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When Green Becomes Blue  

Through our Federation, the Sisters of St. Joseph have become the 29th Blue Community in the world, joining with many others whose goals are: to have water and sanitation recognized as human rights, to phase out and then ban the sale of bottled water at municipal events and public facilities, and to promote publicly financed, owned and operated water and waste water services.

These communities are provided with the tools to fight the privatization of water and promote the human right to water. This project builds on nearly two decades of Water Watch work, in coalition with many other groups to promote and protect public water. Blue Communities in Canada, there are now 13 of them, is an initiative of the Council of Canadians and CUPE.

When Paris joined the Blue Communities Project on World Water day, 2016, Maude Barlow congratulated them saying “the global water crisis is getting more serious by the day and it is being made worse by the corporate theft and abuse of water.” And we all know of the problems our Aboriginal communities are experiencing with water that is not safe for drinking. Over 100 communities are under water advisory and need to boil water for drinking. And mercury contaminated water is major news and is a shame for Canada.

Indeed, water scarcity is a global concern! In my recent awareness visit to India at the invitation of SOPAR, I came to a deep appreciation of water which we in Canada take so much for granted. In India, water is not lacking so much as it’s not potable and the contaminants lead to serious illnesses. Small village communities have built filtration plants to purify the water. Doctors were asked if this was really necessary. Their conclusion was that a village that had 5 doctors now only needed one. (see www.sopar-balavikasa.org)

During her time in South Sudan on an awareness trip with Canadian Aid for South Sudan, Sister Joan Atkinson found similar realities. There they also have to deal with water-borne diseases causing illness and death. Taught by a Canadian scientist, they fill specific types of plastic bottles with water and let the ultra-violet rays of the sun purify the water. Families using this system are free of water-borne illnesses and are much healthier. I saw this same process being used while I was in Bolivia.

In a recent article I read by Sister Sue Wilson, she writes “Water is indeed for our use and to sustain life but from an integral ecological perspective it is more than an “object for human use.”


Sister Sue quotes Denise Nadeau who writes “my journey to unlearn this objectification of water and experience water as a living relative continues to be a long one.” As Sisters of St. Joseph, we are called into deep relationship with all creation, and I think of St. Francis of Assisi who addressed water as “Sister Water.”

Mary Mettler, CSJ
On behalf of the Federation Ecology Committee

The Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada is made up of three Congregations: The Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada, The Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Saint Marie and The Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto.



Jesus, the Refugee  

There once was a stranger in a foreign land. His mother and father had run away with him to protect him from the threat of death at the hands of a tyrant ruler.

As a babe in arms, he did not know the danger that faced him or the challenges his parents encountered. But as a man, he had heard the stories of his youth and the difficulties his family had endured: an arduous journey, a foreign culture, a different language, a longing for family and home, a father having to find work to feed his family and a mother making a home out of what they could carry on a donkey’s back. Hopefully, they had someone in Egypt who welcomed them.

Jesus had a soft spot for the stranger because he was one, even in his own country. As he preached throughout the countryside, in village after village, city after city, he was welcomed by the rich and the poor, the prostitute and the tax collector, as well as the ordinary person. Only in his hometown was he not welcomed.

One day, Jesus was talking to his disciples and said, “When I was a stranger, you welcomed me.” His disciples, confused, asked, “When were you a stranger and we welcomed you?” Jesus replied, “When you did it to the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.”

Since the spirit of the Divine dwells in each and every one of us, let us, through the eyes of love, recognize the face of Christ in others. Now, more than ever, let us welcome the stranger who has reached our shores, the refugee, Christ in our midst.

Associate Fernanda Estoesta, Eagles’ Wings, Chatham



Weekly Pause and Ponder

Remember, mystery isn’t something that you cannot understand – it is something that you can endlessly understand! There is no point at which you can say, “I’ve got it!”  Always and forever, mystery gets you!  Circling around is all we can do.

Richard Rohr. Introduction in The Divine Dance:The Trinity and Your Transformation.


Step Aside Blueberries: Here Comes Haskaps  

A new Canadian species of fruit has shown up in our Farmers Market last summer—haskap berries. Haskap is the Japanese name of the Ainu people of Northern Japan for fruit meaning “berry of long life and good vision.” The berry has a very high anti-oxidant level (higher than blueberry), high in vitamin C and A, and also high in fibre and potassium.

The species is native to the boreal forests of Asia, Europe, and North America. When the fruit was introduced to Alberta, Canada in the 1950’s the fruit was very bitter and not palatable. The University of Saskatchewan took on a big initiative of perfecting the species and making it more adaptable for Canadian growing and usage. Today the berry has a unique raspberry/blueberry flavour with a bit of zing to it. The fruit of the haskap plant is oblong in shape with a dusty indigo colour. Besides home usage like juicing, baking, and berry preserving, the food industry is also interested in getting in on the prize for their marketing. It can be used as food colouring, for textile dyes and perhaps someday you may even find it sold as a really good burgundy wine.

The plant attracts few pests, has no thorns, no suckers, tends to fruit when young and ripens very early in the spring even before strawberries. What is interesting about haskap is that it is drought and cold climate friendly. There are at least five varieties of haskap seedlings available on the open market. It is important to know that when planting haskap there must be a pollinator plant close by. For example, say you want to plant five plants of the Tundra variety. There must be a different variety like Boreallis to act as the pollinator for the other five plants. Bees and insects will carry pollen from one flower to another once that arrangement is in place. Because haskaps are the first spring plants to flower they provide a major source of food for bees, flies and other insects.

It is hopeful that someday this berry can grow as plentiful as the blueberry. Wouldn’t that be great if this new species could grow in areas most needed where good nutrition is lacking.


*½ cup crushed berries
*3 tbsp. cider vinegar
*½ cup olive oil
*½ tsp. sugar
*1 tsp. Dijon mustard
*Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend well. Pour into a container and serve on greens of any kind or try it on a wild rice and walnut salad.


Rita Godon, CSJ
On behalf of the Federation Ecology Committee

The Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada is made up of three Congregations: The Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada, The Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Saint Marie and The Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto.



St. Joseph’s proud nursing history is on display in Toronto

St. Joseph’s illustrious nursing history is being spotlighted at the Ontario legislature in Toronto as part of a program that provides organizations across the province with an opportunity to showcase their treasures and share their stories with a wide audience.

The Legislative Assembly welcomes thousands of visitors every year and provides exhibit space for museums, community associations, archives, and art galleries in the Legislative Building. There are several exhibit cases dedicated to the Community Exhibits Program in the west wing gallery and organizations can apply to share their stories and history.

A joint exhibit between St. Joseph’s and the Sisters of St. Joseph has been accepted and will be showcased from March 29 through early July. The theme is the nursing training school, titled “Nursing Nightingales Whose Lamps Burned Bright.”

Forty years after Florence Nightingale opened the first scientifically-based nursing school, the Sisters of St. Joseph opened St. Joseph’s Training School of Nursing in London. The Sisters recognized that a faith-based education, following the scientific model established by Florence Nightingale, would provide young women with both the skills and compassion they needed, explains Mary Kosta, Congregational Archivist for the Sisters of St. Joseph. The challenges of providing exceptional nursing education were met with fortitude by the religious community, and without government support, the nursing school opened in 1901. Until 1970, the nursing graduates kept Florence Nightingale’s lamp burning bright.

The joint exhibit, which features artifacts and photos, traces the early history of nursing education in London, with a focus on two nursing students in the years preceding the two World Wars – Jean Pye and Bernice Farr.

The St. Joseph's Training School of Nursing was eventually renamed the St. Joseph’s Regional School of Nursing. In 1970, it became part of the Fanshawe College Nursing Program, and was known as the St. Joseph’s Campus. By 1977, the St. Joseph’s Campus closed, ending 75 years of faith-based nursing education.

“We are thrilled to share the remarkable history of nursing education at St. Joseph’s and in London with the many visitors to Ontario’s legislature,” says Noelle Tangredi, a member of the St. Joseph’s Historical Committee which maintains the St. Joseph’s Hospital and Nursing School Artifact Collection and the heritage exhibit space at St. Joseph’s Hospital. “It is a history of which we are most proud and to celebrate it broadly in the meeting place of the province’s government is very meaningful.”

The Legislative Building is open from 8 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday; and seven days a week during the summer months (Victoria Day to Labour Day, weekends and holidays from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm).

Exhibits in the Legislative Building are available for viewing by joining a guided tour, which run every hour Monday to Friday (excluding holidays), from 9 am to 5 pm. Starting May 19 and through the summer, tours are also available on the weekends.

The joint exhibit will move to the heritage corner of St. Joseph’s Hospital sometime in the summer. Watch for details and be sure to visit.

Photos courtesy of: Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada Archives

First Photo: The exhibit was transported to Toronto and set up by Ruth Teevin, left, Mary Kosta, Archivist, Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and Noelle Tangredi.

Second Photo: Jean Pye was one of the first two students to graduate from the St. Joseph’s Training School of Nursing based on a written examination. She received her diploma in 1902.

Article Source: St. Joseph's Health Care London


Copyright 2013. Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada.