Each year, the Missionary Sisters participate in the Gift of Mission interactive vocation program for high school juniors. Yesterday, over 60 students hailing from Bishop Shanahan H.S., Pope John Paul II H.S., York Catholic H.S., and McDevitt H.S. in PA and Gloucester Catholic H.S. in NJ joined an inter-congregational team of vocation directors for the workshop.
On February 1, 2020 Sr. Martha Lopez, MSC and Sr. Lucy Panettieri, MSC participated in the blessing of Candles and the *Akathist of Jesus, Light to Those in Darkness. This ceremony took place in the Cathedral of Denver. It was an Ecumenical Liturgy of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches of Denver. Celebrants were: Archbishop Samuel Aquila (Denver), Bishop Jorge Rodriguez, Auxiliary Bishop, with priests representing the Ruthenian and Ukrainian Catholic Church. A magnificent choir from Sr. Cyril and Methodius Russian Catholic Community.
sang the entire liturgy.
In 2019 the Cabrini Mission Foundation expanded its work with immigrants by visiting the border city of Laredo, TX and partnering with a shelter which receives immigrants and asylum seekers once they are released from United States detention centers.
It is hard to understand the size of such detention centers. The Rio Grande Detention Center in Laredo, TX for example, houses an estimated population of over 1,900 detainees.
In July of 2019 the U.S. government, through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), began enforcing its new Migrant Protection Protocols, or the “Remain in Mexico” policy under which the U.S. government returns certain asylum-seekers to Mexico to wait through the duration of their pending cases in the U.S. immigration court system.
In short, asylum seekers wait in Mexico without access to family, legal, or social support. As we are told, as of August 2019, over 98 percent of those subject to this policy have not been able to obtain legal representation. Undoubtedly, this will make it more difficult for those subject to the policy to successfully assert their asylum claims and will also risk retraumatizing them in the unsafe conditions in which they are forced to wait.
With word of the impact the “Remain in Mexico” policy is having on the number of people making it to our shelter partner in Laredo, TX, the Cabrini Mission Foundation headed back to the border but this time to McAllen, TX.
Sr. Pietrina Raccuglia, Sr. Yolanda Flores, and Cabrini Mission Foundation Executive Director, Christopher LaBianco met with Sr. Norma Pimentel the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and Ashley Feasley, Director of Policy, Migration and Refugee Services of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to discuss the challenges at the border that the new immigration policy poses.
The Foundation provided supplies to make 500 sandwiches and crossed the border in Matamoros, Mexico to aid the migrants in the newly formed tent city at the United States border.
There are an estimated 2,500 people living in tents at the border.
The people are making the best of it. The camp sites were impeccably clean.
The families are resourceful and incredibly optimistic. They have managed to make the tents “home” and have constructed stoves out mud and wood pallets.
In addition to Catholic Charities and the Cabrini Mission Foundation there are a number of philanthropic organizations providing services for the people in Matamoros. But there is still much to be done.
The Cabrini Mission Foundation has received a number of requests for funding to provide for additional needed infrastructure in the area. The Foundation is also seeking partners who are directly providing services in the tent city to ensure a Foundation investment will have the hoped-for community impact.
The Cabrini Mission Foundation looks to send both financial support and volunteers to the Matamoros, Mexico in the coming year.
For more information please feel free to contact Christopher LaBianco, email@example.com or at 212-375-0110.
“The important thing is that each believer discerns her own path, that she brings out the very best of herself, the most personal gifts that God has placed in her heart”. (cf. 1Cor. 12:7)
felt called by God to live a life as a Cabrini Lay Missionary since 1990. I was first missioned in Nicaragua teaching religion in one of our schools. Then the Provincial asked me to go to Argentina to work in a parish where I worked as a catechesis coordinator. During that time, I lived in the Provincial house and enjoyed sharing life and prayer with the sisters.
Then, Sr. Maria Barbagallo, MSC, who was the General Superior at that time, asked if I would be willing to go to Russia. I did not know the culture nor the language but I was there for more than six years working among the people doing evangelization. Following my time in Russia I was missioned to Italy and enjoyed teaching religion and working in a parish.
In 2002, Sr. Maria believe that it was time for me to go to United States. There I began to work among the immigrants as Mother Cabrini did as she, too, was an immigrant like me ministering to immigrants.
I saw the struggles the immigrants had adjusting to a new country, new culture and new language as I, too, was going through the same struggles. After a few years I was able to become an American citizen. Following my years ministering to the immigrants I was asked to begin to minister to the Senior Sisters at Sacred Heart Convent [in New York City] and St. Cabrini Nursing Home [in Dobbs Ferry, NY]. I enjoy working with these sisters as they have lived and continue to live lives of prayer, sacrifice and love.
Over these years I have had many opportunities to enrich my life both spiritually, communally and ministerially. I am so grateful to God and Mother Cabrini for this wonderful opportunity to serve as a Cabrini Lay Missionary.
~ by: Adela Jarquin Soza, CLM
The Delaware Valley Member Area of the National Religious Vocations Conference (NRVC) met on Tuesday, January 14th at the Motherhouse of the Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary located in Immaculata, PA.
Sr. Debbie Borneman, SSCM, the Director of Mission Integration of the NRVC, joined the members and gave a presentation on “Risking Hope: Countering the Narrative of Completion”. Additionally, there was a panel presentation of discerners and new members who shared their stories of vocational call and discernment.
A business meeting followed the morning session. Plans are in process for a Life Awareness Retreat for young adults ages 18 – 45, for those women and men who are contemplating a major decision in their lives such as job opportunities; post-baccalaureate volunteer service; graduate school and/or life vocation – single, married, vowed religious and priesthood. (Please see the flyer on the next page. ) The Delaware Valley Member Area will also hold three Gift of Mission days for high school juniors on February 4th and 13th and March 5th. The MSCs will have representation at each of these vocational outreaches.
After a lifetime of faithful commitment to their religious order, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus better known as the Cabrini Sisters, and to the Catholic Church’s healing ministry at Saint Anthony Hospital, Sister Benigna Morais, MSC and Sister Alfonsina Gomes, MSC will be retiring from Saint Anthony later this month.
Their faithfulness to the Saint Anthony Hospital family and its community has been a blessing to us all.
The Cabrini spirituality, which Sister Benigna and Sister Alfonsina have lived out lovingly is at its core a commitment that implies nothing less than a desire to love as Jesus loved, with the total self-gift of their lives, seeking to reach those most vulnerable, neglected or marginalized. With God’s grace working in them as in St. Frances Cabrini before them, this is the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus order’s ideal: no work will be too difficult, no land too distant, no person too wounded for the love of the heart of Jesus and for all those invited to be bearers of the love of Christ in the world.
To honor their sacred work and their love for Saint Anthony Hospital, a celebratory Mass will be held in the chapel on Tuesday, January 14 at 1:00 pm celebrated by Bishop Robert Casey and followed by a reception.
All are welcome to attend this special celebration to honor Sister Benigna and Sister Alfonsina.
Fully Alive is a weekly radio broadcast of the Archdiocese of Chicago, focusing on issues of human dignity and solidarity. On December 4, 2019, Sr. Cathy Fedewa, CSFN, of the Cabrini Retreat Center, joined staff from the Archdiocesan Office of Human Dignity and Solidarity in sharing two major events being sponsored by that office in December and in January, bringing awareness of the conflicts but also the beauty of the diversity of cultures shared in the city in its immigrant population.
Information and understanding of the events were shared with the audience regarding the Fourth Annual Posada to be held on December 13 on the streets of downtown Chicago.
The procession follows the same dynamics as a traditional posada, but instead of stopping at homes in their neighborhood, Joseph, Mary and their companions stop at various immigration-related locations in the city, such as the ICE Office and Immigration Court, and recall the difficulties immigrants encounter and the need for immigration reform. The procession ends at St. Peter’s Church in the heart of the city where all are finally welcomed and given hospitality….and a traditional celebration takes place.
The broadcast then continued with comments on National Migration Week being celebrated in the archdiocese, as it is around the country, on January 5, with a special liturgy in Holy Name Cathedral. A procession of nations in native dress (representing many of the diverse cultures in Chicago) begins the celebration. Diversity is also clear in the readings, intercessions and music, presented in varied languages. ~ submitted by Sr. Cathy Fedewa, CSFN, Cabrini Retreat Center
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
Solidarity with South Sudan, an initiative of the Union of Superiors General (men) and the International Union of Superiors General (women) is in response to a request from the Bishops of Sudan, that focuses its ministry on building the capacity of South Sudanese to become teachers, registered nurses, midwives, sustainable farmers and pastoral agents. Sisters, priests and brothers from a variety of congregations and countries work together with lay personnel in four primary sites with outreach to far flung areas of the country. Sr. Therese Merandi, MSC will work with others in the South Sudan to effect these important measures.
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.