Values in Action

Values in Action

Excerpt from WORN OUT SHOES: Walking in the Wisdom of Saint Katharina Kasper
written by Sister Nkechi Iwuoha | PHJC

The virtue of humility is one of the most outstanding qualities of Saint Katharina Kasper in all her search for the divine will of God. She was committed to God in humility and simplicity of heart. She was truthful and transparent to her Sisters and to God in all her endeavors to promote the reign of God.

The spirit of humility enabled her openness to being the handmaid of the Lord. She listened attentively to the Bishop, the various authorities that the Sisters worked with, to her Sisters and to the spirit of God within her heart. In her work, she had the mind of Christ who humbled himself to do what his Father wanted of him till death. This was exemplified when Saint Katharina took care of children in their homes so that their mothers could have a break or work outside the home to support their family. In all her deliberations with the governmental authority she maintained a humble spirit that respectedand listened to them yet stated clearly and firmly what she needed to continue her mission. She always listened attentively to Bishop Blum and had a humble way of expressing herself without automatically submitting to his words. She obtained the best she could for her Sisters in every negotiation with the authorities. This was also evident in her discussion with Bishop Blum regarding the name to be given to the new congregation. Though he had chosen another title she stated the name she preferred for her congregation with simplicity and respect in the dialogue on this matter with the Bishop. The humble approach she always employed in dialogue teaches us the power of humility, choice of verbal and body language and the respect due when dialoguing with one another. For me it is also a learning that the best opinion may be rejected depending on the spirit with which it is presented.

Please enjoy this small excerpt from Worn Out Shoes written by Sister Nkechi Iwuoha, PHJC. Copies of her book can be purchased at the Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center’s Christian Book and Gift Shop located at 9601 Union Rd, Plymouth 46563. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For additional questions please call 574-935-1780.

"I know no foreign countries and no foreign sisters, there are only Handmaids of Christ, filled with the spirit of their vocation and truly working in blessed ways..."
-Saint Katharina Kasper

The Language Company, located on the IUSB campus in Mishawaka, provides advancement in areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing and looks to be a good fit for her needs at this time. Because of her extended stay till mid-summer, Sister Cailla has the opportunity to complete a number of classes. When Cailla is not in class, she is sharing community life at Sarah House in South Bend with Sisters Connie and Marie. Our days together have been and continue to be filled with laughter, funny stories, tasting chili for the first time, introduction to Brazilian cooking, praying and singing in both English and Portuguese, and conversations that include our favorite APP – Google Translate!

This is such an amazing opportunity for all three of us and for our province – certainly a graced time “to see the other face of God.”
(Antonio M. Pernia, SVD)

“Interculturality must touch every aspect of our Institute’s life. Our understanding of the vows, community, ministry, and our spirituality should be transformed as we engage this process honestly and intentionally… nothing short of a transformation of the heart is required.”
(Sister Teresa Maya, CCVI)

I believe Saint Katharina was on to something when she shared her belief of knowing “no foreign countries and no foreign sisters…” She may not have known the term intercultural living, but she definitely had a vision of how her sisters were to live – with lifegiving hospitality, with mutuality in community living and with openness and appreciation for diversity. We are experiencing all this with our PHJC sister from Brazil.

Bem vinda a casa, Sister Cailla!
WELCOME HOME!

By Vanessa del Carmen Vergara Aguilera | Social Worker at Casa Catalina

Casa Catalina, a ministry located in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico is supported by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. This ministry, begun in 2012, provides temporary shelter to those most in need of healthcare services. Created and identified as a safe, caring place, it possesses all the means necessary to accommodate patients from a day up to several years. Most patients who come to Casa Catalina are suffering from chronic illness or physical trauma. However, emerging social problems such as migration, homelessness and domestic violence have brought people from all over to the doors of Casa Catalina.

Casa Catalina serves persons who have been abandoned by family and society and do not have the economic resources to cover their basic needs. Our mission is to conserve their physical, mental, and psychological stability. Our donors are critically important to this ministry by ensuring that we are able to care for all who need our services.

At Casa Catalina we make an impact on the lives of our patients, but we are also touched by those in our care. A patient, an older gentleman by the name of Manuel Rodriguez Gonzalez, was referred to Casa Catalina by a local hospital. Through our ministry he found the help and compassionate care he needed from our nurses and volunteer doctor, Sister Frances Gallinatti, PHJC, all of whom were attentive to his progress, especially since he had no family to tend him.

Manuel was a patient at Casa Catalina for more than two years. In July of last year when we celebrated his birthday it also happened to be Grandparents Day. Manuel loved sharing his birthday and being a grandfather to all those who had the privilege of knowing him. After some ups and downs in his health, Manuel passed away January 4, 2022. A man of character and faith, our Grandfather Manuel, trusted in God’s providence right up to his last moments. He will always be remembered with love by every single one of us.

“Casa Catalina is a place where we offer human warmth, care, attention, respect, tolerance, and love without distinction, and we definitely receive it in return. A prime example of this was our patient and friend Manuel Rodriguez Gonzalez whose memories, blessings, love, affection, and moments of joy were transmitted to us and remain in our hearts,” said Nurse Maria Elena Sanchez Cruz.

Nurse Lesvia Leon added, “Manuel died leaving great sadness in our hearts, but also left us with the message that life is to be embraced and enjoyed despite adverse circumstances and illnesses that can appear in any of our lives. We say to this wise, cheerful man of strong character, may he rest in peace and may God receive him into glory.”

To make a gift to Poor Handmaid ministries in Mexico visit PoorHandmaids.org/Donate.

Sister Joetta Huelsmann, PHJC

I train people to be spiritual companions who are also known as spiritual directors and spiritual guides. One of the units we spend time on is Self-Care which is important during this pandemic. When I see my own spiritual director, he usually begins with this question. “How is it with your soul?” This is a good question for all of us. Can we slow down enough to know how our relationship with the Divine is effecting our life. In spiritual care we look at the whole person so even our mental and physical being is important since we relate with our whole self. It is primary to care for our self.

In the course the person we look to as an example is Jesus and how he cares for himself. A prayer life was important to him. He went to the garden to pray. (Lk. 22:39-42) He also went to the mountains and hills and the synagogue to pray to pray.( Mt. 14:23 & Lk. 4:14-19) This prayer life nurtured him. We need to ask ourselves: What can I do to establish a regular prayer life for myself?

Jesus also cherished solitude. He was led into the desert to pray. (Lk. 4:1) When he heard of his cousin John’s death, he went to a lonely place by himself. (Mt. 14:13). For myself during COVID walking through the woods gave me that solitude. It enabled me to let go of whatever was on my mind and be in the present. I could take in the smell of the forest, listen to the birds sing and delight in the beauty of the wildflowers. Nature has a way of calming us. I would encourage you to find some places of solitude for yourself.

Jesus also took time for rest. He allowed himself to fall asleep in the boat. (Mt. 8:24) How can you take more time out for rest? It has been proven that even a short nap can refresh us and make us more productive.

Healthy intimacy with others was also something Jesus modeled. He ate with a Pharisee. (Lk. 7:36). He spent time with Martha, Mary, and Lazarus his friends. (Lk. 10:38) Yes, it was difficult to meet face to face during COVID, but many people were engaged with others through phone calls and zoom. Healthy intimacy can be a support.

The ability to deal with emotions is important as well. Jesus wept at Lazarus death. (John 11:35-36) He expressed healthy anger with the merchants in the temple. (John 2:15). Sometimes just talking through some of our deep feelings with another can be helpful in getting our emotions out there.

Celebrations and leisure were also important to Jesus. He went to a wedding feast. (John 2:2) He allowed the children to come to him. (Lk. 18:16) Leisure is just as important as work, it refreshes us again. We need to build time in our calendars for those things we enjoy.

If nothing else works there is nothing shameful about going to a counselor for our mental and emotional health. It is important to remember that we are all in this together, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

The Provincial Leadership of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ congratulate Archbishop Wilton Gregory on his appointment as a Cardinal in the Catholic Church. As members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, we support the below statement.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious rejoices over the news of the appointment of Archbishop Wilton Gregory as a cardinal in the Catholic Church. Over the years we have been grateful to Archbishop Gregory’s leadership within the church where he has not only been a strong pastoral presence, but also a fearless outspoken critic of injustice. His public stances on many critical matters such as the repair of the US immigration system, race relations, climate change, sexual abuse within the church, LGBTQ matters, and much more reveal his deep integrity and courage.

In making this historic appointment of the first African-American cardinal, Pope Francis is clearly giving a message about the importance of assuring racial diversity at all levels of society and within the church. We are pleased that the African-American voice will be represented in this important decision-making body.

As an organization headquartered in the Washington archdiocese, we are especially pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with Archbishop Gregory. We look forward to this continuing relationship and congratulate him on this important recognition of his gifts and abilities as an outstanding leader.

The Provincial Leadership of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ endorse this statement as members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

The presidency and staff of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious congratulate President-elect Joe Biden, and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris and promise to work with them to build a society worthy of the values to which our imperfect union aspires.

After a difficult election season, it is time for us to take up the twin tasks of reconciliation and healing. In these challenging times it is critically important that we break through that which divides us one from another, repair fractured relationships and reclaim our essential unity.

The people of this pluralistic nation form a diverse community characterized by different beliefs, experiences, and interests. We know that our differences can be our greatest strengths; our disagreements, opportunities to seek the truth. Our challenge is to embrace those differences and together seek the common good lest we rend the bonds that unite us.

Now is the time to make space in our hearts and our communities for the needs and concerns of all God’s people, the undocumented mother, the Midwest farmer, the unemployed steel-worker, the suburban business woman, and the children and elders consigned to live in poverty. It is time to tear down the walls, real or imagined, which divide us by gender, race, class, geography, lifestyle, ideology, political party, and religious belief and to make room in our body politic for all who have been disaffected, disenfranchised, and discarded.

Now is the time to banish the fear that infects our souls and diminishes our hope. There is no room in this nation for fear of the other; no need to fear change; no reason to fear the future. This is a nation built on the dreams of our ancestors and the visions of our children. Our task is to make room at the table for every voice and every vision.

We thank those who turned out in record numbers to exercise their right to vote in a peaceful and respectful way. Their clear commitment to this democratic experiment of ours bodes well for the success of the difficult task that lies ahead.

We know that the work will be slow and arduous, and yet with Catholic sisters across this nation we renew our commitment to exercise courage in the face of injustice, fear and division. We will not shrink from the challenge before us to protect the sacredness of all human life, to dismantle white supremacy, welcome the stranger, care for creation, and to stand with those who have been exploited and marginalized by our throwaway culture.

We promise once again to be the healing presence of God. We pledge to hold the needs and concerns of all in the heart of a loving and ever faithful God. We recommit ourselves to the sacred task of building the Beloved Community of which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke so eloquently and we invite all people of good will to join us.

LCWR is an association of leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has more than 1300 members, who represent approximately 80 percent of the more than 40,000 women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, LCWR assists its members to collaboratively carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel in today’s world.

Contact: Sister Annmarie Sanders, IHM|LCWR Communications Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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