The business of rest

by Cate Henderson

The idea of rest is somewhat deceiving. We know as human beings that when we sleep we appear to others to be resting, to be immobile and still. But we also know that, in fact, our minds can be quite busy as we sleep – sometimes living a whole other life in a dreaming world of our own imagination and doing much of our best neurological processing of information. View full article »

by Jamie Swift

The precariat? What’s that? The funny-sounding word has recently been creeping from university seminar rooms into public discussion. Precarious work + the proletariat = the “precariat.”

It refers to the decline of reliable, decently-paid work and the rise of part-time, temporary jobs that pay minimum wages.

Just before Christmas, veteran journalist Michael Valpy described the brave new world of work as a “fearsome cave of economic insecurity and the place where dignity and a sense of meaningfulness and self-worth are left at the door.”

Working at a full time, minimum wage job (if you can find one) in Ontario still leaves you well below the poverty line.

The JPIC Office is involved in several efforts to fix a world of work that is increasingly fractured, a community ever more sharply dividing between the rich and the rest. View full article »

The perfect garden plan

by Cate Henderson

Cate Henderson works up the Heirloom Seed Sanctuary's annual garden plan

Many gardeners enjoy planning their gardens over the winter time, as it means dreaming of all the beautiful flowers and delicious, perfect veggies they can grow. In the planning stage, no pests come to chew on leaves, no drought makes plants droopy, and no worries of poor pollination need apply. The perfect garden of the imagination is all there is! When a gardener plans on growing some plants all the way to seed however, some restrictions do apply, which only increases the challenge and makes success that much more satisfying!
View full article »

A red letter day

In these times of mass media coverage we take for granted seeing and hearing Pope Francis on television, radio and online. This access was not always the case…what if you had never heard the voice of the Pope? What would the first time you heard his voice mean to you?

The pope addressed the world’s Catholics via radio for the first time on February 12, 1931, during the inaugural broadcast of Vatican Radio. Pope Pius XI made his remarks in Latin. This event was mentioned in the annals of several of the congregation’s missions. View full article »

My Providence path

Earlier this year, Providence Associate Jan Kehoe retired from the chaplaincy team at St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Hospital, which had been founded by the Sisters of Providence. She used that opportunity to look back at her long association with the Congregation.

The Sisters of Providence held a role in my life and a place in my heart since first moving to Camrose, Alberta from Manitoba in 1981. In 2000, Sister Bernadine Bokenfohr invited me to learn about the charism, spirituality and mission of the Sisters of Providence and to become an Associate. View full article »

by Veronica Stienburg

There are no known photographs of Sr. Mary Angelica. Another home child to enter the Congregation was Sr. Mary Benita (Matilda Marsh), picture here.

Lillian Blanchfield, her two sisters and her two brothers were “rescued” from the Shaw Street Workhouse in Liverpool, England by the Catholic Children’s Protection Society of Liverpool. They crossed the Atlantic in 11 days aboard the Parisian steamship in the company of Mrs. Lacey and 60 other home children.

On June 11, 1889, Mrs. Lacey delivered the children to the House of Providence in Kingston. Lillian stayed at the House of Providence for 17 days before leaving her siblings behind when she left with her new guardian, Mr. J. Black, a butcher in the town of Hastings. It was 18 years before she saw her sisters again. Unlike the experience of many home children Lillian was adopted into her new family and given the name Veronica Black.

On January 3, 1898 Lillian entered the Sisters of Providence as a Tertiary and was given the name Sr. Nora. Tertiaries were auxiliaries who performed domestic labour and were part of the Congregation from 1895 to 1907, when they were allowed to enter the novitiate.
View full article »

by Veronica Stienburg

Members of the Kingston branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society Kingston undertook the significant job of transcribing the Congregation’s records of the home children. Here, OGS representatives present Sisters of Providence archivist Veronica Steinburg (left) with the published copy of the records

Between 1870 and the late 1930s over 100,000 “home children” were sent to Canada from Great Britain. Due to the industrial revolution, cities in England in the mid-19th century were overcrowded and living conditions for many poor and destitute adults and children were terrible. Over 50 different charitable and religious agencies participated in what was considered rescuing impoverished children by sending them to Canada where they were received by distributing centres and then placed in homes. Unfortunately, many children were permanently separated from their families and were exploited as domestic servants and farm labour in Canada. View full article »

by Sister Irene Wilson

As Associates and Sisters began the second stage of the renewal and celebration of the historical roots of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, we felt a certain excitement moving from 16c France to 19c Montreal, Canada. Associate Marie McCartney, and Sister Shirley Morris brought to light the lives of Bishop Ignace Bourget and Sister Émilie Gamelin.

Shirley set the context for the inception of the first Canadian foundation of Sisters outside of Europe by describing in detail, through word and picture, not only the life and times of Bishop Bourget, the second bishop of Montreal, but also the social, political and ecclesial conditions that characterized his 36 years of leadership from 1840–1876. View full article »