of us, and the threads are what tie us together." We, as bobbins, are in God's hands, and God is with us on our journey, weaving us into a beautiful piece of lace that is ever-changing and growing in beauty, faith, and grace!
"Prayer Is Never Finished. Our Growing Is Never Done." 1
by Kathie Shute, CSJA
As Mary Ellen O'Connell, CSJ, and I traveled to New Mexico to share moments of prayer and reflection with sisters and associates there, January greeted us with dire predictions: snow, sleet, icy fog! Undaunted, sisters and associates gathered in Albuquerque, Clovis, and Santa Rosa, extending their characteristic welcome of warmth and hospitality!
In conjunction with this year's focus - Deepening Prayer: Growing in Inclusive Love - each gathering centered on prayer, and offered opportunities for sharing and reflection. Sisters and associates spoke of their own experiences of prayer: compelling memories of childhood rooted in family prayer; times of uncertainty and silence; prayer journeys of ever-deepening relationship, mystery and faith - stories as unique as the individuals themselves! As one associate shared, "All my days are filled with prayer. I pray always. I thank God for my family, and pray that God will protect them."
Gatherings provided opportunities for sisters and associates to share special times together, to pray with and for each other, and to witness our CSJ charism alive in our midst: nutritious snacks provided by Albuquerque associates for students at Kit Carson and Alamosa Schools - one example of many thoughtful kindnesses!
During a poignant final visit with Albuquerque associate Ned Reinhardt, CSJA, sisters and associates offered presence, prayer and blessing just days before Ned passed away. A very special moment of grace!
Although our shared experiences of deepening prayer have ended, reflective questions remain; in quiet moments, we recall that "Prayer is never finished. Our growing is never done." 1
1 Joyce Rupp, Prayer (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2007) 118
Pilgrimage for Life
Barbara McHugh, CSJ, and Librarian Kelly Seibel accompanied students from Arlington Catholic High School to the annual Pilgrimage for Life in Washington, DC this past weekend. More than 500 pilgrims from Boston traveled to Washington to promote a culture of life. We are grateful that the students had an opportunity to meet young people from across the Archdiocese and to share their faith with one another.