Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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

 

 

International Women’s Day And Human Trafficking

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Members and friends of the Catholic Network For Women’s Equality gathered in the chapel of the Basilian Fathers on St.Joseph St. to pray and reflect on human trafficking before proceeding to the intersection of Bloor and Bay St. for their annual vigil.

 

We sat in a circle at the centre of which a cloth with a large chain had been placed. Following some moments of quiet we reflected on the root causes of human trafficking from the perspective of the victims, the traffickers and those who use the system.

 

Pamphlets providing information were distributed and we took time to read them in preparation for distributing them and perhaps engaging some in conversations about the issue.

 

Youth are a primary target of human trafficking and 25% are under the age of 18.

Human trafficking is a criminal offence under Canadian law and Ontario recently proposed anti-human trafficking legislation to help survivors but much remains to be done.

 

On reaching the intersection it was a challenge to hold the signs in the wind and other members distributed the pamphlets. The response varied but some thanked us for trying to raise awareness while another woman informed us that a ring trafficking teenagers had recently been apprehended.

“Hasten the coming of the day when all people

And our precious Earth itself

Will be treated, not as a commodity,

But as radiant images of your freedom, beauty and truth.”

(Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, N.J.

-By Rosemary Williamson, olm

World Day of Prayer

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

This year the World Day of Prayer was written by women of the Philippines and entitled “Am I Being Unfair to You?”  Sr. Lorie Nuñez, OLM was invited to speak in Markham where several churches gathered together in prayer at St. Patrick’s Church.  Lorie  spoke of the Filipino concept of Sapat na, which can be translated as “enough,” no more and no less.  She pointed out how many Filipinos sacrifice to the point of not having enough for themselves in order to be able to send money to their family back home.  Lorie ended by saying that a truly Sapat na lifestyle means that everyone has enough and the rest of creation is not threatened with extinction, pollution or degradation.

Sr. Lorie, OLM

After a very touching prayer service, everyone shared delicious Filipino food!

We are grateful to the planning committee of Markham’s World Day of Prayer for including Our Lady’s Missionaries.

Srs. Lorie & Christine with members of the Markham planning committee

For more information on the World Day of Prayer, go to:   http://worlddayofprayer.net/index.html

To read about the preparations made by women of the Philippines, go to:  http://www.wicc.org/world-day-of-prayer/world-day-of-prayer-2017-the-philippines/

Pause and Ponder

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Arriving at the Women’s March in Toronto last Saturday, I began looking for the other OLMs and friends that I knew would be there.  I never found them.  There was just too big a crowd.  Organizers estimate that 60,000 people were there.  I believe them!  All the time I spent at the march from Queen’s Park, passing the US Consulate and then on to City Hall, I never saw another person I knew.  I did see thousands of people.  And the diversity was amazing!  Since I was alone, as I walked I was able to pause and ponder on all that I could see, especially the people and the placards.  These are some of my favourite messages…

 

RESPECT EXISTENCE OR EXPECT RESISTANCE

GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

Many men carried signs that said:  THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE

THE PROBLEM ISN’T POVERTY – THE PROBLEM IS AFFLUENCE

REFUGEES WELCOME

SHE’S SOMEONE‘S SISTER/MOTHER/DAUGHTER/WIFE

SILENCE IS VIOLENCE

     For me, that last message sums up why I felt I had to march… because Silence is Violence.

 

Christine Gebel olm

We Envision A World…

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

dscn1514

It’s a New Year, that particular moment in time when we review the blessings and disappointments of the past year and look to the new with a sense of expectation, of starting over and countless possibilities. This is an occasion of thankfulness for the people with whom we share home and community and for all that is dear to us. Shared joys and gratitude give us inspiration and unfulfilled hopes give us focus for what we most want this new year to bring.

Sr. Susan's friends at St. Michael's College convey their sympathy with flowers

Sr. Susan’s friends at St. Michael’s College convey their sympathy with flowers

We envision a world where the desire for peace triumphs over the desire for power, where individuals and nations act wisely to protect the earth on which we live together.

We want refugees to have a place to call home and we long for the day when there are no longer people needing to seek refuge.

Here in Toronto we hope that the memory of Sister Susan Moran, OLM will continue to inspire concern for the homeless and provision of more housing for residents with low incomes.

This is the construction site of Presentation Manor

This is the construction site of Presentation Manor

Our Lady’s Missionaries, together with other congregations and families in the Toronto area look forward to the construction of Presentation Manor which will be our new home by 2018.

Whatever your desires for your family this year, wherever hopes and dreams direct your activities in 2017, may your home and all you do be blessed.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

 

By Sr. Frances Brady, OLM

Christmas Blessings

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

This year as we celebrate the joy of a new birth that is Christmas, Our Lady’s Missionaries cannot help but also hold in our hearts the sadness of the sudden loss of our sister, Susan Moran, last December 18.  We are grateful for all the love and support we have received at this time.  As many have said, this is a particularly difficult time to lose a loved one.

And yet – we also know that life is eternal.  Passing from this life is not the end.  As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Emmanuel, into this world, we also find hope and joy in the awareness that our loved ones who have passed away, are not really gone.  Rather they are experiencing the fullness of eternal life.

As we worship and celebrate this Christmas Eve and Day, please know that we hold all of you in prayer – most especially those who have recently lost a loved one.

Christine Gebel olm

Merry Christmas from Our Lady's Missionaries!

Merry Christmas from Our Lady’s Missionaries!

Service to Mission

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

 

Service to Mission

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Sisters Mary Deighan and Mary Gauthier celebrated the 60th anniversary of their membership in Our Lady’s Missionaries on Saturday, December 10.

The two sisters and many other OLM s gathered with family members and friends at our central house, 2 Leander Court. The celebration began with Mass at 4:00 pm at which Father Brian Swords of Scarboro Missions presided.

The theme for the day was thanksgiving for the service to mission to which the two sisters had dedicated themselves for the past 60 years. Sister Mary Gauthier served in the Philippines, Guyana and Canada. Sister Mary Deighan was missioned in Brazil, Nigeria and Canada.

After the liturgy a festive supper prepared by members of Sister Mary Deighan’s family provided an opportunity for everyone to enjoy some relaxation and conversation.

By Frances Brady, olm

PARTNERS MEETING ON THE LEAP MANIFESTO

Friday, December 9th, 2016

leap

 

Partners are friends of Our Lady’s Missionaries who share our values and concern for social justice.  On Sunday, December 4th we met to discuss the Leap Manifesto.

“Things are going to slide,

Slide in all directions

Won’t be nothing

Nothing you can measure anymore

The blizzard, the blizzard of the world

Has crossed the threshold

And it has overturned

The order of the soul.”

Leonard Cohen

Mary Ann Barnes read this poem and suggested we recall and hold in our hearts and prayers all the places in the world where this is the experience of people.   A few moments of silence followed.

John Riddell and Suzanne Weiss were our presenters on the theme of the Leap Manifesto.  Members first offered questions as John wanted to shape his talk around these concerns.  Those which surfaced were, unemployment, the economy, subsidies for the oil industry and carbon taxes.

In opening John posed his own question; “Why is it so difficult for us to make the shift which is needed?”  He went on to remark that there is a link between the values of the Leap Manifesto and the recent encyclical, “Laudato Si” in which Pope Francis urges us to come together in our care for one another and the earth.  In Genesis we are called to be stewards not masters of creation.

Exon Mobile initially employed scientists for research until they realized their findings would endanger their profits.  It has been obvious since the first Kyoto agreement that we are facing a crisis and yet since then our emissions have increased by 2/3.  Yes the Paris agreement was significant but it did not include any measures for accountability or to ensure implementation.

Beneath this reluctance to make the necessary changes is the belief in endless growth for the economy.  This leads to a false conflict between the economy and the environment.  Naomi Klein in her book, “This Changes Everything” states that there has to be a creative fusion of the environment and human society; thus the Leap is underpinned by care for each other and the earth.  It is in building mass movements of citizens who want change that hope for the future will come.

In the open questions and discussion following John stated that International Trade Agreements which surrender rights to powerful corporations for arbitration with international tribunals when they conflict with local priorities need to be resisted while other trade agreements are healthy.  With regard to expanding pipeline infrastructure, John stated that this is incompatible with commitment to a green economy.  Ensuring job security is essential and the oil workers themselves have formed a group for this purpose, called “Iron/Earth” and this has a web site.

On the issue of carbon taxes, he said that it is good for those who produce more carbon to pay provided that the income is used to fund public transport.  Then we face the issue of which groups will be exempt for example farmers and those living in rural areas.

Cap and trade agreements are of dubious value as they grant permission to pollute.

Currently the Chippewas of the Thames and the Inuit of Clyde River have cases in the Canadian Supreme Court regarding lack of consultation on pipelines and seismic testing which could set important precedents.

Suzanne commented on the Black Lives Matter group as an important social movement of those who have been oppressed rising up and effecting change.  It was a member of this group who pointed out that Climate Change is also racist in that, those who are directly affected are the poor in the Developing World.  Yet another significant event is the current resistance of Indigenous peoples and their allies in Standing Rock in the U.S.  Shortly after our meeting it was reported that the pipeline they had been resisting would be rerouted and not enter their territory.

We continue to have so much wisdom to learn from the Indigenous Peoples as evidenced by a quote from Bob Lovelace, “The only way to own is collectively which the Indigenous Peoples have done for hundreds of years; then ownership is inalienable.”  The oppressed are coming forward and will lead us into the future.

Closing Note:  We are happy to announce that Mary Ann Barnes and Joanne Duff are now part of the core group planning our future meetings.

By: Rosemary Williamson, olm