BY ELIZABETH COWPERTHWAITE
On Oct 2nd and 3rd, the Associates held their Annual General Meeting. The event began with a Social Hour for Associates and Sisters. The Brockville Group, St. Vincent de Paul, began the evening with a beautiful prayer service based on an autumn theme. Following that, there was a Ceremony welcoming six Inquirers into the Candidacy Phase of the Associate Process.
On Saturday morning, Sr. Marie Dundon provided an opportunity to experience Yoga- based Movement. She later presented two more sessions, one called Grounding for Life, the other called It’s About Time.
Also on Saturday, Sr. Kay Morrell presented a session of T’ai Chi Chih and later a second session on her other work, Art Therapy.
One participant summed up the experience with the following words: “A wonderful day! Body, Mind and Soul were nurtured, at a gentle pace, very uplifting and cheerful. A big thank you to both Sisters.”
Regina Lannon, Dawna Cameron, Sheila La Rush, Judy Tunbull, Joan Murray and Mary Schaede became Candidates in the Associate Process at a Ceremony at the AGEM on Oct. 2.
Sr. Marie Dundon participates in T’ai Chi Chih led by Sr. Kay Morrell. Both Sisters facilitated the Associate AGEM Oct. 2 and 3rd.
The annual Barbeque and Picnic for Associates and Sisters was held in the Gazebo on Friday July 31st. Alayne Scanlon set the tone for the entertainment section of the evening with a few delightful jokes. These were followed by a few more jokes from Ann Ford and a sing-song. Sr. Frances O’Brien provided accompaniment on her guitar. As well, individuals shared stories of their travel plans.
Ministries of the San Francisco el Alto, Guatemala Associates
BY ELIZABETH COWPERTHWAITE
This Associate group made many visits to sick and needy families bringing aid and sometimes accompanying family members to clinics. The group sponsored medical treatment for a diabetic patient. As well, these Associates continue to help in parish and community activities. During Lent they visited eighteen needy families. The group registered and paid for school supplies for several street children and this situation required follow-up care.
Some of the San Francisco el Alto Associates. Upper right: Sr. Julia Hamilton
These Guatemala Associates also accompanied Associate Serefina Gomez de Quiej and her family during her illness and death.
The Associate Contact for this group is Dona Domingo Hernández de Pérez.The Contact Sister is Sr. Julia Hamilton. Sister Julia had some difficulty making contact with her group this year because flooding in some areas wreaked havoc with telephone lines. This article is based on a report from Sister Julia Hamilton.
The Momostenango Associates send greetings from Guatamala to all the Sisters of the Congregation and the Associates. Blanca Rosa Arango is their Associate Contact and Sister Judy Lee is their Sister Contact. These Associates make visits to the sick, providing them with words of encouragement and donations of food. Sometimes economic help is provided. Among those helped are persons with handicaps, single mothers and the abandoned elderly.
Some of the themes developed by the Momostenango Associates at their meetings are: the urgency for re-forestation, the Conversion of St. Paul, the Sacramental Life of the Church, and Mary of Seven Dolors. Another activity they take part in is a Holy Hour of which the group is in charge. This is transmitted by both radio and internet.
These Associates wish to thank Sr. Judy Lee for her interest and constant communication with them. We, in turn, wish to thank them for all their work, and wish them well in their future endeavours.
This article above is based on Sister Judy Lee’s translation from the Spanish of Blanca Rosa Arango.
Sr. Judy Lee with Hilaria lxcotatas de Zárate
Blanca Rosa Arango Enriquez, Associate contact in Momostenango, Guatamala
Mountiain Top Experience
BY BARBARA BAKER
Four Canadian women flew into Las Vegas airport on July 8, 2009. We were heading to the Inyo Mountains in California. We met up with eight American women, two guides and two support staff. The group, all women between 54 and 69 years, were taking part in Vision Quest, a Rite of Passage into Elderhood.
The experience of spending 10 days in the Mountain desert at 7300 ft elevation with 15 women, who were elders in their communities, was a transformative time in my life. We had each prepared for months before meeting at the Subway Shop in Independence, California and driving five SUVs in tandem for 1½ hours up into the mountains. Once we arrived I felt like I had “come home”. The land was dry with some Pine and Pinion trees and scrub brush. The earth was hard and rocky.
We gathered in a circle to introduce ourselves to each other. With some guidance, we each chose a camp site. I had never slept in a tent and had not camped in a trailer for over thirty years. After pitching our tents we found our way back to base camp for a lesson about the land we would be living on for the next week. Supper that night was prepared by Becky and Marie and served to a group of women hungry for food for the body and the soul. After our meal, we drummed and danced around an open fire.
Associate Barb Baker, far right
The next three days were filled with lessons from our guides about native ceremonies, prayer, rituals, and the Medicine Wheel. We learned that there were no snakes or bears and very little else to be afraid of on the mountain. We shared deeply about our lives in a way that drew us into relationship with one another.
On the morning of the fourth day, as we stepped into the Threshold Circle — we each spoke clearly our intention for our three days of solo time, then headed out with our bedroll, water and journal to a place we had chosen to be alone with our God and the spirits that inhabit the wilderness. It was a time with very little of the comforts we are accustomed to. I was alone and had only enough fluids for the next three days. I wrote in my journal, prayed to the God of my ancestors, created circle ceremonies used by the Indigenous peoples and was healed of deep pain in my soul. I walked the land, soaked in the sun and slept under the stars.
On the morning of the seventh day we arrived one-by-one from our sacred spaces to be embraced by Ann and Anne, our guides, at the Threshold Circle. We were given water for bathing and nourishing food to restore our strength. We spent the next three days sharing stories about our experience on the mountain and in the desert where deep lessons had been learned by each one of us. We became Elderquester Sisters determined to love the gift nature offers us and to encourage our communities to appreciate it as well. I hope life continues to offer each of us opportunities for transformation.