All posts by Duncan

Part 21:  April 2016

Why Green Our Faith:  Guiding Spiritual Principles For Integral Ecology

In this time of grave ecological crisis, a global cry is rising up shouting, “What must we do to protect and cherish the integrity of the planet?”  Pope Francis, in Laudato Si, is offering one way forward by challenging us to envision integral ecology which holds social justice and ecological justice together as one. This is at the heart of the encyclical’s message.   How will the human family live into integral ecology. It is critical that faith communities actively participate in the dialogue. What is needed are sound guiding principles that will allow us to see more clearly how our Christian faith and integral ecology are interconnected. The emerging field of ecological ethics is striving to do this. Continue reading

Food Trends 


Nancy Wales CSJ

Have you heard about Generation YUM?   They are a large subset of Millennials or Generation Y. Those who were born between the early 80’s and the early 2000’s. In a recent interview on the AGENDA, host Steve Paikin spoke with author, Eve Turow Paul, a free-lance food, travel and culture writer. Her new e-book, “A Taste of Generation YUM” has just been released. The author admitted that it was her own curiosity which prompted her research into the reasons behind the changing relationships of Millennials with food. In her search for answers, she interviewed many of her peers and numerous food leaders. Her findings supported her initial observations that significant numbers of Generation Y are truly obsessed with all things food. ‘Foodies’ par excellence, she labeled Generation Y also as Generation YUM.  Continue reading

Our Golden Jubilee has begun!


Our Golden Jubilee has begun!

Fifty years ago the Vatican II document on the Renewal of Religious Life invited independent religious communities who belonged in some sense to the same religious family to work toward making a federation of themselves. Our history tells us that “following the January 18, 1966 consultation with the six local ordinaries concerned, the General Superiors informed Pope Paul VI of their intentions and asked a blessing on their endeavours. On September 20, 1966 approval was received through an indult and the Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada came into existence”.

And so we mark this Jubilee year with prayer and ritual, joy and delight!

Spirit of Collaboration

That decision was the beginning of fifty years of collaboration among the six congregations and hundreds of members. Such collaboration was evident in the research and production of historical documentation, in the shared efforts to deepen our spirituality as Sisters of St. Joseph, the renewal of vowed life, and the exploration of mission together. That same spirit continues today as we strive together for care of the earth, issues of systemic justice, and global relationships. Our members have themselves evolved a pattern of meeting annually to enrich their understanding of being Sojourners in Active and Inclusive Love. Many of our Associates/Companions enrich one another with their varied experiences of formation and mission. Our Vocation Committee members offer insightful ways to engage persons in discerning their life’s call. Collaboration is also evident in the upward surge resonating throughout our congregations to assist refugees, and persons being trafficked. We give thanks for the unfolding of our charism in these collaborative ways!

Over this half century we have experienced waves of collaboration with the US Federation including a joint effort to support a Haitian school destroyed by the 2010 earthquake, Event ’90 held in Toronto, participation in various gatherings, workshops and retreats, and a shared Novitiate. We continue to host representatives from the US at our annual Federation Board meetings and likewise attend theirs. And we rejoice with them as they too celebrate their golden anniversary, this year.

This collaboration extends globally as our Federation Office for Systemic Justice works closely with our CSJ representative to the United Nations. Such energy includes liaising with members of the global CSJ family working for justice and systemic change.  Our members have participated in the founding of the International Centre, its development of a strategic plan, the creation of an extraordinary interactive archives, and numerous international workshops that have strengthened the ties of the global Joseph family. Indeed our expression of inclusive love reaches afar.

Spirit of Celebration

Recognizing that a major anniversary gathering in one location would be somewhat of a challenge, our Anniversary Committee is preparing a prayer service to mark that September date. Our Archivists have organized an Anniversary display board for each of our three congregations. As well they have prepared a display for the Ontario Legislative Building.

As our six foundresses: Mother Maura (Toronto), Mother Alacoque (Hamilton), Mother Julia (London), Mother St. Rose (Peterborough), Mother St. Thomas (Pembroke) and Mother St. Edward (Sault Ste. Marie) informed Pope Paul VI  of their intention and asked for a blessing on their endeavours, we too imitate their example and are requesting a Jubilee Apostolic Blessing for our Federation members.

In keeping with our profound desire to care for our planet, so actively invigorated by our Ecology Committee, we have made a donation to plant trees in the Guelph Old Growth Forest. These trees will actively promote earth’s sustainability and will also stand as legacy of our Federation into the future.

Personal Gratitude

While your Board has set these activities into place, how shall each of us, individually mark this year of Jubilee? It is striking that our anniversary takes place during the same time frame as the Year of Mercy. Reflecting on the biblical understanding of Jubilee, the themes indeed coincide. The ideal expressed in the biblical rendering is that God is the land owner, land should be shared equally, and monopoly of land in the hands of the few doesn’t fit into God’s plan.  In this Year of Mercy, so many of the world’s peoples are displaced from their land, while at the same time many of the world’s communities are trying hard to find ways to share the security of homeland. We certainly can sing out in thanksgiving to God for the many ways each of our congregations have been able to welcome the newcomer.

As individual members of this strongly rooted Federation, perhaps another way of looking at land security is to look at heart security. What brings us peace of mind and a wholesome approach to life? Does our charism of unity and reconciliation hold out hope for others whom we meet along life’s path? Is our heart wide enough to embrace the gifts others bring to us and to celebrate with joy what they too offer?

Although many of our members do not have opportunity to frequently engage with one another, during this year of Jubilee might we make an effort to re-connect with Sisters and Associates/ Companions we have met along the way, at summer school, or retreats, or having worked together on committees both within the Federation and within other organizations across Canada through diocese, or hospital, or educational structures? Renewing associations or friendship can happen with great satisfaction through Skype, email and phone calls. Perhaps one effort of mercy this year of Jubilee is to reach out to one member of the Federation whom you haven’t seen in a while. All such efforts strengthen the bond that was first woven in 1966. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor calls us to let that unconditional love, made visible in Jesus, radiate through each of us. Such love will indeed enflame the torch to continue the collaboration begun in 1966.

With the sound of the trumpet let the Jubilee begin!

Sr. Loretta Manzara, Sr. Ann Delaney, Sr. Alice Greer, Sr. Nancy Sullivan, Margaret Magee

January 12, 2016

Part 20 – December 2015

Laudato Si’ – Call To An Ecological Conversion

We have a “Green” Pope! However, Francis is not the first pope to call us to an ecological conversion. In, Laudato Si, he quotes the previous four popes who speak of the ethical and spiritual roots of the environmental problems and challenge us, as Thomas Berry said, to “reinvent the human” 1. This is a call to explore and live into, become again, one with a universe that is alive.  Which words of Francis call us to this radical change in consciousness?  Continue reading

Stop Food Waste

Untitled-1Nancy Wales CSJ

By the Numbers 

It is a startling fact that household waste accounts for an overwhelming 40 % of food wastage.[1] Every year, $27 billion worth of food finds its way into garbage cans, compost bins and giant dumpsters.[2]

Multiple Losses

Food waste causes more losses than one would first think. It has both an environmental and economic impact. Continue reading

Part 19 – September 2015

Listening For The Heartbeat Of God In The World
(Written by Sr Mary Rowell on behalf of Sr Nicole Aubé)

In his beautiful book, “Listening to the Heartbeat of God”, J. Philip Newell says, “To listen to God is to listen deep within ourselves, including deep within the collective life and consciousness of the world.”  In childhood, this listening to the “beat of God’s heart” in our surroundings often arises spontaneously.  Most of us have memories of experiencing the “music” of a running stream, the “magic” of new shoots in Spring, the magnificent colours of Fall and the “silence of snow”.  Such experiences commonly gifted us with our first sense of Sacred Presence, the call of God to both intimacy and service.  Yet, as Philip Newell says such experiences will not have been affirmed generally in our religious tradition.  Continue reading

The Truth And Myth Of Organic

Kathleen O’Keefe, CSJ

Over the past two years, I have been blessed to live at Villa St. Joseph Retreat and Ecology Centre in Cobourg, ON; and, most recently, I spent the summer months at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph, ON.  Experiencing earth to table eating has allowed me to enjoy the wonderful sensory delight of organic food.  Nettie and Susan, two gifted cooks, skillfully prepared delicious meals that were nourishing for both body and soul!  I learned that persons in Cobourg and in Guelph have the opportunity to rent community garden plots if they wish to grow their own food organically. Community Shared Agriculture in Guelph provides freshly harvested organic products for persons to take home for family meals.   Continue reading