Written on: December 29, 2016
As we prepare to turn the calendar, let us pause to remember where we were in 2016.
We began 2016 in the midst of relocating Sisters from the Motherhouse into Holy Redeemer Lafayette, and were planning the moves into the Plaza apartments and Nativity Housing. Packing was underway for the offices as well. The year for Consecrated Life was ending and the Jubilee Year of Mercy was just beginning.
In February, Sister Rita Frances Brady went home to the Lord on the 20th of the month. The annual Buffalo Youth Conference was attended by Sisters Joan Daly, Donna Lord, Barbara Schiavoni and GNSHAssociate Mary Jane Key representing the G.N.S.H.
In March, the annual Women’s Retreat was held for the final time at the Motherhouse. We also welcomed Carolyn Hunte to the Finance office as we bid farewell to long-time employee, Donna Koruba.
In April, both Sister Ann Cecilia McGuire (4/23) and Sister Mary Ellen Hoen (4/28) went home to the Lord.
In May, we celebrated 900 years of faithful service from 14 Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart. The celebration on May 21 was a joyful and bittersweet moment in our history as we were preparing the final step of our move from the Motherhouse. The offices were successfully moved during the week of May 23-27— and we all enjoyed the extra day of rest celebrating Memorial Day on May 30!
June first was the official change of address day for the Congregational Offices, and a ritual of leaving was celebrated on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, June 3. Sister Denise Roche retired as President of D’Youville College after 37 years. Sister John Patrick Russell passed into eternal life on June 21. The Annual Eco-Spirituality Retreat was held the weekend of June 24-26.
At the end of July, Sister Mary Denis Woods died suddenly on the 27th.
In August, we received the 2017 edition of Vision Vocation Magazine and our own Sister Connie Welsh was featured in a special section on Congregational gardens! Our leadership attended the LCWR Convention in Atlanta and had a chance to reconnect with old friends there. Olympic fever took over the world, and our sisters at Holy Redeemer Lafayette participated in a “senior” version with the other residents.
In September, we prayed for peace and non-violence in our world as our nation’s election was in full swing and the rhetoric of hate and discrimination was escalating.
In October, the G.N.S.H. gathered for a Congregational Retreat the weekend of the 8-10 led by Sr. Nancy Sylvester, IHM. At the end of the retreat, an updated booklet of Congregational Prayers was distributed to the Sisters.
In November, in response to questions about Sisters and the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, 2 evenings were planned at Holy Redeemer Lafayette: one, a movie from LCWR and the other a talk on St. Marguerite by Sr. Patsy Geary. We were also saddened by the deaths of Sister Mary Kathleen Duggan (11/15) and former employee,Mrs. Donna Koruba (11/26).
In December as we celebrated the Feast of St. Nicholas, Sister Patricia Watkins went home to her dear Lord. In Sister Pat’s words, “I’ve waited my whole life for this!”
editors note: After publication, Sister Ruth Penksa died on December 28 of complications from burns received during a fire in her residence.
As we end 2016, and look with hope to 2017, may we appreciate the many blessings we have received, even in the midst of loss and change.
We pray for peace in our hearts and minds,
an abundance of grace and light in the darkest corners of our world,
and gratitude for the lives we are blessed to live
as we strive to bring the compassion of our God to those who need it most.