On Saturday, January 5, 2013, the sisters of the motherhouse community were invited to Sutri, an ancient Italian town on a hill about 50 kilometers north of Rome. Seven sisters accepted the invitation of the Missionary Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (MSC) to first join them for afternoon lunch and then visit the living nativity offered by the people of Sutri every year. The town existed already long before the birth of Christ. In fact, the inhabitants claim that Sutri is older than Rome, and they take pride in their rich culture and traditions. One of these is the living nativity they enact every year. The first living nativity in history is said to be the idea of St. Francis of Assisi, who set it up in Greccio, near Rieti, in 1223, to emphasize the worship of Christ. In true Italian fashion, the living nativity scenes in Sutri do not only feature the Holy Family, but also many old trades and occupations of the time of Jesus. The display is set in numerous caves of all
sizes dug into the rock close to an ancient amphitheatre, and the entire area is illumined by countless torches and camp fires. People of all ages participate in the event and donate much time and energy to the preparation of the very authentic looking site, tools and costumes.We encountered Roman Soldiers, bakers, a winery, a potter, a man making horseshoes, shepherds, and many more, and were treated to small, deep fried delicacies and hot, red wine. Of course the donkey and some sheep were not missing either, even the animals showing great patience and calmness in view of the sacred situation depicted here. Especially for those of us who had never seen a living nativity scene before, this experience will have lasting influence on our remembering the birth of Jesus.
A lively week in the motherhouse!
The past week brought much life to the motherhouse with different visitors. On Sunday, October 14, three of our sisters from Nottuln, Germany, and a number of friends came to see us while they were in Rome with the school community of the Liebfrauenschule from Nottuln. The beautiful, clear weather these days offered the opportunity to admire the beauty of Rome and its surroundings from the terrazzo and discover some of the sights in the distance that they would visit in the days to come. Our visitors were sorry that they could not meet Sister Mary Kristin and Sister Maria Alcidia, who were travelling. What a surprise it was for them when Sister M. Kristin, Sr. M. Julindis and Sr. M. Elke joined the entire school community for supper on Thursday night on the camping grounds where they were staying in small cabins. In her greeting, Sister M. Kristin took the opportunity to thank them for their big support for our sisters in Mozambique and their ministry there. It was wonderful to see the spirit of the Sisters of Notre Dame so alive in this school community, even though the ownership has changed already some years ago. A big thank you and many blessings to all the members of the school community in Nottuln and their friends!
The Journey of the Korean Renewal Group
In the evening of their arrival day the Sisters introduced themselves to the community and showed us a short PowerPoint presentation on their apostolate and mission in South Korea. It was appreciated by all. Their first visit was to St. Peter’s Basilica where they met thousands of pilgrims on the feast of All Saints. In the midst of the Year of Faith, the renewal group will have the extraordinary opportunity to be immersed in the history, spirituality, and art of the Faith as they explore the eternal city. In spite of unpredictable rain, and cold winds the renewal group is looking forward to having an enriching experience in Rome assisted by Sister Marie Emma, Sister Marie Insun, and Sister Marie MuYoung from Casa Madre.
Pictured from the front, left to right: Sister Marie Zita, Sister Marie Josefa (sitting), Sister Marie Lidwina, Sister Maria Francesca, Sister Marie Gertruda, Sister Marie Savia, Sister Maria In Duk, and Sister Marie MuYoung (Generalate, in the back).
October 7 – a day of many memorable events!
The sisters of the motherhouse community started celebrating their Patronal feast, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, by praying the rosary together on Saturday evening. We brought our gratitude to God for the manifold blessings we receive, and we asked Him to continue to be with us and all those in need. Throughout these days day we had many opportunities to enjoy the congratulatory messages our sisters from all over the world sent us. Thank you, dear Sisters, and God turn all your good wishes for us into blessings upon you!
With gratitude we remembered that October 7 marks the 65th anniversary of moving the Generalate and motherhouse from Mülhausen, Germany, to Rome, Italy. Already Mother Maria Cecilia had had the desire to move the center of the Congregation to Rome, pointing out how enriching it would be to be centered in Christ and at the same time have more of a sense of the worldwide network of the Church. For many reasons (e.g. WWI and WWII), the plan was delayed more than once. It was in December 1946 that the General Chapter decided to move the Generalate to Rome, and on October 7, 1947, the desire became a reality. Click here for full text.
It was with sadness and heavy hearts that the Sisters at Casa Madre Community bid farewell to Sister Maria Melani Sarini from the Pekalongan Province of Indonesia on May 1, 2012. Sister Maria Melani had been rendering her service at Casa Madre as an adoration Sister as well as assisting the kitchen for more than a year. Since she has to attend to some medical needs in Indonesia, Sister Maria Melani had to say good bye to Casa Madre Community unexpectedly. Our hearts are filled with gratitude to Sister Maria Melani for all the selfless service she has rendered to the Casa Madre Community. We will miss her delicious thick soups and freshly baked bread and her creative salads. We thank her for her valuable continued prayerful support! We accompany her with our prayerful wishes.
(Sister Maria Melani along with Sr. Mary Kristin on her farewell day.)
Race for the Cure 2012
The thirteenth run of the “Race for the Cure” in Rome was held on May 20th, 2012. Some of the brave Sisters from the Casa Madre community in spite of their age and aches participated in the Race. They could run or walk over a path of 2 km to 5 km. Over 50,000 participants at the starting line at 10 a.m. on Sunday, came to run or walk together through the heart of Rome from the Baths of Caracalla to the Coliseum. The participants who made a minimum contribution of €13 received a race bag filled with complimentary items of the sponsors of the race along with a race t- shirt edition 2012. The event was organized by the Italian Komen Fight against Cancer. The funds raised through the “Race for the Cure” will be used to finance the local breast cancer education, prevention, treatment and support programs.
A Workshop on Technology for Mission
A Workshop on Technology for Mission was organized at the Generalate in Rome, from June 25 - 29, 2012. It was the result of the General Chapter 2010 Recommendation: “That there be a study of relevant uses of technology for the sake of mission throughout the Congregation.” Mrs. Molly Mullee a teacher and IT person at Notre Dame Academy in Covington, Kentucky, USA and Sister Mary Jaculin Manders, our IT person from the Generalate, Rome, were the two resource persons for the workshop. Fifteen Sisters including the General administration and translators and trainers from the Generalate participated in it. The goal of this workshop was the training of a number of sisters in the use of the new congregational website which will be launched in August, 2012, and the intranet. Both are essential elements in helping to achieve our Congregational communication goals. The sister trainers will then help to train sisters in their home provinces in the use of our website and intranet.
The Generalate / Motherhouse Celebrates
Welcome to Rome, dear Sister Maria Josefa!
On September 3, 2012, the sisters of the motherhouse community welcomed another new member in their midst: Sister Maria Josefa Cramer from the Maria Regina Province in Coesfeld, Germany. Before coming to Rome, Sister M. Josefa taught English and French at the Liebfrauenschule in Vechta. Many sisters know her as a translator from our general chapters in 2004 and 2010. Here in the motherhouse, she will be the translator for German and offer language classes in English for our sisters. Her first two students are Sister Maria Moses from Incheon, South Korea, and Sister Deisi Maria from Canoas, Brazil. We are happy to have Sister Maria Josefa with us and wish her many blessings as she begins this new part of her journey.
Visitors from Toledo, OH, USA
On September 29, 2012, the Casa Madre Community had the joy of welcoming Monsignor Charles Singler, Vocation Director and Director for Liturgy in the Diocese of Toledo. He celebrated Holy Mass with us on Saturday evening, assisted by three Toledo Seminarians studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. We were delighted that they were able to stay for supper. Everyone enjoyed the very animated conversations at table, and their friendly visit brought much happiness, especially to our new comers from the Toledo Province, Sister Mary Patricia and Sister Linda Marie.
(Pictured from left to right: Deacon Jeffery Walker, Sister Mary Patricia Dorobek, Monsignor Charles Singler, Sister Mary Kristin Battles, David Kidd, Sister Linda Marie White and Austin Ammanniti)
On May 22nd, 2012, Sister Marie MuYoung from the Incheon Province, Korea was welcomed to our Casa Madre Community. Last year Sister MuYoung had been a member of the Casa Madre Community for three months during her tertiate program. As the Sisters at Casa Madre welcomed her with open arms and warm hugs, a whiff of sweet memories came back to her. Wearing a calm and composed look Sister considers herself the privileged one to become a community member now. Sister MuYoung will be the Korean translator in the Generalate. She will also be translating the letters of St. Julie, our Spiritual Mother, from English to Korean. Being a French major will assist her in referring to the original letters of St. Julie.
Fond Farewell to
Sr. Mary Margaret Agnes
On Monday May 21st , 2012, the sky was gray and it was raining heavily as if the whole of Rome was mourning the departure of Sister Margaret Agnes from the Casa Madre community. After 56 years of dedicated service to the congregation at the Generalate, the time had come for Sister Margaret Agnes to return to her home province in Covington, Kentucky, USA. In November 1955, along with Reverend Mother Mary Vera, Sister had come to Rome as an adoration Sister and to assist with secretarial work in the Generalate. Since then Sister Margaret Agnes has been a strong pillar of the Casa Madre community with her long hours of adoration, melodious music at liturgies, delicious cakes and breads which she baked, and hours spent recording archive files and arranging them. She has also shared fun and laughter with all those who came to Casa Madre over the years. She reached out to all with a beautiful smile and welcomed visitors warmly. She had fluent command of the Italian language and would extend help to the new comers.
After her 56 years of life here in Casa Madre in her farewell message she quoted: ”Leaving Rome is painful and soul–rending. It makes us see the insufficiency of our earthly condition. Whether the departure comes after a sojourn of only some days or of years, one leaves with the feeling or hardly begun.”
We thank Sr. Margaret Agnes for her vitality and the freshness of youth she spent at Casa Madre and we are indebted to her for her dedicated service to our Congregation. We had been privileged companions in this long journey. She is a legacy maker in Casa Madre living here from 1955 - 2012. Her spirit of enthusiasm, commitment, compassion and love for the congregation will be appreciated and cherished by all for years to come.
Sr. Mary Kristin appreciated the dedicated service of Sr. Margaret Agnes to the Casa Madre Community and to the congregation and gifted her with an air ticket to visit Casa Madre, Rome, in 2014! Sr. Margaret Agnes is delighted with the thought of making a home visit to Casa Madre. We wish Sister a bright and beautiful future full of God’s grace and blessings. Though our hearts are heavy and throats choked, we wish you a Fond Farewell!
On July 4th, 2012, Sister Maria Silvia returned to her province in Canoas, Brazil. Sister Maria Silvia has been a Portuguese translator at the Generalate for the past 5 years. Though she is returning to her home province, she will continue her ministry as translator from Canoas. We thank Sister Maria Silvia for her dedication and generous contribution to our Casa Madre Community especially in giving direction to the employees and her assistance as our receptionist. Her love for nature and the environment beautified Casa Madre. Our best wishes to Sister Maria Silvia for the days ahead.
Sister Maria Benedetta moved from Via Como to Casa Madre at the end of June. We heartily welcomed her to our community. This move will free Sister Maria Benedetta from the daily tasks at Via Como to attend to the business of the Sacred Heart Delegation which is the process of transitioning several ministries. (Picture: Sr. Maria Silvia and Sr. Maria Benedetta)
New Faces at the Motherhouse
The three new arrivals (l to r): Sister Linda Marie White (Toledo), Sister Mary Karlene Seech (Chardon),
Sister Mary Patricia Dorobek (Toledo)
During the week of August 19th three new sisters were warmly welcomed to the Motherhouse Community: Sister Mary Karlene Seech arrived onAugust 21st and Sister Mary Patricia Dorobek and Sister Linda Marie
on August 23rd. Sister Mary Karlene and Sister Linda Marie have volunteered to assist with various community duties and hospitality.
Sister Mary Patricia has been appointed the Congregational JPIC Coordinator. We can look forward to reading and learning more about our Congregational efforts in the area of JPIC on the new Congregational Website where Sister will have a regular column. We wish all three sisters God's blessings as they begin their new ministries at the Generalate/Motherhouse.