On July 12, 2014, Sr. Gilda Fernando,Regional leader, welcomed six former Our Lady of Charity Sisters to Toronto from Central South USA Province, Sr. Carol, Province Leader, Sr. Catherine, Sr. Norma, Sr. Rosa, Sr.Seviriana, and Sr. Sheila (photo of all the sisters from USA) for our ‘Celebrating the Joy of Being Together.’ Sr. Carol presented to Sr. Gilda a beautiful blue crystal lotus flower on behalf of her Province. (see photo lotus) The sisters were invited to sign the guest book at Good Shepherd Court. The celebrations began with the Vigil Service and Prayer (see photos) held in the chapel, a joyful welcome, singing, scripture reading and prayer. Sr. Catherine, OLC and Sr. Felicita, GSS walked two paths to meet in front of the SJE &SME (Photo) designated sacred space. The group was joined by other ‘unexpected guests’ from the 16th C., namely Madame Lamy, Marie de Valles, and Mother Peton, role played by Sr. Socorro, Sr. Florence and Sr. Paulina. A cocktail and banquet followed and was served to the Sisters (see photos) in their dining room and enjoyed by all. An Evening with St. John Eudes and St. M. Euphrasia was presented. Sr. Leona and Sr. Barbara role played SME and SJE respectively in costumes of the day. They each spoke to the Sisters using famous quotations from Mary Euphrasia and John Eudes and adlibbed as they went to each of the isters. Everyone felt touched by the very moving way of their presentation. Sister Felicita, Sr. Barbara, Sr. Florence, and Sr. Paulina performed a couple of fun filled skits. All in all it was the end of a full day for our traveling Sisters. On Sunday morning, the Eucharistic Celebration began with singing and statues of SJE AND SME were brought in procession to the main altar. Our Lay Partners for Toronto joined the celebration. After Mass, Sr. Carol, Province Leader, presented a power point on the history of OLC followed by a brief presentation by Sr.Florence who gave the history of the founding of GSCrt. There was the planting of a ‘Magnolia tree’ on the front lawn by Sr. Carol and Sr. Gilda followed by a group photo.(see photos) The significance of the Magnolia is that it blooms in springtime, as do we now, in the springtime of a new life together for the future of the mission. There was a pre buffet social in the main foyer. In the afternoon, a delightful Magic Show was performed by a magician and this proved to be very entertaining for all. Sunday evening meal was a ‘pizza night on the patio’ with entertainment consisting of poetry, singing, funny story telling and other, as voluntarily performed by the Sisters. The spontaneity of this entertainment proved to be most enjoyable. Sr. Carol said I don’t know why we waited so long to do this together. Everyone agreed.
On Monday, our visiting Sisters were invited to explore the City of Toronto, which included a visit to the new Aquarium, a bus tour of the city, as well as, a waterfront boat tour. The day concluded with a dinner out at a local restaurant, where everyone had a fun time and ‘celebrated’ together. On Tuesday morning, five visiting Sisters returned home to USA while Sr. Norma remained to spend a few more days with us before continuing on her vacation. It was a wonderful time of celebration talking about and sharing our history of the Sisters of the Refuge in Canada. Our communities came together to make this a memorable weekend one of sheer joy and Sisterly love.
Every six years the International Congregation of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd gather to elect new leadership, review their governance and map out future directions for their exciting and powerful mission in the world. This is called their General Chapter and it will take place during June, 2015 in Angers, France at the motherhouse. In preparation for this, regional groups will gather this month. A group of around 90 Sisters and lay partners will convene in Quito, Ecuador. One of the questions for reflection will focus on what each group is prepared to risk for the mission. There will be 10 lay partners participating with the Sisters in prayerful and discerning dialogue together to help advise input from South, Central and North America. The Sub region leaders from Canada, Sr. Germaine Rogers and Sr. Gilda Fernando along with Sr. Rita Aboud, Sr. Aline Bertrand and Sr. Barbara Wells will represent Canada. Mrs. Andree Perreault and Bob Interbartolo will represent Canada's lay mission partners.
Upon the completion of the Assembly this website will update you on some of the news coming out of Quito. It should be most profound to reflect on the question of risk as this term alone means so many different things in the wide variety of places blessed with the presence of Good Shepherd. In some places risk may involve physical safety and in others it may demand that we step outside our comfort zones to embrace change in the unimaginable ways. We always believe that our Shepherd will enlighten the path for the mission and we enter this process with the same abandonment of spirit to be inspired by one another and be guided by Him in our reflections.