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For these things I weep... Lamentation for a Suffering Church: A Reflection for Ash Wednesday

The last few weeks have been difficult for me. At our Montréal associates and sisters gathering in January, we had a very frank and honest discussion about sexual abuse in the Church. It left me troubled. Troubled, because, as a Church, we have been derelict in our duty to care for those entrusted to us. Even more troubled that some of us have done great harm. Lives have been broken; either through acts of commission or equally damaging acts of omission, cover-up, and lies. I did not leave my meeting feeling hopeful. Neither did I feel very confident that Church leadership was serious about implementing change or fixing a culture that allowed this to happen. There is a crisis of trust. I too have succumbed to it. I have been praying and reflecting on this ever since.

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Going to the Peripheries

For the past 6 years I have been an active member of the Cape Breton Coalition for Social Justice. In 2014 the Coalition launched a Literacy Project to help reduce poverty through education, the goal being to assist families in obtaining books for children of all ages, especially pre-school age children, and stay at home parents. New and used books are being delivered to Food Banks and various Social Service Agencies. Donations of new books just prior to Christmas have been used by families as gifts for their children. The annual “Under One Umbrella” event in Sydney has been another avenue for making books available to families. Nine hundred (900) books were donated to families during the 2018 event. The goal of this day is to provide “free support services under one roof to those who are homeless or at high risk of being homeless.” Services provided include dental, hearing and vision testing, diabetic screening, massage therapy, foot care, chiropractic services, family physicians, hair dressing, clothing, legal aid as well as food and entertainment.

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Good Shepherd Ministry

It has been a wonderful and productive month in the clothing room at Good Shepherd Ministries in Toronto. Sr. Joan Lewis, who gives clothes to the homeless, had help from three seminarians from St. Augustine's Seminary, a novice of Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood and lay woman.

On these extremely cold days it has been great to work together as a team; sorting donations, serving those who come looking for warm clothes, boots, hygienic articles, etc. Even the opportunity to have a shower is appreciated.

Upstairs breakfast is served. Throughout the entire building the words of Jesus are echoed: "I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed me.”

All will return to their studies. Only Zena, a faithful and generous lay woman will remain. However, I believe it will be an unforgettable experience that will mark their journey towards the priesthood and consecrated life. The highlight of the day is to celebrate Mass at noon in the small chapel at the center.

We pray for all those who volunteer and those who come to the Good Shepherd. Please join us in prayer.

Joan Lewis, CND

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