Items filtered by date: March 2019
An Activity of the Volunteers –As its month, team meeting the Drummondville Volunteers of God participated in a conference titled, Give meaning to one’s life; give meaning to one’s death. (Antoine de St-Exupery)
The speaker, Madame Denise Filion, a retired nurse, had worked in palliative care a number of years. She spoke of the resistance, concerns and fears some persons have in accepting death. She spoke as well of the secure feelings of others who passed away peacefully having become aware since birth that death was part of the journey. She gave the example of a farmer, close to nature, who passed away serenely. Through the process of sowing seed, he had experienced what death could mean. “I sow the grain on the soil, that is my work as the human in the picture. Then the Divine work begins. The seed must die to germinate, to develop, to spring forth from the soil and produce fruit.” Having given meaning to his life, that man accepted death in peace.
A time of reflection followed the conference. We realized that, for humans and the growing seed, the process is the same. Day after day humans flourish, die to childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood onto old age.
1. As a Volunteer, what meaning do I give my life?
2. Do I consciously accept to die to myself a little more day by day?
3. What meaning do I give to my physical losses?
4. What meaning do I give to my death?
The Volunteer Team,
By Paulette C.
Last September I became leader of a Christian meditation group at the John XXIII Pavilion at St. Joseph Oratory in Montreal. I do not replace Denise Gagné, I follow her, since every person is unique. Denise stays on as one of the animators of our weekly meetings.
In the past five years I was warmly welcomed every week by Denise who was in charge of the group from 2000 to 2016. I wish to pay homage in my name and in the name of present and past meditators who had the great privilege of associating with her.
I share with you the gist of an interview she has consented to with great generosity and humility: It was in October of 1998 while listening Father Freeman on Radio Ville Marie that she received a response to a strong call to becoming more contemplative. A few days later a conference given by Father Freeman at St. Pierre Centre convinced her she had found what she had long for in the intimacy of her heart.
She hastened to contact Rachel Jetté, ssh, who was in charge of the John XXIII group and committed immediately and faithfully. During the sixteen years she was in charge of the group she persevered come hell or high water even at slack times when, on several occasions, she found herself alone to meditate. Throughout, she never considered abandoning Christian meditation.
From 1999 to 2005, the five years during which she was on the Administrative Council of MCQRFC Denise’s many talents shone through: her preciseness, teaching skills, reliability, rallying skills, attentive listening and welcoming openness…
For her, the commitment as member and leader of a meditation group rests on making the practice of Christian meditation the priority in one’s life. Personal consistency and faithfulness are the basic foundation for progressing on this interior pilgrimage, this spiritual pathway to growth.
What Denise appreciates the most in Christian meditation is her intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, a free relationship without expectations thanks to the practice of the prayer of the heart. She is aware that meditation has made her more tolerant and open to others, less apt to second-guessing and less judgmental. She found encouragement in the faith of other meditators and in the support of the group. Is it not written in Mathew’s gospel: «For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them?» (Mt 18; 20)
Here are tributes of several present-day John XXIII meditators expressing their appreciation of Denise:
«As a new meditator I felt warmly welcomed to the group by Denise.»
«Denise is a sensitive, warm and thoughtful woman. I appreciated the listening skills, she, as leader of the group, manifested towards me.»
«Her presence at meditation sessions helped me to enter into silence.»
«Intelligent, generous and gifted with a healthy intellectual curiosity, she loves to learn and discover new things.»
«Regular attendant, good humored, heart-felt welcomer, gentle, thoughtful.»
In the name of all meditators who have benefitted from your benevolence over all these years allowing them to grow in faith, a heart-felt thank you, Denise.
Leader of the John XXIII Pavilion group
Source: Revue Échos du Silence (Echos of Silence magazine), volume 26, nb 1, March 2018
Elizabeth (Betsy) Rockwood’s sharing on her recent attendance at the Annual Meeting of the United States Conference of Secular Institutes.
I would like to express my gratitude to the Oblate Missionaries of Marry Immaculate for the privilege of attending the USCSI Annual Meeting September 28-30, 2018.
The meeting was held in the beautiful setting of the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. We were blessed with good weather and so could move easily back and forth to our various locations for meetings, meals, sleeping and quiet walks in the beauty of the desert-like setting.
The USCSI leadership did a truly awesome job of organizing everything from arrival, transportation, housing, meals, facilities for the meetings, presenters for the meetings, appropriate and artistic printed hand outs and worship all the way through to organizing our transportation for departure.
The Rev. Ralph B. O'Donnell, Executive Director of USCCB Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations Office blessed us with his outstanding presentations.
The presentations and information during the weekend resulted in a sharing that united us in our common ground of commitment to consecrated life as members in our various Secular Institutes. I personally found it was stimulating to share experiences with others from different parts of the U.S. We all share a common concern for the aging of our members while at the same time a decline in new vocations. One new insight for me was that this decline in vocations is world-wide within the Catholic Church. Fr. O'Donnell was planning to leave shortly after his meeting with us for a meeting in Rome on the subject of vocations.
The "Panel of Young People," "Parts 1 and 2," were intended to focus on the "strengths and attributes of your institute's charism to accompany youth on their way to faith and discernment." There were three presentations from different Secular institutes on the subject. I was one of the presenters. We all did our best but certainly did not solve the major challenge in our church today concerning vocations. The most promising thing is that we, as members of secular institutes, are recognizing the challenge and seeking to find our Lord's will forward in this.
I would like to share with you two insights on this important subject that may deserve our thoughtful consideration. Prior to coming to the USCSI meeting I had asked our OMMI members to share their thoughts with me on the subject of vocations. Here is a response that I found especially thought provoking.
"I find that the birth of a vocation is truly a mystery...A psychologist told us that for Secular Institutes the members have to be mature...because we do not live in communities. Now a days the members that are accepted are older and of course more mature. They have experience of life. Let us be open to the working of the Spirit in us and around us."
Another similar thought that came to me is from a conversation I had recently with a long time Missionary of the Sacred Heart priest who has been for many years head master of a private School for boys in England. He said:
"It used to be, if an 18 year old boy came to me and said he wanted to become a priest, I would rejoice and encourage him. But today is a different world. Today, I would say, "Wait. Get your college degree. Work a few years in a profession, earning a living, learning about today's world. Then come back to me."
Food for thought!
Elizabeth (Betsy) R.
Having at heart the advancement of women’s place in the world I organized for the second consecutive year an event on the theme “The interior strength of women” following last years theme which was “Woman’s interior beauty.”
In my presentation I invited women to become more deeply aware of their interior strength – what was the source of this strength... Within us is something much greater than ourselves, something divine which will remain forever. Woman is a multifaceted diamond, resilient and fragile, that reflects many qualities and strengths. (Upon arrival each had received a token diamond.)
It is through love that she is resilient and through love that she is fragile.
Created in God’s image to love, give life, care, sustain growth, encourage, support and heal - without expecting any return, all of which arise from the heart of God as Mother. Indeed, could God have created woman if he himself did not have a mother’s heart?
This interior strength of woman is seen in her action, in her capacity to rise up to challenges, making of obstacles a spring board to go beyond with courage, faith and adaptability. It is this energy that gives soul to the home and workplace, soul in sports and in education. Her reaching out reveals the woman’s readiness to value the happiness of others ahead of her own.
Recognizing this strength is not a matter of undue pride but of standing up in full awareness that it is God gifted. This strength is the Love from which arise all other qualities we have received and that we develop by putting them at the service of others.
We heard Danièle Paré with her magnificent voice pay homage to the Virgin Mary with her rendition of Gounod’s Ave Maria. Then, Simone Desgroseilliers, harpist, accompanied with music her witnessing of the interior strength that sustained her during trials that become the source of life and hope.
Since men were also guests at this event the next witnessing was that of Jean-Marc Gaudreau who relates how he discovered his wife’s interior strength through her five-year battle with cancer. He acknowledged that, as a couple, these were the best years of his life because he learned to express his true feeling: Why wait for tragic events to recognize the beauty and the strength one’s partner, he said.
The last witnessing was that of Diane Labranche-Lampron, a business woman, wife and mother of 11 children. She discovered interior strength that she developed as she coped with a multitude of experiences which she shared with us with sprinkles of humor. Her interior strength carried her through dramatic situations that ultimately ended happily.
Over 160 guests attended the event. Video in french only
How beautiful your works are Lord. How great your works are Lord. Lord, you fill me with joy.
2018 was a significant year in my life. It is the year I celebrated fifty years of commitment in the Insti-tute. At first, I was apprehensive because I have never enjoyed being in the limelight.
This year has been a precious year for me. I have come to under-stand that celebrating a jubilee has nothing to do with the person that I am.
I have learned that to celebrate a jubilee is to turn one’s eyes towards the One who created me with love, who chose me from all eternity, who set me aside and who walks faithfully with me.
To celebrate a jubilee is to take time to delight in ineffable joy and God’s mercy. Life is beautiful, life is great and spiritual life is the well of springing water that animates my whole being.
To celebrate a jubilee is to take time to revisit the years that have gone by to discover in them the common thread that has led me to this day. I cannot help but give thanks to the Lord for all these mar-vels!
I bless the Lord for his kindnesses. I thank Him for my family mem-bersand for the path of faith that they helped me to discover. I bless the Lord for having embedded the call in my being and for showing me the way so that I could respond to it. I bless the Lord for the Insti-tute of the Oblates for it teaches me to live daily in trust and the joy of the gift.
I bless Him for our beautiful spirituality which gives me concrete means by which I become a witness of love and peace day by day.
I bless Him for this beautiful fraternity that I experienced at all the cel-ebrations prepared with love, kindness and thoughtfulness by my companions, friends and family. My heart is so grateful for the ex-pressions of love that I have received. You have been a source of joy and happiness.
Thank you for the beautiful moments we have lived together, espe-cially for the warmth of your friendship.
Many thanks, in friendship, Germaine D.