Thirteen SASV's witness to their commitment by engaging in faith formation
Amongst the many dimensions of our lives as educators, one privileged domain has always been catechesis. To catechize is to open the spaces for the Word of God to resound in the heart of the baptized person. From our origins we have been engaged in catechesis and we have sought to immerse ourselves in the evolution of catechesis spanning the times of little catechisms up to Vatican II and beyond.
We remember a catechist par excellence in the person of Sister Saint-Ladislas (Marguerite Gauthier) and the series, For the Little Ones of the Kingdom. Her works influenced the Congregation and the Church of Quebec and many other countries immeasurably. We remember as well Sisters who followed in her footsteps: Alice Mignault, Therese Bellemare, Gabriel Roussel and Irene Paquette who responded to her cry of the heart “We must choose life”.
Let us meet a modern day catechist who in fidelity to a call from Jesus, travels the highways and byways to proclaim and to deepen a commitment to Jesus' message.
Archdiocese of Ottawa
On the road with Jesus In the beginning was the creation of the artist Maurice Gaudreault (1932-2000), a clay sculptor and a sculptor of « histories » according to Stephane Laberge, author and journalist. Three large collections of figurines are attributed to him:
I Still Remember
The One Called Jesus
During his life, his first work opened in a roving exhibition so that it could be widely visited.
The « One Called Jesus » , consists of fifty sculptures representing 368 figurines that tell the story of Jesus' life from the Annunciation to Pentecost.
In the spirit of what had been done with the first exhibit, the diocese of Hearst, Ontario wanted to make it available in a roving exhibit to evangelize in an original and unique way that speaks the good news of the Gospel. In 2002 the caravan was confided to me and my first trip was to the world gathering of youth in Toronto, which has led to a long pilgrimage.
I crisscross provinces, dioceses, cities and villages visiting parishes and schools welcoming Francophones and Anglophones with a particular interest in children. As Jesus' nomad, I engage in catechesis in the purest SASV tradition, which is to amaze, to tell the story and to name good news. To tell the Jesus story is to speak of his actions and gestures in an engaging way. It is to invite people into the beauty of
this naïve art and to see stars light up in the eyes of children.
Approximately: 178,000 visitors 16 dioceses 500 schools 20,000 miles traveled in the caravan
A testimony given by the 1st and 2nd grade children of Holy Rosary School, Waterloo, Ontario
« Today we visited the caravan of Jesus art. Sr. Therese showed us the sculptures and we talked about Jesus. She had us mime some of Jesus' life. She showed us a special collection. The sculptures are glazed and there are 50 in all. Sr. Therese explained how hard it is to show expressions on the faces. This is a really real exposition and we felt we saw Jesus. The most popular one is the last supper.
The dove is a sign of God's love and we see it in lots of places in the exhibit. Sr. Therese loves to go into schools and talk to children about Jesus. She showed us how much we are loved by God and blessed. We are very happy to have met Sr. Therese and to have visited the caravan of Jesus » .
The Word of God
« The Word of God is living and active ». Hebrews 4, 12
Our love of God's word has constantly stimulated us to be creative in ways:
of living the Word
of sharing the Word
of teaching the Word
We recall with appreciation the Shalom biblical sharing groups established by Sister Gabrielle Roussel. Recently we have discovered biblical narrative recitations and an approach entitled Mess'AJE - a sending, a covenant, Jesus, the Church -
Sisters Suzanne Carriere and Dolores Poliquin were among the first Canadians to be formed in this method in Lille, France (1986). Since then through numerous members:
our Congregation has been implicated in this movement and formation in English as well as French, to spread Mess'AJE within various dioceses in Canada:
Archdiocese of Toronto
Sister Alice Laurin has served for six years as Vice President of Mess'AJE international.
Since September 2014, she became the President of Mess'AJE Canada.
Numerous are these persons who have recognized their own faith journey in the one lived by the people of God himself.
Since 1997, I have had the privilege of proclaiming the Word of God according to the Mess'AJE approach. This year I am accompanying two groups (afternoon and evening) ) that meet at Maison Sainte-Therese in Nicolet.
Mess'AJE remains for me the most formative faith experience of my life. This method is not first of all teaching, but above all, a life experience. We set out together on a faith journey, beginning with the first covenant up to and including the present Church covenant, while focusing on the prophets up to the Gospels. With the chosen people we discover a God filled with compassion, present at every stage of its history. With time we recognize that this
same God is with us and for us as we live the stages of joy and sadness in our personal journeys. The history of the chosen people, is my history. I recognize God's presence in the events of my own life, in my struggles, my joys, my sufferings and my devotions, all I am called to, in my journey into adult faith.
Mess'AJE has helped me discover the Word that is alive and real, the Word that enlightens varied and diverse situations in my everyday. That Word gives meaning to my life; it renews my trust in the promise that I am not alone. God is with us, with me, God walks beside me in my pilgrimage of faith.
From left to right, Therese, Carmelle, Suzanne, Marielle, Carmel
« Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer. ». Mark 1, 35
The Center opened its doors on September 8, 1971. Maison Sainte-Therese had recently been acquired from the Carmelites to become a residence for our older Sisters and hence offered a favorable space as well to begin a house of prayer that had been desired by the Sisters within the Congregation.
« The Sisters were inspired by a deep desire to rekindle the soul of this house that had been consecrated to prayer by the Carmelites during the thirteen years of its existence». House chronicles 1971 ».
A team of four religious women, engaged themselves to offering people of all walks of life a warm welcome, one time accompaniment or in an ongoing way, support in personal and communal prayer. In 2014, we still are a team of four Sisters committed to this common vision.
Situated at the edge of woodlands, the house of prayer offers natural attractions in all seasons for those who want to pause prayerfully and to renew their physical and spiritual energy.
Since September 2008, Saint John's Hermitage and Woodland Solitude (a mobile home) offer private space for solitude and silence.
« My ministry at the house of prayer invites me each day to reveal God's love first of all by the quality of my presence and by my participation in community life. Together in fidelity to our « holy » ancestors we live this ministry which is confided to us by the Congregation. »
Each person who comes to the Center must be welcomed, listened to in the reality of his/her life and find here an atmosphere of prayer and silence favorable to the interior freedom leading toward a meeting with the Divine.
All must foster contemplation of the beauty of God. We must attend to outer beauty that leads to inner beauty. All can be prayer. « Here even the flowers pray », remarked one retreatant.
Marielle Baril, director
Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall
Shalom, is a house of prayer, and a bilingual spirituality center in the diocese. Situated in an enchanting natural environment it wears well its name because it is bathed in a peaceful environment that restores the body and the spirit.
I am in my seventh year as director of the center. I am surrounded by dedicated and competent volunteers who allow us to offer a large array of spiritual services to diverse groups of people.
The hotelier is reserved for individuals whereas Shalom welcomes a variety of groups for:
week long retreats for priests, deacons, religious and associates
weekend retreats offered to Catholics and other denominations
Daughters of Isabella
AA and Alanon
catechetical days for elementary and secondary students
days of preparation for sacramental moments : confirmation and marriage and also for humanitarian trips
Mess'AJE Biblical formation
lodging of NET teams (New Evangelization Team)
I am happy to be able to create a climate where full spiritual development can occur for those who come to Shalom and I feel content in my call as an SASV faith educator.
In depth evangelization: accompaniement according to the method of Simone Pacot
Diocese of Nicolet
I worked for many years in the diocese of Nicolet as the director of adult faith formation. Being very aware of the search for meaning and faith questions, I became engaged after my diocesan ministry in groups dedicated to «Evangelizing from the depths of a person». I minister as a trainer in spiritual
accompaniment according to the vision and experience of Ms. Simone Pacot. She is the foundress of an ecumenical association entitled «Evangelizing from the Depths». We are a team of women and men who offer participants an opportunity to revisit their human and spiritual experiences so that they might discover the unconditional
love God has for each person. As I have always taken to heart the call to reveal God's love I find myself engaged in actualizing our SASV charism and in the great movement toward a new evangelization in the Church.
For further information click on the following key words: Simone Pacot and Bethsada.
Nancy Y. Sheridan
Watertown, MA USA
Archdiocese of Boston
« A doorway opened wide
Reveals God's face in human form
Each day I clothe myself to midwife hope ».
For many years, I have been involved in a ministry comprised of four dimensions:
as spiritual director with a home office and offices in various parishes, retreat centers, and religious houses in the United States, Canada, and other countries;
as a retreat director, directing parish retreats and retreats for religious congregations that range in length from weekends to eight- and 30-day retreats;
as a resource person involved in facilitation of chapters, campus retreats, parish collaborations, and ecumenical gatherings; and as a supervisor of spiritual directors and retreat directors in formation;
Three intermingled threads guide my formation and continued ministries. Ignatian spirituality invites me to see God in all things. Feminist spirituality encourages me to gaze upon reality as a woman in search of inner and outer beauty and to offer correctives when such beauty is lacking. Liberation spirituality urges me to see the world from the perspective of the poor and impoverished and sends me repeatedly toward the Church and a just society.
Weaving these threads in my ministry as I help people touch and embrace God, Jesus, and the Spirit who lives within their hearts and experiences brings me great joy.
Presence and facilitation
Diocese of Nicolet
Having completed a service of leadership in 2005, I continue to live my SASV mission.
I am called to daily- continued conversion by the young junior college boarders that live with Sr. Jeannine Jutras and myself within our home
I am involved with the members of COP (pastoral orientation committee) of our Good Shepherd sector,
I find myself engaged in diverse other ministries:
Four Seasons Intercommunity Center
Sacred Earth and Alonvert creating a sacred tent between God and the earth, between the earth and one another
CATHII (committee against human trafficking in Canada and internationally)
Relay for life (cancer support group)
With all of my sisters as part of a living Church, a Church on the move, I commit myself to these causes in fidelity to the vision and values of my Congregation.
The ministry that I am engaged in is inspired by the charity of our founder, Jean Harper. My ministry is to promote the growth of God's people with a particular attention to the most vulnerable (the « poor » of all categories: intellectual, physical, spiritual).
I accompany school age immigrants as they integrate in new settings and surroundings. They come from Bosnia, Colombia, Iraq and Africa. I am secretary of the administrative council for the food pantry, a center to nourish and provide groceries for the most impoverished.
I am a collaborator in organizations that inspire me by their value system: i.e. Development and Peace, multiple sclerosis and cancer research foundations.
Article 37 of our Constitutions enlightens me and guides me on my path. “The Congregation contributes to the growth of the human community and to enlightening its faith development”.
Diocese of Nicolet
As a“retired” Sister of the Assumption, I continue to be inspired by the apostolic end of the Congregation, that is « Christian education of God's people ».
I can often be found at the rectory where I am a minister of hospitality and presence responding to the hundreds of daily needs that present themselves.
I am involved in preparing parents and children for the sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation by providing three-day sessions throughout the year.
I facilitate an adult group called “the Household of the Gospel”, a group that is committed in sharing the word of God.
I am engaged, as well, in the liturgical life of the parish, seasonally and in ordinary time.
It has been said that we are « parish-based Sisters », that is correct, and I am happy to be one of them.
Waterville, Maine USA
Diocese of Portland
I am at heart an educator who having served several years in a variety of educational settings carry my past experiences and concerns into retirement through a ministry of presence in Waterville, Maine.
I am energized by an early morning ministry of contemplation, liturgical prayer and Scripture, which prepares me to reveal the love of God in the rest of the day's activities.
I am a listening welcoming presence to the bereaved and suffering persons who come to me in search of comfort and pastoral care.
I tutor adults in both French and Spanish, two of whom being Methodist women preparing to return to Nicaragua.
I facilitate faith-sharing groups with our ASASV'S and serve as their spiritual advisor.
I welcome invitations to continue ecumenical involvement by speaking to groups of Episcopalian women as well as those of neighboring churches.
In all of this, I am mindful of walking in our founder's footsteps, aware and hopeful that others will one day walk in mine and be filled with the same joy and gratitude I have been gifted with for so many years. Alleluia!
Sherry Lacoursiere (temporary vows since 2011)
Diocese of Timmins
I am hired by Miller Paving Limited, as the administrator of accounts payable. This company where I work, counts approximately 5,000 employees in Ontario, 25 of them are from the greater Timmins area. Some of us are employed in administration, others are drivers, and others work in snow removal, asphalt and concrete factories. Our company invites us to care for the environment, to monitor safe road travel and safety at construction sites.
Each day, I try to create a climate of trust in the workplace as I witness joy and hope. I believe that I am revealing God's love in Jesus by my welcoming attitude, my patience, my sense of humor and willingness to share my faith journey. The fact that I am a vowed woman religious employed by a construction company raises eyebrows and often gives rise to profound sharing around topics of religion and vocation.