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Edition No. 12   June 23, 2016

Calling All Creative Spirits

Saint Mary by-the-Sea

Retreat House

The artist weekend at Saint Mary by-the-Sea Retreat House in Cape May, New Jersey, offered a gift of time, space and an opportunity to open up to the creative process.

Forty-six enthusiastic and creative spirits came together over the weekend of June 10-12. It was a weekend laced with various prayer experiences, morning Tai Chi on the beach and Yoga in the courtyard.  

The workshop began on Friday with an optional day of reflection on Hildegard of Bingen, presented by Joan Dollinger. Throughout the day, the attendees experienced dance, mandala creation and a group painting, meant to incorporate team building, led by Sister Maryanne Zakreski SSJ. The evening activities included a beach meditation guided by Sister Mary Ann Mulzet SSJ.  


Workshops offered on Saturday included: Print-making led by Christine Zaccardi, Collage with Carol King Hood, Watercolor with Jim McFarlane, a sharing around the book, Gifts from the Sea, The Art of Journaling with Sister Joannie Cassidy SSJ, Zentangle with Lisa Lippert and The Creative Process through Abstract Expressionism with Sister Cathie Meighan SSJ.


The artists culminated their weekend on Sunday by bringing their artwork to the Chapel. We returned to Hildegard’s meditation, ‘A Feather on the Breath of God,’ as a context for sharing the impact of their art-making, sensitive areas of spirit and creative expression. 





                      — Thomas Merton

Photos: Maryanne Zakreski SSJ

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12-Step Spirituality:
It Works If You Work It
Saint Mary by-the-Sea

Saint Mary by-the-Sea is a place where all who gather are able to experience and be refreshed and renewed by God’s abundant and gracious love.

This was the setting for the third annual 12-Step Spirituality Retreat Weekend, held June 16-19, 2016. Eighty-five participants, committed to the principles and practices that lead to life, attended the retreat. The retreat focused on the Spirituality of the 12 Steps as they appear in the Big Book of AA and the 12 & 12. It was offered to anyone in AA, Al-Anon or other 12-Step programs. “The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.”
(BB p. 83) 

Each morning began with a contemplative candle lighting prayer. The candles represented: Green-the body, Blue- the mind, Purple-the spirit and White-for all those still sick and/or suffering, especially from the bondage of addiction.

The schedule for each day followed a rhythm of input, time for personal prayer, experiences of various ways God works with us and the traditional 12-step fellowship. In addition to the presentations/ discussions on the 12 Steps, optional offerings each day included: An Introduction to Centering Prayer, The Role of Spiritual Direction, Dreams and The Prayer of Seven Directions.

In an atmosphere of authentic SSJ hospitality, the participants found on this holy ground solitude, peace, challenge, and fellowship to nourish and enrich them as they continue their journey.

From left: Father John Lyons, Chaplain with presenters Mary Ann Mulzet SSJ, Elaine Dombi SSJ,
Jeannette Daily SSJ, Judy Cute SSJ Associate and Rite Woehlcke SSJ
Sisters of Saint Joseph
Respond to the Refugee Crisis

by Connie Trainor SSJ

The Refugee Ad Hoc Committee met for the first time on
June 1st followed by a second meeting on June 15th. We came together to begin to explore ways we, as Sisters of Saint Joseph, might respond to the refugee crisis.

The following sisters have volunteered to serve on the Committee: Sisters Cathy Nerney SSJ, Connie Trainor SSJ, Eileen Marnien SSJ, Eileen McNally SSJ, Ginger Jenkins SSJ, Kate McCafferty SSJ, Lil Needham SSJ, Mary Catherine Manley SSJ, Maureen Erdlen SSJ, Nancy Roche SSJ, Sheila Falls SSJ, and Victoria DeSante SSJ.

On June 1st we heard Sarah Kaeppel of HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) share her experience of working in the field of Refugee Resettlement. It was a very informative presentation, which gave us new insights into the long and complicated process of Refugee Resettlement.

At our second meeting, we grappled with questions regarding: housing, ways to collaborate and with whom, where is the greatest need, how to live the Gospel, as well as, how to respond to the call of Pope Francis. We realized that in order to answer any of these questions, we need to allow our hearts to be touched by the plight of so many of our dear neighbors.

Our desire now is to develop a proposal on how we, as Sisters of Saint Joseph, can respond to the crisis involving Refugees/Asylum Seekers and those being held in Detention Centers.

Welcoming Summer...
With a Picnic on the Patio at Saint Joseph Villa

Warm weather and picnics — they just go together — and send the message that Summer is here!

That was the scene at Saint Joseph Villa on Wednesday, June 22, 2016. Residents and Staff gathered on the patio for hamburgers, hotdogs and all the delicious sides that make up a picnic lunch.

What a treat to eat outside in the beautiful sunshine, listening to summer tunes like, In the Good Old Summertime and enjoy each other’s company. 

“As Sisters of Saint Joseph we give public witness to the gospel values embodied in the Congregation and in the Church.The manner in which we do this must reflect sensitivity to other persons and to our society. This affects our choices regarding ways of acting, our living situation, leisure activity, manner of dress, and other social dimensions of our lives.”

— SSJ Constitutions #57
Editor, Sister Carole Pollock SSJ | 215.248.7269 | |