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