Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Human Condition

Right now there seems to be so much sad news coming my way.

These are the people I've been asked to pray for recently:

  • A young woman of 41 with 3 children, 8, 6 and 4-woman is suffering from breast cancer
  • A father raising two adopted boys-father is sick with liver cancer.
  • A friend's mother beginning to show signs of Parkinson's disease
  • A friend's father in the advance stages of Parkinson's disease.
  • Teenage girls dealing with the year anniversary of the suicide of one of their classmates
  • A man going to be executed in a few weeks
  • A friend out of a job for almost two years now
  • Two friends in their 30s who just had their first son and they are in serious need of a babysitter
  • Friends struggling with graduate school work
  • Older people who are suffering from depression
The list could go on and on-I'm sure.  It's hard but it also shows me that people do beleive in the power of prayer.  God is in that prayer and I must remember that when I struggle with all these needs and concerns.  I also must remember that suffering is part of being human.  However we can not just live with the suffering-we also have to look for signs of hope.

I see that hope in the following ways;
  • People signing up to cook and prepare meals for the families suffering with cancer.
  • People bringing in animals and guests to cheer up others in their depression
  • Friends volunteering to babysit on certain days.
  • Friend volunteering to sit with the mother and father suffering from Parkinson's.
  • Counselors being with the teenage girls.
  • People sending my friend job ads and giving her name as a reference
  • Graduate students encouraging each other to keep plugging away.
People are good to one another when the going gets tough. We all have struggles; but we all are here to support one another too.

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Friday, January 25, 2013

St. Angela Merici Feast Day

January 27th is the Feast Day of St. Angela, founder of the Ursuline Sisters.

Angela was an amazing woman-one of peace and reconciliation. She said no to the Pope when asked to stay in Rome to start a group of nursing sisters.  Angelas was interested in working with families to make sure all received spiritual guidance.  This woman had a male secretary who scribed her writings for us.  Angela did all this in the late 1400s and early 1500s.  She was way ahead of her times.

Many Ursuline schools, communities, sisters,  colleagues and friends will be celebrating St. Angela over the next few days. 

On the blog Backlit with Joy, there is a special St. Angela video made by Sr. Elisa Ryan, osu and Sr. Jean Hopman, osu.  Try clicking it here to see if you get it-    If not google, backlit with joy and watch it.

We wish all our friends and family Angela's blessings of peace, reconciliation and following your heart.

Happy Feast Day to all!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Catholic Schools Closing in New York

Yesterday, it was announced that 24 schools in the Archdiocese of New York will be closing in June 2013.  I am feel so sorry for all the families involved.  It is hard on the school administration, faculty, staff, students, parents and alumni.  My heart goes out to all involved.  I know some of the people personally and even have been inside many of the schools.

Now that I am an educator connected to various schools  and a board member of the Academy of Mt. St. Ursula, I see more clearly some of the big picture pieces connected to running a school.  It is hugely expensive for upkeep, salaries and new innovations.  I know finances is one of the reasons school have to close. Also sometimes the buildings are just too old and have not been well-maintained so it hard to keep the building going and putting in all  the necessary technology and wiring needed for today.  Plus sometimes there are too few students in the school that is too difficult to have an excellent academic program going on. 

However, I also know that Catholic schools have a spirit of family, service, love and encouragment in each one of their buildings.  That spirit is what makes each school so unique and so special to all who have entered the doors.  So when it is "your" school, it is hard to see it close.  I wish things could be different for all involved.

I pray today for all those affected by these Catholic schools closing and for all students in Catholic schools around the world.  Many say Catholic schools have nourished their faith life.  I hope the Catholic church can figure out some creative and engaging ways to keep the faith life alive for Catholics in our world. 

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Prayer Quote

Each morning as part of my daily routing, I check Facebook.  Yes, I am addicted!!

However, often I find interesting information about friends or they provide some good advice.

Today's advice comes from my former 6th grade teacher and colleague. Mrs. Teresa Fusco,  at St. Philip Neri school in the Bronx.

Here's the quote-

Prayer is not a "spare wheel" that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a "steering wheel" that directs the right path throughout.

What a great reminder that prayer is needed always, not just at time of struggle.

Need to start driving with prayer as my steering wheel more often!!

Sr. Jeannie Humphries, osu

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Remembering Two Wonderful Women

The Ursuline Community celebrates the lives of two extraordinary women.  Sr. Mary Hallahan and Sr. Madeline Welch who served the Ursuline Community for some 140 years combined.  Below you will find a bit about their lives and their commitment to the Ursuline Community.

Sr. Mary Hallahan, O.S.U.
January 17, 1926 – December 31, 2012

Sister Mary Hallahan, formerly known as Sr. Charles, died peacefully on December 31, 2012 at Andrus on Hudson in Hastings-on-Hudson.  Mary entered the Ursulines on July 15, 1945; she made her first vows on January, 16, 1948 and her final vows on January 16, 1951.

Mary was an energetic educator.  She taught at Blessed Sacrament School in New Rochelle, NY, St. Joseph’s Academy in Malone, NY, The Ursuline School in New Rochelle, and Ursuline Academy in Bethesda, MD. Mary served as superior of the community in Wilmington, DE from 1965 to 1968.  She returned to teaching in Malone, and in retirement she did pastoral work in the Malone area.

Mary was born in North Lawrence, NY to Vivian Mc Laughline and J. Carl Hallahan.  She was one of 8 children, 2 boys and 6 girls.  She was predeceased by her brother Daniel.  Mary’s funeral and burial will be in Malone, NY on Friday, January 11, 2012.

Sr. Madeline Welch, O.S.U.
June 14, 1941 – January 8, 2013

Sister Madeline Welch, former provincial of the Ursulines of the Eastern Province USA, civil lawyer and canon lawyer, died peacefully at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx on January 8, 2013.
Legal service was her ministry from the time she received a law degree from Fordham University in 1974; she was admitted to the NY State Bar in 1975.
Madeline was generous in her assistance to those seeking legal advice. From 1974 to 1984, she was an attorney with the Legal Aid Society. She served as superior of the St. Teresa Community in New Rochelle (1984-1987). From there she went to Rome, studied at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas, and earned a JCL in Canon Law in 1989. From 1989 to 1991 she was director of legal services to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and the National Association of Treasurers of Religious Institutes (NATRI).
She was provincial of the Ursulines of the Eastern Province (1991-1997). She then was deputy director for legal service for the Ministry of Caring (1998-2000) in Wilmington, Del. She next served as attorney to the Community Legal Aid Society in Wilmington, from 2001 to 2007. From there, she became superior of the Ursuline Generalate in Rome. For health reasons, she returned to New York in 2009.
Madeline loved the history of the Ursuline Order; she located and distributed art and music by and about Ursulines. She also delighted in preparing special events, prayer services, and meals for feast days and other occasions.
Madeline entered the Ursulines in 1962 and made her final vows on March 28, 1970. She taught at St. Angela’s School in the Bronx from 1967 to 1981. She held a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from LeMoyne College and a master’s degree in philosophy from Georgetown University. Over the years she served on many boards. She has spoken on legal matters to a variety of groups.
Mary Madeline Welch, named Margaret, was born on June 14, 1941 to Marie McGuirk and Richard Welch, in Syracuse, NY. She is predeceased by her brother Charles and her sister Maureen; she is survived by two brothers, Richard and Sean, and many nephews and nieces.
Wake will be held at the Ursuline Province Center in New Rochelle on Friday, January 11, from 2-4 and 6-8 P.M.
Mass of Christian Burial will be offered on January 12 at 9:30 A.M. at the Province Center, and burial at Gate of Heaven Cemetery. 

In place of flowers, gifts in their memory may be sent to the Ursuline Retirement Fund, at the Ursuline Provincialate, 1338 North Avenue, New Rochelle, NY 10804.

We are grateful to these women who lived exemplary lives and truly lived the Ursuline charism.

Sr. Pat Schifini, OSU