Sunday, January 6, 2013

News from St. Anne's Community, Fall River

My Experience at Marie Poussepin Center, France

With a grateful heart I come to share with you what the CEMP has meant for me. On August 16, 2012 at Logan Airport I sat on a full American Airline airplane for a direct flight to France. After we boarded and the plane was roaring it seemed as if it was an unusual long wait for takeoff. Suddenly we heard the voice of the co-pilot who announced: “Folks, we can’t leave until we get a very important part of the plane, (after a moment’s hesitation) the pilot. Our pilot is stuck in traffic on a Boston highway because of some live wires across the road. Until the wires are removed the traffic will continue to remain at a standstill. When the pilot gets here we shall be ready for takeoff.” An hour later we were told to prepare for takeoff. From then on the flight, the tours and pilgrimages in France and Rome were beyond my expectations and anything I could have imagined.

Tears of joy came to my eyes on many occasions as I learned about and experienced the sources of our Congregation and our Church. Tears of joy came when I first arrived at the chapel of Sainville; then at the tomb of Blessed Marie Poussepin at La Breteche; at the cemetery in Tours at the tomb of  Sr. Ines Mercedes where we prayed together; when we had a tour of the chapel of La Breteche; when we recreated with the contemplative Dominican Nuns in Prouille in the Convent that St. Dominic actually founded; as we walked the journey of St. Dominic in Fanjeau when he was confronted by the heretics who asked him how he would like to be killed and he responded: “ Tear me apart limb by limb so I can suffer as Jesus did (This answer was so unexpected that the heretics let St. Dominic pass and continue his journey to the village where he preached and celebrated Mass.); and at the grotto of Lourdes.

Again my tears came when we arrived in Rome with such a wonderful greeting by our Sisters in Rome and then when we spent time in St. Peter’s. The only time that I felt tears of fear and that my life may be in danger was when the 24 of us Sisters from many different parts of the world daily boarded the buses in Rome which were packed with standing room only. But our Sisters who live there protected us and got us off the correct stop.
I met several people from the U.S. in Rome because the day we arrived our Holy Father canonized seven persons two of whom were North Americans. One was St. Kateri, our first U.S. Native American to be canonized and the other one was St. Sr. Marianne Cope who had emigrated to the U.S. before she became a consecrated religious. I thoroughly enjoyed all the classes which were translated into English by Sr. Paulina Hurtado and all the many surprises that the CEMP staff had for us and well as having some extra time to pray and just “be.” In fact now that I am back I am a little embarrassed when people ask me if I missed them because I didn’t even think of home as I was enjoying my three months so much. And so I am so grateful to God and to all those who made it possible for me to live the CEMP experience.
Sr. Carole Mello

News about Marie’s Place

Marie’s Place, sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation, continues to grow and expand.  The charism of our Foundress, Blessed Marie Poussepin, is palpable in the presence and witness of all our sisters and volunteers who minister there.  The number of persons and families continues to grow and we are trying to meet the needs of our customers by providing clothing, food and household items to them.  We are trying to help people with the basic needs of food and clothing and we also refer people to social service agencies as needed.
I am excited to share that since October we have had the presence of a Parish Nurse and a financial counselor on Wednesdays to respond to some of the needs of our customers.  We set up an area at Marie’s Place with a small table and two chairs for the parish nurse to take blood pressures and provide health education to our customers.  The financial counselor, who is provided by Saint Anne’s Hospital, has assisted in signing up those people without health insurance or access to health insurance for health care.  It is working out well and hopefully we will also have a parish nurse on the other days we are open.
This Christmas we experienced tremendous generosity from many area Credit Unions, Schools, Parishes, private companies, city organizations, private organizations, physician offices, St.Vincent de Paul Societies, and many individuals who wanted to help in some way.  We were able to provide to toys to the parents of over 400 children in the area.  We were also able to help with providing toys to children of the Fernandes Center for Children and Families and some of our families at Saint Anne’s Hospital.
The commitment and dedication of our Volunteers, including our Dominican Sisters, at Marie’s Place is extraordinary.  It is because of them that we are able to carry out this ministry.  They organized and worked to collect, set up and distribute the gifts at Christmas.  Many times, the families of the volunteers also help in some way.
 May we continue to live the charism of Blessed Marie Poussepin by our service to those most in need.