Joined Together in the Mission of Charity

Leadership meeting June 13

From left: Sisters Donna Brady, CSM; Jovita MacPherson, CSM; Brendalee Boisvert, CSM; and Joanne O’Regan, CSM. Not pictured: Sister Florence Kennedy, CSM, who was at the podium

The Sisters of Charity Federation leaders gathered for the first official day of the leadership meeting in Antigonish. Sister Joanne O’Regan, CSM, introduced staff from their congregation who are assisting with the meeting. The leadership team of the Sisters of St. Martha of Antigonish began the day with prayer and a story, told around a table set for tea, about the charism and beginnings of their congregation up to present day.

Sister Grace Hartzog, SC, executive director of the federation, made some introductions and announcements, including news from the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, who are in chapter and elected a new president and vice president for their congregation.

Sister Pat Kozak, CSJ, facilitator, then led a conversation with Sister Grace and Sister Catherine Mary Norris, DC, president of the board of the federation. The executive director report included highlights from the past three years of planning the meeting in Canada, with delays and rescheduling as a result of COVID. Federation leadership meetings in 2020, 2021 and 2022 were held virtually. The federation also hosted two virtual gatherings, one in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, and one celebrating 25 years of NGO representation at the United Nations.

The report also referenced the collaborative effort to address the federation’s history of enslavement, and the steps being taken by a reparations committee and the creation of a monument at the Seton Shrine in honor of enslaved persons who worked for the early sisters in Emmitsburg (1809-1865).

The presentation closed with a video slide show of images from federation congregations from the past year, set to the song “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack.

Sister Joanne introduced the next session, which featured video introductions of the members of the SC Federation Formation and Vocation Core Teams. Sister Joanne then facilitated a conversation with Sister Helene Allain, NDSC, and Sisters Tracy Kemme, SC, and Mary Jo Stein, DC, who joined by Zoom videoconference. The team members offered their thoughts on how leaders can support their work in building a collaborative vocation/formation program.

Jimmy Walters, SC Federation NGO representative to the United Nations, spoke about his role at the UN, and expressed his gratitude for the trust placed in him to share the charity charism on a global stage. Jimmy also noted that he is the convener for the North American Vincentian Family Gathering in October, and invited the leaders to attend.

The sisters had some time for table discussions and reflection on what had been shared. The final presentation of the day was given by Sister Eileen Haynes, SCL, and Sister Margaret Mary Fitzpatrick, SC, regarding the House of Charity. They shared a report from the House of Charity Think Tank group that met following the June 2022 leadership meeting.

The sisters were invited to an evening social, which included a showing of a documentary about Sister Dorothy Moore, CSM, author of “A Journey of Love and Hope: The Inspirational Words of a Mi’kmaw Elder.” Sister Dorothy was present for the event.

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