Volume 8.19 | December 24, 2020
In this Issue:

Motherhouse Christmas Traditions Continue

Christmas Update from the House of Prayer

Sr. Harriet Hamilton Honored

Social Justice Reflection

How are you doing?

In Memory

Motherhouse Christmas Traditions Continue with COVID Changes
Each year, the St. Elizabeth Motherhouse hosts the Shower for Mary, an event held in conjunction with the Greater Olean Association of Churches to provide supplies and support for a regional organization with a focus on supporting mothers in need.

In normal times, the Shower for Mary is attended en masse by members of the public, each of whom bring a gift of some sort of baby item to the event. Prior to the Shower itself, visitors are welcomed to the foot of the Motherhouse hill to witness the lighting of the Creche. However, such gatherings are not possible during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, the Motherhouse turned to technology to continue this long tradition. On December 3, Sisters gathered to light the creche. This ceremony was shared live on the congregation's Facebook page. Then, until December 10, the Motherhouse gathered donations from the public to celebrate a virtual Shower for Mary via livestream at 6:30 p.m. on December 10. The gifts were then given to Cattaraugus Wyoming Project Head Start and Allegany County Community Opportunities and Rural Development.

Thank you to all who participated despite the ongoing pandemic - we hope to welcome you all back into the Motherhouse in 2021!
Christmas Update from the House of Prayer
By: Kathie Uhler, OSF
Hopefully, this finds you and your loved ones staying safe during these difficult COVID-19 days. The past year has been like no other and let’s pray it will remain unique.

Since Christmas 2019, a lot has happened in my life, notably, the long-awaited House of Prayer for All People (HoP) found a home! That’s it above, happily ensconced on the property of Trinity Episcopal Church, Gulph Mills, PA. The building is venerable, c. 1910, with rough logs still serving as ceiling beams for the ground floor.

As we speak, the lower two floors of the building are being remodeled. The second floor will house the Hospitality Room/living room and living quarters, including two bedrooms, for the HoP community. The Prayer Room will occupy the entire ground floor, a space about 20x20. The top or third floor is a rented apartment.

Move-in date for me will probably take place in early January. I will reside alone for some time to settle all furnishings, food, etc. Then, COVID-permitting, I will be joined by a HoP Core member. Our lifestyle is adapted from St. Francis’ Rule for Hermitages. He required two Marthas and a Mary. The HoP building allows for only one Martha and one Mary. You get the idea?

There is also an essential social aspect to the lifestyle, as stated in the HoP Project Statement: “… neighborhood walk-abouts open to acts of care and assistance.” This is another adaptation of Francis’ Rule to the HoP lifestyle. Additionally, we will volunteer our services in charitable projects, such as those sponsored by Trinity Church and other organizations in the Valley Forge region. There will be a balance between the hours when the HoP is open for prayer and all else.

I will be sending out an email Update in January to track the progress of this endeavor. Be sure I have your current email address!

I look forward to the day when the HoP can welcome you – as a visitor, pray-er and even -- think about it -- as a Core member! Male members could possibly board in the neighborhood? I am open to suggestions!

Peace and All Good!                
Sister Harriet Hamilton Honored
Every year the Diocese of Syracuse honors a person from each parish for their ministry and service. This honor is called the Immaculata Medal. This year, the recipient for St. Mary’s Parish, Cortland, New York is Sr. Harriet Hamilton. Harriet received the award at the parish Mass on December 8th, the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

The Immaculata Award was instituted in 2011 as part of the diocese’s 125th anniversary. The awardees, nominated by their parish leaders, are “those who generously and unselfishly give of themselves to their parishes and whose love for the Church has been shown through their devotion to the Holy Father, as well as to our Diocese. They are the unsung heroes in our midst who build up our parish communities by extraordinary service in parish ministry in volunteer service.” To read more from the Diocese of Syracuse newspaper click on the Catholic Sun.

We are grateful for Harriet’s ministry and her presence to the people of St. Mary’s parish and congratulate her on receiving this honor.
Social Justice Reflection
By: Helen Roberts OSF
The following is one in a series of reflections submitted by Sisters in conjunction with St. Bonaventure University/BonaResponds Brothers and Sisters to All project.
“The world exists for everyone, because all of us were born with the same dignity. Differences of color, religion, talent, place of birth or residence, and so many others, cannot be used to justify the privileges of some over the rights of all. As a community, we have the obligation to ensure that every person lives with dignity and has sufficient opportunities for his or her integral development.” (Fratelli Tutti, 118)
Black lives cannot be used as pawns in a political game or dismissed from achieving higher paying positions of employment simply because their individual intelligence outshines one of another race. From desiring to provide good living situations for their families, as well as obtaining respectable positions in society is a matter of justice and equity. Personal success in any race or creed is a natural ambition. Black lives matter in all walks of justice and fairness. The days of human bondage are to be obliterated so that every black/brown/unborn/newborn/juvenile/adult can breathe the clear air of independence and oneness with all races and cultures. When we work for solidarity among races that includes “ALL” people, we flame the embers of God’s goodness and graces within local and global groups to encompass people of all ages, from the youngest child to the most elder in families to teach the wisdom of inclusion.
As Pope Francis reminds us all people are born good with the same dignity.”
Learning to “listen as well as to hear others” is a gift. Using our ears to listen opens our hearts to know that Black Lives Matter.
Black lives have a place in every land with dreams and visions ready to share with each and “all” of us.
How Are You Doing?
The following an excerpt from the article "How are you doing?" by Peter Feuerherd from the Fall 2020 edition of The Anthonian Franciscan. The article is an interview with the Poor Clare Sisters regarding tips and tricks to survive social isolation during the COVID pandemic. The below portion is from former Allegany Franciscan, Nancy Shively. To read the full article, visit www.stanthonysguild.org.

Sister Nancy Shively of the Monastery of St. Clare in Travelers Res, SC, is one of a community of 14 women who live a contemplative existence "in the tradition of Francis and Clare."

Forced stillness, she says, is not a situation that people naturally gravitate to.

Being still, she says, "is not easy for us at any given time, especially when we are experiencing fear, anxiety, trauma, and disruption in our lives." But there are ways to make the process easier.

Sr. Nancy suggests: Start small. Perhaps begin with a few minutes of reflection per day.

Engage in something that will soothe your spirit. Put on some quiet music, look out the window, and reflect on nature, or look at a painting. Continue reading
In Memory

Sister Elizabeth Moore OSF
Date of Birth: August 19, 1933
Entered Eternal Life: December 6, 2020