Fun and Fiesta for Ursulines!

During the month of January, all around the world, Ursuline Sisters and friends of  Angela Merici join together for a global “fiesta”. We really have no other choice, since in her writings, Angela insists that her daughters come together as often as possible to celebrate and cheer one another on.. to comfort…to console.. to strengthen…to inspire.. to offer each other hope!

The feast day of St. Angela on January 27th is a yearly invitation for us to celebrate a woman for all times – a woman ahead of her times. Within the unfolding of Church history, Angela is recognized as an Evolutionary. In her time she broke through the entrenched patterns of her age to instigate a new form of spiritual identity for women. At  a time when options for women were either marriage or the cloister, Angela, supported by like minded women created an alternative. The women who gathered with Angela, discerned the need to establish themselves as consecrated and living within society having no solemn vows, habit or enclosure. These women fortified their commitments by uniting from time to time for prayer, instruction and celebration. These first Ursuline women experienced both a deep autonomy of spirit and community life – a model which opened up ministries of social accompaniment never before possible within the realm of cloister restrictions.

As I celebrate our community Feast Day, I celebrate the gift of our Ursuline charism to the church and the world which continues to have impact through the development of women’s circles — making visible and nurturing the life experience of women. While it is important to acknowledge the breakthroughs that are happening to support the elevation of women’s status in society, the work continues for those women who are on the margins. My ministry with immigrants who are in Canada as new comers, refugees or migrant workers is where I connect most deeply with Angela’s call to cultivate life giving spaces. Especially in my encounters with women working on Canadian farms through temporary contracts. I feel Angela’s loving encouragement to challenge the systems that keep the women’s contributions hidden and undervalued.

St. Angela Merici ~ Pray for Us!
Pictures and article by: Noreen Allossery-Walsh, OSU













Thank you Angela for being my inspiration, as I follow your legacy to stand for the dignity of women. Thank you for the courage, fidelity to Spirit, beauty and wisdom which you call forth in your daughters!

Anchored in Hope at Rise Up!

“We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul…” (Heb. 6:19). 

Over 1,300 young adults, Religious women and men, and clergy descended upon Toronto at the end of December to participate in Rise Up, an annual conference hosted by Catholic Christian Outreach, aimed at deepening the faith of Catholic young adults and preparing them for missionary discipleship rooted in Christ’s love. Over the course of four days (December 28 – January 1), we heard inspiring talks drawing on the conference theme Anchored, and we sang, prayed and celebrated the Eucharist together. 

One of the great gifts of this year’s conference was the opportunity for some of the communities that have been part of the “55ish and Under” retreats to collaborate to offer a space for Religious and young adults to get to know one another. Eight congregations (CND, CR, CSJ, CSsR, FcJ, IBVM, and SNJM) joined forces to host a side event during one of the afternoon breaks. 

Entitled Heavenly Hosts (cleverly tongue-in-cheek, of course), the event brought together more than 80 young adults and Religious for an afternoon of art and games, snacks, and conversation in an informal setting. Between the laughter and the friendly competition, there were deep conversations about the life of the Church, how to discern one’s vocation, and the joys and struggles of religious life.

For me, personally, the conference and our collaborative event created a great sense of hope. Hope for the future of the Church in Canada, witnessed in the sincere desire of so many young Catholics to deepen their faith, give their lives to God, and be open to vocational discernment. I also experienced hope for the future of religious life in Canada, especially as a member of a congregation that in Canada is aging and shrinking in number. Working across congregations offers a new dynamic to support the mission of the Church and to excite young people about religious life.    

This conference proved to me that the Holy Spirit is on the move, shaping and enlivening religious life across Canada through the work and ministry we do together. Indeed, through the Holy Spirit, the entire Church thrives when we come together to work for the greater glory of God. From Heavenly Hosts to whatever comes next, I trust that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide, encourage, and bless our efforts.

Article by: Sr. Sarah Rudolph, ibvm 

Photos by: Sr. Michelle Garlinski, snjm


Mary’s Praise to the Lord

January 1st of each year is only one of two holy days of obligation in our Church
outside of the mass of the Lord’s Resurrection on Sunday: the other being the
Solemnity of Christmas on December 25th . It is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.
There is no better individual to honour when we reflect an openness to the
presence of God in the signs God sends us.  The words she heard from the angel
Gabriel: “Greetings Mary! The Lord is with you!” were comforting words as she
would be asked to say “yes” to the Lord’s invitation to be the bearer of the Christ-
child. It was her faith that poured forth the great Magnificat: “My soul proclaims
the greatness of the Lord! My spirit rejoices in God my saviour!” This would first
take a trust that the Lord truly was with her. Being assured that the Lord was with her brought her peace in a way that the world would have never been able to give her.  This same God offers us the graces to be open to the signs of God’s promise of his love. Are we attentive to them in our lives? Our God came into the world as a child to teach us the way to the Kingdom. I have learned from children how to be attentive to the promise of God’s love in signs.
As we were processing to the cemetery to bury my mother last May, my 10-year-
old nephew noticed a streak of rainbow colours in a bright sunny sky. Rainbows
biblically signified God’s promises. A child pointed out the promise of
Resurrection for our loved one as we were grieving. These signs that we recognize of God’s love call us forth to cry out the Magnificat as Mary did centuries ago.

Picture and article by: Fr. Dan Lobsinger, CR