Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Charism Retreat 2016

The Associates of the Sisters of St. Joseph-Baden held their yearly retreat with the theme "Charism" at Medialle Hall in Baden from April 1 - 3, 2016.  This was presented by Sr. Judith Justinger, CSJ,  a  member of the Sisters of St. Joseph Buffalo Congregation and Maureen Brown, CSJA,  an associate from the same congregation.

Sr. Judith Justinger and Maureen Brown.  

The wonderful team of Sr. Judy and Maureen effectively utilized different tools consisting of thought provoking questions, handouts and songs which I am sharing in this blogpost.  Their goal is for the associates to internalize what they wanted them to reflect on and most importantly learn and live from them.

The retreat committee team from the CSJA Baden group consisting of Srs. Paula Drass and Sue Clay and associates Sue Boyce and Barbara Borzym enhanced the amazing retreat with beautiful prayers and meaningful rituals. The hospitality committee headed by Kathy Lotzmann was responsible for providing us places to sleep and goodies to munch on in between meals. Patty Hammond provided the Prayer Partner cards as she had done every year.  As always the food from the cafeteria was awesome.  Thanks to all.

Here are photos of the retreat as well as some reflections as seen in the photos of the handouts and songs.   Some thoughts that I gathered from the sharing section are also given in this post.  I am giving the retreat according to the sequence of the events that occurred at the time.

The retreat started with the song by Kathy Sherman "May We Become the Compassion of God" as shown in the handout below.  This song set up what Sr. Judy and Maureen asked us to reflect on in the form of the questions shown on top of the same handout below.  The session ended with the Litany of Being God's Instrument of Goodness by Joyce Rupp as shown in the same handout.

On reflecting on the question "What instrument are you?" Lois Wendel came up with a unique and meaningful metaphor of herself as one string of a violin.  She expressed it in the form of a poem I published in this blog. Here is the link.

In keeping witlh the theme of the retreat we then tackled the challenging question "What is charism?" We then shared that one word that we came up with that was synonymous with it.  Here is the photo of the poster board of the words that were shared by the associates.  What is yours?

Sr. Judy shared with us the mantra of the Srs. of St. Joseph Buffalo, NY which emphasizes the importance of the quality of our presence in carrying out ones ministry.  Here is the reproduction of the bookmark.

Maureen invited us to sing a song entitled "The Presence" which explains what it means.

The eloquent letter written by an associate from their congregation, Joy Cownie, was shared with us by Maureen. This letter encapsulates the meaning of being an associate.  One part answers the thought provoking question "Does it matter if I am there at the celebration-meeting?".

More questions were asked of us in this interactive and engaging retreat.  In the afternoon we were given each one question from the following 7 questions given below. Answers were generously shared after some reflection by the associates.  What would be your answers to these?  

The retreat continued the following day where we answered more questions shown below.  Again what are your thoughts?

As in every year, the retreat ended with the reception of the new associates during the Mass at the Chapel. Thank you Mary Cay Burke Hamill for the effort you put into the orientation program for the new associates for the past years.  Welcome to Judy Lewis, the new chair of the program.  We also congratulate Carla Gregory for accepting the position of co-director of the associates.  Thanks to the outgoing co-director Chris Hoffmann for her service these past years.  

Here are the pictures of the new associates and their sponsors.  More pictures can be found in this link.

The three new associates and their respective sponsors:  left to right.   Sr. Ann Francis Hanley, Richard Cauley, Mary Cay Burke Hamill, Maria Javonovich, Sr. Florence Hebeler and Elizabeth Miller.

Richard Cauley, Maria Javonovich and Elizabeth Miller.
We hope to see you at next year's retreat.  Here is a poem I wrote about the joy I felt when I saw Marlane Pizzi and Jan Carpenter at the retreat and Sunday Mass.  It was nice to see them back and all who attended. This post is for all the associates especially those who could not attend due to their health and other circumstances.  I hope you felt the spark that Joy Cownie mentioned in her letter as you read this blogpost.

(Thanks to Lois Wendel and Sr. Gerrie Grandpre CSJ for the pictures.  I hope to post more in the future of those taken by Patty Hammond..  Thanks also to Donna Ciarcinski for taking and sharing the pictures at the Mass).

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