Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Today is Jesus' Birthday!! 

When I was younger, my grandmother would always have a cake for Jesus on Christmas and we would sing Happy Birthday.  It is one of my happiest childhood memories. Thanks Nanny!!

Jesus is called by many different names.  One that stands out for me today is Prince of Peace.

Peace is so needed in our hearts, lives and world today.

Let's honor Jesus by living Peace, showing Peace, sharing Peace, working for Peace, speaking for Peace and being as Peace-filled as we can be!!

Happy Birthday Jesus!!!

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Violence must end

Today, as I write this I can not stop thinking about the families in Newton, Connecticut who are suffering the loss of all those children and teachers and school personnel.  It is just so sad and tragic. 

My first job after college was as an elementary school teacher. I loved it.  For many years, I taught students in grades, 3, 4 and 5. For part of that time, I worked in the Bronx at St. Philip Neri and for another time period, I worked at Flanders Elementary School in Malone, NY.  I know very well what it is like to be working in an elementary school and the close relationships and connections a school community can foster.

My heart breaks thinking of those children who died and the many others who heard the shots and experienced horrific fear. I think of the teachers, principal and all other school personnel who died that day and those who had to think quickly to save themselves and the children.  I admire the courage of those who were with the children.

I have been trained in Emergency Drills of what to do if an intruder entered the school and yes, I believe those drills are important.  However, I do believe instinct kicks in and you do what you believe is right at that time.

We keep hearing the story of a teacher who kept telling her children she loved them so that if they died those would be the last words they heard.  I'm glad to hear that she followed her heart.

The man who did all this killing obviously suffered from some serious mental illness.  I pray for all those inflicted with these struggles and ask that we as a world figure some better way to handle them so people don't have to continue suffering.

I also have to admit that hearing he came to school with multiple guns worries me- I don't understand why people feel the need to carry so many guns.  Violence does not solve anything.

I pray that we start turning more to PEACE and see how that can help us live better lives.

To the school community of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut-my prayers are with you. Blessings of peace at this tragic time.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Advent

We are in the midst of the first week of Advent.  

Advent is the time we prepare for the coming of Jesus anew in our lives.

It is a waiting time but one that is filled with hope.

Happy Advent to all!!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ursuline Weekend


Yeah it's Friday!!

People keep wishing me a good weekend and I keep thinking of how busy it is going to be.

However, it's all good stuff.

Tonight, I will travel to Blondie's Sports Bar in NYC with some Ursuline Sisters for a fundraiser to benefit Home Based Care at Good Shepherd Mission Hospital, Swaziland, Africa. One of our sisters, Sr. Maureen McCarthy, osu served there for a year and friends from Malone-Al and Kathleen Hartmann have served there many different times over the years. The people in Swaziland suffer from AIDS, poverty, lack of clean water, malnutrition and endemic disease. It's an important service to be involved in.

Tomorrow afternoon, the Ursuline Sisters and lay board of trustees members are meeting to discuss Sponsorship of Ursuline Schools: Defining the Future. We will discuss the Academy of Mt. St. Ursula in the Bronx, Ursuline Academy in Wilmington, Delaware and the Ursuline School in New Rochelle. A canon lawyer will be sharing her views with us too.

Then on Sunday, I have two prayer gatherings to attend:
 1) A gathering of Younger Women connected to Ursulines who are interested in prayer and conversation-anyone between 18-55 is welcome!!
2) A group of my sisters whom I used to live with gather periodically to pray and converse together.

We definitely are following Angela's words-From time to time, gather your sisters for prayer and conversation-at times have someone suitable come in to share information with them.

Hopefully all events will energize me, challenge me and help me with my continued desire to live life as an Ursuline Sister seeking to follow God's will in my life and help others feel self-confident about themselves.

It definitely is a packed weekend; but one that is necessary for my mind and soul.

Enjoy your weekend!!

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu




Sunday, November 25, 2012

Foundation Day

                                                                   St. Angela Merici

Today is the 477th Anniversary of the Founding of the Ursuline Sisters. 

Thank you Angela for following God's call and finding a company of woman dedicated to service and love for all people.

Happy Foundation Day to all Ursuline Sisters, Associates, Alumnae, Friends, Collaborators, Colleagues and Friends. 

Long live the Ursuliine Spirt and Charism!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thanksgiving Prayer

 
Loving God, today and everyday,  let us always remember to praise you and thank you.

We thank you for the gift of family and friends, which brings us together.

We thank you for our faith, which holds us together.

We thank you for our country, in which we are free to worship you together.

We thank you for the food we will eat today, for the surroundings where we celebrate.

We ask your blessing on all those we love those with us today and those not among us today.

We ask for goodness to those who find themselves in need today.

We ask all this through Jesus, your Son and our friend.

Amen

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day


Today we honor all those who have served our country in the armed forces. My dad served our country in Vietnam. I am proud of him for giving that service and want to thank him and all the other veterans around the world.

I also want to thank the Veterans' Administration System which provides all different care for veterans upon their return to the United States and afterwards too.

My college roommate from CNR Nancy is a social worker there and I know the job is not always easy-the men and women are suffering because of the violence they experienced and have many after effects. One of my Ursuline Sister, Sr. Pascal Conforti has provided chaplaincy care there too.

Let's remember our veterans today for their service and the workers who serve them today.

Sr. Jeannie

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Run for the Rockaways-SERVIAM in Action


New York and New Jersey have suffered tremendous effects from Hurricane Sandy. So much beach front property has been damaged. Boardwalks have blown away and broken apart. Homes have been destroyed by water damage, flooding, fire and smoke. It is so hard to see.

As a young child, I went to the Rockaways for vacation in the summer. I have a friend whose family has a home in Breezy Point and so does one of our Ursuline Sisters. I spent many of my high school, college and post college years at Long Beach, Long Island-family friends have a house out there. I have visited the Jersey Shore a number of times over the years. Each of these places holds a special piece of my heart. Memories of fun, sun, swimming, laughter, celebration, good food and drinks, and enjoying ocean breezes come to my mind when I think of each of these places.

I kept seeing all the devastation and sadness on the news and pictures on Facebook. So many places are collecting supplies and I was willing to get involved in sharing some of my resources. However, I also wanted to do more-I needed to do some activity.

While my alma mater, the College of New Rochelle was planning to do a Run for the Rockaways-so I decided to see if I could join them. They graciously welcomed me and I ended up driving my car out there to a firehouse. My car had about 20 cases of water in it. CNR brought out clothing, food, water, and cleaning supplies-All the donations filled two 15 seater vans, a Jeep and my car. So amazing to see.

So we headed on out there as a caravan-I was in the middle. It was about an hour drive. One of the students at CNR was leading the caravan in her Jeep. She and her family live out on Breezy Point so she knew places where we could bring our donations and she knew the shortcuts to get out there. Right before we drove, she was talking about good it felt to be bringing donations to those she knew-she commented that it was strange being both a victim and volunteer. After all her house was ruined by the water damage.

So we arrived there at the Firehouse where there were people to help us carry in the donations and I saw all the donations there and volunteers and people who were grateful for the donations. It was a very humbling experience and it reminded me of how fragile life is and how fortunate I am today.

 
I pray for all those affected by our weather lately.  Yesterday, someone told me that there are about 35, 000 more unemployed due to the damage to businesses.   More tough times ahead.  However, even with all this sadness and tragedy, you still see the goodness of humankind-when you think of all the people providing donations and those organizing the supplies and helping people out. Let’s keep looking out for one another!!


Sr. Jeannie

Monday, November 5, 2012

Vote tomorrow November 6, 2012

Tomorrow is Election Day here in the United States.

As a democratic country, we have the opportunity to participate in our government by voting for the person we believe will do the best job for our country, state, and community. 

I hope everyone goes out to vote tomorrow and follows his/her conscience. 

Prayers and blessings that it all turns out well.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Emergency Service Workers-Hurricane Sandy


As I sit here in my apartment in Westchester County, NY and watch the news and see all the devastation that has happened because of Hurricane Sandy, I can't help but marvel at the goodness of all the emergency service workers who are out there helping people. Talk about compassion, service and doing God's work.

To think that there are many people, fire safety personnel, police workers, emergency medical technicians, people who work with power lines, tree cutters and branch clean up people, who actually go out and do work that is needed when the rest of us are advised to stay home in order to be safe just amazes me and reminds me of how lucky we are that all of us have different gifts and talents.

SERVIAM is the motto of Ursuline schools-we teach students to help those in need and I'm so thankful to the men and women living out SERVIAM right now helping all those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Prayers and blessing to all working in aftermath of this storm and to all affected by it.

Sr. Jeannie

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Child Trafficking, Snakehead Trade-Walking Merchandise

.

Last night, Sr. Maureen Welch, osu, Associate Director of the Partnership for Global Justice working at the United Nations and I attended the NYC premiere of a documentary titled Walking Merchandise.

This documentary tells the story of child trafficking and the snakehead trade business. It tells of children from China brought here to the United States by traveling through dangerous conditions in other countries by human smugglers known as snakeheads. The children then have a debt of up to $100,000 that they must pay to the snakehead. This debt is worked off through various ways: restaurant labor, massage work, sexual activity etc. The conditions that these children work in are deplorable and harsh. Their wages are low and the debt never seems to end. The children grow up into adults and are still working to pay their debts to the snakeheads.

The documentary was well-done and really opened up my eyes to all the "horrible things" that go on behind closed doors. The film also highlighted work done by different advocates, social workers, attorneys and film-makers to help these children and try to end this snakehead trade business.  I admire their work and send them many prayers and blessings.

Check out www.walkingmerchandise.com to learn more about it and watch the film.

Seeing the film really reminded me of how precious life is and we must take all cautions to protect life-these children have lost their life in many ways.

We as Ursuline Sisters have made working to end trafficking part of our mission-we are educating our students about it, helping me out in safe houses, and supporting agencies that are helping those who have been trafficked.

We must remember that all human beings are important and work to protect their rights and dignity.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu


Friday, October 19, 2012

Recipe for Peace

This morning during my prayer time. I opened up a little book titled A Million Visions of Peace by Jennifer Garrison and Andrew Tubesing.

The page opened up to  Recipe for Peace by Mrs. Morse's 3rd grade class, Massachusetts.

Here it is:

1 cup of helping others                           
1/4 cup of self-esteem
1/2 cups of compromise                           2 tbsp. of kindness
4 tbsp. of compliments                             2 tbsp of caring
1 cup of cooperation                                 2 tbsp of honesty
2 cups of love

Dirctions:  Mix it all together and make it often becuase it's all you need for a lifetime of happiness.

So true and I must remember to include all those ingredients in  my daily life.

Sr. Jeannie

Monday, October 15, 2012

Watch a Video

Sr. Elisa Ryan and Sr. Jean Hopman, vocation directors for the Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union-United States Provinces recently made a video about Ursuline life.   I think it is a wonderful representation of our life.

Please click below to watch it and enjoy!!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bridge Crossings

This past weekend from Thursday, October 4th in the evening till Tuesday, October 9th in the morning, the Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union, Associates and Collaborators of the four provinces in the United States gathered together to discuss our life and be together. It is great to be with so many people who are connected to Angela's spirit and share the same values I do.


 

During one of our times together, we heard from Joanne Buckman, osu from Cleveland who shared a story with us. She was in Ghana, West Africa and had the opportunity to visit a monkey game preserve in the Gold Coast area-however in order to get to it; she had to cross seven suspension bridges. The last bridge was extremely high and was an one-person, sagging bridge over an enormous ravine. One fellow traveler went over the bridge and then assisted her journey by saying these three things to her very slowly.

1) Do not look back.
2) Keep your eyes on me.
3) Put one foot in front of another.

Her sharing reminded me of the many river /bridge crossings, I have had to face: illness, pain, death of my mother, grandmother, Ursuline sisters, loss of a friendship etc. However I still did cross the bridge and I believe I gained strength and courage by doing that.

There are still bridges to cross; writing the dissertation, dealing with pain of my arm and knee, seeing sisters deal with sickness, watching cherished fiends and community members die, and making tough decisions about corporate ministries and community life. However, since I've been with so many of my sisters and extended Ursuline family this weekend, I feel supported and believe that I can go forward no matter what.

 
Part of our time together also involved each province having its own Chapter  (big meeting every six years where we plan our future directions for ministry and community) and our Chapter theme for the whole international community of Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union is Go out into the deep water. With courage and hope, welcome the future!!

 
That is what I need to do daily and I do that by not looking back, keeping my eyes on Jesus and Angela and doing what I can each day by putting one foot in front of the other.

 
Who knows what the future holds? With Angela, Jesus and my Ursuline family on my side, I can face it with courage and hope!!

 
Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Thursday, October 4, 2012

St. Franis of Assisi and Peace


Happy Feast of St. Francis of Assisi!!

 
October 4th makes me think back to St. Philip Neri and my years there as a student and teacher. I smile with happiness and joy.   For many years, Brother Brian Johnson, OSF was the principal at SPN and we celebrated today's feast day with great celebration. I remember coloring pictures of St. Francis, saying the peace prayer and having a blessing of the animals-students brought pets to school and all were prayed over.  It brings back such wonderful thoughts.
 
Today is also a special day for Ursuline Sisters as Angela Merici was a Franciscan tertiary. So our roots are Franciscan.
 
I believe so strongly that peace is needed in today's world so let us pray for it each and every day!
 

 

Amen,

 

 
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
 
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
 
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
 
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
 
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
 
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
 
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Thoughts on Peace

PEACE is accepting one another for what we are. 


PEACE is learning.
                                                                                  

It also is listening to what people have to say with an open mind.

                                           - Judy, Iowa
 
Taken from A Million Visions of Peace
                   by Jennifer Garrison and Andrew Tubesing

Friday, September 28, 2012

Prior Knowledge


This semester, I am teaching a course on Literacy and Special Education at Concordia College in Bronxville, NY and a course on Literacy across the Curriculum at Fordham University.

When one discusses reading with pre-service and beginning teachers, you discuss the strategies for before reading, during reading and after reading. Yesterday during my class at Fordham we spoke about prior knowledge. There was animated conversation about the importance of providing students with information needed to understand concepts-we shared strategies such as Direct Instruction, Anticipation Guides, KWL charts, Exclusion Brainstorming, Tea Party, Quotation Cafe, Prediction Path and IEPC-Imagine, Elaborate, Predict and Confirm. Many of the students had experience to share and were able to talk about how they have used the technique or would use the technique with students. During my class at Concordia, the other night we were discussing phonemic awareness and phonics and how even if students are in the older grades, it is important to make sure they have these necessary skills so that they can decode and read the text before them.

Any good teacher has to figure out ways to find out what background knowledge students have and then ways to provide certain information to students if they don't have it. Teaching takes a lot of work and planning. But I do believe it is all worth it.

Thinking and discussing prior knowledge made me reflect on my relationship with Jesus- I have prior experience that he has been there for me so I need to remember that when I'm struggling and turn to my friend.

 
Sr.Jeannie Humphries, osu

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nuns on the Ferry

Today I attended the Nuns on the Ferry Rally in NYC. 

We heard Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, talk about the importance of a faithful budget for our country.  It would provide reasonable revenue for responsible programs, put American back to work rebuilding our roads, bridges and schools and that all people pay their fair share of taxes.  We want to affirm the life of all God's Children.

Sr. Simone spoke on the Manhattan side of the ferry and then a crowd climbed onto the Staten Island Ferry where we went and sat on Borough Hall's steps where Sr. Simone spoke again and so did various community leaders of both the civic and faith communities.  It was great to be with so many people who are working for the dignity of the human person and truly caring for all as brothers and sisters. 

The Nuns of the Ferry event is  branch from the Nuns on the Bus movement which focuses on faith, family and fairness. Check it all out on www.networklobby.org.

Here's some pictures from today. First you will see Sr. Simone, then Sr. Maureen Welch, OSU who was with me today and then one of me.  Next to me you can catch a bit of Sr. Aine  O' Connor, RSM. You will also see a picture of Sr. Geraldine Kennedy, osu with Sr. Simone and one of  group of us -myself, Sr. Maureen Welch osu, Sr. Germaine Price, osu and standing up you see Sr. Michele Morek, osu. I wish we had one of Sr. Alice Marie Giordano, osu but she was busy being our photographer.   Enjoy!!

Sr. Jeannie, osu





Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stretching


For the past few months, I've had to be involved in physical therapy-first for my back, then for my knee and now for my neck. I'm not really sure what happened other than I did have a fall and hurt my back and now there appears to be a bulging disc which I guess is causing my body to be out of whack and alignment.

 
First of all, let me just say, I'm so overwhelmed by the time and energy that is required to do the simple exercises and routines of applying heat and massage, stretching and moving, then holding the stretch, next doing it a number of times and finally applying ice and ending with putting on BioFreeze. I know it's important but I have to admit it is beginning to become a big of a drag.

However, I'm struck too by how much better I feel after taking the time to do the exercises and routines and go to the physical therapist.

As I've mentioned before I'm a real head person-I teach, and am in the process of writing a dissertation so much of my day is spent concentrating with my brain on reading, thinking, and writing. I honestly am finding this year I'm being asked to stretch my thoughts both for the teaching of graduate classes and my writing. I have to say I like this kind of stretching where I'm stretching my mind- I find it a challenge and believe it's important.

My body though is now beginning to get through to my mind and making me realize that I also need to physically stretch the body; mental stretching is not the only kind I should be doing.

Stretching both the mind and body-those are becoming part of my daily routine!! I also am beginning to see their importance and relevance.



In what way, are you being asked to stretch today?

Sr. Jeannie, osu

Monday, September 17, 2012

One's Very Presence


Many of us in religious life have connections to sisters from various congregations around the world. Since there are less people entering each congregation/community, many of participate in intercommunity formation programs where we have the opportunity to meet and network with other sisters. Also I am a member of the Core Team for Giving Voice (a group of younger women religious) and through that organization I meet many other sisters from various orders and places in our country and our world.
Check us out at www.giving-voice.org
I also have to admit each day I log onto Facebook to see what's happening with many of these sisters and my other friends from all over. Today, I noted that my friend Sr. Nichole Trahan, S.M. (a Marianist Sister) wrote a great quote about the importance of our words and actions. So I'm going to use part of her quote on our blog today.
Check out Sr. Nicole's blog-The Life of a New Sister- http: //sisternicole.blogspot.com/
The Importance of Word and Actions
No matter our particular job or ministry, we teach by our very presence in the world - people learn from us whether we realize it or not. The question is what are we teaching by our words & actions?
Today is the Feast Day of St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J.  May we learn from the great teacher and theologian how to teach (in word and deed) with love.
My words and actions need to show love, peace, reconciliation and compassion-That is what Angela modeled and I have vowed to follow in her footsteps so I better keep trying harder to live out her words and actions along with St. Robert Bellarmine’s.  I always knew his name because my cousins attended this grammar school in Bayside Queens.   
Blessings to all,
Sr. Jeannie

Monday, September 10, 2012

Caring for one another


Today we had the funeral for one of our dear sisters, Sr. Mary Clare Curry, osu who for many years taught in parish and Ursuline schools in the Bronx, New Rochelle, Middletown and Malone, NY. She also was a librarian for the Academy of Mt. St. Ursula-that is where I met her during my freshman year when I spent time in the library doing research or working on assignments. She was always so kind and friendly to me.

At her funeral today, I noticed another kind gesture going on. One of our sisters, Anne Curry, osu was standing up a long time during a part of the service and you could see she was getting tired. So Miriam Cleary, osu went over and whispered something in her ear and then both sat down in chairs. When they sat down, they exchanged smiles and eye contact. Both these sisters are in their 80s and there one was taking care of another but doing it in such a gentle and respectful way.

This is so Angela-she talks about the importance of being kind and compassionate to one another at all times.

Being kind, compassionate and respectful-that's what I want to be remembered for so I better start acting that way.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Friday, August 31, 2012

Jubilee-25 Years as an Ursuline Sister

Here are some reflections from Sr Pat Schifini, osu as she celebrates 25 years  of religious profession as an Ursuline Sister.

“Religious life is challenging, but I would not trade it for anything! I have come to know that God’s love is what I need most in my life. Supported by my Ursuline sisters, family and friends, I am continually challenged to keep on growing.

“When I made my first vows, the joy that filled my heart was great, and this has remained with me. When I went to Mexico and had to move out of my comfort zone to function in another language, when a woman I journeyed with entered the community, and when I spent 7 months in Rome with Ursulines from many different countries, it was the JOY of being Ursuline that I felt.

“Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher, and I love it. My colleagues and students are a blessing and continue to nurture my vocation. Doing vocation ministry and serving on our leadership team have also been challenging as well as very rewarding. It is being in mission with my sisters that makes it so meaningful.

“To someone considering religious life today, I want to say that the only way you will truly know it is for you is to try it. It is not always easy to go against the pressures of society. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Some tried this with me, and I am glad I did not listen to them. Religious life has its ups and downs, as does any life, but if you are called to it, it will make you very happy.”

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Water-Good and Bad!!!


Oh how I love water!! I love being near an ocean and hearing the waves. I truly enjoy being able to take a cold or hot shower depending on my needs at the moment. I love being able to quickly wash away dirt. I love being able to take a nice drink of cold water when I'm thirsty. I love the fact that rain helps nature grow and can cool off our hot cement NYC streets at times.   Swimming in a pool, lake or ocean is one of my favorite activities.

 
However, currently there are people in our country mainly Louisiana and Mississippi who are awaiting some water that could truly cause damage and destruction.  Hurricane Issac is working its way from the south to the Midwest.  I think of the poor people in Haiti who have suffered loss already.

 
It’s amazing to think that water can do so much good but also do so much destruction and ruin. 

 
It makes me realize that so much of life has good and bad in it and how we respond and live from both the good and bad is what matters.

 
I pray for all those awaiting Hurricane Issac that the damage will not be too bad and that all will be safe.  My Ursuline community has sisters in New Orleans-in fact New Orleans was the first place we settled and started a school in the United States so it holds a special place in the hearts of many Ursulines.

 
Prayers and blessings to all!! 

 
Sr. Jeannie

Sunday, August 26, 2012

True Words!!


From today’s Gospel, John 6: 60-69

Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
Those words are definitely food for thought on so many levels!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Speaking our Truth

From Monday, August 6th till Sunday, August 12th, I was in St. Louis. I went to attend a meeting of the core team of Giving Voice (an organization for younger women religious-those under 50 years of age). We planned our upcoming year's conversation topics and began seriously discussing our conference for July 2013. Plus we planned a workshop presentation and then presented it at LCWR's Innovative Practices on Tuesday. We also had an exhibit booth at the conference and were able to meet many of the 900 sisters representing various women religious groups across the United States. It was an exciting time.


I'm so proud that the LCWR is planning to speak with the Bishops about the CDF Doctrinal Assessment in a spirit of dialogue but without compromising our integrity and mission. For more information check out www.lcwr.org and look at the press release and the president's closing address. Both pieces give you such a sense of what women religious are about today and what they have been about in the present and want to be about in the future!!


While away, I received very sad news that a classmate from the Academy of Mount Saint Ursula was very sick and died. So sad as she is young -about 42 and leaves behind four children, a husband and a mother. Please pray for her and her family and friends. I was so struck though by the power of Facebook as so much news about her was sent to me in messages through this social media connection and so many people were asking for prayers-they wanted to make sure that the Ursuline Sisters would pray for one of their former students. We did pray and while it was not the miracle we hoped for; we do know God is in this situation in some way. That is our faith.

Sunday was a special day as I was present at the perpetual profession of one of my Ursuline Sisters, Mary Beisiegel, osu.  It was so nice to be there to hear Mary say Yes to God's call and  to living the spirit of St. Angela Merici in all she does forever.  Alleluia!!

Blessings to all for a good week!!

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu



.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Clues

"I'm like a detective.  I've got all these clues about life but need to solve the mystery myself."

Said by Chrissy, age 13 

Written in Bridget Haase, osu's book Well Said Children's Words of Wisdom Copyright 2002

What a great quote!  So true-we have to take the clues and figure it out by ourselves but we are not truly alone-God is there to help us.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Group Prayer

Last night, I attended a prayer gathering at Holy Family Parish in New Rochelle. The purpose of this prayer was for the women religious as our leadership prepares to attend the Leadership Conference of Women Religous (LCWR) meeting in St. Louis.

The prayer was organized by many lay people and was so well-put together.  There were readings from various sources-Oscar Romero's homily, the Scriptures,  Perfectae Caritatis, Lumen Gentium and the Prayer of St. Francis.

I would estimate there were about 200 plus people present.  It was so nice to be together with so many people who were so involved in prayer and singing of God's words.  When we sang, it was such a resounding sound-the acoustics were wonderful.

People are so good and dedicated to the Gospel way of living.  Prayer is so powerful.  I pray that the LCWR meeting goes well next week and that all leadership teams of women religious feel supported.

Jeannie Humphries, osu

Monday, July 23, 2012

911 Memorial WTC

This weekend, I went into Manhattan and visited the 911 Memorial. It was such a moving experience being there. I thought back to that day and was struck again by the number of people who died and the way it changed may people's lives.

On September 11, 2001, I was teaching fourth grade at St. Philip Neri in the Bronx and that day we had many parents (especially dads) come into the school to kiss their children and ask us to care for them till another caregivers came. Many of these parents were first responders: police officers, fire fighters, and emergency medical technicians. These parents were running into the danger while others were running to get away from the danger. I admire first responders and thank God for them every day. I believe those jobs are real true calls of service.

The 911 Memorial's pools are very peaceful with the running water. Names are all engraved around both the South and North Pools. I was able to find a few of the people that I knew or have connections to such as Damian Meehan, Brendan Dolan, Dennis McHugh, Stephen Driscoll and Luke Nee. I prayed for all families affected and asked God and the people who died to watch over our world.

There were many people at the memorial from all ages and cultural backgrounds. All were walking around respectfully and quietly. I was so struck by the fact that 911 affected so many people around the world.

Peace is so needed in our world.

I pray that I can be an instrument of peace as suggested by the Peace Prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;


O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.


For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


St. Angela was a Franciscan Tertiary. I believe she is praying this prayer along with me today and every day.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Today, I invited one of our sisters, Ann Duggan, osu over for lunch. Ann worked with Catholic Relief Services for close to 20 years. At one point she was in charge of the African Region. She spoke about how she became connected to that work. She was working as a translator at our Generalate in Rome and was invited to work with other religious communities to be a translator too and was also asked to work at meetings for doctors and teachers. Sr. Ann spoke about how enriching and eye-opening it was for her. These meetings though sparked a real desire in her to go see more of the world and get a broader experience of people. She loved her work tremendously.
 
Her use of the words "get a broader experience" reminded me of how Ursuline education is always talking about having a broader/global view of the world. I think that is so important. We are an international community of sisters all around the world, Australia, Cameroon, Senegal, England, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, England, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, France, Germany etc...... So when learning about one of those places or hearing about events there, I always picture some of our sisters who I have the fortunate chance to meet at international meetings or visits.

I'm grateful for that Global View.

 Sr. Jeannie

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Raising Children


Last night, I went to a "cocktail" party at one of my friend’s house. I have known this young woman since we were in grammar school at St. Philip Neri in the Bronx. There were ten of us in attendance.

All but one woman and I are married and raising children under the age of 8. It was so interesting to listen to them talk about their wishes, dreams and hopes for their daughters and sons. All want to instill some values and teach their children about faith, morals and good decision making. They discussed the fact that at this point in their lives; the children are early risers so the moms are suffering from lack of sleep and also their children need constant activity, so all present are constantly on the go.

I think back to my mom and all she did to make my childhood such a happy one. She suffered from diabetes since she was 16 and then went blind and on kidney dialysis during my early teen years. However, while her sickness was a big part of our lives, she also taught me about love and living the best life you can with what you're dealt. Thank you Mom!!

I pray for my friends and all parents who are trying to raise their children to be good moral citizens. I believe that since my friends are questioning themselves and seeking the advice of others shows that they are doing the best job they can as parents. Know I believe you can do it!!Prayers and blessings!!

Sr. Jeannie

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Retreat, Renewal, Refreshment

I just returned home from my annual retreat in Enders Island near Mystic, Connecticut.  Having spent a week by the water I have returned feeling refreshed and renewed.  The retreat I was on was a Guided Retreat and the theme was the women at the Resurrection.  It was a wonderful topic and I have to admit I really enjoyed praying with those women who accompanied Jesus.  The two talks each day were very helpful for focusing me on my journey with the Lord.  One talk was in the morning and the other in the late afternoon so I had plenty of time to sit by the water and pray with these wonderful women who stayed with Jesus and cared for him.  Gratefully most days there was a breeze so it was not at hot as most places were experiencing.  It was a silent retreat with a group of thirty women and one man.  Most of us were sisters but the rest of the group gave a wonderful dimension.  The group really bonded despite the silence and for those whose first experience this was of a retreat it was a great group to be with.  On Friday night we had a social gathering which gave everyone the chance to get to know one another better and share on our experience.

Reentry after a retreat always leaves me with the challenge of how to keep the good experiences I had alive and not to forget all that happened.  All one can do is do what they have the power to do and try to be their best self.  Perhaps this is the call for each of us during these hot days -- to reach out to someone and be present to them.  You never know when you just might be entertaining an angel sent from God.

Peace,
Sr. Pat

Friday, June 29, 2012

Memories


Summer just recently officially started in the Northern Hemisphere of our world and being that I live in the United States, my summer has just begun.  Thank God!!   When I think of summer, I think of 4 Rs-rest, relax, re-energize and recreation.  The beautiful weather that we in New York State experience at this time of year allows me to experience those 4 Rs.   

Many of my greatest childhood memories have to do with some summer vacation activities my family participated in.   Growing up in New York City, my parents always made sure I enjoyed certain city events in the summer-Yankee Games, Mets Games, Statue of Liberty, Bronx Zoo, New York Botanical Gardens, Coney Island, Long Beach, Rockaway, the Circle Line etc..  But we also always went to the Catskill Mountains where I got to swim, camp, fish, hike, go horseback riding, collect bugs and toast marshmallows over a great big bonfire.  Mom and Dad made sure I enjoyed my surroundings no matter where I was at the time.  It definitely was a wonderful childhood.

As I reflected on these memories, I thought too of our sisters and brothers in the Northern Hemisphere who are experiencing winter at this time.  I have great memories of winter fun too-skiing, sledding, making snowmen, snowball fights, hot cocoa and fireplaces.  You make the best with what you can.  That is how I define character.

I’m realizing that memory making is what assists me in enjoying life!!  However, the events don’t just stand out on their own- I also remember my friends and family members who participated in these great fun-filled activities with me.  The laughter, the jokes, the thrills are what make each one so meaningful for me.

What memories do you have of summer and winter fun?  Is there a way you can recreate some of that feeling you experienced participating in that event?

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu


Monday, June 25, 2012

Getting Brakes Fixed/Taking a Break

On Friday, I zoomed into the garage where I take my car to have its oil changed and any other maintenance work completed.  The men there are always so great.  They pretty much take my car when I arrive even if I don't have an appointment and usually it's ready within the hour. 

The garage is right near some mini shopping centers so I run into the drugstores, supermarket etc when I'm there and take care of my errands.  Well on Friday, they were done in about 30 minutes and the man called to say that my car needs new brakes-not immediately, but soon. So I ask if I can bring the car in on Monday morning and he readily agrees saying they will have it down my noontime. What immediately goes through my head is while how I will occupy my time for 4 hours.  The garage is a good walk from house but a real short walk from our provincialate office building.    I think while what work can I bring to the provincialate so I won't be wasting time.

I'm  been up for about an hour this morning and have been praying and thinking.  What kept coming to my mind was the the following thought-The car needs brakes and it is okay for me to take a short break too.  Perhaps I don't need to plan so much work for those four hours.  Brake and break-homophones-using my skills as an English Language Arts Teacher always.

God's words came to me through the car mechanic.  You never know where you will hear God speaking-so make sure to listen and reflect.

Jeannie Humphries, osu

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Finding of Jesus in the Temple

Today's Gospel is Luke 2:41-51 which tells the story of Jesus and his parents going to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover when he was twelve and him staying behind in the Temple even after his parents left.  Jesus was there for three days teaching and talking with teachers. His parents were so worried and when Mary expressed her concern, Jesus said, "Didn't you know I was doing the work of my Father?. 

This story always stands out for me because as an elementary school teacher, I always think how horrible his parents must have felt.  I have always been a big field trip proponent and talk my students all over the Bronx and Manhattan and even to Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island because they can learn so much outside of the classroom walls.  But I would be heartbroken if I ever lost one and I am vigilant about keeping on top of their movements on trips especially when on the subway.

I pray today for all Missing Children and their parents.  Jesus, please watch over them and return them to those who love them and please provide their parents with some peace and comfort.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Reunion

My alma mater, the College of New Rochelle, held a reunion on Saturday, June 9th for all classes ending in '2 and '7.  It was not my reunion year since I graduated in 1993.  However, I met up late Friday night for drink and conversation with 5 members of the class of 1992.  I knew many of them since they were just a year ahead of me. It was great chatting with them and hearing about their lives.  All are in significant relationships and 4 have children.  They discussed child-rearing and the challenges and joys it brings.

Part of the conversation also focused on the teachers/staff members of CNR who made a difference in their lives.  One spoke about how a certain professor's readings of poetry was so powerful for her.  Another spoke about how one professor's belief in her made all the difference in how she was willing to put forth extra effort on assignments.  Also one of the women spoke too about how the campus minister came to her wedding and was so helpful in the planning of it.

I'm a teacher and starting in September, I won't be teaching elementary-aged children anymore.  Instead I will be teaching undergraduates and graduates in college.  I must remember that what I say and do will be remembered by my students years later.  So I better come prepared for class and treat all with respect and dignity.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Living A New Life

Wow!  It's been a month since I last blogged. I apologize. 

Life has just been really busy.  I finished the data collection of my dissertation-now have to transcribe it and analyze it. No little task!!  I also moved into my own apartment which I have to admit I am enjoying. It's been fun decorating it and getting it organized.  I realize though how much stuff I have accumulated over the years and that I must start discarding things especially papers. That will be a task I will work on this summer.  My school is consolidating its three sites into one so it's been a busy time planning for the upcoming school year in a new building with a new way of grouping our students. 

I realize this is all just part of life. What I do have to remember is that it is important that I approach it with a positive attitude, treat others with compassion and mercy and live the best I can and know how.

Today I am going with my students, faculty and staff to a Fun Run sponsored by Mighty Milers- an exercise program where our students long their miles. It encourages physical activity in a fun wholesome way.  It should be a nice day.

Then tonight I'm off to the last board meeting of this school year for the Academy of Mt. St. Ursula.  I am looking forward to hearing how the school year is winding down for them and what plans are in place for next year.  My four years at AMSU were great ones-I made many lifelong friends-in fact I will be seeing many of them on Saturday at a friend's house.

God is good. All the time.  I must remember this.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Physical Pain

Recently, I suffered some muscle spasms in my lower back area that caused me a lot of pain.  I ended up having to take off a week from work and mainly found myself either sitting down watching t.v. or falling asleep due to the muscle relaxer and pain killer medicine I was on.  I couldn't concentrate to read and was not too interested in socializing with many people.  My pain has lessened a bit and I hope to be at work on Monday, May 7th.  Throughout this week, I would wince in pain each time, I had to do any type of bending.  It was hard to put on my pants and I was unable to tie my own sneakers for a few days. 

These restrictions caused me to think about people who are in pain constantly and also I thought of people who need constant help with daily living skills of dressing, washing oneself and help getting in and out of beds or chairs.  It made me realize how fortunate I have been in my life and how important is it to take care of one's body.  God gave me life and I must take care of myself as a way to show gratitude for all God has given me.

That means I must eat healthier foods, try to lose weight, exercise, take time to work, relax at times, pray by myself and at times be with other people.  In many ways, I think this back and leg pain was sent as a message to me that I must start taking better care of my physical body. As someone who is working on a PhD, I am constantly exercising my brain, but what about my body?  Honestly, not as much.  I am off to physical therapy Monday and hopefully this experience will begin to show me how to exercise and use certain muscles which God has given me.

Sr. Jeannie

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chicago

Last weekend, I went to a meeting of the Ursuline Sisters Vocation Network that is comprised of sisters from the 4 provinces of the Roman Union Ursulines in the United States. We met with our vocation co-directors, Sr. Elisa Ryan, osu and Sr.Jean Hopman, osu.  Discussion was about the different ways our sisters have been connecting with young women to share our life with them.  Topics covered included  volunteer opportunities, social justice meetings,  high school talks and retreats, college talks, prayer and conversation gatherings,  Busy Student retreats and vocation fairs.  We also shared about social media and our vocation blog Backlit with Joy.  Check it out.  One day we had a guest speaker, Sr. Elyse Ramirez, OP who works in CAVA-Chicago Archdiocesan Vocations Activities Office.  Sr. Elyse is a Springfield Dominican Sister from Illinois. However she has strong Ursuline connections having attended our Ursuline academy and junior college in Springfield, Illinois.  In fact, one of her teachers, Sr. Regina was present at our meeting so they were able to reconnect.

Members of our network include Sr. Mary Dostal, osu who runs Angela's Piazza in Billings, Montana,  Sr. Regina Fronmueller, osu who works with volunteers in New Orleans, Louisiana, Sr. Karen Schwane, who works in an elementary school and a senior citizens center in Laredo, Texas,   Sr. Pat Schifini who is one of our blog writer and teacher/campus minister at The Ursuline School, New Rochelle, New York and then myself.  It is a nice group and it was wonderful to connect and share.

Each evening, we watched a movie together:  Hugo and The Mighty Macs. Both were good movies.

We stayed at the Felician Sisters Motherhouse at West Peterson and Pulaski in Chicago, Illinois.  I am on my way back there again this weekend to discern with others about a possible new  living group.  more to follow on that later.

Blessings and prayers to all.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Resurrection

Happy Easter!!! I can't believe I forgot to post that on April 8th. I'm over a week behind!!

However, we still are in the Easter Season of hope, resurrection and new life. Today in New York City, the weather is beautiful reminding me of that new life!

Last night, I had a conference call with other woman religious from Giving Voice and we shared ways we are trying to be signs of Jesus' Resurrection to the world.

We spoke about inviting all to the Eucharist table, helping others learn from the Sacred Scriptures, sharing with others about struggles, and simply trying to be as open and friendly to all that we meet.

It was a great conversation.

How are you being a sign of Jesus' Resurrection in our world today?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Stations of the Cross

In a little while, I will be going to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church in Point Lookout, NY for the Stations of the Cross.

I have many memories connected to the Stations of the Cross from my childhood and teaching years at St. Philip Neri Parish in the Bronx.

First of all, when I was a child, Sr. Catherine Marie Jordan, osu held a midday service in the school for children while parents attended a service in the church. I remember being in school, coloring pictures of the stations, acting them out with various skits, using all different materials to create the scenes and praying as a group.

Some of the great memories include:
  • carrying lots of textbooks up three flights of stairs to simulate Jesus' Carrying of the Cross,
  • taking a towel and acting like Veronica wiping the face of Jesus,
  • making a tomb out of paper bags and desks, and
  • jumping out proclaiming Jesus is Risen.

When I went back to St. Philip Neri as a teacher, I remember working with the fourth graders and Ms. Maureen Harten on lessons related to Lent. We set up a mini art gallery in the hallway on the second floor outside our classrooms. The "art gallery" contained Mass card pictures of the various stations of the Cross and asking to children to walk around, examine the pictures, meditate on the images and then either draw a similar picture or write poem/paragraph on the experience.

Also when I taught fourth grade, I would bring in matzo and grape juice to reenact the Last Supper with my students. At times, I would wash students' foot just as Jesus washed the feet of his apostles.

All these experiences were very powerful to me and remind me of my faith and how it has been nourished throughout the years. I am so grateful for this and hope I am providing some faith nourishment for others.

Lent is a very holy sacred time for Catholics around the world. It is a time when I find myself feeling very connected to Jesus. I am overwhelmed by sadness at the suffering he underwent for my fellow human beings and me. But I am also energized and hopeful because I know the Resurrection of Jesus is to come soon.

Prayers and blessing to all this Good Friday.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Singing

Last year for my 40th birthday, I received a birthday card from a good friend who happens to be our Ursuline Provincial right now.

This Hallmark musical card states:

You gotta sing the song that's in your heart. Anything else is just lip-synching.

The card hangs by my desk and periodically I open it and hear those words sung to me. The words come from "Make Your Own Kind of Music" by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

It reminds me each time how important it is to follow one's heart and sing out what is stirring deep inside my heart and soul.

Otherwise, are you being true to yourself and faithful to God's call? In my mind, that is the continued essential question of life.

Sr. Jeannie

Friday, March 30, 2012

Good Actions and Speaking Up

Today’s Gospel from John 10: 31-42 states the following:

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.
Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?"
The Jews answered him, "We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.”

According to the Jews, his blasphemy was that he was saying he was God. Even though he was getting stoned for that, he would not deny it. Jesus would not change who he was or say something different.

I am so struck by this today because I am thinking how often do I not speak up when I see something wrong or when I do speak up, I say something that is not going to cause any conflict or have people think less of me since I don’t agree with their statements. But Jesus stuck by his beliefs and the truth of who he was.

I need to more truthful to others about what my beliefs are. So often especially in political discussion, I back down. I hope that during the upcoming Holy Week, I can pray for the grace to be able to use my voice to speak my truth at all times. Often I think the good weeks I do will show my beliefs. But more is needed. My words and speech can also do the same. Just as Jesus did, I might have to suffer because of my words.

Thank you Jesus for your truth speaking and help me to speak up more about unjust practices and statements.

Sr. Jeannie

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Love and Action

This past Sunday, Sr. Pat and I had a gathering with other women for prayer and conversation about the spiritual dimension in our lives.

Sr. Pat shared how 3 times in the last week, she heard Mother Teresa's saying;
Do little things with great love.

I've been reflecting on that these past few days.

I am trying to live it out as I

smile at the janitor at my school building.
work with a child helping her find places in her writing to put periods.
counsel a teacher on how to discipline a child not listening.
converse with one of our elderly nuns about the sad news in our world.
communicate with outside educational consultants about my students.
type another response to an email about a meeting
put in a phone call to a person about a potential apartment.

Each day these events might seem insignificant but if there are done with great love, then they are done well.

Sr. Jeannie

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Remember: God is in Control!!!

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways” (Isaiah 55:8)

As I sit and look at the above line from today's First Reading, I can not help but reflect on the fact that I am not in control of everything in my life. That has been a real challenge for me to accept. I want to know everything, plan my life 100% percent and always be in the driver's seat. But as a person trying to live the Christian life, I must remember that God is in control. God has thoughts for my life and they do not always agree with mine. Plus the way I want things to proceed might not happen. Rather, I have to be willing to go along on the ride of this journey of life. I must be willing to travel it with God and just like if traveling with a friend, communication must take place. Therefore, I need to spend time talking and being with God and in my mind that is prayer.
More prayer time in my life is very needed. I must take some time for prayer each day, no matter how busy I get.

Sr. Jeannie

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Parents

Today and tomorrow, we have Parent Conferences at my school Cooke Center for Learning and Development. We are so fortunate in that most of our parents are happy with their child's progress. It is so nice to hear from the parents what they are experiencing with their son and daughter. We laugh and talk about the funny things the child has said or did. Plus we also talk seriously about the child's learning, social and behavior challenges. The parent's perspective of how to handle situations sheds light on many of the issues for me.

Topics covered today included:


  • the struggle with homework each night and the desire for the child to do it perfectly,

  • the pride a mom had for her child for finally reading a book on his own,

  • the appropriate consequences for misbehavior,

  • the way the child mimics and reenacts the school day for parent,

  • the deep conversations about the hurts and pain the child has experienced

  • the inappropriate behavior of talking back to adults,

  • the desire for a mom to see her daughter make a friend on her own

  • the mother and daughter evenings

  • the weekly dinner date a mom has with her son

  • the way a dad refers to his daughter as a princess,

  • and the excitement the child has about school trips and rewards.

I left work today admiring the parents and the love and dedication they show their children each day. People say teaching is hard work. But I think parenting is even harder. To all you parents out there-Thank you for the Good Work you do each day!!!


Sr. Jeannie

Sunday, March 4, 2012

An Acrostic on Lent

My thoughts on Lent


Learning to listen
Entering into the quiet
Noticing what is in my heart
Taking time to just “be” and not always “do”


Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Children's Literature

As I have mentioned before, I teach an education course titled Children's Literature in a Multicultural Society at Fordham University/Lincoln Center campus. Tonight, I will be teaching and I'm been preparing for my class this morning.

I realize that this is a big week for Children's Literature-Friday, March 2nd is Dr. Suess' birthday and NEA's Read Across America Day. Plus on last Friday, February 24th, Jan Berenstain, author and illustrator of the Berenstain Bears's series died. Both Dr. Suess and the Berenstain bears are so famous when it comes to children's books. They are fun to read and also share valuable information with children and parents.

Also while reading Facebook last night, I saw an article from USA Today where it talks about how many children's books being published today lack reference to animals and nature. Instead the setting is more often in homes and other built environments. This concerns me and makes me realize that I need to make sure to expose children to stories that take place in all different settings.

Reading -a huge part of my life!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lent: A Time to Feast and Fast

Lent is the 40 days of preparation before Easter that begins on Ash Wednesday. It is the season when we prepare for Jesus’ death and resurrection. During this time we are invited to reflect on our lives and change our hearts. Many people ask what the fasting and abstinence guidelines are so I thought it would be helpful to include them here.

Fasting and abstinence Days of Abstinence: No meat can be eaten on Ash Wednesday and all of the Fridays during Lent. This applies to all Catholics 14 and older.

Days of Fast: Only one full meal is permitted on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday for Catholics between 18 and 59. Two smaller meals are permitted, but the small meals should not equal a second full meal.

As I was reading I came across the following Lenten Litany by William Arthur Ward (1921-1994) and thought it would be a good reminder of what we are called to do during this season.

Lenten Litany: Fasting & Feasting

Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on divine order.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from discouragements; feast on hope.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that sustains.

Happy Lent!
Sr. Pat Schifini

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Spoonful of Sugar

On Friday night, I attended the musical Mary Poppins on Broadway in NYC. For the past 6 weeks, my school Cooke Center for Learning and Development had a student teacher, Steve from Gwynedd-Mercy College in Pennsylvania and Steve treated me to the show as a Thank you for supervising his student teaching experience. Now he is off to Arizona.

The music, dancing and the costumes at Mary Poppins was fantastic. It was so exciting and energizing to be there. It made you feel so alive and the story line is just great.

The song lyrics keep going through my head since Friday night. I keep thinking of the meaning behind a spoonful of sugar-don't just think of the bad, also always look for the good in things. It reminds me of Angela's words-Remember to treat others with kindness and gentleness rather than abrupt words.

So I must remember A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. I need to approach difficult situations with that in mind and teach my children to do the same.

Sr. Jeannie

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love
.
1 Corinthian 13: 4-7, 13


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Taking Time

Right now I am in Long Island at a house the Ursuline Sisters own. We use this house as a vacation house and a place for our sisters to go when they need time to rest, relax and have fun.

I'm sure at times it's been used for the same purpose I am here this weekend. I need to spend a major block of time working on my dissertation. I have recorded my students' questions on my IPAD and now need to transcribe them into Microsoft Word. I feel so blessed to have the time and space to be able to work on this important task.

Last night, one of our sisters called me and we discussed another one of our sisters who is experiencing severe cognitive difficulties with comprehension and memory. It is so hard to hear, experience and realize that this kind sister is not the woman she once was. This sister taught me so much about prayer and Ursuline life. She helped make this religious world for me and one I really wanted to be a part of her. I am so grateful to her for her wisdom and love. Well it is hard to be with her now because she can be angry, defensive and negative, I need to remember all she did for me and take the time to just be with her so she knows she is loved, cared for and appreciated. Isn't that what we all want in life?

This weekend will be busy with dissertation work-Yes, but hopefully too I can take time to pray and recreate my soul so I can handle all of life that will be happening in the next few weeks. Taking the time to just be is important too. Good luck to all our readers!!

Sr. Jeannie

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Our example


“Give good example-teaching more by what you do than what you say.”


St. Angela Merici

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. As a young child, I was always taught to think of this as Jesus' Baptism-even though it is not truly the same.

In reality, we are celebrating the fact that today Mary having given birth to Jesus brought him and an offering of either a lamb and a dove or pigeon, or two doves or pigeons to their Temple to be cleansed by prayers. This was part of the Mosaic law at that time.

What I'm really struck by today is the word Presentation and what it means in my life. Presentation for me is about how I look and sound to others and how I share material that I know. It's what I show the outside world. One's Presentation is so important.

I'm also thinking of the fact that when Mary presented Jesus in the Temple, she also brought along offerings of sacrifice. What offerings of sacrifice do I need to share with others? What needs to be cleansed by prayers in my life?

Jeannie Humphries, osu

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Being Present

It's been a while since I've written an entry and I apologize to our readers for the delay.

As I sit here and think about what has been going on in my Ursuline life, I realize that right now there has been a lot of medical concerns. One of our sisters had double knee replacement. Another sister had a melanoma removed and we are still awaiting the results. Plus a third sister is suffering from severe loss of memory and mobility. Well it's been a bit of challenge and sad, I also realize that God is calling me to be with those in pain.

I'm a real problem-solver and task-oriented person. I want to figure things out and take care of them all right away. But with these sisters and their medical issues, I am unable to do anything but pray, be present to my sisters, listen to their concerns and remind them of God' s love and care along with mine too.

It has been a real humbling experience to just have to be with them in their pain. I'm going to have to keep sitting with it and see what lessons God is trying to teach me. Instead of running to take care of the situation, I have to just be with it.

Where in your life do you find you just have to be and not do?

Jeannie Humphries, osu

Friday, January 13, 2012

Being with other women religious/sisters/nuns

Here it is the start of Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend.   For the past ten years or so, I've attended Giving Voice's Retreat for Women Religious in their 20s and 30s.  We met in Florida a few times and the moved to meeting in Arizona.  It has been a wonderful experience for me. I've met so many peer sisters who I can truly relate to and have fun with. Plus I get to share with them this mysterious thing called a call to religious life. It's hard to make sense of it at times; but being with others who also feel called helps.  I am unable to attend this year since I turned 40 in May 2011.  I am too old for this gathering and let me tell you being too old for something in the nun world is a new experience for me.  I'm usually one of the youngest or the youngest at a gathering. But now with Giving Voice-instead there I'm either in the middle of the age group or too old!!  Amen!!

This weekend once again a group will be gathering in Arizona for prayer, reflection, sharing and hang out time.  I'm so jealous and wish I could be there.  I just texted Jessi, a Presentation Sister to tell her to have fun and that I miss her already.  But it is not my time to be there.

Instead my friend Susan, a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace who is just a little younger than me and I will be going to New Orleans to celebrate her perpetual profession of vows and share some bonding time. We both realized that this Giving Voice gatherings are so important and wanted to keep getting together. This weekend will be fun.

New Orleans is where the first Ursulines went to in the United States and there is so much history of our congregation there.  We will be staying at one local living community with 2 of my Ursuline Sisters and visiting another community connected to Our Lady of Prompt Succor shrine. So I will see some of my nuns. Yeah!!

Also I will get a chance to visit with my former principal boss from St. Philip Neri School in the Bronx, Brother John Casey, a  member of the Congregation of Christian Brothers.

It will be a weekend of renewing relationships.  Thank God for friends to share the journey of life with me. 

Jeannie Humphries, osu