Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 15, 2004
Sisters complete anniversary celebration
Special to the WCR
Internationally known storyteller Megan McKenna was here Oct. 17-18 for the 150th anniversary of the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (SCIC).
McKenna has travelled widely and written more than 25 books. Based in Albuquerque, N.M., she teaches at several colleges and universities and offers retreats, workshops and parish missions.
She works with indigenous peoples, in base Christian communities and with justice and peace groups, as well as parishes, dioceses and religious communities.
Her arrival here was preceded by a visit to Vancouver and followed by a visit to Saint John, N.B., to help facilitate 150th anniversary celebrations and assemblies in the sisters' regions.
The theme for the fall assembly of SCIC and associates, Whose Leaves Never Fade, is taken from Psalm 1 with the focus Mary, Mother of All Nations.
The religious congregation was founded in Saint John on Oct. 21, 1854 to serve orphans, as well as Irish immigrants who were sick and poor. It was the first English-speaking religious congregation to be established in Canada.
At the invitation of Bishop Thomas Louis Connolly, Honoria Conway and three other founding women embraced the 17th century spirituality of Sts. Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac, as adapted by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in early 19th century America.
Expanding across New Brunswick, the SCIC went on to establish missions in western, central and northern Canada, as well as Nova Scotia and Peru.
An initial focus on education, health care and social service grew to include spiritual direction; addictions counselling; healing, prison and inner city ministries; spiritual care; liturgical leadership; music; social justice and environmental awareness.
Many retired sisters support others through literacy work, listening and prayer.
The SCIC have more than 90 associates and inquirers. These women and men share relationship with them for growth in spirituality, as well as mutual support and service, especially among the poor.
The sisters' 150th anniversary year was launched with Evening Prayer at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Saint John on Oct. 21, 2003.
During the past year, a series of celebrations and displays in Canada and Peru have proclaimed the sisters' anniversary year theme: A Story of Faith: A Mission of Love.
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