GNSHappenings-March 2021

Written on: March 30, 2021

GNSHAssociates: Submitted by Mark Bialkowski and Sr. Barbara Schiavoni

On March 6, Bishop Michael Fisher joined the candidates in diaconate formation and their families to celebrate the rites of lector and acolyte at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Buffalo. Grey Nun Associate Mark Bialkowski, in his third year of diaconate formation, received the rite of acolyte.

Acolytes take part in the entrance and recessional processions at Mass, and may carry the cross or the book of the Gospels. The acolyte may also assist with the use of incense during the Mass.

From Mark:

This journey is about God calling and me just trying to keep up! There have been times when I’ve wanted to give up, but there have been more times of great joy, reassurance, and confirmation that Providence may be at work. Really, though, I’m just a sinner trying to do a saint’s work. To be a servant leader is something that I learned at D’Youville when the Grey Nuns took a risk offering me a scholarship to study there. I’m glad to be on this journey while also being an Associate because St. Marguerite is an inspiration to me. The word deacon comes from the Greek word meaning to serve, and like St. Marguerite, I feel that to serve others is how I might offer to God a sacrifice of praise while trying to bring about a more compassionate world. Please pray for me as I continue to grow through the process of formation and discernment!

Read more of  Mark’s story here>>

We  sense your deep call to service, Mark, and your openness to following the Holy Spirit as you and your family make this journey. You certainly are following in St. Marguerite’s footsteps. We are praying for you. Sr. Barbara Schiavoni, Leadership Liaison to the GNSH Associates

Celebrating St. Patrick and St. Joseph

A prayer service and bookmark to honor St. Joseph’s Day were sent out to all of the Sisters. At the Plaza, Grey Nuns prayed the prayer for St. Joseph on Zoom. We wonder if any Sisters got together on St. Joseph’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day. Let us know!

During the year of St. Joseph, the Spiritual Animation Committee will be focusing on 1 of the 7 virtues of St. Joseph each month. Click here to learn more

Spiritual Sidebar

Videos available on YouTube:


Sandra Schneiders, IHM, Preaches for Easter Sunday (13 min.) (Catholic Women Preach)

Resurrection: Not A One Time Miracle Richard Rohr, OSF (12 min.) (All Saints Church, Pasadena)


Why St. Joseph Is The Saint We Need in 2021 Fr. James Martin, SJ (6 ½ min.)

St. Joseph- Protector. Fr. Richard McAlear, OMI. (Pt. 1) (25 min.) (Ministry of Hope and Healing)

Pope Francis Announces Year of St. Joseph for 2021 (45 min.)


A Lord’s Prayer for Justice by Ron Rolheiser, OMI

Under the Weeping Beech. Prayer video from the Jesuit Retreat House in Wernersville, PA

Of special note: Cranaleith is offering evenings of contemplative prayer and a grief support group during the month of April. Francis House of Prayer offers presentations on “time”, our evolving universe, Earth Day, the unavoidable “givens” of human existence and personal retreat days in the coming month. For additional information on the SAC page click here.

All underlined text is linked to YouTube or a website. YouTube videos can be accessed on your Smart TV through Comcast/XFinity using the microphone button to say the title, e.g. say, “A Lord’s Prayer for Peace on YouTube.”

LCWR Update

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) has been sponsoring and participating in two very important initiatives since last year’s virtual assembly. The first is a process of discernment of the emergent future of religious life, that is, a prayerful way of sharing insights, contemplative time, and ideas across religious congregations to make way for the paradigm shift in religious life that has been taking place worldwide for about a decade or more. Membership in religious communities is aging and diminishing, becoming more international and intercultural, embracing collaboration and partnerships with each other and with lay persons and organizations. Religious women today are committed to contemplative time and contemplative dialogue. This evolution of religious life involves learning to let go of “the way things were” to make room for what the Holy Spirit will call forth in response to the needs of our world.

The second initiative is a process of education and awareness raising about systemic racism, white privilege, and how we religious women need to recognize and repent the complicity of the Church and of our communities in perpetuating racism. The goal is to become allies of anti-racism, learning how to promote dialogue about the history of racism and the current manifestations of systemic racism in our lives. At present, the leadership of LCWR, officers, board members, region chairs, and staff are participating in a 12 month course on becoming allies of anti-racism. The 15 LCWR Regions will also join in this initiative at their spring and fall meetings.

Special Anniversaries

Two of our faithful colleagues celebrated anniversaries of their employment with the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart.

Pictured here, Robert (Bob) Creely with his 15 Years of Service certificate. Bob is “blessed amongst women” as the only male on staff. We are so grateful for his kind and generous presence to Sisters and fellow co-workers alike.

Pictured here, Carolyn Hunte celebrated 5 Years with us. Not only is she a valuable asset in the Finance office, but she coordinates Friday lunches, and keeps us entertained with stories of her twin boys, AJ and Ryan.

Congratulations and thank you, Bob and Carolyn! 

Birthday Celebrations

The 17 Grey Nuns at the Plaza had several birthday celebrations in February and March. We were VERY happy to accompany Sister Mary Joan Elias (pictured here) on February 23rd as she celebrated her 90th birthday. Last year, her friend and apartment mate, Sister Mary Dee Smith had organized an open house in-person party for her 89th. This year, the crowd was strictly virtual, and as we toasted Mary Joan, we also remembered Mary Dee in prayer and thoughts. To lift our spirits and enhance the fun, we viewed a YouTube comedienne who made us all laugh about the adventures of aging. A smaller group gathered later in Sister Ceil’s apartment and ordered from a nearby restaurant. We enjoyed sharing memories and laughter, plus cake and ice cream, too! Later in February, we sang to Diane Bardol and prayed her a Zoom blessing. Then in March, we zoomed into Kate Woody’s birthday and Marlene Butler’s almost-end-of-the-month birthday. We miss being able to gather in larger groups, but Zoom has certainly saved the connection for us!

Celebrating You!

Speaking of birthday celebrations, we wish the following Sisters and colleagues very happy April Birthdays: Sr. Mary Karen Kelly (10); Sr. Ceil Cosgrove (14); Chris Domzalski (18);  Sr. Maureen O’Hara(22); Sr. Mary Elizabeth Looby (26);  Sr. Kay Purser and Maureen Goodall (30). May the year ahead hold many blessings for each of you!

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