The annually professed sisters arrived at Holy Name of Mary Convent in Mississauga, Ont., Canada for their biannual meeting and renewal of vows on Monday, August 14.
The sisters are: S Desiré Anne-Marie Findlay, S Heather Marie Deneen, and S Maria Louise Edwards, along with
S Maria Bakhita Waweru, MC, who is in the transfer process. They were joined by directors S Barbara Marie Brylka and SM Juanita Szymanski, and coordinator of formation S Suzanne Marie Kush.
The first full day, August 15, began with sung Morning Prayer for the solemnity of the Assumption and a festive Eucharistic celebration during which Sister Desiré renewed her vows as a Felician Sister.
SM Celestine Giertych, minister general, who is on vacation from Rome, joyfully received the renewal of vows. Father Pawel Ratajczak, OMI, celebrant and homilist, noted how, just as Mary was called to give birth to Christ, religious are called to give birth to Christ’s love and presence with their actions and words.
A festive breakfast that included Tim Horton’s donuts as a treat, followed the Mass.
Guided by Sister Suzanne, the group participated in lectio divina on the Gospel of the day before Sister Juanita and Sister Barbara shared an overview of the formation assignments and meetings for the year. This year’s program for the annually professed will utilize human development materials provided by Saint Luke’s Institute and Zoom for more face-to-face discussions.
Sister Suzanne’s afternoon presentation focused on the Capuchin influence on Felician spirituality. She elaborated on the Capuchin call to a more balanced active/contemplative life that emphasized ministering to people in the cities. Sister Suzanne noted the importance of the example of St. Felix in Felician spirituality and the call to live in simplicity and joyfully in the Lord.
Since August 15 was also Sister Desiré’s feast day, Sister Celestine took the group to Stella Maris, a vacation condo on the shores of Lake Ontario for the sisters’ use. Following a short time visiting and enjoying the scenic views, everyone enjoyed an ice cream cone to celebrate.
Today began with an adventure for the annually professed group. Everyone awoke at 5 a.m. and joined Sister Celestine in watching the sun rise over Lake Ontario and downtown Toronto. After a brief stop for coffee, the sisters gathered in a nearby park with blankets and pillows and prayed while waiting for the sun to rise.
Sister Heather said, “Slowly, the red, orange and magenta colors of the sunrise illuminated the surroundings, and it was a beautiful moment to contemplate the amazing array of God’s creation, including sleeping swans that gradually came to life as the sun rose overhead.”
Filled with a sense of peace, the sisters returned to Holy Name of Mary Convent to witness and celebrate the renewal of vows for Sister Maria Louise. While the Gospel message emphasized the importance of gentle fraternal correction, Father Pawel mentioned the difficulty and need for it while living religious life.
Sister Celestine joyfully received Sister Maria Louise’s vows and the sisters at Holy Name of Mary Convent celebrated as well, even though the day was liturgically more low key.
Today’s session featured S Nancy Marie Jamroz presenting on communication. The first half of the day was spent exploring the many components of verbal and nonverbal communication. Sister Nancy utilized several video clips that illustrated her points well.
During the afternoon, Sister Nancy will present on the importance of communication in developing solid leadership skills.
Reflecting on their gathering thus far, Sister Heather said, “Overall, the annually professed sisters have had an enriching and delightful time growing in their vocations during their time at Holy Name of Mary Convent and really appreciate the welcome and hospitality of the sisters here.”