Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Monday, July 17th, 2017

Photo credit:

The UN asks individuals around the world to mark Nelson Mandela International Day on the day he was born, 18th of July. This is a commemoration that encourage us to make a difference in our life as a community. Each of us has the ability and the responsibility to change the world for the better, and Mandela Day is an occasion for all to take action and inspire change.

“In a cynical world we have become an inspiration to many. We signal that good can be achieved among human beings who are prepared to trust, prepared to believe in the goodness of people.”

-Nelson Mandela, 10th years of Democracy address, Cape Town, May 10, 2014

In today’s world of disasters from climate change, the growing gap between rich and poor, terrorist attacks and President Trump, leader of the most powerful nation on earth eroding trust in the integrity of leadership with his constant use of twitter ill-considered comments; yes cynicism is surely present.

Nelson Mandela spent most of his life fighting the injustices of apartheid. And after spending 27 years in prison he went on to win the first fully democratic election in South African history.

In 1993 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his decades of work for human equality.  In the quote above, he speaks of trust and belief in the goodness of people.

The following are some quotes when he address and spoke of ordinary people and their participation in governance during a rally in Durban, 25 February 1990:

“Since my release, I have become more convinced than ever that the real makers of history are the ordinary men and women of our country. Their participation in every decision about the future is the only guarantee of true democracy and freedom.”

In his speech at an event to meet leaders for the Free State, September 17, 1994 he stated:

“Freedom should not be understood to mean leadership positions or even appointments to top positions. It must be understood as the transformation of the lives of ordinary people in the hostels and the ghettos; in the squatter camps; on the farms and in the mine compounds. It means constant consultation between leaders and members of their organizations; it demands of us to be in constant touch with the people, to understand their needs, hopes and fears; and to work together with them to improve their conditions.”

Is this not the very message we desperately need today when so many feel isolated from decision-making and victims of multinationals and market forces they do not understand?

Nelson Mandela is a beacon of hope and inspiration and his words are relevant today. In Canada we also have a related and inspirational document, “The Leap Manifesto which sets out values similar to those of Nelson Mandela.

-Rosemary Williamson, OLM

For further information:

Partners with OLM BBQ

Monday, July 10th, 2017

The Partners with OLM group and Our Lady’s Missionaries gathered on a Sunday afternoon in June to review the past year and celebrate with a potluck barbecue.

We re-read our Mission Statement:

PARTNERS with Our Lady’s Missionaries is a group of women and men who are attracted to our charism, share our concern for social justice and respect our values.

Some Partners have been involved with the community for many years. Others are new friends whom we warmly welcome.

Partners’ meetings are held several times a year during which we address current social justice issues for advocacy, and faith-based action. We recognize that Partners engage in such actions as they are able, considering that many are already involved in a variety of ministries.

We feel that our lives are enriched by interaction with the Partners who have helped us in many ways and we hope that this enrichment is mutual.

We also remembered the questions and concerns we had explored during the past year, and talked about what we would like to address in the coming year.

Since it had been raining off-and-on, it wasn’t until the meeting was finishing up that we could declare that the next part of our gathering, the potluck barbecue, could be an outside event!  Though it was cool’ish, the conversation and camaraderie were filled with warmth and all the edible offerings were delicious!

– Christine Gebel, OLM

Advancing Non-Violence in the Catholic Church

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017


Two of Our Lady’s Missionaries attended this gathering.

It was very inspiring to hear the cry for nonviolence  that our world needs to hear today.

Below is an excerpt from Pax Christi – Toronto on Advancing Non-Violence in the Catholic Church:

Pax Christi Toronto – Catholic Nonviolence Initiative

Friday, June 23, 2017 – 12:00pm

Pax Christi Toronto and the Mary Ward Centre invite you to meet members of the leadership team of Pax Christi International, introducing the new Catholic Nonviolence Initiative.

Launched at the 2016 Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference in Rome, it affirms that active nonviolence is at the heart of the vision and message of Jesus, the life of the Catholic Church, and the long-term vocation of healing and reconciling both people and the planet.

-Sr. Mary Gauthier, OLM

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