We, Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, commit ourselves by profession of vows to:
Manifest God’s universal compassion through inclusive non-dominating relationships of love.
Trust in God’s Providence and live in a manner that affirms the right of all to a just share of the earth’s resources.
Discern together the voice of the Spirit that has called us to be one in our diversity.
In the spirit of Francis, Clare, and Elizabeth Hayes, we promote ever-widening circles of communion as we:
Open ourselves to a life of continued conversion in response to the call of the Gospel.
Identify with the victim, the poor and the marginalized in seeking a peace built on justice.
Reverence creation, acknowledging the right of all God’s creatures to enjoy its blessings.
Address the need within ourselves for repentance, forgiveness and healing while promoting a message of reconciliation.
Greetings from Tenafly – April 25, 2016
I took a notion today to sit down and type a letter. It’s easier to read and the computer does most of the work. If you have time on your hands, make a cup of tea and read about what we are up to in Tenafly. You have a good sense of humor, so you’ll enjoy reading about us.
What’s new from Tenafly? Well, lots of things. Yesterday we celebrated 17 Sisters’ Jubilees. So sorry Sr. Jean Morrissey was not well enough to attend. The chapel was packed because of the number of Jubilarians, about 7 of the Sisters came from Boston, the South and City Island, NY each with several guests including Sr. Helen Bubu from PNG. Margaret Mary Dennehy’s two nun sisters came from Kerry and will stay two weeks. Rosalie had about twenty nieces and nephews, most from Chicago and one from Roscommon. Mairead’s three sisters and her brother arrived from Dublin, Beatrice’s brother also from Dublin. Francis, Noelle and Joan had a contingent each from Syracuse and Long Island. Eileen’s Dominican Sisters represented Brooklyn. Just before dinner, news came through that Kerry was beaten in an important football match in Croke Park. So there were tears from the Kerry folk and cheers from the Dubs. Our celebrant, Father Michael Carana, as usual did us honor and gave us memories of our Brooklyn roots of Our Lady of Loretto. Music for the Mass was provided by St. Therese’s, Cresskill youth group – it was magnificent. We hired a bus to take us to the Knights of Columbus hall in nearby Dumont where a delicious dinner was served. Of course we started dancing to the tune of “Come down the mountain Katy Daly”, so the Kerry group dried their tears and joined the Dubs on the dance floor… Pace e Bene! Two of Noelle’s brothers came, I taught both of them in Syracuse in the 60’s and we danced. Don’t know which of us looked more infirm, teacher or students! However, neither of us stumbled! We had a lot of fun.
So much for the jubilee. A couple of weeks ago, the local eighth graders from Mt. Carmel School requested to have interviews with the Sisters to learn about the history of our time. About 23 14-yr old students arrived here, each with a laptop and microphone. So 23 Sisters walked off with an individual for about an hour and a half. I had a lovely girl, Jealie, a Baptist from nearby Englewood. She came with a list of questions – where were you born, what was your childhood like, did you have siblings, tell me about the games you played, what kind of job did your Dad have???? She had never heard of Derry, and luckily, I had a lovely picture calendar showing the historic walled city, the Guildhall, the Bogside, Creggan and the River Foyle. She was very impressed by the Peace Bridge, and the statues of two young men from different persuasions, shaking hands. More Pace e Bene!
Any siblings? Yes, cheaper by the dozen. We broke into little friendly gangs. School was a place to learn, a lot of memorizing – spelling, tables, poetry, reading, creative writing, art and music and catechism. Teachers for the most part were kind, an odd one wore a frown, and the best strategy was avoid her or wear a bulletproof vest. We didn’t have ballpoint pens and wrote with a pen and ink, and used a blotter. On the whole we behaved well. Yes, we learned how to knit and sew and embroider in school, it was a good investment for life. My interviewer was really surprised at knitting and sewing in school! What games did we play… hide-and seek, swinging around the lamppost, board games, snakes and ladders, watching the Orangemen march on July 12th.We played in the air raid shelters on our street. It was World War II. This was all so new to her. We walked everywhere – to school, movies, church, playing fields, etc. Few people had cars, we were lucky if we had a bike. Imagine not having a phone! So many questions and she recorded them all. Then what kind of schools would you see for the future? I said that kids needed to learn about things ethical, honesty, fairness, anger management, respect for diversity, arbitration, the Golden Rule. Maybe the idea of a 4-day week for older kids, and on day 5, they could do some work like learning gardening, plumbing, carpentry, painting, how to clean a house! It was all very interesting and when the time was up, they wanted to stay longer. But they had to return to school, and at our lunch we found a beautiful cake someone made for the Sisters. They sent us flowers to show their appreciation. It was a good experience.
Back to our house here, we got two new kitchenettes, one on my floor, and the other on the first floor of the newer building. They are complete with microwave, toaster, tea kettle and coffeepot and fridge. It’s great to get a cup of coffee whenever we wake up. The kitchenettes are for the “Active retired” so we can have more space for relaxation. Someone gave me a jar of gooseberry jam, so that’s our first installment. Yum, yum! The day the kitchenette opened, I had my hot cereal, coffee and an apple. I sat down and turned on the TV, there was the Queen, celebrating her 90th birthday, then Donald Trump. No comment. We are grateful to Sr. Donna and the Council, Sr. Pat for her encouragement and our wonderful house manager, John who directed all the installations. So when you visit us, you’ll be very welcome at our two kitchenettes. Lots of love and prayers. Our motto from St. Francis of Assisi is: “Pace e Bone”- Peace and All Good! Sr.Helena