Friday, December 30, 2011

Ending 2011

Apologies to all for not getting online and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!!  Belated wishes!!

I hope everyone had a great day with family, friends, Santa and Jesus!!

I was fortunate to share the time with friends who are family to me and community members.  Plus I've had some R & R-both time to relax and re-create which I so needed!!   Amen!

I can't believe that tomorrow will be the last day of 2011!!  Wow!!  This year really flew by. 

Taking the time today and tomorrow to think over the past year.  I'm proud of my accomplishments-my dissertation proposal was accepted and approved, took better care of my health (both physical and mental), and energized my personal prayer time!! 
I'm also proud of what my Ursuline sisters have done as a group-got more involved in working to help those victims of human trafficking, took some stands on immigration, made decisions about our community and province life promoting ministerial works,  and there has been a resurgence of energy and work about vocations to our Ursuline way of life.  Check out our Vocation Blog-Back lit with Joy and read more about Ursuline life!!

My life surely has its challenges just like everyone's else's but I do have to admit I feel blessed and fortunate to be connected to so many great Ursuline women.

Prayers and blessings to all at the end of 2011! 

More Good News to come in 2012!!

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Being with a piece of the Christmas manger

Currently, I live in NYC in an intercommunity women religious convent. (This means I live with many different sisters from other orders, not just Ursulines) There is a wonderful  Advent/Christmas tradition here that I really enjoy.

At the start of Advent, the Christmas stable is taken out of its box. All of the figurines are wrapped in tissue paper and placed in a big basket. Each sister is invited to reach in the basket and take a wrapped figurine.  Then we are encouraged to pray with that figurine throughout Advent. 

People will be picking one of the wise men, a sheep, a camel, Mary, the infant Jesus or any of the other creatures that grace the Christmas manager scene.  Then we pick a date close to Christmas and share about our journey with the Christmas figurine.  That is what we did last night. I loved it!!

Listening to other sisters talk about how a shepherd reminded them of the need to look out for the lost and forsaken, the camel who keeps plodding straight ahead to Jesus  reminds one to keep on plugging away with school and work, and Joseph helps someone accept things that are not always clearly understood.  It was a very touching experience for me.

Then we shared in tree decorating and some yummy Red Velvet cupcakes.  It sure was a great way to spend a couple of hours together.  This type of night reminds me of why I entered religious life and community.

Thank you to Pat, a Sister of St. Agnes who introduced that tradition here!

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Thursday, December 15, 2011


On Monday, I attended with two of our sisters-Ann Peterson, osu and Maureen Welch, osu the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.  It was wonderful to see the Rockettes, all the dancing, creativity and signing.  It really put me into the Christmas spirit. 

One piece that really stuck out for me was the Living Nativity Scene with the actual live camels, donkeys, sheep.  Wow!!  To see that in the middle of NYC on a stage-so amazing!! However, I was even more touched when I realize it all comes back to the birth of a baby.  How precious!!

Joy to the World was sung during the scene and I left humming it.  I also left thinking that if the show could mainly focus on Christmas, then I need to get moving and really do that too.  I have become overly respectful of other's holidays which is good. But I need to be more proactive and open about my beliefs-so I need to start uttering Merry Christmas and talking about the birth of Jesus!!!

Thank you Radio City for reminding me of my faith!!

Sr. Jeannie

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

We celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a day on which we honor Mary a true model of holiness.  It is a feast that confuses many.  The real meaning of the day is the celebration of the reality that Mary was conceived without original sin.  It is a holy day of obligation as it is the Patronal Feast day of the United States. As I thought about this day I was struck by the Gospel reading for our liturgy. 

Gospel Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.  And coming to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."  But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end."  But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?"  And the angel said to her in reply, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.  And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;  for nothing will be impossible for God."  Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word."  Then the angel departed from her.

Mary's yes calls me to look at my own"Yes" to what I am called to do and to always remember that, "nothing is impossible for God."

What are you being called to this Advent?

Sr. Pat


Advent is all about waiting in hope for the birth of Jesus.   I realize I'm not good at waiting; I want everything right away which I guess is part of the world today with IPADs, Droids and all other technology available to us.

Waiting requires patience and trust.  Those are two areas in my life that I need to work on- especially among myself-I need to patient with my ideas and trust in myself more.

Everywhere I turn in prayer, the idea of waiting turns up.  I've been praying since Thanksgiving with John O Donohue's poem For the Interim Time and the lines-And it is difficult and slow to become new keep speaking to me.

Plus I read a litle story about a second grader stating he wanted to be possible when he grew up because right now in his life his mom always says he is impossible.  

 I need to spend time thinking of what is possible in my life.   

What is possible in your life right now?

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


We are now in the liturgical season of Advent-we are waiting in joyful expectation for the birth of Jesus.  During this time of our Church year, one can find various reflection booklets both in print and on the web.  I find it so helpful to read some of these throughout the day and take a few minutes to ponder and pray.

Today's Scriptures refers to Simon who was called Peter and his brother Andrew. This phrase immediately reminds me of loved family members-older brother Andrew and his 6 month old baby brother Peter.  The naming tradition continues.

The Gospel reading tells us that Simon Peter and Andrew were fishermen and Jesus invited them to follow him and become fishers of people.  That image speaks so much to me-it is clear to me that we need to gather with others and share our life and love of God.  I laugh thinking that I, a Bronx girl, understands a fishing analogy considering I only once went fishing out on City Island and all I remember is getting a horrible sunburn.

Prayers and Blessings to all this Advent season.

Sr. Jeannie 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What is Life?

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is a beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is life, fight for it!”

--------------Mother Teresa

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The following quote was sent to me by my boss as part of his Thanksgiving greetings:

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."
- Albert Schweitzer

Today as a way to prepare myself for Thanksgiving, I am going to reflect and try to list the people who have lighted that flame within me and pray to and for them. Perhaps you too can think of the people who have lighted the flame within you!! Best wishes. Thank God for people who keep lighting the flame that gives me the energy to keep going on!! Amen.

Sr. Jeannie, osu

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Visits Our School

Today was one of those days at school that I can only describe as incredible and uplifting!

Leymah Gbowee arrived at our school at 9:30 am and the school was on fire with anticipation and excitement. Everyone was wearing their brand new white "women for peace" tee shirts which were distributed upon arrival. The message she gave the students was to "decide what you want to be and give it your best!"

As she spoke she did so in a gentle yet powerful manner. She assured the seniors and challenged them at the same time. Leymah cautioned them that "in the university of life, some may get misguided. . . Wherever your journey takes you, you don't leave a legacy by lying down when you fall, but by your ability to get up and stand tall."

My seventh grade class loved it when she told them: "You still have a long way to go. You can decide if you want to be Beyonce or Hillary Clinton. Follow your dream."

Leymah shared that she has more responsibility now that she has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and will continue to work for women's rights and peace. She encouraged the students to become leaders and change the world as they can.

As she spoke there were resounding cheers often. One of my students commented that they were impressed that she spoke to them about their concerns and answered their questions candidly and without hesitation.

One of our sisters shared the following link with me as Leymah was on "The Daily Show" last evening with Jon Stewart. I share the link with you and hope you enjoy it: Also if you have the opportunity to view "Pray the Devil Back to Hell" you can see her story.

Today was a wonderful day and one that will be remembered for a very long time!

Sr. Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, November 14, 2011

Learning to Look

Students at my school, Cooke Center for Learning and Development, are exposed to a wonderful program from the Metropolitan Museum of Art titled Learning to Look. Students are shown numerous slides of paintings and taught how to look at them with fresh eyes. They are taught to look at details, color, expressions etc. Today is our first day of this program for the new school year of 2011-2012. This morning in my prayer, the words Learning to Look flashed through my mind. It made me realize that it would be good for me to learn to look at people, situations and life with fresh eyes too. What do you need to learn to look at it differently?

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Monday, November 7, 2011


Yesterday, I spent some of the day at a brunch in New Rochelle, NY. The brunch was for an organization titled Songcatchers that one of our sisters Sr. Beth Dowd, osu founded and currently runs.

Songcatchers is mainly a music program that provides low cost music lessons for children. The program is mainly managed by a host of volunteers. High school and college students provide lessons to younger school aged children. Professional musicians mentor the "teachers". Songcatchers also has an early childhood music program for toddlers. There is a week-long camp program where the child sing daily and prepare for a musical production at the end. Also Songcatchers is an intergenerational choir who sings for peace at various concerts throughout the year. One of our blog writer's Sr. Pat Schifini, osu sings with choir at times.

During yesterday's brunch we were treated to singing from the choir, singing from New Rochelle Opera Company, piano, flute and violin playing, a mini concert from the Soundettes, another musical group, great accolades to honorees who support music program and some wonderful smiles from all who were present.

It was an uplifting time. Joy was definitely present. Check out for more information about this great organization.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Angela's Words

Today was one of those trying days for me. As I was struggling to keep my patience with some people I was finding difficult to talk to and with, the following words of Angela kept coming to mind:

You will accomplish more by kind words and a courteous manner than by anger or sharp rebuke, which should never be used except in necessity.

Beware of trying to accomplish anything by force.

I must remember that and treat all with respect and gentleness.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rachel's Challenge

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the Rachel's Challenge presentation at my school. The experience of being present with my students at The Ursuline School in New Rochelle, NY for this presentation was incredible. In the afternoon I was also present at the beginning of our FOR -- Friends of Rachel -- Club. The enthusiasm of the 50 young women gathered together was palpable as they were trained and then invited to come up with ideas for how we can continue to implement what was learned at the earlier presentations. These students were recommended by faculty members and counselors and then were selected by the administration to begin this club. The students are already planning their first project to increase awareness and kindness.

From rural New York to Westchester County I believe that the chain reaction has begun and will continue to grow. May all be inspired by the beauty and tenacity of Rachel Joy Scott's life. She was not afraid to stand up for those who had no voice and she encourages up to do the same.

If you want more information on Rachel's Challenge you can visit: On this website you will find a great deal of information as well as DVD clips to view.

Have a great day and remember to be the change you wish to see!

Sr. Pat

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Start a Chain Reaction

For 4 years, I lived and worked in Malone, New York. That is a small rural town near the border of Cornwall, Canada. It was a wonderful experience-one that changed my life. Being up there and working in the public school system at Flanders Elementary as a reading specialist for grades 3, 4 and 5 convinced me that working in the education field should be my life-long ministry. I made many good friend sand have great memories. Today, thanks to the wonderful world of Facebook, I found out about a spectacular event the Malone Central School District did. I am so impressed and love their sense of community. I miss the place, the people and the spirit tremendously.

Malone Central School district has adopted Rachel’s Challenge to stand up against bullying. They also co-named their program Karen’s Hope after a school counselor died tragically. Karen was instrumental in bringing Rachel’s Challenge to Malone and dedicated her life to children. Today 10/18/11- all members of the school community made a human chain against bullying. This human chain went down a long stretch of the Main Street in town. Many people including parents, teachers, principals, village police, state police, the fire department, town officials, correction officers and community members came out to lend a hand. Also people drove through Main Street beeping their horns. According to my many friends, it was AMAZING!!!

"I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same." ♥ ♥ ♥ - Rachel Scott

RIP Karen, you are greatly missed! Please continue watching over Malone’s children!!!!

Sr. Jeannie

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness

This morning, I spent some time at the College of New Rochelle serving on the Ursuline panel discussing the Pursuit of Happiness. CNR has a great Ursuline heritage and legacy. Today, the freshman seminar was dealing with Ursulines and their perspective of happiness. Six different Ursulines: Sr. Martha Counihan, Sr. Alice Bouchard, Sr. Ann Therese Dillen, Sr. Beth Dowd, Sr. Ann Marie Kelleher and myself all shared about our experiences.

I shared a visual of a thermometer because I believe happiness is in the middle temperature part of our lives. At times we have higher temperatures of joy, delight, glee and excitement and at other times, we have lower temperatures of frustration, sadness, sorrow and even depression. But it is how we handle those times that shows us our true happiness.

My life as an Ursuline is mainly a happy one; but it is still life with its ups and downs. I thought by entering the convent some pains might go away. But that is definitely not true. Sadness is part of this life too. But the relationships I have with God, Angela, Ursuline sisters, my ministries and my friends and family are what allow me to be happy. Therefore I must spend time cultivating those relationships.
What makes you happy?

Sr. Jeannie

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Inspiration from Angela

Today, I was reminded of these words of St. Angela,

Do Something…Get Moving… Be Confident… Risk new things… Stick with it… Get on your knees…Then be ready for Big Surprises!

I needed that to help me get energized for a day of ministry and life in general.

Angela- please help me to be able to stick with the work that needs to get done!!!

Sr. Jeannie

Monday, October 10, 2011


Today is my friend Helene's birthday. I met her as a young child playing in our neighborhood park. So we say to people-we've known each other since we were four. People area always amazed by that. However, I have to admit I've known many of my friends since grammar school at St. Philip Neri and added others on since high school at the Academy of Mt. St. Ursula. Maybe it's from being born and raised in the Bronx- a great place to grow up in my opinion.

This weekend has been birthday celebrations with some of these friends-Friday, I met Kathy for dinner- I've known her since High school and then on Saturday we went to a suprise party for Tracey's 40th- another friend from high school!! See the recurring theme!!

I am also blessed with friendships from other parts of my life-College at the College of New Rochelle, Graduate School at Fordham University, Teaching at Flanders Elementary School in Malone, NY and many friends I've met through other friends and nun friends I've met through Giving Voice. Thank God for these many opportunities!!!

I am so grateful for my friendships-both the "old" and the "new". Just like the song I learned in Girls Scouts so long ago- Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.

Sr. Jeannie

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Feast of St. Francis

Today, October 4th we celebrate one of my favorite Saints -- Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis was born in Assisi in 1182. After a carefree youth, he renounced his wealth and committed himself to God. He led a life of evangelical poverty and preached the love of God to all. Francis is known to many as a lover of the poor and caretaker of animals. His appeal has lasted over time and many have sought to follow his example.

We received and invitation from the LCWR to sign the St. Francis Pledge to Protect Creation and the Poor. I share with you the information as it was very exciting to watch the students and faculty of my school take the pledge today. If you are so inspired signing the pledge is a wonderful way to honor this great saint.

All across our country, Catholics are taking the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor and joining the Catholic Climate Covenant. The St. Francis Pledge is a promise and a commitment by Catholic individuals,families, parishes, organizations and institutions to live our faith by protecting God’s Creation and advocating on behalf of people in poverty who face the harshest impacts of global climate change. To join the Covenant,you commit to act on each of the five elements of the St. Francis Pledge and register your Pledge at

I/We Pledge to:
❑ PRAY and reflect on the duty to care for God’s Creation and protect the poor and vulnerable.
❑ LEARN about and educate others on the causes and moral dimensions of climate change.
❑ ASSESS how we—as individuals and in our families, parishes and other affiliations—contribute to climate
change by our own energy use, consumption, waste, etc.
❑ ACT to change our choices and behaviors to reduce the ways we contribute to climate change.
❑ ADVOCATE for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact those who are poor and vulnerable.

May peace reign in our homes, our hearts and our universe!

Sr. Pat

Monday, October 3, 2011

Change and Investment

This Saturday, we had a meeting of 4 of our School Board and administration teams to discuss how we as Ursulines will continue to sponsor our schools in the future and what administrators feel is needed at this time. Present at the meeting were representatives of Ursuline Academy, Dedham, Massachusetts Academy of Mt. St. Ursula, the Bronx, New York, The Ursuline School, New Rochelle, NY and Ursuline Academy, Wilmington, Delaware. It was a good meeting. It is nice to know that we want our Ursuline legacy and heritage to continue in the future. But we also want to keep faithful to Angela's words of "If according to times and circumstances, it is necessary to make changes, then do so with prudence and good advice."

On Sunday, I then gathered with some of my sisters who formed the St. Angela's Community in the Bronx for over 25 years. We met and shared about what was going on in our lives and prayed together. We talked about how we sometimes have to change the degree of investment we put into a ministry or community situation depending on what else is happening in our life at the time. I was left thinking - Where should my main investment be right now? That is going to be my prayer focus this week.

Jeannie Humphries, osu

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Loving Books

"Few children learn to love books by themselves. Someone has to lure them into the wonderful world of the written word; someone has to show them the way."
- Orville Prescott, New York Times critic.

Monday, September 12, 2011


May all the seeds of kindness that you spread along the way return to you and multiply.I think I'm going to try to remember this and use it as my personal mantra each day.

Sr. Jeannie

The Start of A New School Year

Well it's back to the regular routine for me! I have to admit I am looking forward to getting back to structure and normalcy. I find that I work best when I do that. However I am not looking forward to being so busy with teaching, dissertation writing, supervising teachers and planning curriculum and just plain life. But that is my reality now so I must accept it.

Today Cooke Center for Learning and Development's Lower School had their first full day. It was wonderful to see. The teachers did such a great job planning such engaging activities for all the students. The students behaved well and stayed involved with learning the routine and procedures. I feel so fortunate to be with such excellent educators.

After work, I meet a fellow classmate from my grammar school and high school years. I don't know the last time we spent time chatting. She now lives in California and is involved in media and movie work. We reconnected thanks to Facebook. She looked good and seemed happy. I wonder what her impression of me was.

She reminded me of my happy school years. I hope this year will be a good school year for many students and teachers around the world!!

Sr. Jeannie


It has been about 6 weeks since my last post and that is not good. I apologize to my readers. Quite honestly, I really have no excuse. I just wasn't being faithful to writing. I promise now to be better at it.

Sr. Jeannie

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Retreat in Chicago

When our chapter in St. Louis ended, I drove to the Chicago Cenacle Retreat House to begin retreat. The Cenacle Sisters are trained in spiritual direction and retreat work. Cenacle also refers to the Upper Room where people gathered with Jesus for the Last Supper.

This particular retreat house in Chicago is in a wonderful location. It is located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and in walking distance of so many great places. First of all, there are many restaurants, shops, a movie theator, bookstores, and coffee shops near there. Plus it is in walking distance of Lake Michigan, a little beach area, the Lincoln Park Zoo, a Nature Museum and a Conservatory. I truly was able to get outside and walk every day. I felt so alive and really connected to God, creation, and the human race.

Each day, i met with a Cenacle sister to talk over my prayer. She asked wonderful questions: How do you receive love? What sense of wonder do you feel and experience each day? I spent time reflecting on these each day and still am praying with these questions. Perhaps you too could spend some time thinking about them too.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Wishing everyone a very happy and safe 4th of July. Let us always be thankful for the great land we live in. May God always bless America.

Sr. Pat

Monday, June 27, 2011

Risk -Taking

To love means loving the unlovable.
To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable.
Faith means believing the unbelievable.
Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”

“To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To hope is to risk pain.
To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken
because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.”

G.K. Chesterton

Monday, June 20, 2011

Awards Assembly/Essay Contests/Moving Up Cermonies

Here in New York, schools have either just finished or are in the process of completing their school year. That means students are being recognized for their many accomplishments throughout the school year. Teachers are thinking about each child and their class as they come up with names for awards and ways to recognize students.

I keep being reminded of Angela's words:

Have engraved on your mind and heart all your dear daughters, one by one; not only their names, but also their conditions, and character, and their every situation and state. Have them depicted individually in your memory and in your heart.

Of course, Angela said daughters because she was referring to those women in her company; but I believe we can take daughters and substitute students, sisters, brothers, parishioners, or any creation that we are connected to in this world.

Respect for others and connection to others are an important part of Angela's legacy to us.

Thank you Angela, and help us share your wisdom with others.

Sr. Jeannie

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy Pentecost!

Happy Pentecost! Today we celebrate the wonderful feast of the coming of the Holy Spirit! St. Luke gives us a dramatic picture of this event: "The Spirit came upon the apostles with a strong driving wind and with tongues as of fire." (Acts 2:2-3)

Today we celebrate the "Birthday of the Church!" The apostles were hiding behind locked doors. That was their comfort zone. And in there, they felt safe, secure and supported. Jesus appeared to them there and his first message was "Peace" and then he gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit. The apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages. The gift of the Holy Spirit transforms them then and there, from being cowards to being courageous. And we know the story; they went out to proclaiming the message of the gospel, to all people in their own language according to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

Since the event of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is continuously acting more actively in the world, in each believer and in the Church. The same Holy Spirit is dwelling within each one of us today, empowering us and encouraging us to get out of our comfort zones and proclaim the message of peace to all people. When you go out today just give a genuine smile to a stranger you meet along the way. This is the message of Pentecost to embrace the Holy Spirit, to open ourselves to become the temple of the Holy Spirit, where peace, love and joy reside. May peace fill our hearts, our homes and our universe.

Sr. Pat

Monday, June 6, 2011

Celebrating a wonderful life!

Today we celebrated the life of Sr. Agnes Neville formerly known as Sr. Bernadette who died peacefully on June 2nd. Agnes had a long life of 84 years and touched so many hearts along the way. She was a teacher, principal, community superior, tutor, and teacher assistant. Besides being a wise teacher throughout her career she was also known for her unique sense of humor. She loved the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

For the past few days at school we have shared with one another our love for and stories about Agnes. She was a truly gentle soul who touched all who came in contact with her. Agnes loved her students, her co-workers, her friends and her beloved brother Joseph. Joe was the main celebrant at her funeral today. People came from far and near to celebrate the life of this wonderful woman.

One of the most touching memories that was shared with all of us was when Agnes was told she would need to move on the Andrus Nursing Home. Her response was one that mirrored how she lived her life. She said, "Tell God, I say yes!" What an inspirational response and one that we can all take a lesson from.

Agnes, as you enjoy eternal life, look down on us and give us the encouragement we need to face the big decisions as graciously as you did. May the angels lead you into paradise and the marytrs welcome you home! We love you and we thank you!

Sr. Pat

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Angela 's Words

"Strive to be faithful to that which God has called you."
Angela Merici

Thursday, May 19, 2011


For the past three days, it has been raining on and off in New York City. Yesterday, on my way home as I was walking toward the 1 subway, there was a major downpour of water. My pants, shoes, and socks were drenched very quickly. My back pack also got soaked and so did the papers inside. This morning the papers and notebook were still wet and yucky. At first, I got so upset.

However, as I prayed and reflected this morning, I realize that yes while having wet papers and notebooks is a drag, it is a small inconvenience compared to what others are experiencing with weather conditions lately. Mississippi is experiencing major flood. Texas and New Mexico are in a drought. Alabama has suffered a tornado. Many people are being affected in major ways.

I pray for all people suffering any disruptions and calamities due to weather conditions.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Years in Life & Life in Years

My 40th birthday is coming up in a few days. I have very mixed feelings about. Part of me thinks it doesn't matter; while another part thinks it is a really big deal.

Yestedday, I received a birthday card from a friend, Sr. Ann Peterson, osu. The card says:

In the end,

it's not the years

in your life

that count.

It's the life

in your years.

By: Abe Lincoln

I am so struck by that message and realize that I need to start living my years and not accumulating them. Life is a gift that we must treasure and foster. I'm going to begin today by taking time to get ourdoors and enjoy the fresh air that God so willingly shares with us.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Today is a special day during which we say Thank You to our mothers for their love, dedication and concern for us. Prayers and blessings to all mom and all women who provide some mothering to any of God's creation.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

We are an Easter People and HOPE is our legacy!!

Lord, you invite us to a conversion to hope.

Even in the midst of our own despair,

You call us to become signs of hope in a

world of sin and suffering.

Help us to be open to the gifts you give us so freely.

Help us cultivate and nurture the seeds of hope within

ourselves, our families, and our communities.

Let us celebrate the growth of hope,

no matter how fragile a seedling it may be.

We trust in You to guide us as we turn

towards the building of the Kingdom of God

in the hope and the joy that is the

ground of our faith.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

"This is the day that the Lord had made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it!"

Happy Easter! May the Risen Christ enliven in us a spirit of hope and joy!

Sr. Pat & Sr. Jeannie

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Saturday

On Holy Saturday we pause and reflect as we wait at the Lord's tomb for his resurrection. As I prayed on this cloudy, rainy, dreary day I found comfort in this poem by Carlyy Houselander. I share it with you for your reflection.

Holy Saturday

Mary, Mother of God,
receiving the dead body of Jesus Christ your Son
taken down from his cross and laid in your arms,
receive us,
to whom He had given His life,
and lay us with Him
and in Him
upon your sinless heart.

We are sinners, but save us from despondency
and despair.
Save us from morbidity which kills the soul,
Save us from dewlling on the past.
Take our heads into your hands and turn them gently to look upon the light of God.
Let us feel the warmth and radiance of that healing sun,
although we are still too weak to bear the balze of its glory.

By the dead by of Christ laid in your arms, save us from the death of sin.
Ask our Heavenly Father, whose will is your will, to restore us to life, to Christ's life in our souls,
so that in each one of us you may see your only child, the Child Jesus, and given us the heaven
of your tender love.

By the passion and death of your only Son, give us His Life.
Make us new, give us the trust of children, give us the childhood of Christ.
Grant to us, Virgin Mother, a new heaven and a new earth, because we see with His eyes,
hear with His ears, work with His hand, walk on His feet, trust with His trust in His Heavenly
Father, and love with His heart.

Sr. Pat

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Week

I used to teach fourth grade at St. Philip Neri in the Bronx. Plus I also taught 5th grade boys and 6th grade girls at St. Ignatius in Hunts Point. Both were great experiences for me. Teaching religion was a very powerful experience for me. I especially loved teaching about Holy Week with all its rituals and symbols. Waving the Palms, The Stations of the Cross, the Washing of the Feet, the Crown of Thorns, The Tomb all stand out for me. As a child, I remember being at SPN on Good Friday and participating in activities related to Jesus' suffering most of the day. However, I also strongly remember the end of the day when we would jump out of tombs we constructed yelling- Jesus is Risen. He is alive in YOU!! ALLELUIA!!!! AMEN!!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Prayer Quotes

On Saturday, 5 of my Ursuline Sisters (Sr. Mary Sullivan, osu, Sr. Ellie Shea, osu, Sr. Maureen McCarthy, osu, Sr. Mary Dowd, osu and Sr. Pascal Conforti, osu) and I gathered for prayer, conversation and a meal. We each asked to bring a poem/quote/literary work that was speaking to us now and to share on it.

Here is one the quotes that Sr. Mary Sullivan, osu shared: I am certain of nothing but of the holiness of the Heart's affections and the truth of Imagination. By: John Keats

I was so touched by it and keep returning to it in prayer. It reminds me of how I need to trust my heart and imagination more. I can be much in my head and not enough into my feelings and spirit.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Career Day

Today at Ascension School in Manhattan, it was Career Day. Children in my class heard from various people about their jobs and careers. We listened to a doctor, a financial recruiter, a non-profit executive director, an English teacher, a motivational speaker and a fashion designer. Plus many more were around the school sharing their stories. It was great!! The children listened carefully and asked great questions.

It made me think of my career as an educator. What motivated me to get interested in the field? Children What keeps me staying in the field? Children and the desire to help others.

I also thought how can I make my lifestyle as a women religious known more to the children. It's not a career. However, it is central to who I am.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Children's Prayers

I have this book titled Children's Prayers from Around the World by Mary Batchelor.

Right now, my life is very busy and full. I have not had much time to write for this blog or reflect. Today my eyes fell on this book and I turned to the page titled Busy Days.

Here is what it says.

Work, for I am with you, says the Lord.from Haggai 2
Thank you for the joy that comes when we have done a good piece of work, even if it means doing it over and over again, as Jesus did in the carpenter's shop. Thank you for the happy times we have when we do things together, and share everything with each other. Thank you for all our friends.

The things, good Lord, that we pray for,
give us grace to work for
Sir Thomas More (1478-1535)

I was reminded of how Jesus and Joseph were carpenters. They worked with their hands and I'm sure were busy on certain projects at times. Also Mary was busy keeping house, cooking, getting water from the well and making sure they had clean clothes. Being busy is part of life. But how we treat others and ourselves during our busy lives is what matters!!

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Monday, March 21, 2011

Different Directions of Lent

Last Monday, March 14th, I received an email from a fellow Ursuline Sister, Sr. Mary Beisiegel, osu, who currently lives and ministers in St. Louis.

Sr. Mary writes:

Wanted to share a Lenten thought with you - heard this on Ash Wednesday at mass.

The three focuses of Lent - Alms giving; Prayer; Fasting - are 'directional' depending on what we need to work on.

Alms giving is sharing of ourselves - an outward direction.

Prayer is an upward direction - an invitation to work on our relationship with God.

Fasting - an inward direction - to work on what needs to be corrected/adjusted within us.

The priest further asked us to reflect on which direction was most in need of work in our personal lives as we began our Lenten exercise

We are now in the second week of Lent and this keeps coming back to me.

What direction is in most need of work at this point in my life?

I need to spend some time thinking about it.

I absolutely love the different directions to turn my focus.

How about you?

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!!!

May God give you,
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile;
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial,
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share.
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer to each prayer.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Words that give me HOPE

The Ursuline Sisters are part of the Leadership Conference for Women Religious. They put out a publication called The Occasional Papers. I just finished reading their Winter 2011 edition which focuses on "Behold I am Doing Something New".

Nancy Schreck, OSF wrote an article titled The Journey to Newness: Mining the Wisdom of Exilic Literature. Here's a great quote from it.

"This is a critical time in religious life for exploring our deepest identity, not our more recent past. Our call is to understand ourselves, not from a period when we were a labor force in the church, but an earlier time of our prophetic identity, our deepest foundation, to a time when we were free to be the expression of our founders' wildest vision."

This makes me realize that I have to turn more to Angela:

The woman who said no the the Pope
The woman who created a third lifestyle option for women in the Church (not married or cloistered, but living among the people)
Angela who crossed a dangerous bridge
The woman who had a man secretary in 1535!!.

I need to ask her advice on ways we can live out that wildest vision in today's time. My prayer time is going to be really busy now!!

More to follow.

Sr. Jeannie, osu

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

An Idea for Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday. Lent 2011 starts today!!!

Many people give up "something" like candy, cake or soda during Lent as a sign of sacrifice and as a tangible reminder of the suffering Jesus went through for us.

In my childhood home growing up, Mom always encouraged me to also do something extra (i.e.- shop for an elderly neighbor, watch one less t.v. show and pray instead, go to an extra Mass during the week etc.) I remember teaching 4th grade at St. Philip Neri School in the Bronx and reading that Lent was a time of prayer, almsgiving and sacrifice. I guess my mom took almsgiving to mean a sharing/giving of my time to Jesus.

So I always find myself giving up something and doing something extra for Lent. This year, I am giving up soda for Lent and my extra action will be taking a daily walk and praying to music on my IPOD.

For those of you women readers 50 and under, here is an invitation to an upcoming prayer and conversation gathering.

Join the Ursuline Sisters and other women for prayer and conversation on Lent. This will take place on Sunday, March 13, 2011 from 2-4 p.m. at the Ursuline Provincialate 1338 North Avenue, New Rochelle, NY Feel free to bring a friend. We would love to have you in our midst!!

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Words of Angela

Angela Merici, the founder of our religious community, had many wise things to say.

Here are her words.

And if, according to times and circumstances, the need arises to make new rules or do something differently, do it prudently and with good advice.

– taken from Angela’s 3rd Legacy

Here is an adaptation from one of Angela's daughter - Cabrini Durkin.

She who says that does not want to be “in”. She does not want to hold onto the past at any cost. She is free of fearful concern about her work, about her reputation. She knows that all human deeds-if they are good deeds-are only a small part of the work of the Creator. She has experienced God’s love and has made the same experience available for others, for those who seek God, for those who thirst and hunger for more than just the superficial, for those who live in shadows.

Lord, give us the courage of this woman, that we may not hold on to the past and may not fear the future, but that we may live in the present and face the questions and needs of the people of today, and that together we may ask:

What would Angela do today?

-taken from Praying with Angela Merici-Editions du Signe 1999

Monday, February 28, 2011

Ursulines and Benedictines

On Thursday, February 24th, I headed down to Wilmington, Delaware to our Ursuline Convent and visited with some of the sisters there. What a great group of women dedicated to that city and our school-!!!

Then on Friday, February 25th, Sr. Maureen Welch, osu and I made the 90 minute drive down to Ridgely, Maryland. We were on our way to visit the Benedictine Sisters, their monastery and the Benedictine School for Exceptional Children- Our visit went so well. I was very impressed by the school which is a residential program for individuals (ages 5-21) with special needs of intellectual disabilities, multiple disabilities and autism. Day students are also welcome. The place was so clean, well-lit and colorful. There was a sense of "home" and "all are welcome" present in the building and with everyone we meet. We saw academic classes, industrial training and life skills learning taking place. This school doesn't stop here; it goes on to have group homes for adults with disabilities in various parts of Maryland and Delaware. Then there is an industrial job center, graphic design center, day community and busy bee cleaning operation for them to go to daily. Now Sr. Jeannette, the Executive Director of Benedictine Programs and Services is working on building a retirement center for adults with disabilities. She is making sure that throughout all of life's stages, the people are cared for in a human and loving way. So impressive!!!

After being given a fantastic tour by the vice principal of the school, Julie Hickey, I was invited by Sr. Colleen Quinvalen to visit the monastery and other sisters. We had a delightful time sharing stories and being together. I felt so much at home there.

This visit made me appreciate the different connections and opportunities I have to see places and meet other people because of my life as an Ursuline Sister. I feel so blessed.

Sr. Jeannie, osu

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How Ursulines Serve

This weekend, I was at our Ursuline Provincialate staying over and I spent some time (of course) writing pieces of my dissertation. During my stay, I came across one of our brochures. The following information grabbed my attention.

How Ursulines Serve
  • by educating for knowledge, skills, self-determination, and wisdom, with a commitment to serve church and society.

  • by meeting today's needs through promoting reconciliation, peace, and a just society.

  • in the great tradition of foundress St. Angela Merici, whose service was grounded in prayer and Jesus' comman to love one another as he loved.

  • with the daring of Ursuline global ministries and a worldwide vision of human interconnectedness.

  • with the love, joy, and peace that are the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Wow! I know many of our sisters are doing that and I try faithfully to live that mission of service.

Maybe there is a woman interested in this life of service and community. If so, please feel free to jot us a note. Don't be afraid to at least look into this life. Quite honestly, I find it so life-giving and loving.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.

They must be felt within the heart.

- Helen Keller

Friday, February 11, 2011

Praying with Angela

We have a little book titled Praying with Angela
published by Editions du Signe.

In it, there are Angela quotes and also prayers connected to them.

Here is one that touched me today.

Words of St. Angela Merici:

God has given free will to everyone, and wants to force no one,

but only proposes, invites and counsels.

from her 3rd Legacy

God, You have invited me to believe. I have accepted Your invitation.
My life has not become more comfortable because of my faith.
I try to model myself on Jesus, Your Son, and I experience my own limits,
but also the wide horizon of his love.
I try to see the world with his eyes, to learn brotherhood and sisterhood, to take responsibility.

God, You do not take away the trouble of everyday life and the burden of decision-making. But when I put my questions before You, when my heart and my mind listen to You, then I understand the direction I should take, then I know: My life has not become more comfortable, but more alive.

My God: Thank You!!!

Sr. Jeannie

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

2011 Year of the Forests

Greetings Everyone.

I am currently living with many women religious who work representing their religious congregations and other NGOs (non governmental organizations) at the United Nations. From them, I learned that 2011 is the Year of the Forests. How exciting!!

My ministry places me at Ascension School in Manhattan where we have just started the Book of the Month Club. All classes are reading the same book and different grades work together to create projects about the book and story.

Our February Book is Wangari's Trees of Peace by Jeanette Winter. It is about a woman who lives in Mount Kenya in Africa. She lives under green trees, watches the birds in the forests, gathers firewood for cooking, and helps harvest sweet potatoes, sugarcane and maize from the rich soil. Wangari does well in school and receives a scholarship to study in America.

When she returns to Africa, she notices the changes and the fact that the trees are gone, women travel miles to get firewood, buildings have replaced trees and there only barren land.
She starts replacing trees in own backyard-one at a time and then starts a nursery and convinces other village women to grow trees. As she says "Our lives will be better when we have trees again. You'll see. We are planing the seeds of hope."

The women continue to do this even though the government disagrees and make fun. However each women gets a small amount for each seedling still living after three months. The word spreads all over Kenya. Now there are 30 million trees growing there!! Thanks to the women who now walk tall, and with straight backs since they can gather firewood closer to home.

Wangari brought the green back to Africa. The story reminds me of "The Girl Effect" which I first heard about on my high school's-the Academy of Mt. St. Ursula website -

Please feel free to check it out.

I love the way pieces of my life connect together. Nature, Children's Literature, my Bronx high school, girls and women. It just reminds me of how we are interconnected!!

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Monday, January 31, 2011

Being, Dreaming, Loving, Thriving

Last year for my birthday, I received an Americans Greeting card from one of our sisters, Ellie Shea, osu that had a very powerful message that I'd like to share with everyone today.

We didn't come here to fit in.

We came here to be who we are.

We didn't come here to work.

We came here to live our dreams.

We didn't come here for the stuff.

We came here to love each other.

We didn't come here by accident.

We each came here with a purpose

that is uniquely our own.

Be Dream Love Thrive Always.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Thursday, January 27, 2011

St. Angela Merici Feast Day

Happy Feast Day!!!
Today is the Feast of St. Angela Merici. She was an amazing woman. At the age of 65, in 1535, she founded the Ursuline Sisters. Angela gathered woman together for prayer, community and reflection. The woman were to serve others by meeting the needs of the times.
Angela's wonderful words of advice to us:
You need not be anxious if you do your best.
Be kind and compassionate to another.
Give good example-teaching more by what you do than what you say.
Prayers and blessings to all those who have been touched by the Ursuline spirit and charism.
Thank you Angela!!
Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Service, Prayer and Reflection Sharing - Ursuline Companions In Mission

Greetings Everyone!!!!

Are you interested in service among the poor, reflection and prayer, housing, meals and sharing with the Ursuline Sisters. in the spirit of the Gospel. Then check out this out!!!

The Ursuline Sisters are offering two service, prayer and reflection opportunities over this summer of 2011. One will be in New Orleans, LA and the other in New Rochelle, NY.

We are hosting a mini Ursuline Companions in Mission program.

Check out the following link if you are interested.

We would love to have you join us in this endeavor!!

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I just finished reading for my professional book club the book titled BUZZ- A Year of Paying Attention by Katherine Ellison. It is a memoir in which Ellison shares the story of a year in her life as parent of a twelve-year-old son, Buzz who is diagnosed as having attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) along with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). She herself too is diagnosed with ADHD. The story tells the story both through humor and truth.

It really opened my eyes to the challenges of being a parent and then the extra pieces that go with being a parent of a child with special needs. Buzz isn’t the only child; there is a brother named Max. You hear a bit about his struggles too living with all this; but you don’t hear too much. Thus, it made me think of the many siblings of children with special needs and how their lives are affected too. Plus there was a husband to all this-Jack. You heard about him at various times throughout the book.

I saw how this diagnosis not only affected the child who had it, but also those around him daily. It is quite a challenge. The family struggled through the maze of doctors’ views, the medicine battles and the school system’s challenges. The book provides great insight into how it is to live with ADHD and ODD.

I pray for all those affected and hope we continue to search for ways to prevent or lessen these conditions.

I thank God for teachers and places like the Cooke Center for Learning and Development which work to help children with special needs and their families.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Today I arrived in Phoenix, Arizona for the annual Janaury Giving Voice weekend for women religious in their 20s and 30s. This will be my last year since I'll be 40 in May. Yikes!! Scary thing though I'm still "young" in religious life.

My friends and I have dubbed this Young Nun Weekend. It's great to share prayer together, spend time in contemplation, relax with one another, converse about our dreams and struggles and just have FUN!!!

For the 2nd year, we are at Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in Phoenix, Arizona. It is quite beautiful. There are many places to sit outside and enjoy the sun.

I'm struck that I'm here in Arizona considering the great tragedy that has hit Tucson, Arizona. I pray for all the victims. So awful!!! I pray that Representative Giffords continues to improve. I also remember the shooter and pray that he gets the mental help he needs. What a disaster!!

I know that our Young Nun gatherings provide peace to my soul. I hope one day that peace can reach all people and the senseless violence in our country, nation, world, planet and Earth can end.

Sr. Jeannie

Saturday, January 8, 2011

475th Prayer

Just received our Annual Report for the Year 2010 from the Ursuline Provincialate in New Rochelle, NY. It contains the gathering prayer used in October for our 475 Anniversary of the founding of the Ursulines.

O, God, we thank you for bringing us together to celebrate 475 years of Ursuline History.

O, God, all your creating praises you in its diversity and its oneness; may we embrace our call to be co-creators and gather all to you.

May our lives be filled with wonder and awe, recognizing you, our God, in all creation.

May your church, as your promised, move through good and bad times toward completion in Jesus.

Help us to grow in awareness of all we can be and do to contribute to the healing of the universe.

Help us to embrace new opportunities to reveal your love for the world.

Amen. Amen.