December 11, 2017
The Word became flesh and lives among us! May we see and image God's glory in our world.
How was the birth of this child over 2000 years ago, born in poverty, different from any other lowly birth today? In taking on our humanity, Jesus reveals that there is no longer any person, place, or time in which God is not present. Jesus is here and calling us to fully live Christ's self-emptying love, humility, and truth.
Jesus, born into our humanity, reveals to us God's desire to dwell with us and for us to know the holiness and sacredness of our humanity in God. May we be attentive to God's love and be that loving presence in the lives of others.
Merry and blessed Christmas from all the Allegany Franciscan Sisters and Associates!
| Happy birthday, Sister Anna!
The world has changed drastically since World War I, and Sr. Anna Theresa Sheridan has experienced it all. The Franciscan Sister of Allegany celebrated her 100th birthday on November 29, the third Sister from the congregation achieve the milestone.
Twelve members of her family, hailing from Massachusetts and Maryland,
came to surprise
Sr. Anna on her birthday
Sr. Anna and her family
sat together in the Motherhouse dining room for lunch, and joined the Sisters in sharing a special cake for the occasion. Following the meal, t
hey gathered to reminisce and look
at old photos from family events.
Sr. Anna was born November 29, 1917 in Clinton, Mass., the third child of seven born to Edward and Mary (Burke) Sheridan. She entered the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany in 1952, and had studied at Becker Business School and Forsyth Dental Clinic before joining the congregation. After her reception, Sister earned a Bachelor's in Education from St. Elizabeth Teachers' College in Allegany, and a Master's from Western Connecticut State College in Danbury, CT. Sister ministered in education for most of her career, and served for a number of years as the librarian at Archbishop Walsh High School in Olean.
Congratulations, Sr. Anna!
Experience of Mission in Brazil
By: Sr. Teresita DeSouza, Sr. Odette Haddad, Sr. Pat Tyre, and Laura Whitford, Mission Society President
Bom dia e paz e bem! Congregational Leadership graciously invited us - Sisters Teresita, Odette, Pat, and Laura - to experience mission in Brazil from November 5-18. Our travels took us to An
ápolis, Palmas, Cristalândia, Araguacema, and Goianorte. Much laughter, fellowship, and food were enjoyed by all at the convents where we stayed. The exceptional hospitality was both Franciscan and characteristically Brazilian.
Our Sisters minister to those who are poor and marginalized through education, pastoral ministry, and health care. We saw first-hand how our Sisters are present to children, families, young mothers, and the elderly during visits to schools, hospitals and health care clinics, as well as farms, churches, homeless encampments, and communities.
Many people took the time to share with us their challenges, especially the impact of government on schools and health care. There are many ecclesial, political, social, and economic dimensions that affect the Sisters, Brazil, and the total congregation. Although we saw many people in dire situations of poverty, we also saw much hope and a deep faith in God.
Each of us had our purposes for going - Sr. Odette as a member of Leadership, Sr. Teresita as a Jamaican leader, Sr. Pat in her ministry of Portuguese translation, and Laura as the President of the St. Elizabeth Mission Society. For all of us, though, the experience has brought new perspectives and a better understanding of Brazilian culture. We are encouraged to deepen the bonds with our Sisters and partners in ministry.
We're so very grateful to Leadership for extending this invitation to us to witness the Brazilian mission. This experience will lead to greater communion and bring better insights in decision-making processes. Let us continue to pray for our Brazilian Sisters as they face challenges in continuing to live the Gospel.
A full story and pictures will be included in the next edition of
. Follow St. Elizabeth Mission Society on Facebook to see Laura's mission experience.
Interculturality in Consecrated Life
By: Pat Klemm OSF
Culture is the way people in groups react to and shape their environments. Interculturality is how people from different cultures relate to one another. Cultures are not only based on national realities but on age, gender, and race.
On November 2, 2017, five Sisters - Goianira Silva, Colleen Brady, Margaret Mary Foley, and Pat Klemm - attended a conference entitled "Engaging our Diversity: Interculturality and Consecrated Life" at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Twenty religious congregations/institutes were accepted into a 30-month program sponsored by a Hilton Foundation Grant to the Center for the Study of Consecrated Life. Each team of four to five members came together for input and process about interculturality and its importance in contemporary religious life. The teams were required to represent leadership, younger members, formation/vocation ministers, and someone from the non-dominant culture.
We were told that as of 2016, one quarter of the Sisters in the U.S. are foreign born! (Our own affiliates represent four different national cultures.) We were encouraged to recognize the gift that every person's culture brings to our lives. The ability to live with, and not simply despite, cultural differences is a hallmark of an international community.
The conference had seven speakers, only one of whom was U.S. born. Among them were Sr. Teresa Maya, current president of LCWR, and Fr. Anthony Gittens, whose name you may recognize. Each working group table had at least four countries represented. Every meal we shared was from a different culture, the lyrics of many songs were in four different languages, our liturgical services were enriched by a multicultural choir and included symbols and dance from different countries.
Each team had to work together on a project that they would bring to their own communities to help break down the biases that unconsciously permeate our lives and to improve our ability to live interculturally with those in and outside of our congregations. We will be sharing more on this at our next set of assemblies. You can go online to the
Global Sisters Report
to read more about the conference and watch a YouTube video by Fr. Tim Norton on cultural sensitivity and Sr. Adrianna Milmanda on Jesus' experience of interculturality.
Franciscan-Clarian Spirituality Committee Meeting
By: Judith Terrameo OSF
The Franciscan-Clarian Spirituality Committee met November 30-December 2, 2017. We reviewed the ongoing work of the committee and the Assembly presentations by Ramona Miller OSF on Franciscan-Clarian Spirituality; as well as Sr. Sueli, a Poor Clare Sister who presented in Brazil and spoke about the Letters of St. Clare. Both presentations provided very positive feedback from sisters and associates. We also spent a good amount of time updating the Spirituality section of the website.
We reaffirmed the purpose of the committee and we reviewed our goals for 2017. We affirmed the completion of some goals; for example, the Beloved of God booklet and acknowledged that some of the other goals are ongoing. The Beloved of God booklet is in its second printing. Copies will be available through committee members, or Denise Bunk-Hatch at firstname.lastname@example.org. A digital edition of the booklet is available on the Spirituality page of the website.
Time was spent discussing and exploring the "Consistent Ethic of Life." Looking at life from a Franciscan-Clarian perspective, upholding the dignity of human life throughout all of life. The committee is continuing to develop this project. More to come!
Other goals for 2018 include:
- Implementation of the Franciscan Busy Person's Retreat (more information will be forth coming).
- Ongoing development of the Spirituality page on our website:
- Peace Prayer page is now located under the Spirituality tab.
- Future changes will include a calendar of upcoming of events and retreats.
- Additional tabs for topics on a Consistent Ethic of Life, Franciscan-Clarian Bibliography, resources for ministry with youth and young adults, and Peace Prayer reflections.
- Continued work on outreach to youth and young adults.
Click here to view a full listing of committee goals for 2018
Over the next few weeks the final reflections on the Peace Prayer of St. Francis will be in the e-newsletter, and the reflections will be available on the Spirituality page.
During the meeting committee members shared images of St. Francis and St. Clare and
hat the image evoked in them
. Franciscan-Clarian art, with reflections, will be shared in the e-newsletters and on the website in the New Year. Watch for these!
Carole Ann Hoppe has asked to leave the committee as an active member, but
continue working with the committee as a resource person. We are grateful to Carole Ann for her time and for the ways
that she continues
We are grateful to the community at St. Clare's for their welcome and gracious hospitality; and
Helen Roberts preparing our meals during
meeting dates are February 22-24, 2018. We invite you to send your suggestions and comments to the committee via Judith at email@example.com.
| Ending Gun Violence
Nationwide vigils are planned to support #EndGunViolence leading up to December 14, 2017, which marks the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy.
Since that heartbreaking day in 2012, half a million Americans have been killed or injured by guns. Now the nation has faced the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas and the massacre of worshipers in Sutherland Springs, TX. It has to stop.
The Newtown Foundation, in partnership with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown Survivor Network, Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Organizing for Action, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, and the Women's March on Washington hosted the annual national vigil of mourning and loving remembrance for all who have fallen victim to the ongoing epidemic of gun violence in America on December 6 and more nationwide vigils are planned between December 6-17.
Faith, gun violence prevention, social justice, and other organizations are invited to hold local events in their towns and cities from December 6-17. The goal is to unite the movement, continue to raise awareness, educate, and keep this critical issue front and center throughout the nation. Information on registering or hosting a vigil or event is
. Registrants will receive the 2017 National Vigil Tool Kit to facilitate planning and to coordinate a collective gun violence prevention message.
| Congregational Christmas Donations
By: Denise Bunk-Hatch, Communications Director
The Congregational Christmas card will soon be arriving in mailboxes across the country and beyond. This year our theme is "welcoming the stranger."
Matthew 2: 13-15 says "When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him." Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, 'Out of Egypt I called my son.'"
The Holy Family became refugees in Egypt, shielding Jesus from King Herod's threat, in the way that thousands of individuals seek refuge in other countries today. We are called by God to welcome our sisters and brothers in need, even when society at large does not.
Each year, Congregational Leadership selects four organizations (one in each country where our Sisters serve) to give a donation in support of the Christmas card theme. This year, donations will be given to:
Jamaica - The Scotia Foundation. The Scotia Foundation assists final year high school students displaced to Jamaica from hurricane affected Caribbean Islands.
Bolivia - Misionero de San Carlos Escalabrinianos Immigrant House. Father Gregorio Alejo from Mexico, a member of the Congregation Misionero de San Carlos Escalabrinianos, provides care to immigrants through the Immigrant House in La Paz.
Submissions are not guaranteed publication. All submissions will be edited prior to inclusion,
and may be held for future use if deemed appropriate.
January 3, 2018 - First edition January e-newsletter
January 17, 2018 - Second edition January e-newsletter
Reminder: There will be no second edition of the newsletter this month!