Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sacred Water

Monday, June 26th, 2017


Participants of CRC JPIC National Conference. Photo credits to Christina Zha, Mary Ward Centre

Two OLM sisters attended the CRC National JPIC Gathering held last June 6-8, 2017 in Toronto with the theme: “Access to safe drinking water is a basic and human right”.

Elder Josephine Mandamin, Ojibwe Grandmother and Water Walker assisted by Sr. Priscilla Solomon, CSJ

The gathering started with Elder Josephine Mandamin, Ojibwe grandmother and water walker who described how indigenous nations live with reverence for nature.  She demonstrated why and how she respects water as a way of life by telling us stories and beliefs that women, as life-givers have a special responsibility to protect the water as sacred, as the “lifeblood of Mother Earth.”

Photo credits to

Maude Barlow on Water is “a basic and human right”



Her walking around lakes and rivers as a journey to respect water and the impact of  the second speaker, Maude Barlow of Council of Canadians on Blue Future advocacy, convinced us to protect water for people and the planet forever. Both speakers inspired us to act for this challenging water advocacy.

Water indeed is a basic and human right!

There is a blue community campaign that hopes to raise awareness in the world for free and clean water by encouraging collaborative efforts in local areas to identify actions that can be taken to improve water quality and quality of life in local neighbourhoods.

-Lorie Nunez, OLM

Below are links that help us to learn how to engage in preserving the sacredness of water:


Now into the New!

Monday, June 19th, 2017

The symbols that represent our shared life of service in four directions North, West, South, and East

On June 1st and 2nd, Our Lady’s Missionaries gathered for the community’s annual meeting at Leander house, reflecting on how we can full-heartedly live our future in Presentation Manor.  

Sister Jane McDonell, IBVM guided us to reflect on our transition in three levels:  personal, communal and global. 

Using her own experience she encouraged us to find our wisdom by reflecting on our lives in the context of connectivity and relationship.

Our gathering prayer opened us up to an opportunity to remember the places we shared our life of service.  Thinking back on our own experience as a community and expressing  gratitude helped us to honour our collective past.  This led us into awareness of “Now into the New”.

According  to the data of many professional researchers, “Aging is a natural part of life’s transforming process; a time that we have courage and the awareness to realize and to accept the changing of our bodies, loss of memory as well as our energy levels”.  In this manner, we hope to be more aware of the transformation by being more open to the personal and communal process of transition.

Symbolic lights from four directions; hope, courage,love, and transformation

Sister Jane reminded us that the aging process is not all

doom and gloom.  We can “mother forth our aging into a sacred spiritual journey powered by hope, courage, love and gratitude“.

The blessing cards we received

Please click on photo to read Sr. Marie’s poem

As we concluded, we received several blessing cards from Jane.  These highlighted the spiritual gifts we OLMs hope to hold in our heart as we face the future.  These gifts inspired Sr. Marie Clarkson to offer a poem to express our gratitude to the speaker. 

Sr. Noreen Kearns, OLM






Feast of the Visitation of Mary to her Cousin Elizabeth

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

On May 31st, OLMs gathered at Leander house celebrating the Feast of the Visitation of Mary to her Cousin Elizabeth.  The event was graced with the presence of Jane McDonnell, IBVM and Msgr. Samuel Bianco, officiating the Eucharistic Liturgy.

Sr. Rosemary Williamson, OLM shared her reflection on the Gospel reading, stating that Both Mary and Elizabeth were women of faith, prayer, trust and courage.  These gifts, she emphasized,  lived and shared by our founder, Fr. Dan and the sisters of St. Joseph, Toronto, who came to Alexandria to help in our early formation.

Now that most of us are less actively engaged in ministry, we try to be like them, especially believing that prayer is powerful. In our troubled and violent world, prayer can be a profound force for justice and peace.  May our hearts be open to fulfill our mission on earth here and now.

This gathering continued  at the dining table telling stories of hope and courage we experience in life.

May our spirit sing God’s praise as we face the unfolding of our future in Presentation Manor.  May we be more mindful and grateful to all creation as we have yet to witness the new challenge of visitation in our new OLM home.

-Gwen Legault, OLM

CNWE: Honouring The Past Contribution of Women in the Church

Monday, June 5th, 2017

Members of Our Lady’s Missionaries who are also members of CNWE (Catholic Network for Women’s Equality) attended the CNWE Annual Conference and AGM at St. Paul University in Ottawa from May 26 to May 28, 2017.

The theme for the event was “Honouring the Past, Keeping Faith in the Present and Shaping the Future.”

Sr. Christine Schenk           Photo credits to: authors/christine-schenk

The Keynote speaker, Sister Christine Schenk, founding director of Future Church, spoke about her original research into iconic motifs of female authority in early Christian art and archaeology. Her presentation included pictures of many pieces of art depicting women in the first four centuries in leadership roles in their church groups.


Sister Christine’s presentation along with several workshops and a panel discussion gave the participants opportunities for honouring the past contribution of women in the Church, and provided encouragement, inspiration and challenge for the future.

-Sr. Frances Brady, OLM

Islamophobia… revisited

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Khadijah Kanji (Left) from Noor Cultural Centre and Sr. Christine Gebel, OLM

After having listened to Samira Kanji speak to the Partners with OLM group about Islamophobia in regards to Islam and women, we realized that there was yet much to be learned.  So, on a Sunday in May the partners group gathered again and listened as Khadijah Kanji first led us in prayer, and then led us deeper into questions and concerns regarding Islamophobia.

Group in diads discussion

We came to realize how lopsided the media reports on violent acts are.  As a result, many of us may have a vague impression of a huge threat of Muslim extremism hanging over our heads.

In fact:


In 2016: Americans were less likely to be killed by Muslim extremists (1 in 6 million) than for being Muslim (1 in million).



And from the FBI:


From 1980 to 2005: 94% of terrorist attacks on US soil were committed by non-Muslims.


In Canada the government doesn’t even keep statistics on Muslim violence.  However, we do know that:


Since 9/11:

  • Muslim ‘terrorist’ violence: 2 deaths
  • Anti-Muslim hate violence: 6 deaths


Once again, we left our gathering realizing that there was still much to learn.

Mary Edmunds thanking Khadijah Kanji after her talks


Joanne Duff, facilitator of this gathering.


One thing we can all do now is hold all Muslims in prayer as they begin the sacred month of Ramadan.  May they be strengthened in their faith and energized to carry out the special acts of charity which are such an important component of Ramadan.

-Christine Gebel, OLM

Helpful Visits for People with Dementia

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Sr. Mary Anne Larocque, CSJ in Canada (R) and Sr. Patricia Kay, OLM

On the 4th and 11th  of May 2017, Our Lady’s Missionaries gathered at Leander house for a presentation on helpful approaches in accompanying and understanding a person who has memory loss.

A photo of an elderly woman referred to in a poem by Sr. Janet Mac Donell, OLM

Sr. Mary Anne’s topical presentation on Dementia began as we listened to a poem written by our own Sr. Maejanet Mac Donell. It expressed how deeply she was inspired by a visit to an old Brazilian woman who welcomed her into her humble one room hut and blessed her in turn for the honour of her visit .

From a wealth of knowledge and experience Sr. Mary Anne led us through an examination of the nature of Dementia and its symptoms. By the use of videos on the subject she helped us gain valuable information about Dementia in general but especially Alzheimers which we have all experienced with our own relatives and companions. Sr. Mary Anne stressed the importance of making our visits as valuable for them as possible. For example she recommended that in our conversations with them we don’t make promises that can’t be fulfilled.  She broke us into groups of three to discuss our own experience with persons with Dementia and we gave feedback on what took place in our groups.

OLM sisters practicing how to have a good visit

When she returned for a second session, Sr. Mary Anne gave another meaningful and helpful presentation with emphasis on the quality of our presence to persons with Dementia. She gave guidelines as to how best to approach them. Again we broke into groups of three to practice the steps she recommended. And we had feedback on the experience.

OLM staff joined us in the workshop

We closed the workshop with a prayer to think of “our own vulnerability as an opportunity to deepen our compassion”. All felt enriched with the input of both sessions and grateful to Sr. Mary Anne for sharing her vast experience and her care for those suffering from Dementia.

– Sr. Patricia Kay, OLM

Our Lady’s Missionaries in the Alexandria – Cornwall Diocese

Monday, May 15th, 2017

A card sent to Sr. Gwen from Miriam, CWL Alexandria -Cornwall Diocese.

I was filled with gratitude as Mary Deighan and I journeyed to St. Andrews to attend the CWL Convention in the Alexandria/Cornwall  diocese.

In 1949 our founder had asked the CWL to help support Our Lady’s Missionaries and they are still fulfilling this request.

Each year they sell roses on Mother’s day as a way of supporting us.

The women were passionate as each one shared her report of her group’s activities for the year.  As each did so, she focused on the gift of the Holy Spirit that had best inspired her.

The flavour of the area continued when the pipers played the bagpipes as we walked to the majestic  Church to celebrate the Eucharist. This was followed by enjoyable conversation and delicious food by a local caterer.

                                                                                                                                               – Mary Gauthier, OLM

Teacher of Peace Award

Monday, May 8th, 2017

Sr. Priscilla Solomon, CSJ received the Teacher of Peace Award from Tom Sagar of Pax Christi Toronto

On April 30th  Pax Christi Toronto honored Sr. Priscilla Solomon, an indigenous woman and a Sister of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie, by giving her the Teacher of Peace Award. The event was graced with the presence of many different groups of concerned Catholics who believe in a non-violent approach to living and dealing with the world’s problems. 

In her speech she expressed her gratitude to her family, community and to the Spirit that guided her to recognize the community builder within herself.  Sr. Priscilla has played and continues to play a very important role in the education of Catholics and many others across Canada regarding the unjust situtation of indigenous people and the importance of healing and reconciliation with our First Nations brothers and sisters.

She emphasized that every person in Canada is in a treaty relationship because we are in relationship with each other by recognizing each richness in spirituality and culture and through this belief we can make reconciliation and healing to happen.

-By Lorie Nunez, OLM

Sr. Priscilla second from left with her friends in Peace and Justice Ministry


Praying with our Feet

Monday, May 1st, 2017

The invitations came from various groups, each with some specific social justice and/or ecological focus.  One that caught my eye, from the Catholic Climate Covenant, stated PRAY WITH YOUR FEET ON APRIL 29!  And so we did.  Four OLMs joined the Toronto People’s Climate March along with an estimated 1,100 others.

The gathering opened with First Nations prayer and drumming.  After listening to some very good speakers, those who are First Nations were invited to lead the rest of us on the march itself.  What an appropriate gesture of our need to listen to the traditional wisdom of indigenous peoples.  Important also to remember, as one speaker stated, we are ALL indigenous to somewhere.


For me, the march did become a prayer as I looked around and rejoiced in the diversity of those who marched and enjoyed the positive responses of bystanders.  May we all become more aware and more involved in learning how to live in harmony with our one and only Earth.

– By Christine Gebel, OLM











Update on Justice and Peace in the Philippines

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Two OLMs attended a talk organized by Kairos in Toronto.  The speakers were a delegation of people from the Philippines who are asking Canadians for mining justice and reporting on the progress of the peace process in the Philippines in which all sectors, including the Indigenous People have been actively involved.

According to Bishop Ablon, IFI and two Indigenous People; Nenita Condez  and Eufemia Campos Cullamat,  the Philippines faces a range of threats which they frequently describe as development aggression. Much of the land they struggle to defend is in areas of forests or mountains that are rich in natural resources.  Conflicts often arise with companies, many of them based outside the Philippines, that want to exploit those resources – usually without the consent of the Indigenous Peoples.

One of the major problems that Indigenous Peoples face is that of large-scale Canadian resource extraction corporations digging up their land, logging their forests and constructing large-scale dams that flood their land.

All of these activities lead to conflict which in turn, leads to militarization in the area.  The Indigenous activists on the delegation have been forced to leave their home and livelihood and live as internal refugees for over a year now.

by Lorie Nunez, OLM