A lifetime in dialogue

by Sr Lucy Thorson

I have been involved in the area of Jewish-Christian relations for many years. They are one of the guiding passions of my life as a Sister of Sion.

My present ministry includes being engaged both locally and internationally. On the Toronto archdiocesan level I am involved in the area of adult education: teaching and setting up programs to help adults of diverse faith communities to have a better understanding and appreciation of Judaism, the Jewish people and various aspects of the long history of Jewish-Christian relations. I continue to be an active member on the Executive Board of the CJDT – Christian Jewish Dialogue of Toronto. On a congregational level, I am a consultant for our NDS congregational Jewish-Christian Relations Team whose intent is to support and animate Jewish-Christian encounter, dialogue and action across our NDS Congregation. I presently continue as a co-ordinator for our congregational English language Itinerant Ministry Team which promotes Biblical and Jewish-Christian teachings in Zimbabwe, Malta and Kenya.

Jewish-Christian relations are one of the guiding passions of my life

I look for every opportunity to “migrate”, or pass on, our Sion charism to others, and I enjoy it! I am Canadian and I entered the Sisters of Sion in 1960 in Saskatoon. Following my novitiate, I did a Bachelor of Arts degree and a High school Teaching Diploma at the University of Saskatchewan and University of Manitoba. For about seven years I enjoyed teaching and doing counseling with high school students in Moose Jaw and Edmonton.

In 1973 I went to Jerusalem for one year of study… and, ended up living there for eighteen years! During that time, I lived and did ministry in three different Sion locations: Ecce Homo, Ratisbonne and Ein Karem. I studied at the University of Jerusalem and completed a Masters degree in Theology and Jewish Studies, focusing on Jewish liturgy. I served as Provincial Leader of our NDS Mediterranean province for seven years and taught at Ecce Homo’s Biblical Program. In Jerusalem I lived in both the Israeli Jewish and Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian areas. In this interreligious context I experienced how necessary reconciliation and healing are in many complex situations. Often the strong words of Isaiah 66:10 came to my heart and mind; their message is: you cannot rejoice for Jerusalem if you have not first mourned with her and all her people.

I went to Jerusalem for one year of study… and, ended up living there for eighteen years!

In 1991 I returned to Toronto, Canada for two years to update my theological studies. In 1993 I went to Rome, where I remained for fourteen years. I was Director of our NDS SIDIC Centre (International Centre for Jewish-Christian Relations) for 10 years. Following that ministry at SIDIC, I taught and did program planning for four years at the Gregorian Pontifical University in the Cardinal Bea Centre. It was most challenging and rewarding to reach out to share about Judaism, the Jewish people and Jewish-Christian relations with students coming from all over the world. I also served on the Rome Diocesan Commission for Christian-Jewish Relations and on the Vatican Committee to prepare Jewish-Christian initiatives for the Jubilee year in 2000.

In 2007, I returned to Canada where I have continued to be engaged in Jewish-Christian relations on a local and national level. I am also an active member of our parish Development and Peace Team.

I am most grateful for many gifts in Sion

I am most grateful for many gifts in Sion – in particular, for our internationality and for the ever-challenging and inspiring words of our Founder, Fr. Theodore Ratisbonne: “ Entrust all to God, and go forward with confidence, as if you are certain of the future.”