Each one of us is on a journey through life. It is a joy and privilege to share this journey with others who feel called to the same mission within the Church. Some of our Sisters have written their ‘stories’ – stories of love and fidelity, courage and prayer.
We have prepared a few videos on YouTube Channel called Sisters’ stories:
Ana María Murca, Managua, Nicaragua
I like reading and listening to music.
Anne-Marie F. Brittain
My name “Anne’ has significance in the history of our family. My grandmother, on mother’s (Irish) side was ‘Anne” and, although I never saw her, I was named after her. We also have “Anne-Marie’ in the next generation and one of my aunts also bore the name. It has become more significant to me also when I read the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel Ch 1v1 through to Ch 2, which gives her thanksgiving prayer; God ‘remembered her’ ….a new initiative about to happen. This always inspires me. I am a UK citizen, with Irish/English heritage, living now in an international context in Asia. Most of my life has been marked by small family moves – London to Newcastle-on-Tyne to Sheffield to Bournemouth – thus South to North and back again. These last 16years in the Philippines mark the longest period I have lived anywhere and I sometimes wonder what the message is here! Maybe, that belonging is a matter of the heart, and I have discovered that it grows, this sense of human belonging, way beyond the national roots of origin. Living in a beautiful, but ecologically fragile, part of the Philippines, on the Pacific coastal region we, as a community are involved in trying to support the local people (especially women) in their struggles for day-to-day survival. In November 2004 the 3 towns in this area were flooded and the Sierra Madre mountain range, which is the access to this coastal area, suffered massive landslides. It is hard to imagine the devastation now, as nature repairs to a certain extent. However, when the rains are persistent, the mountains are still very vulnerable to collapse; there is very little forest covering left. People survive as best they can – some fishing, planting etc. For me, personally, it means working alongside an emerging women producers’ cooperative, making handmade paper, handicrafts and soap. It is a long process in which small steps are necessary. Marketing skills are a key area of need. The other area of involvement is a Grameen Bank replica, again involving women who receive small loans for their own projects; here in this rural area, that might mean pig-rearing, chickens, small store, buy and sell etc. Presently we are 3 – I am joined by 2 women having a community experience. One of them already has experience with a micro-finance in Manila so it will be a big help to share this with the members and staff here. As a small community we are also involved in leading recollections for the women in preparation for the feast of Christmas. This is a very festive season here in the Philippines, with special early morning masses and lots of parties. So we will all (6) be together here in Kiloloron for Christmas. There is a tradition of the young children coming around to visit their relatives on Christmas morning to greet and receive a small gift. Many children also come to our house; we have become part of the local scene!
These past seven years Notre Dame de Sion Convent on the Via Dolorosa Jerusalem has been my home. To live in the Muslim Quarter in the Old City has been a gift and a challenge. The peoples of this land have enriched and expanded my horizons and my understanding of my ministry. I have grown in appreciation of what it means to be different. My hope that each In that day, says the Lord of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor under his vine and under his fig tree. Zech 3:10. Growing up in the great south land in the 50’s, Australia was seen as a land of opportunities. I was blessed to be born into a family who had a great capacity for work and took great pride in the life and development of their off spring. This secure and loving family environment fostered in me my religious vocation. It was here I experienced a sense of outreach and concern for my neighbour with a healthy and well balanced attentiveness to the growth and development for each family member. The desire to join the Congregation of Notre Dame de Sion did not come as a surprise to me. I did not experience a sudden bolt from the heavens calling me to follow. I took my freedom and went my own way until the whisper from this faithful God grew stronger. Before choosing religious life I worked for many years as a cutter and designer in the clothing industry. My future path was to focus on a teaching career. I then moved into parish ministry with a focus on lay leadership. My studies included degrees in Sociology and Theology. Later I served on the Congregational leadership team in Rome. Today my life and ministry in Ecce Homo Convent is alive and well. As Director of the English Biblical Formation Centre I am immersed in a world of relationships with others and the Word. I have received a fresh challenge. The insights gained in this ministry, continue to strengthen and give energy to my vocation as a Sister of Notre dame de Sion. To learn from the peoples of this land; to give greater attention to the re-reading of the scriptures; to live in the heart of Jerusalem have each been a gift. I am challenged daily to be a woman of peace; to seek deeper joy, and to make greater efforts to create space for the other to walk and speak with freedom. This is my hope and prayer: …they shall sit everyone under his/her vine and under his/her fig tree and none shall make them afraid; Micah 4:4.
Bernadette O’ Really, Winnipeg , Canada
I am a Canadian, originally from Toronto. I have lived and worked in Winnipeg since 1979. Our community in Winnipeg is with First Nations (Aboriginal) children and youth and their families through Rossbrook House (www.rossbrookhouse.ca). I also give retreats and do spiritual direction.
Carolyn Wicks, Penmaenmawr, Wales
I live in Penmaenmawr, North Wales. My present ministries are accompanying people during their retreat or in daily life; co-ordinating a team of women offering catechetics in the parish; working within Welsh Women’s Aid with women and children who have suffered domestic abuse at home; serving on the Province Vocations team; lending a helping hand or listening ear wherever it is needed! In 1958 I entered the Novitiate in Acton Burnell, Shropshire and pronounced my vows on January 2nd 1961. I celebrated my Golden Jubilee here in Penmaenmawr on January 2nd 2011 with a number of sisters from the Province, members of my family, friends and parishioners. At present I live in the Noddfa Spirituality Centre run by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary. I appreciate and value their open house welcome to one and all. During my life I have had some wonderful opportunities given to me by the Congregation and I have received excellent training and further education over the years to enable me to teach, deepen my understanding of Scripture, Theology, Life and Spirituality. I am very grateful for all I have been given. I am passionate about justice, the care of our planet, Interfaith dialogue and women’s issues. I believe profoundly we can make a difference by doing small things like sending letters to those in power to point out injustice, recycling, sharing stories and offering the listening ear. We, in the congregation of Our Lady of Sion, are greatly blessed to have such a wonderful man as Father Theodore as our founder and I delight in the wisdom hidden in his writings. He was indeed a man before his time. He passed on a magnificent heritage to us all, giving us great freedom in our prayer and a deep love of the Word of God. His call to ‘Have Hearts as large as the World’ is continually an inspiration ringing in my ears and a massive challenge to how I live my life. I value the Internationality of our Congregation, and the richness this gives to us all. I was a Primary School teacher for twenty five years in schools run by the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion in Acton Burnell and Worthing. Then I was part of the community serving in the Ammerdown Conference and Retreat Centre set in the stunning countryside of Somerset before coming to Wales. I have the great privilege of journeying with people on their ‘Sacred Ground’ during their personal retreats, it is amazing to see God in others. The work I do with Women’s Aid is profoundly moving as one hears the stories of very broken women, and we try to enable them to find their voice, self esteem and confidence as they take control of their lives and make their own decisions, stand tall and believe in themselves again. I love the wildness and beauty of creation, and really appreciate being able to ‘Watch the Flowers Grow’ in quiet moments. All animals hold a special place in my heart. God is a wonderful and extravagant artist. Walking, gardening, creating picture with paint or on tapestries and swimming are my hobbies.
Celia Deutsch, New York, United States
I live in Brooklyn, a borough of New York City (U.S.A.). I teach early Jewish and early Christian history in the religion department of Barnard College/Columbia University. My neighborhood is home to large communities of Muslims and Jews, as well as Christians. In my parish I coordinate the work for interfaith relations. We work closely with a neighboring synagogue in a variety of projects. I am also active in vocations ministry. All of these activities bring me into collaboration and friendship with people of many cultures and ethnicities into my life and enrich my life. As a girl, I was captivated by the beauty and mystery and love of God. Our home was on the edge of the prairie, in the U.S. Midwest, and in long walks I felt God’s presence in the open spaces, the silence and the sound of wind in the grain fields. I first met sisters in my parish school, and I was drawn to a life given to God in a way that was absolute. When I learned of Sion’s vocation to understanding and reconciliation between Christians and Jews, and its focus on the Word of God, it seemed like a natural step to ask to enter the Congregation. I have lived for many years in Brooklyn, a borough of New York. This is a city that includes a vast immigrant population, and large communities of Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus, as well as Jews and Christians. I am involved in interfaith relations in many contexts: the academic world, national organizations, the Sion international team. I am also involved in this work in the neighborhood in which I live, with its local parish, synagogue , mosque, and the encounters of every day in shops and on the streets. Wherever the conversation occurs, I am stretched by religious worlds that are different from my own. I am challenged to enter the struggle for political, economic and social justice. In sharing their worlds with me, friends, neighbors, students and colleagues invite me to meet ever more deeply the God I found as a girl walking on the prairie. Their faithfulness is an invitation to fidelity in my own response to the One who is love.
Christiane Marie Formant, Auvergne, France
Novitiate: Acton Burnell. French teacher at St Omer. Foundation of Auvergne with 7 sisters from St Omer: Orcival, Pérignat teaching literature, catechesis with the Marists (Riom). Grandbourg, Ste Geneviève. Then Pérignat at the request of the bishop, for the School of Faith (5 years). Since then, Biblical animation at the ITA and elsewhere. Originaire du Nord de la France, les événements (guerre, Papa blessé et prisonnier, petite sœur fragile) nous ont conduits près de Grenoble où mon oncle dominicain (lui-même dans la clandestinité et résistant) nous a trouvé un logement dans la montagne et où maman a caché une quinzaine de juifs ce qui lui a valu (ainsi qu’à mon oncle) la médaille de Juste parmi les nations. Après la guerre et le retour de Papa, installés à Grenoble, je suis allée à Notre Dame de Sion (élève, professeur…. Et j’y suis toujours !) Les événements encore et j’ai fait mon noviciat et ma 1re profession à Acton Burnell (8 sœurs et 7 nationalités). Saint Omer pendant 10 ans comme enseignante (lettres) maîtresse de classe et catéchèse. 1977 :La communauté s’installe en Auvergne. J’ai enseigné chez les Maristes. 1994 Ste Geneviève ( Grandbourg) et enseignement dans le technique à Joigny le Pont. 1997 Retour en Auvergne sur demande de l’évêque pour l’ouverture de l’Ecole de la Foi. (5 ans) Depuis essentiellement des groupes bibliques J’ai été responsable du secteur éducatif et social dans le conseil provincial et responsable de tutelle jusqu’en 2001. J’ai « piloté » plusieurs voyage en Terre Sainte.
Diane Willey, Jerusalem, Israel
A “media clip” has a gentle way of distilling the essence of a story. I invite you to re-visit briefly with me the calls that persist in enlarging my horizons, refining my gifts, revising my priorities, and giving meaning to my life, in ways I could not have imagined. Canada was my original home, in the wonderful expanses of forests, lakes, and rivers in northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan that still speak to my yearnings for silence and space and a certain kind of beauty. At age 13, the absence of a high school where my family was living, brought me to Saskatoon and Sion Academy, and instilled within me a conviction about lack as opportunity, inviting alternative thinking and options. At seventeen, I crossed the academy’s tennis court to enter the Sion Novitiate. In university and then teacher’s college, the basic paradigm of my ministry took shape, in education; and I was called to teach in high schools in Edmonton and Saskatoon, in the Vatican II years, when the whole Church was into aggiornamento, and religious education was an adventure in creating the path as you walked it. Two years of study in Israel and then an MA in Theology reoriented my focus to adult religious education and ecumenical / interfaith dialogue / relations, in Toronto and Montreal. Along the way there were calls into leadership: on the Provincial Council in Canada-USA for three terms, on the General Council for a six-year term in Rome, and more recently, in Jerusalem, on the Mediterranean Provincial Leadership Team for one term, and now as the last “Provincial” of this province, facilitating the planning of our reconfiguration in this part of the Congregation, for January 20, 2012. What characterizes, inspires and sustains this story is the vocation of Sion–its charism and mission–rooted and centered in the Word of God in Scripture and enfleshed in Jesus, which calls us into a unique relation with the Jewish people, and into a commitment to justice, with them whenever possible.
Donna Purdy, Saskatoon, Canada
I am now back in Saskatoon after having spent so many years in Jerusalem, both at the Ecce Homo convent as well as in Ein Kerem. My interests have been shaped by that experience: the Biblical Land, the peoples of the Land, living there today, Israelis and Palestinians. Now that I am back in Saskatchewan, these interests take another form, mainly multi-faith activities and some teaching. The photo taken of me was taken here in Saskatoon where I am now living and involved in ministry on the parish and diocesan level. I returned here, to my roots, four years ago. It has been a wonderful journey that the Lord set me on since the time that I left Saskatoon, in the late sixties, inviting me, through my provincial..Sr. Kay…to go to Jerusalem for one year of study. That one year extended finally to over 25 years. I lived in Jerusalem over that period of time, serving both in the communities of the Ecce Homo as well as in Ein Kerem. What a privilege that was, to live in Holy city and in the convents dating back to the origins of Sion. I also came to know both the Palestinian and Jewish Israeli community who for years have been struggling over rights to the Land. In the Ecce Homo I met and shared life with the Palestinian community. In En Kerem, now a suburb in the Israeli section of Jerusalem, I met and shared life with the Israeli Jewish community, many of whom visit our convent and feel very welcomed there. But after 25 years, I felt that it was time to return to my prairie roots in Saskatoon. However, on my way back to Canada in 2000, I was attracted by the simple life style of our sisters in Montreal . It was also a way of returning to Canada but slowly…spending some time in a milieu that was multi-cultural and rich in history, as I had spent so many years being surrounded by different languages and living in the richness of the Biblical Land. I spent 7 years in Montreal and found it to be a graced time. I was able to be trained as a spiritual director through the Montreal Ignatian Centre, a training which serves well in parish work where one spends time with people experiencing the joys and sorrows of life. Now, back in Saskatoon for the past 4 years, I am once again feeling part of the community here and the rich life of the parish and diocesan church. However, it has taken time to feel “at home” again. The diocese has grown, expanded, and over the years, has initiated some very fine programs for the training of the laity. The city of Saskatoon has also grown, in every direction. The population, too, has not only increased but one sees in the streets and in the neighbourhoods, people of every race and color and wearing apparel. One finds here also Hindu and Buddhist temples , mosques..a rich variety of faiths and places of worship. All of that was new for me. And now I am here, really here, experiencing again the cold of the prairie winter, the immense sense of new life when spring finally arrives, enjoying the brief summer and the beauty of the fall..and the immenseness of the prairie sky… and the kindness and simplicity of the prairie people. And Lord, it was a wonderful journey…A big toda (Hebrew) , shukran (Arabic) , merci and thank you.
Dorothee, Iasi, Romania
Je suis allemande, actuellement je suis membre de notre communauté à Iasi, en Roumanie. C’est en 1975 que j’ai pris conscience d’un appel à la vie contemplative et le « oui » donné alors, je ne l’ai jamais regretté. Dieu n’est pas une réponse absolue à nos question. Il est chemin, pour moi Il est LE chemin. C’est cela qui me tient et me tire en avant. Je ne connais pas la totalité du chemin mais j’ai touché la trace où Celui qui est parti demeure… « Demeurer », voilà le mot-clé de toute ma vie.
Iraílde, Aracajú, Brazil
Sou do sertão da Paraíba, Nordeste do Brasil. Tenho 06 irmãos e 05 irmãs. A busca por melhores condições de vida, trabalho e estudo me fizeram sair da terra natal e ir para o Rio de Janeiro. E foi lá que os caminhos de Deus me conduziram para esta Congregação que jamais havia imaginado que existisse. Desde muito jovem desejei consagrar a minha vida como religiosa. Depois de concluir os estudos básicos, participar da Pastoral Vocacional e ser acompanhada por uma Irmã de Sion, fui recebida na comunidade de Sion– Salvador, em 1986. Durante o tempo de formação morei em São Paulo por 08 anos. Sou assistente social e psicopedagoga. No ano 2000 fui acolhida durante 03 meses em uma comunidade de Sion na Inglaterra para aprender Inglês. Depois vivi, trabalhei e aprendi muito numa experiência de 05 anos em EcceHomo, Jerusalém.
Desde 2007 vivo na comunidade de Sion, Aracaju-Sergipe .
Trabalho no projeto educacional da OASIS (Organização Amigos de Sionpara Inclusão Social) que desenvolve atividades sócio-educativas com crianças e adolescentes carentes ( A OASIS é uma ONG fundada em 2007 pelas Irmãs da comunidade de Aracaju e Amigos(as) de Sion).
Estou envolvida com Pastoral Vocacional, Amigos(as) de Sione faço parte do Conselho paroquial, tenho várias responsabilidades na comunidade, dou aulas de Hebraico em casa.
Gosto de estudar, ensinar, cozinhar, passear, cantar para rezar, ouvir musica, cuidar do jardim,de lidar com jovens e crianças.
Isabel Herd, Birmingham, England
I am a member of the Birmingham Community in the United Kingdom. At present I am on the Province Leadership Team and quite a lot of time is spent in organisation, meetings, communication and travelling. In my earlier years I was involved in education, teaching children from 5 years of age to 11. In 1989 I was ‘called’ to Jerusalem where I spent 4 years working in Ecce Homo Guest House in various capacities. The ministries I am involved in now are Spiritual Accompaniment, Alternative Therapies and Hospitality.
Isabel Cristina, Curitiba, Brazil
I live in Curitiba/Brazil. My day begins with the Holy Mass in the community of La Solitude. I work in a nursery school in a building considered of high risk, where we welcome throughout the day, children from 2 to 6 years olds. We orient the teachers, we are at the service of the families and we help those most in need. Religious instruction is transmitted from the ecumenical point of view. With the collaboration of some of the sisters of the Congregation, we are in charge of a group of friends of Sion in which young people and adults of our church Our Lady of Sion are involved. I am happy in doing this work. I celebrated my golden jubilee of consecration in Sion in November of last year. em Curitiba / Brasil vivo. Meu dia se INICIA com S. Missa na comunidade da Yalnızlık. Trabalho num centro de educação infantil, em, em ayrılmaz periodo, ‘alto Risco de’ vila considerada, onde acolhemos UMA 2 de 6 Anos Criancas; Damos orientação para os professores; atendimento às familias e dentre elas ajuda às mais necessitadas. O ensino religioso é transmitido em uma linha ecumênica. Com colaboração de algumas das irmãs da congregação, dirigimos um grupo de de Sion, onde participam jovens e adultos amigos: paroquianos da Capela Nossa Senhora de Sion. Sou feliz e muito realizada nesse trabalho. Celebrei meu Jubileu de Ouro de Consagração Religiosa em Sion hiçbir mes de Novembro deste ano.
Isabelle Denis, Paris, France
Since 1986 I have regularly contributed to interfaith dialogue in a Jewish school [www.ganenou.fr] , and since 1997 I have been a member of the Jewish association Yad Layled France which, in link with the Beit Lohamei Haghetaot museum in Galilee, works at transmitting the history of the Shoa, particularly in the memory of children, with tools designed for children ending primary school, and beginning college [http://www.yadlayeled.org/]. At the moment, I am part of the international congregational team for Judeo-Christian relations.
* Diplômée de l’Institut Supérieur de Liturgie de l’Institut Catholique de Paris * Professeur d’Ecole de 1973 à 2003 * Membre du GERFEC, groupe d’étude et recherche des formateurs européens chrétiens, au niveau interculturel/interreligieux de 1996 à 2003. * Depuis 1997, membre de l’association Yad Layeled France * Depuis 1985, intervenante à l’école primaire parisienne Ganenou au niveau du dialogue interreligieux. Comme une élève l’a écrit : « Isabelle vient nous parler du christianisme et en retour elle apprend qui nous sommes en tant que juifs. Quand elle est dans notre classe nous lui posons de nombreuses questions et tandis qu’elle y répond nous faisons des dessins pour elle sur nos fêtes… » Cf. http://www.ganenou.fr/ * Animation de groupes bibliques chrétiens avec l’apport des sources juives * Présentation de documents sur les Relations entre Juifs et Chrétiens sur www.sion.org * Membre de l’équipe congrégationnelle relations juifs et chrétiens
Josie Germaine, St. Laurent, Canada
I have been retired now for some years but have remained active. My ministry has been as sacristan in our parish. Visiting families and the sick, and keeping in touch with those living alone is very much a part of my life as well as praying for them and with them. In former years I taught in our schools and have been blessed to do so in Canada, Kansas City (USA) Strasbourg(France) and in Egypt. These years were richly blessed by God . I am grateful.
Judite Paulina Mayer ,Salvador, Brazil
Sister Judite is member of the community of Our Lady of Sion in Salvador – Bahia – Brazil where she teaches Sacred Scripture
“… I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
That’s how Jesus sees his mission. And so do I in my Mission based on that statement from the gospel of John to foster life among the different religions, in Gods creation, between human beeings, animals and to plant life for the good of all.
My call began like Abrams call: “Leave your country, your kindred and your father’s house for a country which I shall show you!” (Gen 23:1) Also to me God said: “Go, go and read the Bible, the love letter for you.” As Abram left so did I in order to find the promise, the call of God in my life.
I found this call in the Ecce Homo Convent some years ago where my journey began to serve God in the Congregation of Notre Dame de Sion. With the story of Abram I also realised that only when I begin walking, when I begin to move, then…
The promises become reality also in my life of yesterday and today. Today I help young women to find and express their call in their life and what it means to listen and to respond to God calling you for religious life in Sion today.
Sr. Juliana Baldinger NDS
Ein Karem / Jerusalem
Kasia Kowalska, London, Great Brittain
My name is Kasia, I come from Poland. My journey in Sion started in 2007, when I joined the Community in Cracow. Since a year I am living in a beautiful village in Ein Karem, (Israel), where Sisters Apostolic, Contemplative and Brothers of Sion live, pray and work together in our little guesthouse. Part of my time I study Hebrew, Bible and Jewish Tradition. My journey in Sion started not so long time ago – in 2007. I met one of our Sisters of Sion in Warsaw, during an ecumenical meeting. Already then I had been engaged in the Jewish – Christian dialogue in Krakow and naturally I have become interested in the charism of Sion. When the Sisters moved to Krakow and founded a new Community there, we became close friends. The house there was always ready to welcome guests, start new friendships. Thanks to that I got to know better not only the Charism but also how the Sisters live every day. Immediately I liked the atmosphere of simplicity, openness and at the same time truly religious life without big words. It was also important for me the stress that was put on studying and sharing the Bible. During my theological studies I discovered Judaism. It became my passion to know and understand the Jewish roots of my faith but also to know who were the people that lived in the past so numerous in the shtetls near my native village, who are Jews in Poland and in Israel now. And it was so wonderful to talk and to share with a few people about my new discoveries – with a group of friends whom belonged Sisters of Sion. At the same time it became more and more clear to me that I may have a religious vocation to a consecrated life. And because Sion was so close to my heart I finally understood that this is my way and I should take it, I should try. My first formation I spent in Poland, with small periods of time in France and Israel. After my first vows I was sent to the Philippines where I spent a half a year. It was an amazing experience. I could see and share the work of the Sion Sisters in the service of the poor, I could “hear the cry of the poor and a call of God to justice” in our world. In 2010 I was asked to go to Ein Karem. A long time before that I was thinking that it would be a wonderful experience to live in Israel. And here I am now. This place is very special for me. Ein Karem bears the Tradition of the event of the meeting between Mary and Elisabeth and also of the place of John the Baptist. It is an Israeli village and most of our guests are Israelis. They come to our small guesthouse to have a rest or just to walk in our beautiful garden. Very often they ask about the story of this place and often it is the beginning of a longer conversation about dialogue, Church, sisters of Sion and their charism. And for me it is the best source of learning about the situation in the country and to know the People. Through our Arab employees I can also meet and listen to the everyday difficulties that the Palestinians have to struggle not only in Israel but also in the Palestinian territories. My time here is also shared with deepening my formation through studies. I am learning Hebrew, participate in different lectures concerning Bible, history and tradition of Judaism, liturgy, studying in a small group weekly the parasha and Talmud. To live in Israel is also to live according to the liturgical year: participate in Christian feasts, Jewish and Muslim. Let me finish with the words of the Psalm that I often repeat in my heart: “I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem…”(Ps 122)
Lucy Thorson, Toronto, Canada
My present ministry is mainly in the area of Adult Education in Toronto, Canada: teaching and setting up programs to help persons have a better understanding and appreciation of Judaism and various aspects of the long history of Jewish-Christian relations.I am also a Sion rep. for the Canadian (national level ) Christian-Jewish Consultation and the Christian Jewish Dialogue of Toronto (Diocesan level). I look for every opportunity to “pass on”/ migrate our Sion charism to others and I enjoy it! I am Canadian & I entered the Srs of Sion in 1960 in Saskatoon. Following my novitiate, I did my Bachelor of Arts degree & a High School Teaching diploma at the Univ. of Saskatchewan & Univ. of Manitoba. For about 7 years I enjoyed teaching and doing Counseling with High school students in Moose Jaw & Edmonton. In 1973 I went to Jerusalem for 1 year of studies – and, I ended up living there for 18 years! During that time, I lived & did ministry at Ecce Homo, Ratisbonne & Ein Karem. I studied at at the Univ. of Jerusalem & completed a Masters degree in Theology & Jewish Studies – focusing on Jewish Liturgy. I served as Provincial Leader of the Med. Prov. for 7 years and taught at Ecce Homo Biblical Program. In Jerusalem I experienced how necessary reconciliation and healing are in many complex situations. Often the strong words of Isaiah came to my heart & mind: “You cannot rejoice for Jerusalem if you have not first mourned with her” (Is.66:10). In 1991 I returned to Toronto, Canada for 2 years to update my theological studies & in 1993 I was invited to go to Rome to be Directress of Sion’s SIDIC Centre. I remained in Rome for 14 years and during that time I also taught and did program planning at the Gregorian Univ. within the Cardinal Bea Centre. It was most challenging and rewarding to reach out to share about Judaism 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 for the Jubilee year in 2000. In 2007 I returned to Canada & am I presently doing ministry in the following areas: Teaching & programming in the Interfaith Dept. of the Scarboro Missions ; a Sion rep. on the Canadian Christian Jewish Consultation & the Canadian Jewish Christian Committee. I am most grateful for many gifts in Sion – in particular, for our INTERNATIONALITY & for the words of our Founder, Fr. Theodore : “ Entrust all to God and, GO FORWARD with CONFIDENCE, as if you are CERTAIN of the future”.
Maria Aparecida Santos Duca, Aracajú, Brazil
I am Sergipian, from Sao Miguel of Alexo. I live and work in Aracaju in the community Coqueiral with children, youth and their families. Also I am a Confirmation Catechist in the Salesiano Parish. I’m a ‘junior’, studying pedagogy and English. I enjoy studying, listening to music, making new friendships, and listening to the songs of birds. My wish is to go deeper into God’s word and put it into practice at the service of his kingdom of peace and love I increasingly would like to realize this wish with people, especially with young people and children. Eu sou sergipana de São Miguel do Aleixo . Eu vivo e trabalho em Aracaju na Comunidade Coqueiral com crianças, jovens e suas famílias. Eu também dou catequese na paróquia Salesiano. ( Crisma)
Sou juneorista, estudo pedagogia e faço inglês. Gosto de estudar, de música, fazer amizade, ouvir os cantos dos pássaros principalmente do sabiá e do bentivi.
Meu desejo é me aprofundar mais na palavra Deus e colocar em prática a serviço do seu reino de paz e amor. Quero cada vez mais realizar este desejo com o povão, principalmente com os jovens e crianças.
Maria Cristiane dos Santos, São Paulo, Brazil
I live in São Paulo, Brazil. I am a member of the national commission for Catholic-Jewish dialogue and I belong to the team that coordinates ministry in ecumenism and interfaith dialogue.
María de Jesús Martins Pacheco, Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil
I am Brazilian and live in Mogi das Cruzes, São Paulo State. I dedicate myself to the ecumenical pastoral, to vocation ministry and I help the children in need and old people. Sou Maria de Jesus (Jesuca), brasileira, residente em Mogi das Cruzes, São Paulo. Dedico-me à Pastoral Ecumência, à Pastoral Vocacional e atendimento a crianças carentes e pessoas idosas. Admiro a natureza e os pássaros. Gosto de música, de futebol (sou Corinthiana), e me sinto feliz no relacionamento com pessoas de diferentes idades
Marianne Dacy, Sydney, Australia
Currently, I run the Archive of Australian Judaica at the University of Sydney, and previously organised the Library at ‘Ratisbonne’ in Jerusalem . I am involved in interfaith and am secretary of the Australian Council of Christians and Jews and The Australian Association of Jewish Studies. I like to write and enjoy reading, good films, music, photography, gardening, nature and the sea side. I attended Our Lady of Sion, Box Hill, and after two years in the Public Service, entered the Novitiate at Sale. After profession I completed a Bachelor of Arts, with majors in modern history and Ancient Middle Eastern Studies. After two years of primary teach training in Sale, I asked to go to Israel to study Judaism, and it was ten years before I returned to Australia. I undertook intense studies of modern Hebrew and Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University at Master’s level (begun but not completed) and also gained a post Graduate diploma in Librarianship at the North London Polytechnic. On my call to return to Australia in mid 1982, I found work in bibliography at the seminary in Manly, and some months later was asked by the late Professor Alan Crown , head of Semitic Studies at the University of Sydney to begin and maintain an Archive of Australian Judaica, where I continue to gather and process the records of the Australian Jewish community. At the same time, I have continued to study and gained my M.Phil with a thesis on Succoth and a Ph.D. entitled “ The Separation of Early Christianity from Judaism. ” This was published in 2010. I also completed a Bachelor of Divinity with a major in New Testament. My paid work is job is three days per week. At the same time, I am the national secretary of the Australian Council of Christians and Jews and am involved in interfaith work. I also take time to write articles and books, give occasional lectures and am a member of the Congregational Christian Jewish team.
Marie Lise Adou, Evry, France
Noviciate in Jerusalem, then in the communities of Paris (working for an editor) ; Lyons (working in a technical school : pastoral work, and work in the library) ; 5 years at the reception in Ecce Homo, Jerusalem ; in charge of the St Geneviève guest-house in Evry ; Perignat (helping to welcome people in a Christian café). I have been on the Provincial Team since 2005. Secrétaire pendant 15 ans au collège/lycée Notre Dame de Sion de Saint Omer, c’est tout naturellement que je me suis tournée vers cette congrégation quand j’ai pris conscience de l’appel du Christ à lui consacrer ma vie. Après le noviciat à Jérusalem dans une communauté internationale pour découvrir la congrégation et commencer la formation initiale, j’ai rejoint la France où j’ai été accueillie par la communauté de la rue de Bretagne à Paris. Puis ce fut la communauté de Lyon où j’ai passé 4 ans, travaillant dans un lycée professionnel au service des jeunes : pastorale et travail dans la bibliothèque. J’ai retrouvé ensuite Jérusalem à la maison d’accueil de l’Ecce Homo, responsable de l’accueil des pèlerins, un travail passionnant qui m’a mis en contact avec des gens du monde entier. Après 5 années à Jérusalem, j’ai été envoyée à la maison Ste Geneviève où j’avais fait mes premiers vœux et mes vœux perpétuels, cette fois pour y vivre et en être responsable, travail que j’ai assuré avec joie pendant 8 années. La maison n’étant plus aux normes de sécurité nous l’avons fermée en juin 2010. Et je suis arrivée en Auvergne, dans la communauté de Pérignat les Sarlieve. Je découvre le diocèse grâce à ma communauté et assure une permanence chaque jeudi dans le café chrétien au centre de Clermont Ferrand : lieu d’accueil où rentrent des gens seuls pour prendre un café, parler, rencontrer d’autres personnes. C’est une nouvelle expérience enrichissante. Depuis 2005 je fais partie de l’équipe provinciale de la province européenne. C’est une joie de pouvoir connaître ainsi les sœurs et de participer activement à la vie de la province. Cela fait 20 ans que j’ai fait mes premiers vœux à Notre Dame de Sion. Je rends grâce pour toutes ces années, tout ce que j’ai découvert grâce aux sœurs plus âgées, tout ce que j’ai vécu dans mes différentes communautés. Répondre à l’appel du Christ à le suivre dans la vie religieuse donne beaucoup de joie.
Marta Bauchwitz, Paris, France
I am Marta. You already know my face from the photo of the previous general council. Continuing on my journey, I am at present living in Paris, in community, doing a few hours of voluntary work at SIDIC, and translating texts when my help is needed. My passion for Biblical symbolism has led me to do a little teaching on this subject. I enjoy classical music and literature. I love animals and flowers. There are new projects in view, and the most important of them has already begun: collaborating with the contemplative sisters in Bartrès during the summer months.
Mary Reaburn, Melbourne, Australia
Mary Reaburn nds is deeply involved in teaching Bible in Melbourne, Australia. She loves the Psalms and Wisdom Literature as well as the Book of Daniel. One of her favourite passages is Isaiah 55:10-11. Mary is also involved in Jewish/Christian relations and is a member of the Australian Catholic Council for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations
Monique Huberfeld, BAYONNE France – Née à Nancy de parents juifs polonais, c’est à l’âge de 9 ans que j’ai découvert l’existence de Jésus comme quelqu’un de vivant et qui m’aimait…Pendant toute la guerre, enfant cachée, j’ai attendu le baptême qui m’a été conféré le 9 Janvier 1944 Je suis entrée au noviciat chez les Ancelles le 7 Octobre 1956 à Viroflay…J’ai fait profession en l’Eglise Saint Pierre et Saint Paul le 8 Février 1959. Je suis envoyée à Barcelone de 1960 à 1963 Communauté de 4 sœurs dans une zone de migrants (Bidonville et quartier en construction :45.000 personnes en 3 ans ) Travail social, relations diverses dans le contexte catalan sous Franco… En 1964, la branche des Ancelles est supprimée : je demande à partir au Brésil : 1964-1965 Rio, 65-66 Sao Paulo,1966-1967 Santa Cecilia. Appelée à Rome :1968-1972 : Licence en théologie et Sciences Bibliques.1972, rentrée en France où, en dialogue avec le Conseil Provincial, je m’insère dans une structure professionnelle en banlieue parisienne en milieux migrants tout en faisant partie de la communauté du SIDIC. Mon but ? Comment parler de justice, comment faire le lien entre toutes les nationalités, les religions, les tendances politiques, lutter contre les racismes, l’antisémitisme? Comment être témoin chrétien dans ces milieux ? Surtout comment la Bible, comment Jésus-Christ peut-il être entendu, perçu dans ces milieux ?? 1987 Je reste sur le Diocèse de Versailles, au service de formation pour l’enseignement de la Bible et les relations interreligieuses, en particulier les relations avec le Judaïsme… Et maintenant la retraite…Quelques sessions, correction de cours par correspondance…Présence dans la paroisse et dans la ville. Plus de temps pour une vie de prière, de silence… Je suis maintenant à Bayonne dans notre maison de retraite depuis le 13 décembre 2016.
Pauline Greenizan, Toronto, Canada
Born in England, raised in Canada, has had ministry experiences in elementary schools in Winnipeg, campus ministry in Saskatoon, retreat houses in Saskatoon and Guelph and is presently working part time at the Catholic Marriage Tribunal in Toronto and doing spiritual direction.
Rita Kammermeyer, Jerusalem, Israel
My name is Sr. Rita Kammermayer, nds, a Canadian and I am now living in Jerusalem at Ecce Homo Convent. I arrived here in August, 1997. Our primary ministry here in this house is one of welcome and hospitality to our guests, visitors and participants of the three Biblical Programs. Our staff are all Palestinians, Muslim and Christian. One area of my ministry is working with the volunteers who come here for three months from all over the world to assist us in our work. Living here truly one sees the world! Shalom/Salem. I am a Canadian, born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, a relatively small city on the Canadian prairies. I am the fourth child in a family of six and I came from a very loving and supportive family. My schooling consisted of attending St. Joseph’s School and Sion Academy and in both places I had the Sisters of Sion teaching me. We were blessed to have such wonderful teachers. There, I first heard the story of Theodore and Alphonse and of course January 20th took on a meaning for all of us that affected the rest of our lives. Sion Academy prepared us well to face the future. Certainly the motto was – you have received, now you give! It was in grade 11 that I thought seriously about religious life and on August 2nd. 1958 I entered Sion with ten others. After my profession on September 3rd, 1960 I attended Teacher’s College. This was a dream come true! I loved teaching and taught in Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Winnipeg. When in Winnipeg we, as a community chose to live with the Native People/First Nations in the core area of the city. This work was most needed and it expressed a very important aspect of our charism. I completed my B.Ed., B.A., and a Masters in Pastoral Studies. It was in 1971-72 that I spent a year in Israel which I thoroughly enjoyed. Over the years I was on various teams, worked in Finances and was on the Provincial Council. It was also at this time that we were living through Vatican II and trying to find our way in the midst of change. In one sense it was a glorious time and yet we were on unchartered ground. It was a scene where Sion played a very important role in keeping the focus on the Church’s understanding of Judaism and of Jewish Christian relations. We had to readjust our thinking and rethink our charism. After teaching for 30 years I spent a year and a half caring for my Mother who was ill. In August, 1997 I was asked to come to Ecce Homo and I have been here since. I feel that it is a wonderful experience to be living in Jerusalem – it is truly the heart in so many ways! I’ve discovered that in life you take in all that will help you to grow, to be alive, to live worthwhile and contributing lives. In many ways Sion, in its simplicity and grounded in scripture, has built on a solid foundation. A deep faith in God is what has sustained us. It is with deep gratitude that we remember the sisters who have gone before us for we reap much of what they had sowed. God was present in both the joys and in the harder moments of my life. Scripture has for me been a rock and a refuge. No matter what the struggle, obstacle or mood. I found that scripture spoke to me. I celebrated my 50th Jubilee as a Sister of Sion in 2010 and as I reflected on these years I realized the richness that has filled my life in Sion and I certainly can see God’s Hand in the events of my life.
Therese Fitzgerald, Dublin, Ireland. Promoting Sion in Ireland. Engaged in Bible study, social justice, dialogue (especially Jewish/Christian relations) and counselling.
Trudy Nebuurs, Jerusalem, Israel
Trudy Nabuurs from Australia and now part of the Mediterranean province. I feel privileged and after almost 15 years, I am still passionate about being here at Ecce Homo, Jerusalem, where I am fortunate enough to have many and varied ways to be able to live out my calling as a Sister of Our Lady of Sion in this very special and complex city. I join you all in continuously saying “For the peace of Jerusalem I pray”. (Ps. 122) Born in Holland and moving to Australia in 1953 with my family, we settled in Victoria where I did my secondary schooling with the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion. My call to Sion has been rich and blessed in every way, and one where God constantly reached out with more and more invitations. I started as a primary teacher and loved the involvement in parish life. Being part of leadership teams and involved in initial formation provided many challenges as well as opportunities. Going back to study to do psychology and sociology gave me more skills to walk with people and assist in many ways. In 1996 I was called to minister in Jerusalem as director of the house of Ecce Homo. A rather daunting task, and extremely difficult in the beginning. Now I can say I feel very privileged and fortunate to be living in Jerusalem .To be faced with the challenge to try to live the charism in a place of much conflict and lack of acceptance of the “different”. To work together with many to be peace builders in our own small ways. To have so many opportunities to articulate and speak about our charism and our life, to guests in Ecce Homo, with students who are here for periods of time, in Inter Faith settings ,as well as numerous other times we are asked to speak to outside groups about Sion , our Charism and our ministry in Interfaith dialogue. As well as being part of the Provincial Leadership Team I am involved in different aspects of formation for the province. In first formation, as well as walking with those sisters who come here to study in “the land.” In Initial formation I assist in the formation house, and this takes me to Egypt for several months each year. It is a privilege as well as a challenge to work with these newer members. In Jerusalem I find it challenging to be involved in the Inter-Religious Coordinating Council of Israel, the Union of sister Religious as well as other groups. These Involvements give me the opportunity to be in relation with Jews, Muslims and Christians. What I also treasure is the involvement and the relations with the Palestinian staff, their families and the wider Palestinian community. I praise and thank God for this call and I continue to hear the voice behind me saying ”this is the way, walk in it.” Is. 30:21)
Vaneide Chagas de oliveira, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I am Vaneide, a teacher. I work in our school in Rio de Janeiro and in Jewish-Catholic Dialogue at national and international level for the congregation. I like very much to meet people and make good use of technologies. I love to dance and cook. I am a cheerful and optimistic person, I believe in a better world, that is why I work to build it.