Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Means Involvement

Monday, April 17th, 2017

A flower arrangement by Sr. Noreen, OLM

We know the season of Easter we are now entering as a time of joy and celebration, of gratitude for God’s promise that life triumphs over death and good is stronger than evil.

If this attitude of hope can seem difficult to enter into because we feel surrounded by violence, oppression and fear, perhaps it has never been more needed. It is a call to recognize the signs of God’s presence, of goodness, beauty and life and know that they too are all around us.

The budding of peonies in our backyard garden

The earth is coming to life after the cold and darkness of winter. People, individually and courageously, or gathered in hundreds and thousands, declare publicly and honestly their opposition to oppression of any group. Refugee families help others who come after them, providing the welcome and support for which they themselves are grateful. In endless examples of kindness and generosity women, men and children put the welfare of others ahead of personal gain or convenience.

 

The blooming of daffodil in our backyard garden

Looking around us we can see that the miracle of Easter continues. Our acceptance of God’s promise is not passive. Our gratitude means involvement. The Spirit of God is so wonderfully present in and among us and it is up to us to make it more visible, more tangible.

May your Easter season be filled with hope and possibilities.

-By Frances Brady, OLM

Islamophobia

Monday, April 10th, 2017

On a Sunday afternoon in March the Partners with OLM group gathered at our Central House to learn from Samira Kanji, President of the Noor Cultural Centre.  We had asked Samira to speak about Islamophobia.  She decided to focus on the topic of women in Islam since this is the source of much of the confusion and ignorance that leads to Islamophobia.

Samira Kanji, President
Noor Cultural Centre

Samira explained that there is a metaphysical equality between women and men in the Qur’an and cited several verses.  One of which was:

40:40: “Whoever commits a sin will be repaid only with its like. But whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, and is a believer—these will enter Paradise, where they will be provided for without account.”

She then reminded us that there are 1.6 million Muslims spread out across some 50 Muslim-majority countries.  We often forget that just as there is much diversity among Christians, so is there much diversity among Muslims and a great deal of variety in how Islam is lived out around the world.

This reminded me of a workshop that a Muslim friend and I used to give on Muslim-Christian dialogue in the Philippines.  We would always remind participants of the tendency we ALL have to compare the ideal of our religion with the less than ideal lived reality of the other’s.

Our afternoon included a lively question and answer session.  Many of the participants asked that we continue with the same topic at our next gathering.

– By Christine Gebel, OLM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interested to learn more?  Check out the reading list that Samira left with us:

Welcome to the Party, America! 11 Muslim women who have been PM or President: https://www.juancole.com/2016/06/welcome-america-president.html

 

Gender Equity in Islam, by Dr Jamal Badawi: http://www.sultan.org/books/gender_equity_in_islam.pdf

(Noor CC Report) Muslims & Multiculturalism: http://www.noorculturalcentre.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/noor-muslims-and-multiculturalism-nov-30-2013-13.pdf

(Noor CC Report) Response to Honor Diaries film: http://www.noorculturalcentre.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/ncc-critique-of-honor-diaries1.pdf

Islamophobic feminism: http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/islamophobic-feminism-doesnt-help-muslim-women

https://www.juancole.com/2013/04/terrorism-other-religions.html

 

Called to Something New and Unexpected – Our Life is Mission!

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

On March 25th 2017, OLMs and some of our friends gathered at Leander house to celebrate the feast of the Annunciation, our principal Feast Day which is also the day when Father Dan celebrated the first Mass of thanksgiving in Immaculata House in 1949.

Commemorating this event invites us to ponder Mary’s fiat as Christine inspired us to reflect:

As we join Mary in saying “Let it be done to me according to your word,” what is THE WORD to which we are referring? What is our role in God’s creation? What are the broad strokes of the graces and challenges that will come our way?”

Being in the process of diminishment, we truly believe that like Mary, we are being called to something new and unexpected.  We are all aware that we are in a time of transition and will soon live a different community life that we will share in Presentation Manor.

Furthermore, like Mary, who asked a question so that she could better understand and live in harmony with THE WORD in her life, we too can ponder and ask questions leading to reflection and discernment around THE WORD in our lives.

The feast of the Annunciation inspires us to ponder even more deeply to constantly say  YES by holding on to this quote from our last Chapter Mission statement: “Always and everywhere in union with God – Our Life is Mission!”

Celebrating Family Day

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Recently OLM’S were treated to a very special and delicious supper, celebrating Family Day on 19th of February. Heather, Bob, John and Lydia arrived at our Central House bringing with them all the food, a variety of appetizers, roast beef, vegetables, and desserts and special supper music! While OLM’s were enjoying the appetizers and the music our friends were kept busy in the kitchen cooking us up a banquet.

 

We did enjoy and appreciate the evening of fun, food and love with our special and generous friends Heather, Bob, Lydia, and John.

 

-By  Noreen Kearns