Friday, November 23, 2012

Providence Community News

During the month of October St. Mary’s Church on Broadway had a Ministry Fair. Each ministry of the Church had a booth in the basement of the school decorated with informational posters of their ministry such as CCD, Eucharistic Ministers, Home Care, Bread and Blessings.
 The parishioners were invited to the Ministry Fair and were encouraged to join one or more if they were able to do so. Everyone marveled at the great number of ministries in the parish. It was a great success.
Pastoral Care Week is celebrated once a year during the month of October at Marian Manor. This year’s celebration was from October 22cnd to October 26th. The Theme for this year was “Giving Voice”. Giving voice refers to words that must be voiced to empower, words that have been empowered. They may be words of hope and love and care, of respect that reveal the value and potential of others. During Pastoral Care Week at Marian Manor, different activities were organized to show appreciation for the work of the volunteers and staff and to recognize their “Special Kind of Caring” for the residents of Marian Manor. Some of the events were a Mass, blessing of the hands, and a tea party. Mayor Thomas Haye was invited to the tea party and gladly attended. Everyone enjoyed this time of afternoon relaxation with tea and delicious pastries.

Lastly, we cannot forget Halloween. Witches flying, bats screeching, ghosts moaning announced that Halloween had arrived. In Dighton, Halloween arrived a little early.

On October 27th we had our annual Halloween Party just in time before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. The conference room in Dighton was decorated with witches, ghosts, skeletons, cats, and bats.
Most of the Sisters came dressed for the occasion. We all had fun looking at each one’s costume and Sr. Vimala took photos of all of us. After the excitement of seeing everyone, we enjoyed Halloween goodies. This was followed by some games. Everyone had a great time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Feast of the Presentation of Blessed Virgin Mary

Deep in November - a month known at times as  bleak and bone- chilling,  the church calendar shows a special day. The Feast of the Presentation of Mary.  Just before the secular celebration of Thanksgiving arrives, the church gives us a day to reflect on the life of the little girl who would become our Blessed Mother.  

According to some ancient traditions and ancient sources, the much loved daughter of Joachim and Anna was brought to the Temple and dedicated to God.  It was a custom at that time that some little girls were given to the priests of the temple to be taught the holy traditions and beliefs of the Hebrew people.  A further investigation suggests that the little Mary (Miriam in Hebrew) was beheld by none other than a younger Simeon and a younger Anna.  They would greet the newborn Jesus perhaps  as little as twelve years later and would burst with joy at the precious Savior that  Mary placed into their arms.  How thankful were they?  I leave that to your holy imaginations.
     So it is fitting then that we celebrate this day as Sisters and Lay Associates of the Presentation of Mary with a sense of gentle, warm wonder.   There was Mary with her beloved steadfast Joseph.  They would soon withdraw from the pages of the New Testament until Jesus begins his public ministry.  We can only guess at the simple but happy family life they enjoyed.  Mary laughing at her Son's antics and Joseph's twinkling eyes as he wondered about this little Charge of his.
     Let us ask Mary as this special day approaches to look upon the Sisters and their lay associates with a loving smile as once again they renew vows and promises.    

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Changing Neighborhood in Washington, DC

We see Washington DC changing in many ways and every day we see new development in our neighborhood.
Looking at the history of this small part of  Ward 5, with about 75,000 people living in it, we find our area of that was once called “little Rome” because of the many Catholic Institutions clustered around Catholic University.
For most of the 19th Century the area was farmland owned by the prominent Middleton (not the same as Kate) and Queen families.
Later, in 1906, the Baltimore and Ohio railroad connected this portion of Washington to downtown and Colonel Jehiel Brooks built the Greek Revival called later the Brooks Mansion (now the site of DCTV).
After the Civil War, the population increased and the former Brooks family estate became a housing tract called “Brookland”
Public transportation improved when the Brookland-CUA Metro station was inaugurated on February 3, 1978 with connections to many bus lines. This attracted many more people to the area since they were connected to the whole Metropolitan Area.
The Catholic University of America
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
The Franciscan monastery
Ukranian Catholic National Shrine
United State Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Army Retirement Home and Lincoln’s Cottage
Dominican House of Studies.

(It is difficult to see many of these landmarks now because of all the construction going on around us.)

Community Diversity
The community starting to settle in Brookland was mainly Caucasian. Although there was some hostility towards the early black integration in the neighborhood, in the middle of the twentieth century Brookland developed into a neighborhood fairly integrated among economic classes and races.
Brookland was never Washington’s most fashionable address but it attracted many middle class families eager for its shady streets and single-family houses.

Now, in the beginning of the twenty first century, the face of the area has been changing:
According to the census of 2010 the ward 5 has 74.308 people with three main races represented:
White 16.5 %
Black 76% (9.9% less from the 2000 census)
Hispanics population went from 2.6% to 6.3%

New Projects in the neighborhood.

Chancellor’s Row
.  On 4th street and Jackson with 237 four level townhomes. They are taking most of the grounds from Paulist College and surrounding grounds.  All the trees of the area disappeared,. There are no play grounds.  Children have to play in very narrow houses going up and down the stairs.  The streets are very narrow, even to enter the garages, and the lowest price is $600.000. 

Monroe Street Market. A $200 Million project. (Monroe St.
According to their advertising it is “A new mixed-use development proposed to be completed in multiple phases. It will change the once desolate Brookland neighborhood into a pedestrian friendly destination.”
As of right now, three blocks have already been demolished and /or are starting to build some floors. (See  pictures). A new place near the Metro rail is also starting to have the foundations layed. One more block will be demolished next month
Until now the project is for 700 apartments, 45 townhomes and a large space dedicated to working artists.
The ground floor will be for small shops, dining places, a business center and a gym.
These apartments will be more expensive than Chancellor’s Row and for now they are offering “shopping and dining” for students in the area since they know that the prices won’t be affordable for them. The prices have not been announced but leasing  will begin in January 2013
It is difficult to know what the neighborhood will look like as we have to wait and see the people that will buy properties  in these projects.
Rosary House. As you can imagine, we have been following the evolution of a project that does not seem to stop there. Their ambitions include most of ward 5.
The residents that we are receiving in our house are more and more women under 30 years old that have to study and work. Many of them also look for a religious community where they can live their Christian life and a place where young people are interested in forming community. 
Only God knows the future of this house that has been serving the area for more than 60 years but as for us, we are willing to keep helping those that cannot afford expensive housing.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

News from Bownsville

Sr. Monica Teresa Garcia continues to teach at St. Joseph’s Academy sponsored by Marist Brothers.  Juan Antonio, one of her senior students who is the president of the service program organized a much needed service to a poor widow in Brownsville. This was part of a service day for all Marist Youth. Here are some excerpts from the student who organized the service.
“the recipient is a widow who lives here in Brownsville. Her husband passed away last year from cancer due to asbestos, however she decided not to sue the business which exposed him to it because it gave him a job for many years. Therefore, she has been struggling financially even though her children try to help her out every now and then.
Her house is in dire need of repairs……..Because the amount of repairs needed is overwhelming, I’ve decided that – throughout the entire year – I’ll be visiting her home a few times with different groups of volunteers to help her home look the way it should.
This first time, because I want to make sure we are getting the job done right way, I chose to work on replacing the kitchen floor, fixing the sink pipe, and repainting the inside walls of the house etc.”
Juan Antonio organized every detail of the work. What a Leader!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Autumn's Hope

 A well- known American poet, Carl Sandberg, wrote, “Fog comes on little cat feet.” Was he speaking of the autumn fogs, the mysterious mists that blanket the north?  Autumn mystery.

We finally see the true vibrant colors of the leaves.  Trees fall into deep dormancy, changed is the air—chilly, invigorating.

Have you watched Brother sun set into the west while sister Moon rose in the east and this while sitting in silent September, entranced by the ocean shore---Sky and beach appearing out of the mysterious moonlight?

In the light of an October afternoon, acorns become cat toys and squirrels scold the furry felines from the safety of the oaks. Maybe just once we grown ups might kick up some leaves and laugh in the brisk air.

 The world is again transforming. Life is surrendering. There is wonder and amazement. Are the trees afraid? Does not our Father care even for these? Are we afraid? Are we not worth, each one of us, more than all the leaves that have ever fallen? Jesus consistently told his disciples “Be not afraid”. 

During this season of wisdom, and serene surrender, be open to the mystery.Take heart, consider the trusting surrender of nature  and surrender too to Your Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

During this season, as we begin the "Year of Faith" may you hear the "summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the World."  May autumn's mystery transform our faith in this special year, deepen our hope, envigorate our generosity.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dighton's Tri Centennial 2012 - We were There!

This year marks the 300th anniversary of the Town of Dighton and the town, with a population of 7,086 at the 2010 census, has been celebrating all year long!

On August 18th  some of our sisters watched a Colonial Re-enactment. They had the opportunity to see the Continental Line hold a colonial encampment and battwlfield re-enactment of the new Sweets knoll State Park. It was exciting for us to re-live in action a historical event in our own town. 

On September 22nd , the town had its Dighton Tricentennial Parade and three of our sisters, Sr. Vimala, Sr. Ana Maria and Sr. Glorina  participated.  The theme of the parade was “March of Time” and was about three-mile long with 80 floats! It went down the “Old Bristol Path” starting at the corner of Main and Elm Street and ended at Dighton Elementary School.

The marchers were grouped into eight divisions and the sisters were assigned to the fourth division. It was made up by colonists and the Catholic float representing our own parish Saint Nicholas of Myra. We rode on the float with some of the Knights of Columbus and their families. From our seats (hay covered with blankets), we enjoyed watching spectators along the streets and long lines of marchers in different costumes ahead of and behind us.   

  Many marchers wore colonial
  clothes and others were dressed as
  Native Americans. There were public
  officials, veterans and their families,
  and representatives from the
  shipbuilding, farming, business and
  industry sectors of the town. There
  were Boys and Girl Scout troops,
  youth soccer teams, members of our
  parish and many more.

The parade included marching bands, colonial bands and colonial units who fired musket volleys at certain intervals along the route.

Parade entertainment for the young and young-at-heart featured unicyclists playing fife as well as clowns from Clowning for Kidz Foundation.

There was a good turnout! Everyone braved the misty rain on a cool morning and waited patiently for the parade. We think Colette McKeon, (Chairwoman of the Tricentennial Committee) who happens to be the niece of our very own Sr. Marie William Lapointe, did an outstanding, fantastic job!  

The sisters had a great time and enjoyed themselves waving at the crowd and throwing bubble gums to the spectators. They met many people, renewed acquaintances and made new friends. We came home with many happy memories of Dighton’s “parade of the century!”

See our website gallery for more pictures of the parade.

Friday, September 21, 2012

News from Guaimaca Community, Honduras


In Guaimaca we not only celebrate the Feast of St. Dominic on August 8th, but also the feast of St. Rose of Lima, our parish patron saint. It starts with nine days of preparation with masses in the different neighborhoods, followed by a special Eucharistic celebration on August 23rd and then, a week of festival, by the town itself, to culminate with another special mass on the 30th, the old date of the feast.

This year, as we celebrated the Feast of St. Dominic at the Parish with the participation of our Associate Candidates, we pointed out to the parishioners, that August 2012 has three Dominican Feasts at our Parish: St. Dominic, St. Rose of Lima, a Lay Dominican, and the Golden Jubilee of Religious Life of Sr. María Ceballos.
There were two special moments on the feast of St. Dominic:  an afternoon of recollection and prayer for the students at the Marie Poussepin Center and then, the parish Mass. Several parishioners and the students had been practicing songs to St. Dominic and were joined in by our pastor, Fr. Jonathan, who is a singer and composer. The Sisters and the Associate Candidates participated in different ways in the Liturgy.  It was an opportunity to make better known our Dominican roots and charism.

Sr. María had celebrated her jubilee in Dighton, but we were waiting for her to celebrate it here with us. On Sunday, August 26th we had the renewal of her commitment at the Sunday morning Eucharist.  It was an opportunity to thank the Lord for her 50 years of consecration to the Lord, 11 of which have been spent at the service of the poor in this local Church. It was a good vocational awareness opportunity.  Many people were able to be present at the Eucharist and the small reception that followed on the side of the Church and outside the clinic.

That evening the Associate Candidates and their families surprised her with a good meal, time of sharing,

 cake and "piñata." It was very meaningful that it came from them to organize this moment for her.  We can see that they have grown to be part of us, Dominican Sisters of the Presentation in Honduras.

On the very day, August 28th, we joined her, once more, in thanking the Lord for the many graces of these years. This was the day for the stud ents to provide some time of celebration for Sr. María.  That evening they danced and expressed the joy of celebrating with her. They were able to watch a presentation we had shown Sr. María and the parishioners at the Parish celebration.  It was an opportunity to get to know more about Sr. María’s religious life and to ask her some questions. Again, another vocational moment…hopefully!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

News from Dighton Community

Summer is coming to an end which means that as New Englanders we will need to adjust to a different lifestyle. The Dighton community had a good summer. We enjoyed the beautiful flowers all around the property. Our sisters took advantage of the outdoors. The older sisters sat on the porch; but also joined the rest of us as we spent a day at Herman’s cottage while Sr. Monique was here.

Yes, the highlight of the summer was the canonical visit by Sr. Monique, our Superior General. Sr. Monique came a few days early for R & R and joined us for the outing. Later in the summer, we had another outing to St. Anne’s community. The “under 65” sisters went sightseeing in Boston for a day. They were lucky enough to visit the “USS Constitution” and have a short boat ride on the Charles river. Their only complaint was that they need more time to see Boston. Isn’t that true!

While Sister Monique was here we hosted some 80 people for the celebration of Eucharist and dinner in order to celebrate Sr. Marie Therese Ernou’s 75th Jubilee of religious life. Sr. Maria Ceballos was celebrating her 50th. 

One unexpected event of this grand celebration was when a sister opened those warmers to put the pan of food over the steaming water when suddenly the fire alarm went off. No matter how fast you call them, or what you say, the Dighton Fire Engines and Police were here before you could blink. It turned out to be fun event because the guest were coming in at the same time and were teasing Srs. Marie Therese and Sr. Maria about having all these guests for the celebration..

We had a nice cozy celebration of Labor Day. It was a gorgeous day. Some sisters carried tables, others were in the kitchen, another at the grill and of course we had the famous potato salad delivered. We enjoyed a few family and friends.

Now let’s look forward to the autumn phase.