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SSJD The Eagle - Epiphanytide 2016

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The newsletter of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine - a religious community within the Anglican Church of Canada

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SSJD The Eagle - Epiphanytide 2016

  1. 1. The Eagle Epiphanytide 2016The Eagle Dear Associates, Oblates and Friends, The last five months have been full of God moments some of which I would like to share with you. One of the ‘worship’ highlights for me was the Advent Carol Service on December 6th which was made even more special by the large number of guests who attended the service including three Loretto Sisters from Toronto and two priests from the Bulgarian Orthodox Church who dropped by to see us without knowing we were having a special service. Fr. Milan Radulovic had known Bp. Henry Hill and was so happy to see our new convent. As you know early in September we received two women as Alongsiders for 2015-2016—Barbara Sheppard and Adwoa Lewis-Wilson—who have been helping us in our ministry of hospitality in various ways. Our retreat ministry continues to thrive. Many people appreciated both the retreat and the Writers’ Workshop given by well-known author Kathleen Norris. Sr. Constance Joanna continues to teach classes at Wycliffe Theological College: her class in the fall was a “Monastic and Missional” course and her winter course is the very popular prayer course, “Rooted in God”. We had several highlights in October. Sr. Dorothy flew to England to visit the Order of the Holy Paraclete in Whitby, England. (See her article on p. 3 ) On October 20th we launched our new program, “Companions on an Ancient Path” with a dinner at Wycliffe College. Sr. Constance Joanna described the program with a PowerPoint presentation which was followed by a panel discussion with myself, Barbara Jenkins, Sr. Constance Joanna, Molly Finlay and Karen Isaacs. Since that time, many presentations have been made to several diocesan synods, the Ontario Provincial Synod and other smaller groups. On October 28th we welcomed our Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, to the community for his annual visit when he shares some of the highlights of his ministry and some concerns for our prayers. We ended the month with a special blessing for two beautiful benches in the Guest L to R: Barbara Jenkins, Sr. Constance Joanna, Molly Finlay, and Karen Isaacs Continued on page 2
  2. 2. 2 House courtyard that were donated by the Wigmore family in memory of the Rev. Bill and Shirley Wigmore. Bill and Shirley were Associates for many years and Shirley later became an Oblate. On December 9th , we had our first visit by Bishop Linda Nicholls in her new role as Episcopal Visitor to the Community. Our friendship with Bishop Linda goes back many years, to the time when she was a curate at St Paul’s L’Amoreaux, and the Sisters ran Cana Place. We look forward to a deepening of the relationship. We were much blessed at Christmas with over 30 people attending our Christmas Retreat led by Sr. Constance Joanna and a total of 90 people including the Sisters sitting down to a turkey dinner with all the trimmings on Christmas Day. Our services on Christmas Day were especially joyous with a procession to the crib in the lobby at Morning Prayer and wonderful singing of “Go Tell It on the Mountain” at the Eucharist. This celebration was followed by our Patronal Festival on December 27th . In the evening the Sisters and Alongsiders had a Family Supper Party followed by informal singing of Christmas Carols. The New Year’s Retreat led by Sr. Debra was equally well attended. We were blessed with relatively mild weather which enabled some of the retreatants to walk the labyrinth by candlelight on New Year’s Eve. 2016 was heralded not only by New Year’s Day but also by a celebration of Sr. Constance Joanna’s 25th Anniversary of her Life Profession on January 3rd . The real celebration took place on Epiphany with a Festal Eucharist followed by dinner for the Sisters and a few friends including three from Cleveland, OH, and one from Shelby, MI. In between these two wonderful events, Dorothy Tam was admitted to our Community as a Postulant and will be known as Dorothy Grace. We ended this festive time with the Annual Associate Epiphany Tea Party on January 9th and a visit from Archbishop Colin Johnson and his wife Ellen the following week for the Eucharist, talking dinner and an evening of conversation. At present we have several women who have expressed interest and are discerning to be Alongsiders, Companions, or Postulants in our Community. Do continue in your prayers for us and for all those in discernment. And now we are into Lent, that time of year when we take time to look at our spiritual journey with God and seek to draw closer to Christ. Is there some discipline you might want to practice for this 40-day period: perhaps beginning the day with 15 minutes of silence or meditation on scripture; finding a spiritual book to read or study with a small group; ending the day with an Awareness Reflection (i.e. Where has God been present to me during the last 24 hours and where has God challenged me)? When considering what you might fast from, think about fasting from anxiety or resentment or criticism or impatience and feasting on trust or forgiveness or affirmation or gratitude. Whatever you choose to do I hope that God will bless you this Lent. With love and prayers, Sr. Elizabeth, SSJD Reverend Mother
  3. 3. 3 Continued on page 12 A Trip of a Lifetime I was extremely pleased to be asked to be the exchange sister to visit the Sisters of the Order of the Holy Paraclete in Fall 2015. I had never travelled outside North America and to go to England as my first overseas destination was just awesome; to see and experience an English-speaking country with its varied, ancient history was very special. The connection between the two communities goes back to the Second World War when St. Hilda’s School for Girls in Whitby was evacuated to Canada. The school was run by the Sisters of the Order of the Holy Paraclete (OHP) and our Sisterhood of St. John the Divine (SSJD) helped OHP to settle into life in Canada. Some years later a mutual friend, Carol Bunker, who used to visit both communities and sang the praises of each to the other during her visits, wanted the communities to meet again so she started a trust fund for an exchange program between the communities. The program has been running for some 25 years. An SSJD Sister usually spends a month at OHP in Spring when the weather is good and OHP usually visits SSJD in the Fall, when it’s cool. And so our friendship continues. My visit lasted five weeks, from October 14th - November 19th , so that I could be a part of two special OHP events: their Centenary celebration on October 17th and the installation of their new Prioress, Sr. Carole, on November 17th . When asked what else I would like to see and do while in the UK, my immediate response was that I would like to meet all the Sisters personally and to visit their UK branch houses. I knew some of the Sisters from their visits with us in Toronto and wanted to reconnect with them, plus have an opportunity to get to know the other Sisters. I flew from Toronto to London and on to Manchester; from Manchester airport I took the train to Malton and was met there by Sr. Jocelyn and Sr. Heather Francis, my guardian angel. The trip to Whitby through the Yorkshire Moors was beautiful, even though it was raining, and soon we arrived at St. Hilda’s Priory, Sneaton Castle, my home for much of my visit. It was exciting to stay in a real castle where I had a lovely room (cell) overlooking the beautiful rose garden, which still had some roses in bloom. OHP’s Centenary celebration was held in York Minster with more than 700 Associates, Tertiaries, Religious, and Friends of the community sharing this momentous occasion. There was even a contingent of well wishers from Ghana, where OHP ran schools for many years. The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, presided at the Eucharist; also in attendance were the Archbishop of Ghana, the Bishop of Northern Ghana and the Archbishop of Swaziland, who gave their blessings to the Sisters. A very inspiring sermon on the life and witness of the Sisters was given by Bishop Paul Ferguson, Suffragan Bishop of Whitby. At the end of the service, the Ghanaian women dancers made their way up the centre aisle, bearing gifts with songs of praise. When the Sisters processed out they received a standing ovation in honour of their prayer and service The Sisters of the Order of the Holy Paraclete on the steps of York Minster, with Archbishop John Sentamu in the front row
  4. 4. 4 A Time of Grace Looking back now, several months after I returned from my sabbatical, I reflect that it was a time of journey, shared prayer, and restoration of my soul and body. The travel was often tiring and sometimes arduous, but always well worth the effort, and I met many angels in human guise. I began by visiting Maggie Boulter, an SSJD Associate in Glasgow, Scotland. A highlight was a visit to the Kelvingrove Museum to see the famous Dali painting of Christ of St. John of the Cross. I got to walk on the shores of Loch Lomond, and went for a drive through the hills to see bluebells blooming. Several trains later, I emerged from the station in Whitby, North Yorkshire, to be met by a smiling Sister Dorothy Stella, then Prioress of the Order of the Holy Paraclete (OHP), since retired. I chose to go to OHP for most of my sabbatical time because of our exchange relationship. Our communities are so similar I could easily join in the prayer and community life. I packed very lightly for my trip, taking everything I needed in one backpack weighing approximately 22 lbs. It weighed closer to 30 lbs. upon return as I’d purchased a few books and a new pair of walking shoes. Living out of a backpack for 10 weeks has also informed my vow of poverty as I’ve looked with a more critical eye on the items in my bedroom at home! At St. Hilda’s Priory in Whitby, not only could I pray with the Sisters, but I also participated in some of their Centenary celebrations, including a trip to the parish of St. Hilda in Hartlepool and in a fabulous Flower Festival at the Priory. I took a six-day silent retreat in Woodland’s Cottage at St. Oswald’s where I “did for myself”. I spent time with the Sisters in York, attended services in the Minster, and walked the walls. Most of all I appreciated getting to resume my acquaintance with the OHP Sisters I’d met through our exchange visits. I helped out in little ways, including harvesting some of the soft fruit and cleaning up after meals. I planted a Bat Willow tree (so called because the wood is used in making cricket bats) in thanksgiving for the OHP Centenary and for 25 years of our exchange visits! In chapel Sister Janet guided me through the many books for the services, and slowly I gained confidence in singing the plain chant and joined with the Sisters in lifting my voice in praise. The town of Whitby offered breathtaking vistas of the North Sea coast with extensive sand beaches at low tide. I’d look up the tide tables so that I’d know whether I could walk on the beach or needed to be up on the sea wall! I sometimes walked down into town and up the 199 steps to St. Mary’s Church and to the abbey ruins for the glorious view out to the North Sea. In order to glean some good ideas and make connections in anticipation of our Companions program, I visited other communities, both established and some expressions of new monasticism. I was encouraged to visit the Franciscan Friary at Alnmouth built on a hill overlooking the tidal estuary of the Aln River, one of the most beautiful retreat houses in the world. Brother Desmond Alban, SSF, took me on a visit to Lindisfarne. What touched me in both of these places was the ebb and flow of the tides. Having lived inland most of my life, I saw how dependent upon the tides the villagers of Lindisfarne were, knowing when they could get Continued on page 5
  5. 5. 5 to the mainland safely or when they’d be cut off. I understood how people’s lives were affected by the rhythms of the tides, and how the Celtic church took on these rhythms in their prayers. I travelled inland and visited Mucknell Abbey in Worcester, one of the newer expressions of monastic life, and discovered old community connections with them. Our Sister Vera and their Sister Stella Mary, were siblings. I received a very warm welcome and was placed in choir with the monks and nuns. The warmth of hospitality which I received both there and in each of the monastic houses I visited, caused me to reflect on our own ministry of hospitality at St. John’s Convent, a ministry in which I began to work this fall with Sister Dorothy. Do I remember to see Christ in the stranger’s guise and receive each guest as Christ in our midst? I spent the last two weeks in the south of England. While staying with Sue Peterkin, near London, I visited Lambeth Palace where I had a visit with Prior Anders Litzl of the new monastic community of St. Anselm’s, set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury in Lambeth Palace. St. Anselm’s will give young people an experience of the rhythm of monastic living to take back out into the world at the end of their year’s sojourn. Sue and I attended evensong at Westminster Abbey and heard a Welsh choir (glorious); we peeked into the massive St. Paul’s and had a prayer; we lunched at St. Mary Aldermary where the Moot community, another new monastic expression, gathers. I made a pilgrimage to the church of St. John the Divine in Kennington, on the south side of the Thames. This was the church our Mother Foundress Hannah attended, and from which she took our Community name. We also enjoyed the lovely sea air on a shingle beach near Lancing; walked in fields of lavender near Banstead; and visited a vineyard in Dorking. I then spent a few days with our Associate Jane Christmas and her husband Colin in Brixton in Devon. The fishing town itself is lovely to walk through. We toured Agatha Christie’s summer home Greenway on the river Dart, and took a ferry down the river to Dartmouth. We drove along the Devon coast and stopped for some Devon ice cream along a beautiful stretch of beach. What a treat! I had a couple days on my own travelling to the town of Devizes in Wiltshire. At St. John’s Church on a Thursday evening I climbed up the church tower to meet the bell ringers practising their change ringing. On the Friday, I took a crop circle tour and walked in a crop circle shaped like an eagle. What a gift for a Sister of St. John whose patron John is the symbol of an eagle! Although I had two hours in the crop circle the time passed in an instant. My final stop was at Salisbury Cathedral, where I saw a special exhibit of their copy of the Magna Carta, one of four originals still extant in the UK. I was soaked in history and mystery to carry in my memories. All too soon the sabbatical came to an end. I am left with lots to ponder in our connections with both the established monastic communities and with the newer expressions. We have much to learn from and share with each other as we continue to respond to the leading of the Spirit in our lives in Christ Jesus. What more can I say but thanks be to God for the wonderful gift of this sabbatical time. Sr. Elizabeth Ann, SSJD I see Turner skies High above gnarled English oaks; Who knew they’re for real?
  6. 6. 7 when Santiago is clearly touching our pilgrim experience – as “camino moments.” Here is one. One morning in the middle of our pilgrimage, when we were weary and not being particularly attentive to our guidebook, we inadvertently set off on one of those long, scenic detours. Rather than following the level road along the river Lot, we climbed steeply up and away from the river in the direction indicated by the way marker, only realizing our “mistake” when we were well up into the hills. We reached several plateaus that only led to several more arduous climbs. Finally, we came to the pinnacle and the statue that made every inch of the ascent worthwhile. The Vierge Notre-Dame de Vermus is a strong and gentle Mary who watches over and cares for the whole valley far below, and for each of us. Standing there at the top of the hill, at the foot of the statue, I began to remember the words of Eliza Gilkyson’s Requiem: “Mother Mary … illuminate the path where we are going …. Lead us to a higher place …. Carry us in your embrace, let us see your gentle face.” The whole experience was indescribably breathtaking. The camino is sacred. We were truly walking on holy ground. On your return, when you might think your pilgrimage is over, you come to realize that the learning has just begun. My spiritual director calls this my “camino wisdom” – an only partially explored store of wisdom about perseverance and humility, achievement and failure, gratitude and simplicity, vulnerability and openness to the unexpected. Before setting off for Le Puy, I chose several scripture passages for reflection and copied them into my journal. The Gospel reading I included was the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus; remembering my first camino, I intended to recognize Christ in the people I met on the path. That was my expectation and it was a good one. And it even worked to an extent; we encountered some very kind hosts and fascinating fellow travellers. But the unexpected reality was that this camino was about Mary and Joseph’s hard journey to Bethlehem only to find that there was no room at the inn. We were often exhausted and felt homeless. For a few days my bronchitis made me very sick. Just at the time we were in Cahors, it was crowded with tourists, hikers and pilgrims, and there was absolutely nowhere to stay. I’m still reflecting on what this all means: Mary and Joseph, weakness and homelessness, no room at the inn. Then what? Then there’s promise and hope. To what will this journey give birth? So, in the end, that was my pilgrimage: an arduous walk through rugged terrain and pastoral countryside, interspersed with magical moments in Romanesque abbeys, altogether a wealth of profound experiences. And it all ended at the 14th-century Pont Valentré in Cahors, known as one of Europe’s finest bridges – the bridge we reached, but couldn’t cross. We thank you, God, for setting us tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us. We thank you also for those disappointments and for failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone. 6 Via Podiensis: My Pilgrimage in France The Rev. Pauline Head, Priest-Associate Very early one morning last August – it was just barely dawn – Rick and I hurried up hundreds of worn, centuries-old stone steps to the huge doors of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Le Puy. Soon, a Sister arrived and led the group of us who had gathered there into a much smaller side entrance – the pilgrim entrance. The cathedral was dark and cool and holy. We were there to be blessed before setting off on our pilgrimage through the hills of the south of France. Each pilgrim (pèlerin) was given a small medallion with a scallop shell (coquille St. Jacques) on one side and, on the other, the Black Madonna (a 17th-century statue adorns the front of the cathedral). The prayer cards we received asked God to be our “shade in the heat of the day, light in the darkness of the night,” and to “refresh us in our tiredness.” And so we began the pilgrimage. Four years earlier, in the autumn of 2011, my husband Rick and I had walked the entire Camino Frances, the pilgrimage from St. Jean Pied de Port, a French town in the Pyrenees, to Santiago de Compostela in the far northwest of Spain. It’s an 800-km path walked by pilgrims since the discovery of the bones of St. James the Apostle in a cave at Libredón over a thousand years ago. (Maybe they aren’t really his bones – there is as much doubt as there is faith – but the spirit of St. James is present on the camino anyway.) St. James has inspired millions of pilgrims to walk the long and difficult road to Compostela, and to be transformed by the experience. Our most recent pilgrimage, beginning in Le Puy (top right on map) in late August of 2015, followed one of the several medieval routes through France that leads to Spain. Known as the “Via Podiensis,” this pilgrimage, if walked all the way to St. Jean Pied de Port (bottom left), is also 800 km. It passes through Conques, Figeac, Cahors (third of the way), and Moissac – all towns that pilgrims would have visited a thousand years ago. But today the route is a hiking trail known as the GR65. So between those towns it makes many long, scenic detours, often climbing and descending steep, stony hills. Rick and I had hoped to walk either 350 km to Cahors or 400 to Moissac. As it turned out, I developed bronchitis and our walk ended abruptly after 280 km; Cahors was as far as we got, and we had to make the final stage of our journey to that town by bus. So that was our camino: 280 km through hilly, sometimes rugged, French countryside with time spent in four medieval pilgrimage sites – Le Puy, Conques, Figeac, and Cahors. Along the way, as you walk the chemin, St. James the Pilgrim (St. Jacques Pèlerin, Santiago Peregrino) watches over you. In the story of his pilgrimage, All the Good Pilgrims, Robert Ward writes, “Whoever it is, whatever it is, that walks with us on the Camino, and cares for us, and saves us from peril when all hope is lost – let that be Santiago Peregrino.” Rick and I have come to think of these magical events – times Pauline & Rick
  7. 7. 8 Meet our Oblates “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” I have been so richly blessed by friends, family and events all of which nurtured, inspired and influenced me in forming a deep relationship with God. My parents were devout Anglicans ensuring me a solid upbringing in St. Clement’s Church, Toronto, which has been my church home for more than eighty years. My sister, Jocelyn, sadly was an invalid for a great part of her life. She was an inspiration to us as she lived with the constant pain of a crippling disease. I have been making vows and promises all my life, beginning with Girl Guides “to do my duty to God”; in Inter School Christian Fellowship “to know God and make Him known” and on graduation from the Toronto General School of Nursing “pledge myself before God to pass my life in purity”. There were baptismal vows, confirmation vows, marriage vows; vows on becoming an Associate of SSJD and recently my Life Promises as an Oblate. There was marriage with Roy and our three lovely children; marriage with Richard, bringing three more dear children into our extended family. I have the joy of grandchildren who are pure gift. I have been privileged to have had a career in nursing, and to have been involved with children as camp nurse and camp director. Now I am happily living in a seniors' village in Toronto in a Christian community, surrounded by dear friends. The journey continues... CAROLYN MADELEY The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine began its Oblate program in 2000, in response to the desires of some Associates. Our Oblates are women with a deep call to the monastic life, but whose circumstances—marital status, age, health, etc.—prevent them from becoming Sisters. The word ‘Oblate’ is derived from the Latin word oblatio, an offering. These women make an offering of their lives to God through the Sisterhood, and their individual Rules of Life. In this and following issues of The Eagle we will introduce some of our Oblates. I am the second daughter born to a British Royal Marine father and a South African mother in Plymouth, Devon, UK. Because my father worked in the Admiralty the family moved around from England to Wales to Scotland. I attended many schools, including Elgin Academy in Morayshire, Scotland, which set me on the road to learning. I became a nurse and later joined the Queen Alexander’s Royal Army Nursing Corps. At a posting in Hannover, Germany, I met and married my handsome Lieutenant Michael Barnes, a Canadian serving in the British Army. We settled in Canada, and brought up our three children in Toronto. York University and Ryerson University presented further study opportunities for me, until Michael was called to Knox Presbyterian Church in Bracebridge, Muskoka. There we now reside on a farm with bees, ducks, chickens, cats and good neighbours. I was influenced and encouraged to visit the Convent by Sr. Mary Cartwright, and Sr. Dorothy Handrigan. This began my spiritual journey as an Associate then later as an Oblate. At present I volunteer with Hospice Muskoka, Muskoka Chaplaincy, am an elder at my local church and conduct monthly memorial services at the Pines Nursing Home in Bracebridge. JANICE BARNES
  8. 8. 9 Meet our Oblates One hot day in July, 1938, I was born to Ione and Thomas Copestick in Williamsport, PA. I am told that I was quite verbal at the time of my birth, and have carried this trait with me ever since. Because I was an only child, my parents sent me to Girl Scout Camp in the summer, where I became involved in the swimming program which has been an interest in my life ever since. I have taught swimming for decades to hundreds of kids, including my own. At 18, I was accepted into St. Mary's Convent in Poughkeepsie, NY, the convent where Mother Hannah trained as a novice. The wise Reverend Mother suggested I should have two years of college. I graduated, became a teacher and then met my husband, Rudy. I advised the Convent of my change of heart. My vocation has been teaching - - or one might say, children. My husband and I raised 23 foster children; I also started an Alternative School for hard to handle teenagers. We have five wonderful daughters. Midway through raising them, Rudy, a lawyer, decided to be ordained. He later became a part-time minister of St. James Episcopal Church in Mansfield, PA, which was across the street from his law office. Finally we both retired and came to our cottage in Canada to regroup and travel. Then the Bishop of Algoma asked him to consider working in Muskoka. I must say I was not happy! Rudy and I worked hard as a team serving six small churches and the time there was wonderful. We stayed in Muskoka for eight years, and in that time I heard about the Sisters. I became an Associate, then an Oblate and took my Life Promises in 2010. I am so happy that the Convent has been a part of my wonderful journey. LYNNE VAN DER HIEL I am the only child of parents who both came from large families. I was born in Kingston, Ontario in 1943, and received my BA from Queen’s University. I earned my Master’s degree in Library Science part time over a four-year period from Simmon’s College in Boston, MA. Libraries were in the process of being automated, and I gravitated towards system librarianship. After working at Carleton University and then the National Library of Canada, I moved into government, as part of a 350-person team that implemented the Goods and Service Tax (GST). I continued in this vein, most often in the health field, until my retirement in 2005. I met and married Derek Austin, my technical support from the National Library of Canada days. We had no children but we had almost 32 wonderful years together until his untimely death from cancer. Church has always been important to me, in Ontario where I became a Lay Reader, and later in BC. My spiritual life had been growing gradually but deepened considerably once I arrived in BC. I read “Cascadia: Exploring the Spirit of the Pacific Northwest” which explores the unique spirituality and culture of Cascadia (BC, Washington and Oregon). It helped me to understand why I am changing/evolving as I am. In 2001, SSJD came back into my life while I was in the Education for Ministry (EfM) program in Victoria. I began discernment to become an Associate and also a separate discernment to consider ordination to the Diaconate. This path led me to the Women at a Crossroads Program, which was instrumental in my finally saying “No” to ordination and “Yes” to monasticism. I began discernment to be an Oblate and made Life Promises and my commitment to SSJD in 2010. Thanks to the Sisters, my prayer life has deepened and continues to grow richer. SANDI AUSTIN
  9. 9. 10 Being born and raised Jewish, and a first-year baby boomer, I moved from Windsor to London at the age of 23 to pursue post-secondary education in child care. There I met my husband and we married in 1973. After awhile I found my niche working at the University of Western Ontario as a residence clerk, from which post I retired in 2011. My sister is the only remaining member of my family; I continue to have a very close relationship with her. My conversion experience to Christianity, 16 years into my marriage, completely changed my life and direction. Because of my inherent interest in writing, I began journalling, thinking that I might eventually write a book about my conversion journey. St. Paul’s (Anglican) Cathedral, London, became my home church, where I was baptized and confirmed at 43. I then immersed myself in discovering my identity as a Christian. Being attracted to the healing miracles of Jesus in Scripture, I prayed for healing, sensing my own great need. Some healing naturally occurred as I grew in my faith and knowledge of Jesus—through worship services, receiving communion, scripture, prayer, spiritual reading. Later, physical and spiritual healing, followed by inner healing, transformed my life at a deep level. Subsequently, I became an active member of The Order of St. Luke in 1999. I felt an instant attraction to the monastic life when I read a copy of The Eagle. In 1995 I attended a retreat at St. John’s Convent, and afterward became an Associate. In 2000 my husband and I separated, but later developed a close friendship and maintain a commitment to that new relationship. While discerning a call to become an SSJD Sister, my vocation as an Oblate became evident. More discernment culminated with my taking Life Promises as an Oblate in November 2009. This milestone event, 20 years after my conversion, seemed the appropriate final chapter for my book—A New Creation. Although unpublished, over the years I’ve shared various segments of my book. I’ve written articles and reflections and have spoken of my conversion experiences, the healing ministry, The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, or monastic spirituality in general, as opportunities arose. Theological education through the EfM (Education for Ministry) program is the new adventure I’m pursuing, on this continuing journey. PHYLLIS BEAUCHAMP Meet our Oblates SPEND A YEAR LIVING IN GOD’S RHYTHM Are you a woman in your 20s or 30s who would like to experience a year of living in intentional community? Beginning in September 2016, the Sisters invite applications for the Companions program, for women who have: • A desire to deepen their relationship with God, a willingness to follow Jesus in his radical obedience, and an openness to the leading of the Holy Spirit in the path of life • Membership in the Body of Christ, whether through baptism or intention, and regular participation in some spiritual or religious community • The ability to live creatively with others in community For more information and application forms contact the Companions Coordinator, Sister Constance Joanna, at companions@ssjd.ca. And check out our special website: www.ssjdcompanions.org Deadline for applications: April 1, 2016
  10. 10. 11 News from the Fundraising Office The Fundraising office team send their greetings and, on behalf of the Community, a heartfelt big thank you for your generosity and support in 2015! How privileged we are to be in touch with you, our donors and supporters, either in person or by correspondence. 2015 was a year that with your help we were able to: • improve the sound system in chapel • give on-going support to our education programs – for our own novitiate and first professed, our Alongsider program for women living with us and discerning God’s direction for their lives, and for our Women at a Crossroads program, as well as our own commitment to on-going education for ourselves in order to more effectively reach out in ministry to others; • fix maintenance problems - the heating, air circulation, and plumbing, as well as needing a new roof over one section of the building. To be able to catch up on these outstanding problems was a great source of relief and joy, not only for ourselves but also for those who come to share our hospitality; • maintain stability in our Founders Fund thanks to on-going steady support from you our donors, monthly pledges, people’s generosity in donations through transfer of shares, bequests through Wills, and Life Insurance policies. Our focus for 2016 to help ensure the Sisterhood’s long-range financial stability will be to: • continue to encourage annual on-going financial support • continue to build up the Maintenance Contingency Fund • continue to find support for our education programs Thank you for your on-going financial support – it is one tangible way of participating in our life and ministry. In this way you become more fully involved in our vision and mission, and play a significant role in the future of the Community. It also enables us to reach out to others, and makes a difference in the lives of so many who come seeking a place of silence, beauty, welcome and retreat. To those of you for whom this may be a new idea – we invite you, as you are able, to consider becoming a regular donor to the Sisterhood. Women at a Crossroads Three weeks can transform the course of your life! Consider our free, residential program for Christian women of any denomination at a crossroads in career, study, or lifestyle. The program helps you discover where God may be calling you through: • Sharing Christian community life • Engaging in classes and discussions about Christian life and vocation • Receiving personal guidance in deepening your prayer life Dates: July 15 – August 7, 2016 For further information and Application Form, contact: Kelly Clark, The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, St. John’s Convent, 233 Cummer Avenue, Toronto, ON M2M 2E8 Phone: 416-226-2201 ext 301 Email: convent@ssjd.ca Website: www.ssjd.ca Applications due April 15, 2016 Standing: Lynne Samways-Hiltz, Sr. Susanne, Sr. Doreen Seated: Sr. Wilma
  11. 11. 12 The Houses of the Sisterhood www.ssjd.ca St. John’s Convent 233 Cummer Avenue, Toronto, ON M2M 2E8 416-226-2201 • Fax: 416-226-2131 • email: convent@ssjd.ca St. John’s House, BC 3937 St. Peters Road, Victoria, BC V8P 2J9 250-920-7787 • Fax: 250-920-7709 • email: bchouse@ssjd.ca The Eagle is published several times a year by the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, St. John’s Convent, Toronto, ON M2M 2E8. An annual donation of $10 to help cover the cost would be greatly appreciated. Please let us know promptly of any changes of address. The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine is a registered charity. Our charitable donation number is BN 11925 4266 RR0001. Cont’d from page 3 throughout their 100 years. Many of the onlookers shed tears of joy. I was fortunate to be able to visit all the OHP branch houses, and even got the chance to share a bit in their ministry of hospitality and outreach. My time at St. Oswald’s Pastoral Centre with Sisters Helen, Janet Elizabeth, Margaret Ann, and Karan reminded me of happy days in the SSJD Guest House; at York I was hosted by Sisters Linda and Janette; in Redcar I stayed with Sisters Pam and Anita, and at Bishopthorpe Palace with Sisters Alison and Erika. Warm thanks to all the Sisters for showing me the life and sights of their cities, towns and surrounding areas. Of special note were: a tour of Durham Cathedral; my visit to York Minster, walking up the Tower, visiting the old city of York and walking around the old walls; a trip to the North York Moors National Park, and visits to Helmsley, St. Mary’s Church Lastingham, and Rievaulx Abbey, where the Sisters used to have a branch house. I was charmed by Robin Hood’s Bay, walking on the Moors to the Beacon, and a tour of Bishopthorpe. On St. Hilda’s Day, November 17th , there was a day-long celebration with a festive Eucharist in honour of St. Hilda, the patron saint of OHP. The former Bishop of Whitby, Gordon Bates was presider and homilist. Other activities included: the presentation of the portrait of Sr. Dorothy Stella, the outgoing Prioress, which will join the portraits of former Prioresses in the Library; the planting of two trees by Sisters Dorothy Stella and Carole, the new Prioress, to commemorate the occasion; and the installation of Sr. Carole as the 8th Prioress at Evensong, where the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, preached. There was lots of delicious food, and wonderful conversation was shared throughout the day. I cannot say thank you enough to all the Sisters of the Order of the Holy Paraclete for their warm hospitality and showing me a part of monastic life in England, and especially to Sisters Dorothy Stella, Carole and my “guardian angel” Sr. Heather Francis. Sr. Dorothy, SSJD A Trip of a Lifetime

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