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SSS E-news - April 2019

Spring Sightings
by Sr. Michele Walsh, SSS
General Director, Sisters of Social Service

"Spring is here" -- at least those are the words of hope that come to mind as we celebrate Easter.  Flowers, blossoming trees, small birds building nests, seeds bursting into new form...indications of springtime.  We are exiting what has been a long winter of wetness and rain and storms.  This on top of a fire season that caused us to wonder about the future of California and our open spaces. The lives of many were upended - first by fire and then, by rain and mud and just plain cold. In other parts of our nation, there has been flooding and hurricanes and extreme and freezing temperatures.

A Giant Owl Butterfly photographed by
Sr. Diana Sabia, SSS

Now, we witness the amazing transformation of life around us...poppies blossoming everywhere - and we humans loading into cars and busses to see the miracle of birth in the wild flowers carpeting our usually dry hills.  And, for those of us who don't leave home, miracles of life are found even in our own back yards - growth, rampant and overflowing.  We give thanks for remembering the beauty that has been bestowed upon us with the rains. 

This June, the Sisters of Social Service will hold our Chapter of Affairs and Chapter of Elections.  It is the moment when we SSS stop and consider the weather that has happened in our lives - the deaths and diminishment as well as the unexpected wild flowers that have emerged in unexpected places since our last chapter. We pause, we consider our lives, and we set directions for ourselves for the next 4 years.  We pray daily for all of you who so faithfully journey with us and we ask for your prayers as we move into the future.  Like the poppies and the wild flowers, may our community blossom forth with new life to be shared with all those who live with us, engage with us, grow with us and dream with us.  


Spring speaks to me of hope - 
by Sister Anne Lehner, SSS 

Poppies - watercolor by the late
Sr. Rita Meiners, SSS

Spring speaks to me of hope...
As life bursts forth from the darkness of seeming death - 
from a tunnel of desperation
so does hope spring forth from loss, fear and pain.
Like plants after a cold winter and frost will break through 
the hard crust of helplessness
into the warmth of spring breeze, 
that lifts their heads with new courage.
So does Hope speak of goodness to people's hearts 
that shines forth from nature.
Spring calls for a gentle compassion to the needs of newly born plants. 
She says: Listen to my invitation. 
Open your heart to my pleading; nurture life;
Nurture Hope with the gentle breeze of your goodness 
that awakens hope and new courage in others.
Don't forget: Hope is the mother of everything that is better.
Hope is the Spring of Joy!


Sister Jeanne Felion, SSS, set to retire 
as Executive Director of Stanford Settlement 
by Colleen Fitzpatrick

After more than 43 years of dedicated service, Sister Jeanne will be retiring in 
August 2019 from her position at Stanford Settlement Neighborhood Center. 
Sister Jeanne has served her local community tirelessly and touched the lives 
of many children, families and seniors.

"Devoted is the word that immediately comes to mind when I think of Sister Jeanne...along with enthusiastic, committed, faithful, staunch and studied," said Stanford Settlement current Board President Sandra LaMendola. "The years of leadership and dedication that Sister Jeanne brought to Stanford Settlement have made it the impeccable, highly respected, effective organization that it is today."

Succeeding Sr. Jeanne as Executive Director will be SSS Associate Julie Rhoten, 
who is currently working as the Assistant Director for Stanford Settlement. Julie has been a staff member of the agency for the past 29 years alongside Sr. Jeanne and 
SSS Associate Pat Pennisi who recently retired after four decades of service.  

Please click on this link to read more about Sister Jeanne and Julie's work at 
Stanford Settlement and their upcoming job transition.

 Join us ~ Save the Date!

Pentecost Weekend
June 8 and 9

Sisters of Social Service Celebrants
Sr. Catherine Connell, SSS
Sr. Rochelle Mitchell, SSS
Sr. Beth Momburg, SSS

Sr. Camille Mantigue, SSS
Sr. Isabel García Rodríguez, SSS


World Youth Day 2019 
by Jamey Fitzpatrick, Sr. Beatriz Tevera Guijosa, SSS, 
Sr. Isabel García Rodríguez, SSS, and Sr.  Raquel Cruz, SSS 

In late January, ten Sisters of Social Service were delighted to participate in the 15th International World Youth Day in Panama City, Panamá. The week-long event was held in Cinta Costera where 64 acres of lush coastline land connects many diverse ecosystems and forms a peninsula that reaches out into the Panama Bay. The people of Penonome were warm and welcoming to nearly 600,000 visitors convening from all over the world, and made everyone feel like they were an integral part of local celebrations and religious rituals. Youth and other attendees represented more than 155 countries from around the globe, and activities brought together the worldwide Catholic community.  

Listening to the messages of Pope Francis and seeing him smile, these are moments that I keep in my heart and that I thank God for allowing me to experience. 
~ Sister Isabel García Rodríguez

I was also really impressed to see kids from all over the world together in one spirit praising each other - not in fights  or arguing - it was just unreal.
~ Sister Raquel Cruz, SSS 

It renewed my commitment and love for others... 
God advises us to be everyday sources of living water 
to be able  to live the present with fullness. 
~ Sister Beatriz Tevera Guijosa


Lenten Actions and Reflections

Lent is a journey in many ways.  For some of us, it is a time of deep reflection and quiet, spiritual reading. For others, it is a time of action and service.  For still other people, Lent has elements of personal sacrifice or the giving up of comforts or the non-essential in our hectic, modern lives in order to bring more awareness.
What has your Lenten journey been this year?

We'd like to hear from you and share your responses 
in the Pentecost e-news in late May.  
Please email us your actions, reading list or reflections 


2019 Day of Recollection

At our annual Lenten Day of Recollection, Father James L Heft, SM, spoke and celebrated mass with the Sisters and the Sisters of Social Service Auxiliary of Los Angeles. It was a lovely day and a chance for both  quiet contemplation and 
thoughtful conversation.

We are grateful to all who joined us, especially Father Heft. He is President of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California.


Giving Gratitude


The Sun's Power is at Our Fingertips 
Thank you for your help! 
Solar Project Update 
by Jamey Fitzpatrick

As we near the completion of the solar project in Encino, we wanted to let you know how very grateful we are for your help. With generous donations from individuals and foundations, our project is nearly complete. Contractors have installed the solar array panels on our rooftops and the power storage system to supply the energy. Any day now the connection and wiring will make it "live", and we are finished. 

More than a project, this has been a concrete dream of the Sisters of Social Service Community for nearly 20 years. The Community has invested time and energy in researching the materials and process, 
and talking to Women Religious and other groups with similar projects in place. 

The SSS charism has a strong focus on living in concert with the natural world - and protecting it, 
as best as we can, in our daily lives.  


Associates Corner
by Olga Sarabia, SSS Associate

Many in our SSS Community are aware that I came to Los Angeles directly to Stella Maris after graduating with my MSW from Loyola University, Chicago. That was in 1968. Last year was my 50th year of relationship with the SSS; 18 years as an Associate.
Some close friends are also aware that my 
father gave his children choices to come to the United States from the Dominican Republic for high school and/or college. Since I wanted to experience the US, my choice for high school was  St. Mary's Academy in Monroe, Michigan. M y sister, Miriam, chose Marygrove College in Detroit for her higher education. It was important to my parents that I be located close to my sister since I was only 14 years old at the time. Both academic institutions belong to the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, IHM Sisters.   Click here to read more...


Sharing Our Earth, Preserving Our Resources

There is no doubt that our lives are changing in response to the needs of our natural world.  Many of us work faithfully to curb our actions and make changes to cut down on waste, keep our air and water cleaner, and use resources more responsibly. 
Recycling in a new way? Watering wisely? Sharing extra food with neighbors?
We'd like to hear your ideas for more ways we can try to lessen our impact and 
tread lighter on our natural world.

Send us your thoughts and we'll share them with the mailing list in our later May e-news.  
Please send us an email 
by  May 15  to


Holy Spirit Retreat Center:  Upcoming Events

Holy Spirit Retreat Center in Encino is an interfaith space offering an array of day and weekend classes, groups, and retreats. We also rent the facility to outside groups to hold their own retreats. We have spiritual direction and space for private time available.

Click below to visit our website and see our full offerings, registration  details, and fees.

Sisters of Social Service
4316 Lanai Road, Encino, CA 91436
(818) 285-3355 

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E-news created by the 
Sisters of Social Service Development Department:

Colleen Fitzpatrick, Interim Development Director  (818) 285-3379

Jamey Fitzpatrick, Emeritus Development Director  (818) 285-3358