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Walk on Earth Gently

The world’s government leaders and members of our human family have been gathered in Bonn, Germany for the UN Convention on Climate Change. Today is the final day of this meeting which has brought together the leaders of nations to provide a comprehensive awareness of the reinforcement and progression of concrete actions taking place all over the world in order to meet the objectives set out in the Paris Climate Agreement.  It has been presided over by the Government of Fiji, an island nation which is disappearing because of rising oceans.

Our world leaders were supported and encouraged by a message from the Leaders of the World Religions, “Walk on Earth Gently”.  As we witness our own nation’s leadership refusing to participate in the Paris Agreement, we recognize the leadership and love and personal conversion being called forth in each and every one of us in response to this greatest moral crisis humanity has ever had to face.

Let us be strengthened and inspired by our global Religious leaders in their message to the world’s government leaders and the members of our human family:

“Earth is a blessing. She supports life and is the basis of all our economies. She conveys beauty and evokes our recognition of something greater than ourselves. She is our temple, our mosque, our sanctuary, our cathedral. Our home.”   (Excerpt from “Walk on Earth Gently”)

I encourage you to read and reflect on the full text of this beautiful and profound invitation to us, the human family. 

Reflection and Artwork (titled Touch the Earth) by Sr. Mary Southard, CSJ (used with permission)
Mary Southard Art www.marysouthardart.org




Weekly Pause & Ponder

Go tell the story of human possibility. Tell the story of our capacity to change all that has been dominated by extremely limited consciousness. We are the Imago Dei. We are godseeds. The present imperative is precisely what we need to rouse and awaken our capacities. We are the people of the breakthrough.

The Conscious Activist by Jean Houston.  P.112.


Listening Has Power to Change the World

As Sisters of St. Joseph who daily meditate, contemplate and desire to effect change in our world, we have become intrigued with the work of Thomas Hubl and William Ury. 

Hubl, living in Tel Aviv, is a contemporary spiritual teacher and founder of the Academy of Inner Science.

Ury is an American author, academic and negotiation expert who co-founded the Harvard Program on Negotiation.  He works around the world, assisting nations and groups to solve their problems through deep listening and respect.

To learn about Hubl and Ury’s innovative and collaborative experience program, about 25 of us have joined their online six-month course, “Meditate and Mediate”.  Together with over 500 participants around the globe, we are exploring “an exciting and emerging field that blends spiritual development, contemplative practices, psychology, collective healing, meditation, negotiation and conflict resolution”.

Our motivation in joining this “Meditate and Mediate” initiative is to become part of a connected leadership in our present world where structures change rapidly.  We need to be prepared to see a vision for being in service for the huge shifts that lie ahead of us.  By our learning, we hope to refine how to build bridges between our inner and outer world and develop intact relationships that resolve conflict.  Through learning, meditation and listening to our inner space, we aspire to maintain peace to carry to the outer world in our encounters with others. 

On a practical note, our homework between now and the next video conference, will be to attempt to listen fully to others, with our whole being, “as if our body had eyes and ears all over it.” This deep listening avoids getting absorbed in my own mind and my own understanding.  I think this will be a challenging practice.

Jean Moylan, CSJ




Becoming a Blue Community!  

The video we just posted on the homepage of  our website promotes becoming a Blue Community. Sisters of St. Joseph across Canada have recently signed on to becoming a “Blue Community”.  What does this mean?  We are joining with The Council of Canadians under the leadership of Maude Barlow, along with CUPE (Canadians Union of Public Employees) and the Blue Planet Project acknowledging that water is a human right for all. This may see obvious to some, but we want to make that statement as real and practical as possible.  It is a way of seeing that everything is interdependent. We call this integral ecology. Specifically, it means seeing water as a human right for all. 

Some practical ways this is applied means that we will not use bottled water in our communities and at our events. We will also work to ensure that water does not get sold to multinational corporations and remains a publicly owned commodity belonging to all citizens in our country. We also support all efforts to bring clean potable water to all indigenous communities across Canada.

Water is a right, a political issue, an economic issue, a spiritual issue. More and more we see that it is also a global issue affecting communities around the world. We join this movement because we want to say we stand with those who see that water, as a source of life, is interconnected and related to all life on our Blue Planet. We think we are in good company. 

Joan Atkinson, CSJ


CSJ Archival Snippets: Schools in Pembroke, Ontario (1923 – 1998)

Bishop Ryan, urged Father Dowdall on getting the Sisters to form a foundation in Pembroke. With the establishment in Pembroke of the Sisters of St. Joseph for the Diocese of Pembroke and the opening of the new parish of St. John`s at the west end, the requirement for teachers was one of the first needs to be met by our newly formed Congregation. 

For some years prior to the creation of St. John the Baptist parish, the erection of a separate school in the west ward of Pembroke had been contemplated by the separate school board.

The presence of the three largest industries in the west end, and in particular, the marked increase in population consequent to the opening of the Eddy Company`s factory in 1921, made it possible to accommodate all Catholic school children in Pembroke. The school that was built was modern in every respect and classified as a Grade 1 school by the Department of Education

With the opening of the new parish of St. John at the town`s west end, the requirement of teachers for the school was one of the first needs to be met by the newly formed Congregation.

St. John`s School, which was named Holy Name School in 1941, was an elementary School which served the sections between Christie street as well as north side of the Indian River along with parts of the townships of Alice, Fraser and Petawawa. Holy Name school became distinguished under the direction of Sisters Beatrice O`Leary, Mary Immaculate Casey, St. Agnes Shruder, Clare Burke, Carmelita Bryne, Alice Leclair and the many Sisters who assisted them from 1923 to 1998.

When the school opened in January 1923 there were 180 pupils.  In addition to academic subjects, the Sisters taught instrumental and vocal music. Sisters Helen Smaggus, Eileen Rooney, and Lucille Durocher were some of the music teachers, with the latter teaching piano in school from 1963 to 1988. Sisters also served as principals, staff, or assistant staff. They worked as well in St. Patrick`s, Bishop Smith, and Cathedral Schools. From Pembroke Motherhouse, for a period of five years. Sisters commuted daily to teach at St. Joseph`s at the foot of Allumette Island, Quebec.

Sister Camilla Cully was outstanding in her capacity to organize ant to educate over many years. She was on staff for 17 years, and served as principal at Holy Name School for 15 of those years. For its first 40 years, the school pupil`s ratio was always high, reaching 50 t0 55 in the late 40`s and 50`s, years when many families sought education after World War 11.

An integral part of the whole parish, the school filled many and varied roles. All matters such as choirs and sanctuary boys were duly attended in cooperation with the parish priests.

Pupils in grades 3 to 5 were trained to sing for weddings and funerals, with Latin being the language used for the liturgy.

The development of their pupils was the interest of the Sisters, who taught full-time and attended to principal`s duties as well. These dedicated, and generous women served the `dear neighbour`` in the poorest areas of Pembroke.


Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada Archives


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