Assembly 2023

by Sister Kati Hamm

In this issue of Charity Alive, we have asked some of our writers to recapture the Assembly experience from their perspectives. The evening began with a simple invitation to Sisters and Associates gathered in the Hotel in Boston and on Zoom across the Congregation – “Share your hopes for these days.”

From the very start our facilitators, Sisters Pat Kozak and Margo Ritchie prompted us with two examples of people praying for direction. The first quote was from poet Mary Oliver On Thy Wondrous Works I Meditate (Psalm 145), she says “ I want to be God’s mind’s servant”… Then a quote was offered from Brian Swimme’s latest book Cosmogenesis: The Unveiling of the Expanding Universe. This work combines Swimme’s personal story with the 14 billion year story of the Universe. He asks “What should I do with the energy I have left?” Both of these searchers remind us of our own Vincentian core question “What must be done?” As individuals and groups looked within for light that might lead us, we were supported by Elizabeth Seton’s own promise that wherever we go “there is a store of grace waiting for us.” Indeed that’s what the weekend offered.

Throughout the days there was a sense that together we wanted to go deeper, to hear the cries of the poor, that each one was being asked to be faithful to whom she was, and that we believe that there is still a collective possibility. Here I am. Here we are. What do you ask of me? Of us? What is the more? People described a peacefulness and collective trust and cherishing that was part of this experience.

Music which always plays an important part in our gatherings blessed us along the way. The first evening we listened to Peter Meecham’s “Song For Hope”. The music that featured a trumpet ensemble stirred up in each what was most on her heart that first night. Through the weekend music continued to connect us, challenging us “What do we do with so great a love?”, consoling us “Remember”, and on the final day we were reminded, of claiming the grace of this moment as we sang the words of “Jerusalem, My Destiny”. We sounded especially convinced when we joined together in the chorus “the journey makes us one.”

In addition to some thoughts on the various sessions of Assembly 2023, you will find in this issue of Charity Alive some ways sisters out West celebrate special occasions via zoom, a commentary on sustainable eating and material from the Archives on Immaculata Hospital in Westlock AB.

Finally we are including this poem which appeared recently in a Newsletter distributed in Wellesley. It speaks of changing values and new perspectives about what’s important and who we are now.  The editors see it as a perfect complement to our Assembly 2023 review.


by Sister Carmen Foley

My room is a mess.
It has always been so
and always will be.
So what!
I had surgery
and everything changed.
I saw things in a new light.
It’s not just old age.
It’s a new life emerging.
A life where tidiness is important
but not essential.
At least not
the most essential.
Giving love is.
I always prayed for a Mother’s heart.
A Mother knows how and
when to love.
I am discovering
my own mother-spirited heart
sitting around me at
Tables 1, 2,3, …

As you continue to read the reflections offered, be sure to extend these conversations with others- including your own insights, questions and moments of gratitude for Assembly 2023.

by Sister Kathleen Carven

Assembly 2023 facilitated much loving support both to Sisters and Associates gathered at Boston Hilton and to participants who joined virtually. Yet at the same time a tangible seriousness permeated everything: business sessions, prayer experiences and meal sharing. I sensed engagement, intensity and deep respect as together we listened to presenters outline the projected plans—what may be in store for us in the evolving reality of our personal and collective life. The clarity of possible steps created for me a calmness in dealing with what was described as inevitable.

We are learning a profound truth about ourselves— historical, spiritual—as we live into the future.  The seriousness of our collective responsibility for the welfare of our Congregation, Sisters and Associates who are cherished by people across Canada, United States, Central America, Belize, Peru, Bani and Bermuda has impacted us. We are moving forward in mission while at the same time are challenged by difficult decisions required of us trusting that we walk with one another, family, friends and the creativity of our world.

To borrow a scientific perspective—“Amygdala in limbic systems plays a key role in how animals assess and respond to environmental threats and challenges by evaluating emotional importance of sensory information and prompting an appropriate response.” In a wholistic context what the future holds for us as we face our limits may also release in us and in those whose lives we influence, the power of God’s passion in new ministries however small and short term. We are not finished!.

Along with our accumulated wisdom expressed at the Assembly I can connect with Teillard Chardin’s hope: “Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! … Do not forget that the value and interest of life is not so much to do conspicuous things …as to to do ordinary things with the perception of their enormous value.”

We are in a “Season of Love” as the song from “Rent” suggests:  “Measure your life in love.” St. Paul’s blessing for the Church at Corinth expresses for me a “take away” from Assembly 2023.  “Mend your ways. Encourage one another. Live in harmony and peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”

What a wonderful experience we had at Assembly 2023!

by Sister Sally McLaughlin

We gathered – Sisters and Associates – in person, on Zoom, or through live streaming – to once again listen to the Spirit’s call within us and among us. We hoped to come to a clearer understanding of our present reality, a deeper consciousness of global needs and a renewed commitment to live Charity with all our hearts.

For the past few years we have been engaged in contemplative circles through Zoom.

We have participated with one another in prayer and ongoing learning. We have heard the call to conversion and discerned actions we will take.  We have been seeking to deepen communion with Mother Earth and all our brothers and sisters. We desire to address the climate crisis, personal and systemic racism, and the injustices suffered by our brothers and sisters in every land.

At this Assembly we could see the fruit of these contemplative conversations. We have grown in our ability to be honest and vulnerable with each other. Our discussions have moved from an academic to a more personal level. We are better able to talk about difficult issues, to acknowledge the privilege we enjoy and the ways we can be complicit in some of the injustices of our time.

The awareness that the life-span of our congregation is moving toward completion called forth a deep sense of gratitude for one another and for the life we have shared together. It also challenged us to keep on seeking to know God’s will for us now. How are we called to express the great Love that has been poured into our hearts?  How can we best contribute to the future God desires?

At Assembly 2023 we were once again energized to give joyful witness to Love with every breath!

A Creed for Completion

by Sister Lorraine d’Entremont

Two striking moments of the Assembly for me were the display of green cards in support of our present direction toward completion, and the completion conversation summary presented by the Completion Committee on Sunday morning. Based on these two components, and the overall conversation and tone of the Assembly, I composed the following:

I believe –

  • We are moving in the right direction, and our process is unfolding with competence and integrity.
  • We will be carried forward by faith in our charism, and trust in the Spirit and one another.
  • We are capable of sustaining uncertainty even as we know sadness and fear.

I commit to –

  • Cultivating gratitude for the journey
  • Acknowledging and expressing communally the loss and grief that accompany the journey
  • Engaging in the journey to completion, ‘giving joyful witness to love with every breath’

More Charity Alive – June 2023

Assembly 2023

In this issue of Charity Alive, we have asked some of our writers to recapture the Assembly experience from their perspectives.

Bridge Group 2023 Assembly

We met as a whole once again on the afternoon of June 1st, taking advantage of the free afternoon before the start of Assembly 2023.

Associate Assembly Meeting 2023

The best way to describe our Associate gathering on June 2nd is to celebrate it as our first Hybrid Associate Gathering: “Zoom and In-person”.

From the Archives — Immaculata Hospital

The Sisters founded Immaculata Hospital in rural Westlock, Alberta at the beginning of what would be a time of expansion in the community under Mother Mary Louise Meahan.

More Charity Alive – March 2023

Women Working Together

As you read the articles in this month’s Charity Alive we hope that these will just be the beginning  of sharing your own experiences of this gift of love revealed in community.


When looked at from a global perspective, remedies seem daunting. Yet, when focused on individual choices, small things do make a difference.  Sustainability calls each of us to think globally but act very locally.

From the Archives — Sisters helping Sisters

In sharing the history of the congregation, the ministries in education, orphanages, and social services are often highlighted. In this article, I wanted to share ministries within the congregation – Sisters helping Sisters.  

More Charity Alive – December 2022

Bringing light into darkness

The soft darkness of winter night helps us to recall our communal gatherings, our contemplative prayer, our care for each other.

Renewal of Vows and Commitment

On December 7, 2022, the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception we joined together (via zoom) as members and associates in a prayer service to renew our vows and  commitment.

Christmas Cards

As the Christmas season approaches, we are filled with gratitude for the many benefactors who have joined us in giving Joyful Witness through gifts in 2022.

Charity Alive – November 2022

Ebony Etchings

I invite each of you to join me in my exploration of my home space, my heart space, my God space where I live my truth as an African Nova Scotian woman and a member of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent DePaul, Halifax.

Associate Retreat May 2022

A sense of peace and serenity welcomed fellow Long Island/Queens Associates Betty Erdos, Helen Ogden, Mickey Madden, Ann Masters and me when we arrived at the tranquil and cozy house on the eastern bay for the weekend of May 20–22, 2022.

Issues of Charity Alive

2023-06-14T13:17:16+00:00By |Comments Off on Assembly 2023
Go to Top