Please watch this video of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Missionary Sisters in Guatemala.
Please watch this video of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Missionary Sisters in Guatemala.
November 13, 2019
Dear Sisters and those co-responsible with us in Mission,
[Yesterday] we celebrated the Feast of Mother Cabrini. In these recent days I have had various experiences which have touched my heart and soul – a gift of Jesus and Mother Cabrini on her feast
• ➢ I listened to a webinar from an organization called “No more deaths” during which they spoke of a member of the organization who was being charged with a felony simply because he provided compassionate care to two undocumented migrants he discovered in the desert. I asked myself: What has become to the moral fabric of the USA that we would criminalize compassion?
• ➢ I listened to Sr. Yolanda, MSC who returned from a meeting in Matamoros, Mexico of those organizations who give assistance to migrants along the USA-Mexico Border. My heart was filled with hope as I heard of the generous service of so many volunteers and organizations who day by day offer care and compassion to our suffering brothers and sisters. My heart was also full of deep sadness that the immigration policies of the USA have created a humanitarian crisis for hundreds perhaps thousands of men, women and children who are stranded along the Mexican border. They are living in tents, inhumane conditions, without adequate food or health care. The tragedy is the number of children! They can’t go forward and they have no money to go back home! At that moment we made a decision to try to partner with one organization who is providing much needed help.
➢ Yesterday, Sr. Antonina, Sr. Pietrina and myself joined staff and clients from CIS of NYC, together with the New York Immigration Coalition, to go to Washington, D.C. to stand in solidarity with DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) young adult recipients as they persevered in their struggle to gain a path to citizenship. We also met a group from Cabrini University!
For years this group of young people have lived in constant uncertainty that their status would change and they could be deported. The persistent hope and courage of those who are DACA recipients as well as those who fight for their cause was an incredible witness. Once again, the question surfaced in me: How is it that a nation formed and built by immigrants is now so closed to immigrants?
➢ Finally, today I listened to a webinar offered by the UISG (International Union of General Superiors) which shared the challenges, vision and horizon of CLAR (Confederation of Latin American and Caribbean Religious) for consecrated religious life for the years 2018-2021. There were many themes that confirmed our Provincial Chapter outcomes. What touched my heart was the vital call to be witnesses of Communion and Hope based on our belief in Jesus and to continue to live with enthusiasm the gift of our consecrated life as missionary disciples. We are further called to weave relationships that foster communion, reconciliation, inclusivity, and compassion. Finally, we are called to renew our option for the vulnerable and excluded of our world. For those who understand Spanish, I encourage you to go to www.clar.org and look under “Horizonte Inspirador” for more resources around these themes.
As I live these various moments, I find myself called to conversion. It is not enough for me to see or to hear/listen but my heart must be “moved to compassion” and action. Going to Washington, D.C. was one small action but I and we are called daily to go out of ourselves in love. When we go out the door of our room, our heart, our minds let us be credible witnesses – missionary disciples of God’s love in the world. If we do this – we give honor to God and honor the memory of Mother Cabrini.
Happy Feast Day!
United in the Heart of our loving God!
Sr. Diane Olmstead, MSC , Provincial, Guadalupe Province
Bethany House of Hospitality (BHH) offers housing and support services to young immigrant women as they journey to independence. The Missionary Sisters are one of eleven Sustaining Member Religious Communities supporting this mission to women awaiting asylum determinations in the Chicago area.
Residents are from El Salvador, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Guatemala, Somalia, Venezuela, Honduras, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. Women are accompanied through the complexity of immigration process coordination of services includes: access to immigration attorneys, health care, education and employment.
The second anniversary luncheon celebrated the strength and resilience of the 40 women that have participated in the Bethany House program to date, as well as the vision of the religious women that saw the need and responded.
Sr. Joan McGlinchey, MSC Vicar for Religious and Nancy Golen, Cabrini Retreat Center Director represented Guadalupe Province at the event. Sr. Cathy Fedewa, CSFN, Retreat Center Immigrant Outreach Coordinator, is a founding and current member of the Bethany House Board.
At the event it was announced that through a partnership with the Scalabrinian priests Bethany House will be moving to a new location in Chicago which will allow the number of women served to double.
On September 15, our training meeting in Codogno began, with the joy of fulfilling one of the great dreams of my life: Deepen the life, charism and spirituality of Saint Francisca Javier Cabrini in this sacred place of the Institute of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. Since our arrival, the warm welcome of the sisters, the details of the room and the different spaces of the house communicated to us the affection and delicacy with which Sr. Gilda Mendoza, Sr. Maria Regina Canale, Mother Maria Barbagallo and Sr. Lucy Panettieri had prepared This experience for us. So, in the joy of being in this place, from the encounter with the sisters I set out to enter into this history and spirituality that is my story and my spirituality a great gift that I have received as an inheritance.
The theme of these days has been: “Living the Spirituality of Saint Francisca Cabrini today”. From the first day, Mother María Barbagallo emphasized the anthropological importance of having a defined identity in each person since that depends on the continuity and permanence in her personal choice. Who I am? It is a question that must be answered in each person. We were invited to see the MSC as a great orchestra in which each member has an important role and mission, no matter how simple and imperceptible it may be. The sisters wanted to take us to deepen the charism of the Institute to confirm and value it in the vocation in each one.
During these three weeks we have contemplated wonderful historical events of the life of Saint Francisca Cabrini, his process of biological, psychic, intellectual and spiritual growths that integrated the Woman, saint, founder of our institute. His value system, his missionary ideal, his relationship with Jesus.
I have enjoyed watching Mother Cabrini with her gifts, virtues and weaknesses, changes of route, but it is even more beautiful to perceive how Mother Cabrini joined her dreams with other MSCs, formed them, prepared her, entrusted her and made the story of our institute, this story that makes humanity notice in its successes and failures, in its defects and sins. It is a story sustained by the spirituality of the heart of Jesus and made a mission in that same love of Christ to humanity.
Given the difficulty of describing the richness and joy of these days I can say that I have found what I was looking for: to deepen this story, this spirituality to discover some tools that can serve as a point of support for living with greater depth and coherence my consecration and identity Cabrinian Missionary. With certainty this time has been like a mirror in which I have found details in which I can feel proud but also details that I must retake, remove or begin to live.
Upon reaching the end of our process in Codogno I have in my mind and in my heart the pleasure of having walked through these corridors of the house, of having spoken with Mother Cabrini in the vicinity of her heart, in her room, of walking the streets who saw her grow up and the neighbors who greeted us with the love of their saint’s daughters. The happiness of having found the smile of the sisters’ joy, the sanctity in the gestures, words and advice of Mother Lina Colombini and Mother Maria Barbagallo, the loving revelations of Sr. Gilda to have us all soon and the brightness of Sister’s eyes Lucy Panettiery of watching us enjoy and learn. I thank the general council and our provinces for allowing us to enjoy this experience and trust that we can infect and affect the rest of the institute in the different countries to which we are going. Greetings to each sister who has been on the mission holding and managing situations so that we are here.
May the heart of Jesus and Mother Cabrini give us the wisdom and grace to discover the best way to continue giving glory to God in this historical moment of provincial chapters that prepare us for the General Chapter.
Sr. Sonnia Osorio MSC
The Missionary Sisters of the Guadalupe Province and their lay collaborators are attending their Provincial Chapter which is taking place in northern New Jersey.
In an environment of prayer and gratitude, the participants are deciding upon mission priorities which will be brought forth to the General Chapter in 2020.
They will draw water from the source…
From different countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua we have reached Codogno, the cradle of the Institute, to delve into the spirituality of our Foundress. In the company of the sisters María Barbagallo, Regina Canale, Lucy Panettieri and Gilda Mendoza, in the first week we deepened the gift that the Lord has given us. We are thirsty to drink from the source that gave rise to our Cabrinian being and that has given us our missionary identity. We have been given the following topics: the Person of Jesus, the School of the Heart of Jesus, Christian Virtues, Cabrinian Vision of life and the history, foundations in Italy, the Great Mothers, Mysticism of the change of hearts.
As part of our studies and with a grateful heart we visited Sant’Angelo, Vidardo, Livraga … How much emotion invaded our being in the birthplace of Our Mother! With how much enthusiasm each one put in the river the small paper boats full of flowers, as did “Cecchina”, sending us as missionaries to the whole world and praying for new violets for our Institute !
Towards the end of the week, a rich and unforgettable experience awaited us: we had to open our hearts to share the treasures of our “personal Galilee”, that is, that first call made by Jesus in a sweet “follow me! ” The first to share were: Mother Lina Colombini, Sr. Elena Lo Brutto and Sr. Francesca Cremonese, who with their testimonies motivated us and inspired us to continue living the Cabrinian Charism, to the rhythm of Love, that is to say ardently and swiftly. All the MSC Sisters of Codogno have taught us, even without words, that the Charism is the way to love, to dream, to serve today in that corner of the world where the Lord wanted to put us.
We feel very happy and grateful to the Lord, with our sisters from Codogno, from Sant’Angelo and with each of our Provinces for allowing us to live this unforgettable experience. It has been a rich, intense week, full of enthusiasm and gratitude to get closer to Our Foundress whose experience became Charism … and that Charism made its way!
“Oh my Jesus: how kind, good and adorable you are.
Greater is the care that You take of me and my things.” (PP Mother Cabrini)
This summer, Sr. Martha Lopez, MSC attended a Vocational Accompaniment Course at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. She shares her experience with the Cabrinian Community…
“Hope is the dream of the waking man…”
… And we awake, we await the dawn and the flowering of new vocations in the Church and in our Institute. I want to share with you that I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in an interesting Vocational Accompaniment Course, taught by the Vocation Animation Services of the Diocesan Operative priests, whose charism is to promote vocations today.
The Workshop was held at the facilities of the University of the Incarnate Word, in San Antonio, Tx., led by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, who gave us a beautiful and generous welcome. We were around 35 participants who, aware of the urgent task of promoting Hispanic female vocations, arrived from different parts of the southwest of the country, with the conviction that we need formation to “accompany” our candidates. It’s about knowing how to walk with them, of being true companions. Many young people are hungry for spiritual life, for faith (they need to believe in “something”) and also hungry for vocational accompaniment.
It is motivating for all of us to verify that there is a resurgence of the religious vocation today. Today this concern has re-emerged strongly in youth and there is more sensitivity to this approach. Perhaps because we have heard the voice of Pope Francis who constantly invites us to go out to meet others.
The experiences of service, of the mission, of being touched by reality, are spaces in which young people discover their vocation because they question and uninstall them. That is why sisters and brothers, let us continue to be in the middle of town, in the middle of people, in parishes, with immigrants, with those who suffer. Young people want to see in the face of the religious today, the joy of Consecration, the joy of service, the joy of living the Gospel. They thus realize that their lives make sense and that it is worth playing their whole lives in response to Jesus. Let’s continue to show the beautiful face of our vocation!
BY ARMANDO MACHADO, Catholic New York
At St. Frances Cabrini Shrine in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, July 13 was a day for two Masses in two languages, with one message: the Church in New York reaffirmed its commitment to immigrant rights and demanded “fair and just” treatment of immigrants on a weekend of federal arrests of undocumented immigrants in New York and other cities across the United States.
“With the difficulties and the tensions and the challenges that we’re facing, this would be a good time to thank God for her (Mother Cabrini’s) example, and to seek her intercession for justice and charity,” said Cardinal Dolan, the principal celebrant, in his homily during a noon Mass celebrating the 169th anniversary of Mother Cabrini’s birth on July 15, 1850. She is the patron saint of immigrants.
“Mother Cabrini took literally God’s Holy Word…She realized fully that Abraham was an immigrant, Abraham was a refugee,” the cardinal said. “Mother also took to heart the great commandment of Jesus, love of God and love of neighbor, and the parable of the Good Samaritan…We keep the spirit of Mother Cabrini alive.”
“Happy 169th, Mother Cabrini. That’s pretty old; but in this city and this archdiocese, you are ever young.”
The cardinal noted Mother Cabrini’s tireless devotion to the many people coming to New York from Italy, her native land. “Today, she would be there in the front lines (for all immigrants); her work still goes on through the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” he said.
The cardinal reiterated his grave concerns over federal immigration raids in a short news conference after Mass, at one point with visible anger and sorrow.
“People who are trying to obey the law, and trying to get their documents in order, are so afraid and so confused that they don’t know what to do, and this isn’t right, this isn’t good,” he told reporters, citing fluctuating immigration laws and policies.
“We all know that hundreds of thousands of immigrants are living a moment of terror and anguish and fear,” said Father Ambiorix Rodriguez, pastor of St. Elizabeth parish in Washington Heights, in his homily during a 2 p.m. Spanish Mass which he celebrated. That Mass also honored Mother Cabrini.
“That is why today we are in solidarity, in action and in prayer, for each one of them…And we ask that the repression stops, the repression of our undocumented brothers and sisters. Every person has dignity, a dignity that is inviolable and given by God.”
After the Spanish Mass, Father Rodriguez participated in a Neighborhood Procession for Immigrant Rights; the procession route included Cabrini Boulevard. Father Rodriguez was a concelebrant in the earlier Mass.
Cardinal Dolan, at the news conference, told reporters, “Our (immigrant) brothers and sisters—they are scared, really scared.” He noted that one parish priest in the archdiocese told him last week that his parishioners were concerned about leaving home and attending Mass because of the planned federal raids.
“That’s how scared some people are,” the cardinal said. “And I’m just hoping that this Mass and the presence of the Church, and the assurances that I’m giving now, will let them know that they’re not alone. Jesus is with them, and the Church with them…We’re hiking up our efforts.”
With the cardinal was Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of archdiocesan Catholic Charities, who was one of the Mass concelebrants with Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Walsh.
“We know that so many of our neighbors are frightened and they feel threatened,” Msgr. Sullivan told the journalists. “And so we have our counselors, our attorneys who are available this entire weekend at both the New York State New American Hotline and the New York City Action Hotline, so people can call and they’ll get good, accurate, prompt information about how to respond to any threats that they may fear…We believe in abiding by the law, but we don’t believe in abusing the law.
“So we want people to exercise their rights…They do not have to respond unless (agents) have the proper documents,” Msgr. Sullivan said. Extra people were manning the hotlines last weekend, he noted.
Sister Catherine Garry, M.S.C., from the Lower Manhattan convent of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was founded by Mother Cabrini, spoke toward the end of the English-language Mass. She expressed gratitude to all who support her congregation’s mission in advocating for immigrants.
Sister Yolanda Flores, M.S.C, who is from the same convent, spoke at the end of the Spanish Mass, thanking all who work to assure immigrants know their rights and can rely on the Church for help.
In interviews with Catholic New York after the Spanish Mass, several attendees spoke of their thankfulness for the Mass celebrations and the procession, and for the Church’s advocacy for immigrants through Catholic Charities, Cabrini Immigrant Services and other Church organizations.
Among them was Maria Caguana, 35, a parishioner of Immaculate Conception in Astoria, Queens. She is from Ecuador and is in the process of obtaining U.S. permanent resident status.
“It was beautiful,” she told CNY of the Spanish Mass and homily. “I am here to pray, to pray for my family, to our Lord and Our Mother.”
Manuel Dutan, a parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes in Queens, and Ruth Ovalle, a parishioner of St. John-Visitation parish in the Bronx, both said they are immigrants who have documented status in the United States. Dutan is originally from Ecuador and Ms. Ovalle from the Dominican Republic. In separate interviews, they said they attended the Cabrini Mass as a strong show of support for immigrants seeking such status.
“I am here for the Mass, for Mother Cabrini and the procession on this beautiful day,” Ms. Ovalle said. “I am here to demonstrate my support for all immigrants, and to pray that the Lord opens doors for them.”
New York State New American Hotline: 1(800) 566-7636, and New York City Action Hotline, 1 (800) 354-0365.
Melbourne Archbishop the Most Reverend Peter A Comensoli officially blessed Cabrini’s new $120 million Gandel Wing yesterday, ahead of it receiving its first patients on Monday.
The 15 July opening is an auspicious date, as it is St Frances Xavier Cabrini’s birthday, the missionary sister who established the order that took over the hospital in 1948.
The completion of the Gandel Wing signifies the end of nine years of planning and development to improve Cabrini’s facilities and provide an exceptional patient experience.
In a moving ceremony, Archbishop Comensoli blessed each floor with Holy Water, to bring hope and healing to all who enter through its doors, symbolic of the healing mission of Jesus.
Archbishop Comensoli said the new wing was a significant development in healthcare and would allow Cabrini to continue to provide outstanding care to all its patients, encompassing their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
“This new Gandel Wing will ensure Cabrini is well-equipped to care for patients who are sick, frail or receiving targeted treatment,” he said.
“I am delighted to be able to bless this building. This is a momentous occasion in Cabrini’s history and pays tribute to its Catholic heritage and the foundations laid by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”
Sr Diane Olmstead MSC, Provincial Superior of the Guadalupe Province, travelled from New York to take part in the historic occasion. She said the new Gandel Wing was a milestone in the Sister’s mission of care and service and showed how much the hospital had evolved since its humble beginnings in 1948.
“We have prayed that the patients and their loved ones who entrust us with their care will experience genuine warmth and kindness,” she said.
“As a Catholic health service, our mission is to bring about fullness of life for all people in all places and times, as Jesus ardently desired.”
Cabrini Board Chairman Sylvia Falzon said the Gandel Wing would enable the health service to continue to provide compassionate care to its patients in a state-of-the-art facility.
“Cabrini has devoted itself to caring for the sick, frail and elderly in our community for more than 70 years and we will continue to do so for many years to come,” Ms Falzon said. “We continue to place our patients at the heart of everything we do, as we strive to provide them with the best possible care.”
On the Feast Day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Missionary Sisters hosted day of retreat that we have with the staff of the Dispensaries in Guatemala.
The theme that was reflected was: The prophets and the health care of the people, and was directed by Sister Alzira Munhoz, of the Franciscan Catechist Sisters.