by Barbara Pyles
Hello, dear kindred friends of Elizabeth, Vincent and Louise! It was a surprise to be invited to write for Charity Alive to share with you a little bit about myself, my journey with the Sisters, why I’m attending Chapter and some Vincentian practices that guide my life.
I’m a mother of five, grandmother of seven, recently retired R.N, who loves books, art, nature and singing, especially acapella hymns with my church choir. Yoga, walking, contemplation and meditation are mental, physical and spiritual activities that help keep me balanced, in these pandemic times.
Rita MacDonald was my first encounter with the Sisters in the early 70’s. She was Director of Religious Education for my children. Truth be told back then I didn’t even know she was a Sister of Charity – Halifax. What I did know was that she radiated something unique and very special. It was only years later that I heard the word charism. It was an epiphany, an “Aha” connection resonating deeply within my faith life, my relationship with God. In the mid 80’s two recently retired sisters, living at Mount Saint Vincent, Wellesley, started a small scripture study faith sharing group for mothers that was instrumental in giving new dimensions of faith and spirituality to all of us. 1990 began my professional relationship as a nurse for the Sisters at Elizabeth Seton Residence. Every morning as I walked through the courtyard past the statue of Elizabeth Ann Seton, my curiosity about her faith and her life grew. S. Peter Claver introduced me to Elizabeth by loaning me her lengthy, well researched book and biography on the life of Elizabeth. Reading that book launched my journey to become an Associate. Working with Sisters as a nurse, being involved with the Global Concerns Resource Team, enriches and aligns my life in Vincentian values of simplicity, humility and service.
Attending Assemblies, and especially Chapter this year, are vital opportunities to ponder anew the ongoing evolution of Charity coming alive in our Sisters of Charity – Halifax community, Sisters of Charity Federation and our world. Our charism guides us individually, collectively and corporately in faith with openness of heart, mind and spirit. Hazarding forward with technology, climate change, human rights serving and caring as we go into unknown, uncharted territory.