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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mission Effectiveness: The Charism Alive in CSSJ Ministries

Sister Dolores Clerico, a Sister of 

Saint Joseph, PA (USA) regularly 

provides opportunities for 

deepening  an awareness of the 

CSSJ charism and spirituality 

among Sisters of St. Joseph,

 Associates and partners in 

mission. Sister Dolores currently 

serves as Director of the Ministry of 

Spirituality for her Philadelphia 


Mission Effectiveness: 

The Charism Alive in CSSJ Ministries

Saturday, September 23 - 30

This program offers a pilgrimage for lay partners in mission, providing an immersion experience into the original spirit and global dimension of the charism and spiritual tradition of the Sisters of St. Joseph. It is designed for those who are associated with one of the ministries founded by the Sisters of Saint Joseph as an administrator, staff person, board member or supporter, this program is for you! 

The program can deepen your learning, nourish your imagination and strengthen your conviction in participating in a world-wide movement which fosters union with God in drawing all into one. The week-long experience offers a rhythm of in-put sessions, interactive participation, prayer and visits to historic sites in Le Puy. A day trip to Lyon is also included.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Cultural Evening -- Europe and Africa

Tonight was the final Cultural Evening night, which featured Africa and Europe. The countries represented in Africa were Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Madagascar. The countries represented in Europe were France, Germany, and Switzerland.

As with all the other presentations previous, the sisters explained different cultural aspects of their countries through videos, dances, demonstrations, and gifts.

The evening began (see above) and ended (see below) with a parade as all the sisters joined in,


The European sisters included the countries of Switzerland, Germany, and France (see below). When the sisters pondered what they would present, they realized that their three countries had a lot in common. One of the most prized commonalities was chocolate, which they passed out among the sisters who gladly indulged themselves.

Manuella, Karin, and Marie-Chrystine

Marie-Christine discusses the similarities between the three countries as Karin listens.

Manuella shares her views....
...and then cheers for Switzerland

Karin shows off some products from her homeland in Bavaria.

Marie-Christine shares some chocolate.


Nicole talked about some cultural facts on Madagascar where she performs her ministry. 

Emma discussed the Ivory Coast.

Astrid explained some of the conditions of Cameroon. She grew up in the Congo but now lives and ministers in the northern tip of the country where there is war. She asked the sisters to pray to remedy that situation.

Astrid also discussed the various uses of "the wrap" that women wear.  This wrap is made of beautiful and colorful cloth that has many uses:

as a means of carrying a baby on the woman's back

as a wrap for walking in colder weather

as a blanket for sleeping

Women also carry water, sometimes far away from their homes, because there is a lack of plumbing or the local water is not potable.

The African sisters also shared some of the games that their cultures play. One is a stick dance. Astrid took the lead and Erin along with Emma and Nicole formed a circle dance. 

Simone was a little alarmed at some of Astrid's stick dance moves.

One other game that surprised the sisters was trying to light a woman's "tail" with a match. Raymonda tries it out, but either Astrid was too fast for her or the match went out too soon.

This night was the next to the last night of the project. After 10 grueling days, the sisters would return to their countries and continue their ministries. They will also spread the good word about cultural diversity and conflict resolution to their families. Here is one last parting photo of the entire group.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cultural Evening -- India and Lebanon

Tonight was Cultural Evening II featuring India and Lebanon. It started out solemnly with an Indian welcoming ceremony and ended up with a lot of dancing--planned and unplanned.

But first, the Indian sisters greeted everyone with a hand washing. The custom of hand washing is an expression of hospitality and the hosts' receptiveness of the guests. 

Each sister was also invited to have a bindi placed on her forehead. The bindi is typically applied to celebrate a joyful occasion. By tradition, it represents the beginning of creation that flows from God and forms unity among all people. 

With the bindi on the forehead comes a prayer: "May god grant you your desires and may you be blessed with foresight and uncommon vision to see your way around all the obstacles that may darken your path."  In general, it helps to be peaceful and calm.

Remya applies the bindi to Sandra (above) and Eluiza (left). 

Mary Clare proudly shows off her bindi.

The sisters placed a ring of flowers in the center of the floor to represent a  pookalam or flower carpet. The pookalam represents everything about Nature that is attractive. It also expresses gratitude to God for food and the beauty of creation.

Ordinarily, the pookalam, which comes from Kerala (southern India), is much larger. It is traditionally made especially in order to welcome the legendary and beloved King Mahabali into one's home as the people of Kerala believe that the king makes visits to his kingdom during the festival. Below the sisters dance around the pookalam.

Three other sisters performed another traditional Indian dance.

The sisters distributed gifts from India.

Then the sisters invited everyone to join the chain dance. It is a traditional dance in India that symbolizes unity and expresses joy. The people do this dance together as a community on certain festive days--and dance all night long. On this night the sisters only danced for 10 minutes. 


There was only one sister from Lebanon, but Raymonda provided a big presence with her enthusiasm, personality, and love for Lebanon. She first provided a video presentation about her country and how the Sisters of St. Joseph of Lyon have served the people there during the 30-year war and re-building. She later shared gifts of delicious cashews and pistachios and scented candles.

Despacito Dancing 

After a fairly calm evening, Griselda and Dulce invited the sisters to revisit Mexican-style dancing. And many sisters joined in while others watched with delight.

This was one dance Pepis couldn't resist either. She said she has always loved dancing, and she wasn't going to miss this one.

The hombres who inspired the sisters' dancing.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Cultural Evening -- The Americas

Tuesday night was Diversity Night at the International Center and the featured countries were the Americas. Here are three Americans   (Erin McDonald, Colleen Gibson and Karin Nuernberg) indulging in the s'mores they made, which was their cultural contribution for the evening. They also created a quiz show about the USA.

They dazzled the sisters' imaginations. 

Well, some of their sisters.

Erin McDonald represents the USA in the parade of the Americas.

Colleen Gibson passed out s'mores.

Of course, Americans come not only from the United States but from Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America. Represented here are the sisters from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the USA. 

Ortencia Pascual of Argentina led the Parade of the Americas on Cultural Evening. Each country shared culture information with a food treat from their countries.


Aparecide Andrade shows the sisters how to dance and then invites them to try it out on the dance floor.

Cleonice da Cruz Yoshizawa and Aparecida stole the show with their Samba.

Cleonice talks about tea served in a special cup with a metal straw while Sandra Eleutério explains a popular drink that tastes like lemonade but has the qualities of fire water. Later, Aparecida hands out Brazilian pens, which everyone scurried to get.


Dulce Fita started out as a solo dancer in a traditional Mexican dance, but Griselda couldn't keep herself from joining Dulce. They demonstrated both the steps and the energy the dance requires.


Dulce passed out traditional Mexican cookies covered in sesame seeds, much to the delight of the sisters.

Argentina and Bolivia

Ortensia Pascual of Argentina and Ericka Salvatierra of Bolivia share sweet treats from their countries.


Mary Clare Seitz of Sudbury, Canada, shared a PowerPoint presentation on Canada, which included several tidbits that most of the sisters did not know--and asked: "eh?"

Crowd Shots

Remya Thomas, Sushma Lakra, Smitha Bishovi, Rani Utukuri,  Bindu O-L

Smitha Bishovi and 
Nicole Raveloarimanga

Griselda Morales, Pepis Pilar (both of Mexico) and Raymonda Saade (Lebanon) liked Cultural Evening, especially the treats at the end. So did Anitha Yandava and Pretty Kujur of India.

The evening ended in joy and excitement and went until 10 p.m. But it was time to retire after a long and hard day. Bye, bye, said Anitha Yandava and Bindu O-L of India. See you tomorrow!!