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The Healing Violence Committee of the Sisters of Providence is offering a one-day conference in September entitled Healing the Church: Addressing the Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis. More information can be found at providence.ca/healingthechurch
Our committee was founded in 1998 and we have been working together since that time to address – to heal – the many ways violence is expressed in our society.
After hosting eight conferences and workshops to address various aspects of violence a few years ago, as allegations surfaced against some priests in this Archdiocese, we turned our attention to sexual violence in the Church. Some of our Sisters and some members of our Sunday faith community were distressed because they knew the accused priests. From our past work, we had focussed primarily on the irreparable damage suffered by victims of violence and how society often re-victimizes them. Consequently we created a process which allowed people to express their feelings freely with a hope of healing personal suffering. Two parishes in the area asked us to offer this process for their people.
For the congregation that has ministered in health care, education and social work, and spent years advocating for society’s most vulnerable members, the coming years will carry new challenges.
The Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul have led lives of compassionate service for over 150 years, beginning their mission work in Kingston, Ontario in 1861. Since then, they have founded hospitals and schools across Canada, Central and South America, and supported numerous other social causes, including prison and justice ministries.
Today, there are 75 Sisters remaining and their average age is over 70.
by Sister Gayle Desarmia
This year the Providence Associates in Peru have undertaken an important ministry to the very poor in their area. After evaluating their own ministries and the needs present in the area of Carabayllo, they have decided to focus their ministry this year in Fray Martin de Porres.
Fray Martin de Porres is a remote and very needy village further up in the mountains than El Progresso, where the Sisters of Providence live. Previously, monies from the Marillac Mission Fund were used to build a small chapel for the people. This chapel serves as a multi-purpose meeting place for the residents of this village. Fray Martin, located in Our Lady of Guadalupe parish, is in an agricultural area commonly referred to as ‘el campo.’ This area has been the main focus of ministry for Sister Sara Jimenez.
by Bridget Doherty
As part of a regular update to the Sisters of Service, who co-fund the Integrity of Creation position of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation team, Bridget Doherty gives an update on the work of energy poverty:
I have some exciting news! You may remember from previous reports that I’m on the Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) steering committee. In March of this year we organized a conference titled: Celebrating a Decade of Low-Income Energy Advocacy.
by Sister Pauline Lally
In the midst of global tragedies and conflicts, we, Sisters of Providence, erected a simple white peace pole in front of the entrance to our Motherhouse this summer. It has black lettering. And there it stands in simple juxtaposition to the sufferings of the world.
The pole reads May Peace Prevail on Earth in four different languages. French is for our origins in France and Montreal. The Spanish is for our missions in Guatemala (now closed) and Peru. Cree represents our connections with First Nations in the West and in Northern Canada. Finally, English brings in all of us and our ministries in the rest of Canada.
by Cate Henderson
Those of you who were in attendance at the spring equinox celebration may remember our meditation on the seed – that through kindness alone plants grow from one seed to produce many, many seeds. There is no selfish reason for this, and economists and financial planners would be appalled to see so much energy expended on seeds which are then freely given – many are eaten by humans, animals, insects, fungi etc, with no immediate benefit to the individual plant at all. In fact, most of our vegetables are annuals, meaning that the plant that grew from one seed to give many is now likely deceased!
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by Jamie Swift
Two oil paintings. Two artists who painted battlefield scenes. Two dramatically different ways of telling a story.
by Sister Irene Wilson
The Associates formation program continued in March with a day focused on the Kingston founders of the Congregation. These founders and the issues of the day were dramatized for the gathering. Kingston Bishop Horan was performed by Sr. Catherine Cannon, in cassock and mitre. Providence Associate Sheila Burchart, dressed in a habit and modified veil, presented the life of Catherine McKinley (known as Mother Mary Edward), the first postulant in the sole religious congregation founded in Kingston.