The National Association of Vocation and Formation Directors’ Conference was held in Toronto, Ontario, March 14 – 17. The theme of the conference was “Let Your Life Speak…Vocation Alive.”
Father Ronald Rolheiser, OMI was the keynote speaker. His talks based on years of experience as a Religious were inspiring, practical and full of hope. If we are living the gospel authentically, we can deal with the challenges of diversity; develop a Vocation culture beyond theology, ideology, liberals, and conservative and seek within ourselves for the authority to invite others to Religious Life. In addition to Father Rolheiser’s input, there were many workshops dealing with current issues in vocation ministry.
Sisters Maureen O’Keefe, Elizabeth Marrie, Eileen Penney and Marie Etheridge attended the conference.
The conference material and the sharing with other vocation personnel was an enriching experience for each of us and renewed our energy to further the work of vocation ministry in our congregation.
With deep sadness, the Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland mourn the sudden death of Sister Kathrine Bellamy on March 23, 2010. Sister Kathrine’s legacy is a rich and deep one. We are grateful for her gift of music composed and played and taught, for her leadership within the community at large and within our Congregation, for her love of history, for her commitment to interdenominational action for justice, for her passionate love for our Congregation and, perhaps above all, for her ministry with poor people.
Kathrine was linked with Mercy globally through her many contacts with sister archivists as she composed the history of Mercy in Newfoundland in her book, Weavers of the Tapestry. She presented our story at Trocaire in Dublin in 1981 and the story of our founder, Sister Francis Creedon, at an international archivists’ meeting in Dublin in 2003.
She was buried from the Basilica of St. John the Baptist where she had been choir director and organist for parish liturgies and functions for twenty-four years. Approximately seventy-five choristers (from the Basilica Choir and former Mercy Convent School Choirs) sang the sacred songs she had taught them; musicians (former students), through organ, violin, and trumpet, filled the Basilica with the sacred music she loved so deeply and had taught so well. It is fitting that this Mercy musician and historian would be buried on March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, and the date (in 1843) on which Sister Maria (Mary Joseph) Nugent became the first sister of Mercy professed outside the British Isles. Kathrine’s motto during her religious life was “May it be done to me according to Your word.”
Sisters of Mercy gathered in Lima to celebrate two important events in the life of two Peruvian women, Sisters Alita Sanchez Sanchez and Rosali Vargas Mendoza. A number of Sisters of Mercy from the United States, Ireland, Australia and Peru joined the Newfoundland Sisters of Mercy for ceremonies of reception to the novitiate and of renewal of vows.
On February 13 Alita, a native of Monsefu, renewed her commitment to live as a vowed member of the Sisters of Mercy. Rosali, a native of La Grama, was received into the novitiate program on February 19.
We congratulate these women and pray for them as they continue their journey of incorporation into the Congregation of Sisters of Mercy(Newfoundland) and as they deepen their life of commitment to the ministry of Christ in Peru. We rejoice with them, with the sisters, with their families and with the people of Peru.
Sister Eileen and her twin sister, Catherine, a Mercy Associate, have a hobby of making jewellery. They even decorate the boxes that hold the jewellery. Catherine and Eileen also make lovely greeting cards for all occasions.
Much of their creation is given as gift but most of it is sold at congregationsl gatherings or fairs to raise money for our missions in Peru and for some other ministry that reaches out to the poor.
At times they receive special requests for personalized earings or cards. One such request might be to use the pearls or beads of an old necklace that has sentimental value to a family to make pieces of jewellery for various members of that family.
These two women are very generous in sharing their creative skills.
St. Teresa’s Parish “Saturday Evening” choir performed on Sunday afternoon, February 28 in the Church Choir group at the Kiwanis 2010 Festival held in St. John’s. About thirty five men and women were directed by Mr. Robin Williams and accompanied by Mrs. Brenda Mooney. The adjudicator praised their performance of Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus and Leo Nestor’s Virgin, Great and Glorious, giving them top marks against a competing choir. Sister Loretta Dower, a Sister of Mercy, St. Teresa’s Convent is a choir member and was delighted with the
choir’s performance. A number of Sisters, family and friends of choir members attended to cheer them on. The pastors of St. Teresa’s Parish were there too. Congratulations to Sister Loretta and to St. Teresa’s.
The Kiwanis Music Festival is an annual event beginning with a two-day festival in 1952 with 193 entries and two adjudicators; in 2010 it spans 12 days, with well over 6,000 participants and nine adjudicators. It is the largest festival in eastern Canada.
Musicians young and old have come to appreciate the “Festival” and enjoy this competitive opportunity to showcase their musical talent and their love and commitment to voice, instrumental and choral music. Every performer or group has the opportunity hear and learn from the instant evaluation of their performance by the expert and professional adjudicators. The adjudicators speak to them in order to teach and encourage. Marks are given, even though sometimes an adjudicator admits difficulty in giving marks to one group over the other.
Sisters of Mercy and their students in St. John’s and area schools have been part of the Kiwanis Music Festival since its foundation. Thousands of the sisters’ students – solists, duos and trios and combinations of the same, choirs, choral speech groups, instrumentalists, orchestras and bands from St. John’s, Bell Island, Goulds, Bay Bulls, Brigus, Conception Harbour and from as far as Marystown have entered the festival and have excelled.
Much is owed to the music teachers of our Congregation and of the Presentation Congregation for their commitment to music and culture and for nurturing the innate talent of the youth of our province. They are the true and consistent pioneers of our musical heritage. Some of them have rightly been inducted as members of the Hall of Fame of the Music Festival Association. There are no sisters taking groups to the Festival these days but their many students are doing that now. The baton has been passed and is calling forth the best of music in the next generations!