Archive for May, 2017

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