Written on: August 26, 2016
Foundation Day, August 24, 2016-
95th Anniversary of the founding of Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart
The following reflection was written and shared by Sister Mary Elizabeth Looby, GNSH during a special Mass and celebration at Holy Redeemer Lafayette.Many of the sisters living in the Philadelphia area attended.
I am sure you have the heard the song, “The Church’s One Foundation,” as we sing words about Jesus being the foundation of our life and faith. We believe that and celebrate Jesus in our prayer and liturgy.
We think of foundations as providing support, stability and security. They provide opportunity for other things to be built up and to grow, whether that is a building, a family or a community.
Firm foundations are important for life and for faith.
Today is the anniversary of founding of the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart as a United States based Religious congregation. Ninety-five years ago today in Buffalo, NY, the sisters voted to separate from the Grey Nuns of the Cross in Ottawa to form a new English-speaking congregation based here.
The decision was a difficult and painful one for those involved but they knew they had to make that decision to foster vocations from the United States and to continue ministries that were already open in the USA. Our early foundresses wanted to continue to serve in the spirit of Marguerite d’Youville who sought to serve Jesus and the poor.
This was a momentous decision because 156 sisters left one group to form the new congregation. They sought to respect and preserve the foundations that had been established through previous Grey Nun foundations in Montreal and Ottawa.
Marguerite d’Youville and Elisabeth Bruyere were significant figures in establishing firm roots and foundations for their respective congregations. We come from a long line of faithful women who have served the church since the 1700’s. Mother Mary Augustine and her companions respected that direction and wanted to continue to be faithful witnesses in this new venture in America.
So through prayer, faith and hard work, the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart became a reality. We have had sisters serving in missions in Alaska, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, even Peru and Haiti. The mission to share the compassionate love of God has spread into many places and in many ways. Through ministries rooted in healthcare, social work and education, we have touched many lives and been blessed in our work.
However, God isn’t done with us yet. As many of us retire, our work is still not complete. We are called to continue to find ways to help and serve, to grow and deepen in our faith and to be witnesses of God’s love to those we meet.
Happy foundation day to each of you, may your day be blessed.
Sister Mary Elizabeth Looby is a member of the Leadership Team for the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart. She has worked in schools, parish ministry and now primarily as a Spiritual Director. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us on this special anniversary.