Our First and Most Important Duty Is Love…

…for without love there can be no service“.
Mother Demetrias, Founder of the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart.

On Sunday, April 23rd, Sr. Elizabeth Langmead, MHSH President, joyfully welcomed approximately 60 people to the annual Donor Appreciation Mass and Brunch at the Mission Helper Center. Sr. Liz thanked our donors for their continued loving accompaniment and support of the ministries of the Mission Helpers, confirming that these are vital to the continued thriving of our varied works.

Rev. George Witt, SJ, Provincial Assistant for Spirituality Ministries of the Maryland Jesuit Province, presided at the liturgy. He reminded the congregation  that after the Resurrection the apostles were sent out on mission to carry on the work of Jesus.  Referencing the words of Acts 1:8,  “You shall be witnesses unto me to the uttermost parts of the earth”, he noted that this is also the call of the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart.

After Mass, guests and Sisters enjoyed a delicious brunch in the dining room, prepared by Carolyn Rodgers. Patricia Dodd, Mission Advancement Director, thanked the assembled gathering for their loyal support. Two MHSH Sisters, Onellys Villegas and Danielle Murphy, spoke about their ministries, which are made possible in part by the financial support of our donors. Sr. Onellys spoke movingly about her full-time work with women victims of domestic violence through the House of Ruth. Sr. Danielle, now semi-retired, performs visitation ministry through Oak Crest Retirement Community, and also tutors children at the Immigration Outreach Service Center of St. Matthew Parish.

Attendees were given cards created by Administrative Assistant Tom Mackin, each with a quote from Mother Demetrias, including the title quote, above.

An Advent Gift "From the Heart of God"

heart-lydia-cho-rscj“From the Heart of God…” was the theme that captured the attention of nearly 80 people who gathered on Saturday, December 3, 2016, at the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart for an Advent Day of Prayer.

Mission Helper Sr. Clare Walsh, facilitator of the day, began with a quote from “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” inviting us to look at where our hearts might be “two sizes too small.”  Dr. Seuss gave way to reflecting on Advent Scriptures from Isaiah and Luke, followed by Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy challenge – to enter the chaos of our world with Jesus, Mercy Incarnate.

Participants were asked to reflect on “Where in our lives is God inviting us to enlarge our hearts and to love a bigger God?” dsc_1735

The day of prayer provided an opportunity to slow down, linger, ponder, wonder…to step out of the rush of Christmas into the hush of Advent.

“From the Heart of God…” came reflection, silence, prayer, lively faith sharing, and a delicious lunch.

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Our gathering ended at 3pm with Rev. Robert Albright presiding at Liturgy during which Sr. Marilyn Dunphy, MHSH, renewed her vows.

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The Mission Helpers have sponsored days of prayer at their Center for the past 12 years. Sr. Jane Geiger, MHSH is the behind-the-scenes person that has made it all happen. Keep your hearts open for the next one…watch for the announcement.

(Heart image by Lydia Cho, RSCJ)

 

Community Days – The Mission Helpers Gather

By Sister Elizabeth (Liz) Langmead, MHSH

“What the Lord wants for us is infinitely more than we could ask or imagine.”                                                                                       –Ephesians 3:20

From the evening of June 9, 2011, through the afternoon of June 14, 2011, the Mission Helpers from near and far will gather for our annual Community Days.  This is a time for us to gather in prayer, meet about community matters, join together in community celebrations, enjoy each other’s company and plan for the future.  The above quote from Ephesians will serve as our theme this year as we continue our preparation for Chapter.

Our Community Constitutions, which “recognize the gospel as the basis for all Christian living and describe the ideals and traditions that form the living heritage of the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart,” state “The General Chapter is an assembly of elected members and ex-officio members who meet as a collegial body every four years…The first responsibility of the general chapter is to call the congregation to renewed fidelity to its mission in the church and to revitalize the life of the congregation and its members in the midst of constantly changing circumstances.” (Constitutions/Directory 58 & 60)

We will begin our Community Days (or June Days) with Eucharistic liturgy followed by a dinner celebration.  The following day we will be invited by our facilitator, Pat Flynn, SSND, on “A Journey Engaging the Future.”  What better way to begin that engagement than by carving out stillness in our lives to encounter the living God?  Following our retreat day, we will continue with our full schedule of days which will conclude with a Sending Forth ritual.

Each and every voice is a valuable voice to be heard and so this year we continue our endeavor to have more and more Sisters involved in preparation for Community Days and Chapter.  Our Formation/Spirituality Circle of Leadership has been guiding us in a Discernment Process by periodic mailings throughout the year.  Regular meetings with Circles of Leadership Animators have helped to shape our planning and assure a continuous flow of conversation and dialogue with the Circles.

Truly, our God is doing for us infinitely more than we could ask or imagine!  Perhaps some of us can relate as well to Catherine the Great when she said (no doubt with a grin) “A great wind is blowing and that gives you either imagination or a headache!”

MEMORIES OF OUR MOTHERS

In anticipation of Mother’s Day we invited sisters and staff to share brief memories of their mothers. In these reflections our posters recall moments of tenderness and joy, express appreciation for special talents that their mothers possessed and describe those personal characteristics of their mothers that they admire to this day. As you read these reminiscences we invite you to reflect on your own mother or mother figures in your life, and give thanks for the love, nurturing and good example that these women have given you. Let us also remember those mothers in areas of the world wracked by war, natural disaster, oppression, disease and poverty. We commend all mothers to the love and care of Mary – mother, teacher, healer and disciple. __________________________________________________________________________________

I think of my mother often during these spring days when all the flowers are in bloom. In a household of twelve, on an artist’s salary, there was no money for extras or frills, but my mother could make us feel rich and elegant just by decorating our large living room with bouquets of dogwood and azalea. Her love of beauty and sense of celebration that she taught us still enrich my life today.

–Sister Jane Geiger, MHSH, loving daughter of Antoinette Fuchs Geiger

When I was about four years old, on a beautiful summer day, Mom (Emily Viola) and I were in Prospect Park having a picnic near the lake. As we sat together Mom picked up some beautiful fresh green grass. She then started to teach me how to make a doll out of these stems of grass. To this day I treasure this memory of Mom and me together.            

–Sister Madeline Gallagher, MHSH

No specific word or incident captures the “who” of my mother, Anna, for me. It was the example of her unconditional love and trust in God and humanity that helped mold the “who” and “how” of what my family and I are today. Thank you, dearest one.

–Sister Agnesine Seluzicki, MHSH

My mother, Catherine, was a model of steadfastness and fidelity. Her life was unalterably changed when my dad contracted polio in the early 1950’s when my brother and I were quite young. Her own “yes” to God and her family was tested in ways she could not have imagined. Through it all she was a loving, generous and faith-filled wife and mother.

–Marilyn Dunphy

At age 58, my mother, Jeannette, retired with my dad to Florida to enjoy the Gulf and play golf.  She made time to tutor migrant children, give food to beggars on the street and always be a compassionate heart for the needy.  At age 90, she continues to bring food to the church pantry for the needy.      [Sr. Susan (left), Jeannette Engel (mom), and her sister Joanne.]

–Sister Susan Engel, MHSH

I’d like to take a moment to honor my mother, Mildred Lucian. Although she passed away three years ago, not a day goes by without me thinking of her and missing her. She was my rock and my best friend. I truly miss our “talks” and visits to the beach. God bless you Mom and may you rest in peace. Your loving daughter, Karen

–Karen Miceli

My mother, Rosalie, was a woman of deep faith. She taught my family and me about the gentle love of Jesus, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the grace-filled love of God. Mom always treated others with respect and dignity. She saw Jesus in the other. This is the message she gave to us – love one another as Jesus would love you. She was a great witness to me, my family and to so many people.

–Sister Loretta Cornell, MHSH

Mother M. Demetrias, Foundress {1930's}

Many, many years ago as I searched for a religious community to consider as a life choice, the young priest who was helping me spoke of a group of Sisters he had ministered with.  He said of them:  “Each one treats you like she’s your mother.”

That gave me a new slant on women religious.  So I drove from West Virginia to Baltimore to meet these “mothers.”  They were the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart and I liked their many qualities.  Here I am today at the age of 92 still trying to emulate and imitate them, all the while using the personal qualities they developed in my initiation and my life with them in Community.

–Sr. Joanne Frey, MHSH