Propelled by our General Chapter invitation to create a new table, several sisters in the Californian Region have been acknowledged publicly for their partnerships with those made poor. Sr. Teresa Doherty was featured in the County probation newsletter and described as a “jewel in the probation crown” for her prison ministry to youth for 38 years. “And at 82 years young, she doesn’t appear to be slowing down one bit.” Teresa was the first woman chaplain to serve in the Probation Department.
Sr. Bríd O’Shea was given a Community Award for her service to the poor in the area of Garden Grove, Stanton and Westminster in a special ceremony. Bríd ministers to the homeless and enlists volunteers for this outreach while being the school chaplain, Montessori school teacher and RCIA director. Not only do the homeless receive a hot cooked meal, but help finding jobs, services and a special library that Bríd created for them.
At Valley Family Center (VFC), Sr. Carmel Somers has former perpetrators of domestic violence with transformed hearts sitting at the table with victims of domestic abuse as volunteers. In Carmel’s own words, “What goes round comes round – and the Dives becomes the Lazarus – this is really true for Carlos who was court ordered to attend VFC’s 52 weeks of classes for Perpetrators of Domestic Abuse. He is now a facilitator of a number of groups and is a most caring, gentle and affirming individual.”
As a Region we also sent a letter to Pope Francis on behalf of our Native Peoples asking him to rescind two papal bulls that empowered others to abuse them. This letter writing was the initiative of the Loretto sisters who asked LCWR communities to join them. We have partnered with Native Americans in ritual and in solidarity for their struggle to be recognized and respected.
Since our General Chapter calls us to commit ourselves “once more to be a voice for all who suffer injustice”, the Region was also recognized in the Catholic news for partnering with immigrants in order to fight for Immigration Reform in our country. Our corporate stance and participation in the 40 day Fast and prayer was covered in the Tidings – click HERE to read the article.
We gathered in September as a Region to learn about the Chapter and to receive the Chapter Document, ‘Companions at a new table’, in a ritual. As each sister was called forth we used the invitation, “Your presence is needed here.” We also closed our ritual with a prayerful interaction in two’s and by saying to the other person, “I see the treasure in you.” In order to bring our Dives and Lazarus story into our own context, we used this special prayer:
Once there was a rich man….
A greedy corporation
A comfortable people with every need met and more
And there was a poor man, Lazarus, covered in sores, who had been dumped on the doorstep.
A family who lost their home
A runaway youth
A recently freed prisoner
Please enjoy the meditation video below on Dives and Lazarus – then and now!