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Proud to Protect Refugees

The recent election results in the United States have caused panic and fear in many people, causing them to turn to Canada for refuge. It is important to note, however, people all over the world have been seeking for a safe haven prior to the current political status of the United States. After the election, there were over 200,000 visits on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website inquiring about how to move to Canada; if this number seems high, well the United Nations estimates that there about 24 million refugees in the world today, and half of these refugees are under 18. That makes around 12 million children who have been made refugees looking for safety. I think the numbers speak for themselves, and they are staggering… overwhelming.

Many people don’t know what to do with these figures; some in denial, some blame refugees themselves for their plight, some try to find ways to open their homes and their borders. You may have seen television reports of a huge detention facility near Toronto. Some Canadian born children have been detained, or have been forced out of their own country because their parents are failed refugee claimants. Family separation should not happen, but it does. Families are torn apart.  Because of the length of time it takes to navigate the stages in the refugee process, parents are sometimes separated from their children for years before the family can be reunited. Even when parents are reunited with their children, sometimes it has been so long that the children don’t know the parents. Heartbreak like this should not happen, people being deported to danger should not happen, people should not be feared because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of any group, but they all happen.

As Canadians, we must recognize not only our neighbors from the South unable to acquire immigration status, but also acknowledge those from a different place, a different continent, the rest of the world. 1 John 3:18 says “…let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth,” therefore, it is up to each of us to be Christ bearers, to stand up and say hello, welcome in.  Join us.  We respect you.  We acknowledge your pain and suffering.  We are inspired by your courage. We learn from you. We are stronger with you.   

My name is Claire R., Ministry Specialist for Inland Protection of Refugees for the Diocese of London, and I am Proud to Protect Refugees.




Weekly Pause & Ponder

Today, something is happening to the whole structure of human consciousness. A fresh kind of life is starting. Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world are seeking each other, so that the world may come into being.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.  www.azquotes.com


What does resurrection look like to you?

Recently, in an article in the Huffington Post, Otto Scharmer, an economist from MIT asked the provocative question, “Are we ready to rise?” I wonder if this is the real question of these Holy Week rituals we celebrate in the Christian tradition. Another way to say it might be, “Are we willing to rise?”

What is the face of resurrection today?

What does it actually look like?


  • Each year in Rwanda there is a three month remembrance of the genocide that saw the death of 1,000,000 people. Each year a group of Sisters and other professionals devote themselves to the role of Listener. They listen to the pain of those whose relatives were killed. They listen to the pain of those who murdered their brothers and sisters of Rwanda. Their hope is to slowly, over generations, knit together again the fabric of their society. There is no quick fix. There is only the love that bears the stories of pain in the hope of healing. This is what resurrection looks like.
  • Discovering within myself that my capacity to love is larger than I might have imagined. It stretches way beyond the limits of what I have thought. This is what resurrection looks like.
  • Seeing in myself and others both a willingness and a passion to move beyond the boundaries of we\they to see the reality of “us.” This is what resurrection looks like.
  • Noticing and being moved by the small kindness of another and knowing that our lives depend on these kindnesses. This is what resurrection looks like.
  • Rising with others to make love real and practical. This is what resurrection looks like.
  • Wanting to change so that our planet home can flourish. This is what resurrection looks like.

What does resurrection look like to you? Are you willing to rise?

Margo Ritchie, CSJ


Becoming the new palm for next year's ashes

The greeting prayed before the Palm Sunday procession reads … “since the beginning of Lent until now we have prepared our hearts by penance and charitable works. Today we gather together to herald with the whole church the beginning of the celebration of Our Lord’s Paschal mystery…” It seems such a short time ago that as I stepped outside the side door of the Hamilton residence the smell of burning palm leaves assailed my nose as the palms were being burned for use during the next day’s Ash Wednesday liturgy. Last year’s palms now used for this year’s ashes. This caused me to reflect as Lent began upon the changes in my own life between last Palm Sunday and this Ash Wednesday. Significant changes that involved life and death and new life. And here we are again at Palm Sunday following the anointing of those ashes from last year reflecting on how our hearts have been prepared in order to enter as fully as possible into the celebrations of this year’s Triduum. As palm was transformed into ashes, how have I undergone my own transformation by my Lenten practices? I’ve observed over the years that there is almost a sadness as Lent ends. Lent seems to provide the needed spiritual backbone to engage in choices that lead to more balanced living and helps create interior space. Lent also provides an opportunity to stretch oneself, to make choices that I wouldn’t even consider outside of Lent. This stretching helps us touch in to how Jesus was stretched in entering in to his Passion. Scott Lewis SJ wrote that in contemplating the Passion we should see how far love was willing to go on our behalf and he invites us to ask ourselves each day how far we are willing to go out of love and compassion for others. It is another way of touching into our call to self-emptying love. So Lent for this year comes to an end but hopefully some of the changes we experienced and stretching we did will now become the new palm for next year’s ashes.    

Mary McIntyre, CSJ


Weekly Pause & Ponder

We cannot have peace on Earth until we learn to speak with one voice. That voice must be the voice of reason, the voice of compassion, the voice of love. It is the voice of divinity within us.

Neale Donald Walsch. www.azquotes.com


Copyright 2013. Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada.