Archive for October, 2014

Remembering Mina

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

We are saddened to learn of the death of our friend, Mina – Maria Teresa Velasco – last night. Mina came to our central house most Thursdays and spent the day helping to answer the phone and helping some of us figure out our e-mails, and other things. But it is not the things that Mina did we will miss the most, rather, we will miss her kindness and her gentle presence. At least now Mina is resting in God’s heart, experiencing the fullness of God’s love and peace.

Last year Mina wrote a beautiful article in the May/June Issue of Scarboro Missions Magazine that Scarboro so generously dedicated to us.  In her article, she remembers the song “Persons are Gifts.”  Mina has been a gift for all of us.  Here is her article once more:

Remembering Mina

Remembering Mina

Hidden Treasures

By Maria Teresa M. Velasco

In grade school we were taught a song, “Persons are Gifts”, which became a favourite of mine as I grew older.  The song is about how we can recognize the Christ-gift in all persons we meet, whoever they may be, and in whatever circumstances they may be placed.

I have learned a lot of lessons in my 50 years on this Earth, not least of which is the grace of thanksgiving and prayer.  Most especially as a partner to Our Lady’s Missionaries I have learned that prayer is a powerful gift to give and to receive.

The OLM partners and their relationship to the Sisters call to mind the line in the Creed:  “I believe… in the communion of saints.”  How wonderful to describe the relationship in this way and what a joy to think that the communion of all saints is contemplated in the mind of God, and that God means for this to be.  God is in all things.

We are all partners; we are all gifts.  Christ is at the root of OLM life just as the OLM community is the tree’s trunk, sprouting branches, twigs, flowers, and seed, which are the partners and the ministries.  It is good to be a part of this community; it is good to pray together as God commanded.  The relationship is dynamic – in the same way that we are “the communion of saints,” we all support each other though prayer and good works.

Sisters in Spirit

Monday, October 20th, 2014

October 4th is the annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil across Canada.  The purpose of this vigil is to honour  the hundreds of murdered and missing Aboriginal women and to raise awareness of this tragedy.  In Toronto the event was hosted by The Native Women’s Resource Centre at Allan Gardens.

A series of powerful Aboriginal murals have been painted on the boards at the south east corner of the park revealing the deep spirituality of our Aboriginal sisters and brothers. 

Dr. Suzanne Stewart, a member of the Dene First Nation who is a psychologist and Associate Professor of Indigenous Healing at OISE, was the moderator of the evening.  Her personal story of having two younger sisters who ended up living on the street,  one of whom committed suicide was not only poignant but set the tone for further stories of personal tragedy as the evening progressed. 

Alex Jacobs, an elder, opened the event with a personal account of his involvement with youth in Toronto and as a teacher of the Ojibway language. 

The Jingle Dance which originated at White Fish Bay was presented by a group of women to honour the murdered and missing women.  This dance celebrates the healing power and dignity of women.

At one point Dr.Stewart posed a question to the crowd, “Whose issue is this?”  Various responses were offered until one said, “It’s an issue for all of us.”  “Why is it an issue for all of us?” Dr.Stewart further prodded.  “We are all connected.”  This relationship needs to be healed and ALL HAVE RESPONSIBILITY.

Cyndy Baskin who is of Mik’mak and Celtic descent and is a professor in the Social Work School at Ryerson spoke next.  She emphasized the need for policy changes to address the impact of colonization which continues to marginalize Aboriginal.

There was a petition to be signed asking the Federal Government to set in motion a National Public Inquiry into the Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women.

One woman expressed a poem/monologue which was based on her own life.  It was very powerful and compelling.  Her closing line was, “I choose not to be a victim but to be a survivor.”  Her strength of character forged in her own passage through suffering was inspiring.  She is not alone, many Aboriginal women are engaged in leading their people to seek justice and a right relationship  with us, the settlers.  May we respond and  join them in whatever capacity we can.

Sister Rosemary Williamson,olm


Further Resources: 


Dr. Suzanne Stewart OISE

Cyndy Baskin Ryerson

Native Women’s Association of Canada






October OLM’s Partners Meeting

Sunday, October 12th, 2014


056In 2005, concerned by the needs of immigrants and refugees coming to Toronto, the Congregational Leaders of several religious communities established Becoming Neighbours, a joint apostolic ministry.  Father Peter McKenna S.C.J was invited by the communities to become the Director of this Ministry.

On October 6, the Partners gathering at OLM’s was fortunate to have Father Peter McKenna. S.C.J.  give us a short history of Becoming Neighbours.  He emphasised that they were founded to assist immigrants and refugees to become integrated into a new way of life in a new country.  This is a volunteer program that has two parts to it. As a volunteer, you may become a companion to one of the refugees or immigrants after having been interviewed by Father Peter.  The matching and companionship is about mutualisation, mentorship and friendship, as we all have different gifts and also different needs.  As a volunteer you will be encouraged to meet once per week to talk and listen and generally be a kind and empathetic companion.  The following week you again are encouraged to touch base and this may be as simple as a phone call or your companion may wish to meet to find some appropriate clothes or just have coffee.  Father emphasized that all any of us require in life is “someone to believe in you for you to begin to believe in yourself”.    As a volunteer you will attend a Theological reflection Circle once per month.  The second method of volunteering is to be a prayer partner and this simply means that you will pray daily the “Prayer of Solidarity “for one newcomer.  That newcomer’s intentions will be communicated to you so you will remember the specifics in your prayers. 

Father began his talk with a prayer and ended with a prayer.  The prayer entitled “To Be Grateful For What is” I thought was especially appropriate to all.  Father left us with an invitation to become involved in the ministry Becoming Neighbours and stressed all to explore the possibilities.


Ann Marshall, olm Partner



The Blessing

Friday, October 10th, 2014


The Blessing


Weaver of threads

ribbons of dreams

whisps of vision

imaging the beauty

infusing the trust

remembering that once

fearful journey

of days gone by

the guiding hand

leading little ones

to tempestuous

turbulent water fall

a picnic


on simple fare

we too know

of such journeys

yet always the blessing




by words


but more

by being

the humbling passion

searing hearts

a calling forth

luring out

though memories fail

the weaver


thus blessings




Sister Marie Clarkson, olm





Our Lady’s Missionaries have always been blessed and so it is with  Sister Elizabeth Davis, RSM, who came into our lives three years ago.  Once again she brought us to unity and helped us face our future with confidence






Re-visioning Our Life in the 21st Century

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014




Our Lady’s Missionaries gathered with Sr. Elizabeth Davis, RSM last September 18 and 19 as preparation for our coming chapter gathering in 2015.  These two days of encounter were a contemplative look at how we envision our future. Our gathering began with a prayer that touched upon Scripture, our OLM constitutions and our last chapter directional statement.  Sr. Elizabeth pointed out how these three readings highlighted contemplation in action.  She also used images of waterfalls to lead us in reflecting on God’s sustaining generosity.  The Spirit is poured out over us like waterfalls; blessings upon blessings; a profound way of sharing ourselves as gift and seeing the universe as gift carrying the goodness of Christ. We concluded our gathering with a reading of the litany of Mary from Pope Francis’ Joy of the Gospel.  


Lorie J. Nuñez, OLM