February 2018 News from the Novitiate

Greetings from Concordia
Novitiate Update from Sister Kristine Fernandes, February 8, 2018

Dear Sisters and Associates,

You probably know that I am back in Concordia, Kansas and well into the second semester of the Federation novitiate. I met a few of you in December but, sadly, did not get a chance to connect with everyone in Toronto as I had hoped. I caught a cold soon after arriving and it quickly developed into a bad case of laryngitis. When I had recovered, it was time to return to Concordia.

The novitiate sessions in January were all about the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph throughout the world. These have been very interesting and inspiring. The other novices and I started off hearing from Sister Marcia Allen (CSJ Concordia) who talked about pre-Revolution France and helped us understand the nuances of the culture in which Father Jean-Pierre Médaille and the founding Sisters lived. I was intrigued by Catholic spirituality in 17th century France that gave birth to so many religious congregations and movements.

Novices with Sister Janet GagnonThe following week, Sister Janet Gagnon (CSJ Lyon) spoke extensively about Mother St. John Fontbonne and post- Revolution France. She also talked about the Centre International St. Joseph in Le Puy-en-Velay and the many CSJ branches that grew out of Lyon, France.

Next week, Sister Patricia Byrne (CSJ Baden) will come in to talk further about Father Médaille and introduce us to his primitive documents. These are the Maxims and letters that he wrote to Sisters that served as the foundation of their faith and ministries.

On the arts and crafts front: We continue to learn bobbin lace-making amongst other things. I have completed three bobbin lace projects: a snake bookmark, a butterfly and I just finished a Christmas star ornament. Next week, we will be introduced to crochet and will learn a few basic stitches. The focus is on art as a meditative tool.Sister Kristine and a bobbin lace project

We were also introduced to right brain journaling, art journaling and a few other journaling styles in which we are encouraged to write and draw whatever comes to mind that reflects our feelings and states of mind. These are based on the methods of psychotherapist Ira Progoff and his therapeutic writing techniques.

Nearly everything I am learning is new to me and I am enjoying it. I hope to continue some of these exercises and activities when I return to Toronto.

All of you are in my thoughts and prayers especially as you gather for the February Congregation Days.

Sister Kristine Fernandes

Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada Becomes a Blue Community: Working Towards Making Clean Water a Human Right

On December 10, UN Human Rights Day, the Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada will become the first group of religious communities in Canada to be designated a “Blue Community” which supports the right to safe drinking water.

In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution recognizing the human right to water and sanitation. Pope Francis, in his encyclical Laudato Si’, says: This is a central issue in today’s world, a problem that affects everyone… and it cries out for practical solutions.

The Council of Canadians and CUPE initiated the global Blue Communities movement which treats water as a common good that is shared by everyone and is the responsibility of all.

As a Blue Community the Federation members will:

  1. Recognize water and sanitation as human rights.
  2. Promote the use of tap water at Congregational facilities and events.
  3. Educate community members & partners to avoid using bottled water where potable water exists.
  4. Uphold a “water commons” framework in which water is shared and the responsibility of all.
  5. Urge the government to adopt sustainable policies that give particular attention to the rights of marginalized groups, communities, and individuals.
  6. “Our commitment to regard water as a basic right calls for developing a culture of care and joining our voices to the cry for justice, respect and responsible sharing of water and to work towards universal access to clean water,” says Sr. Trina Bottos, President of the Federation.

The World Health Organization predicts that half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas by 2025. Currently, 844 million people lack a basic drinking-water service. At any moment, over 100 Indigenous communities in Canada are under drinking water advisories.

Together, we can make a difference. Join us by becoming a Blue Community.

For further information:
Sr. Trina Bottos, President,
Sr. Thérèse Meunier, Congregational Leader, Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto,
Sr. Bonnie MacLellan, Congregational Leader, Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste Marie,
Sr. Margo Ritchie, Congregational Leader, Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada,

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