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The Power of Presence

Almost six months ago I moved from Mount St Joseph to the new Woodland Apartments which are part of The Mount Community Centre development to meet the housing needs of the Peterborough community. I had been quite passionate about this project, and when some of the studio apartments, which were slow to be rented at the time, were publicly advertised, I took the opportunity to join a diverse group of tenants who were, for the most part, seeking affordable housing. This was my first experience of apartment living, and I was unsure of what to expect. As I continued to carry on my responsibilities as local leader at Mount St. Joseph, I chose not to become involved in the lives of those who shared this residence, but to wait until the summer when I would be free of my present duties.  I have become acquainted with many people who are courteous and friendly, some who are curious about my way of life, and a few who choose to keep their distance.

Sunday, June 4th, was my birthday, a fact earlier noted by a resident who had read our June calendar posted on the MSJ elevator. As I opened my apartment door that morning, a wonderful surprise awaited me. In front of me sat a gift bag and another parcel, the source of which I had no idea. A beautiful card that held the secret was signed by more than half of the residents, and the gifts were both thoughtful and appropriate. When I read the many good wishes penned by those who shared the residence, I was deeply touched.  Throughout the day as I encountered these good people, I heard many expressions of birthday greetings, and also of gratitude that I was among them. I would never have guessed that my simple presence there was of such a significance for them.

Upon further reflection on this experience, I realize the power that our presence holds in the circumstances in which we find ourselves. As a birthday insight, I have been made concretely aware that my presence is important to a group of people for whom I have done nothing in ministry. As I move into discernment about my future, this awareness is most helpful as life slowly calls me from a “doing” to a “being” role.  I am also aware that the surprise I experienced is an acknowledgement of who I am as a CSJ, and once again I am grateful for the charism of inclusive love that has motivated our Sisters who have gone before me and given so much to so many.

Joan Driscoll, CSJ



Summer begins with National Aboriginal Day

If you watched the National on CBC last night you witnessed acclaimed Canadian, Metis actor and singer, Tom Jackson, speaking on the occasion of the Recognition of Outstanding Indigenous Leadership. In keeping with the indigenous understanding of all our relations, Tom Jackson acknowledged the maple leaf as his sister pointing out the red leaf on our flag. He then poignantly asked the invited guests present, including the Governor General and the Prime Minister and their wives, to spend five minutes considering him to be their brother. Many in the audience were visibly moved by this moment of profound recognition of our mutual relationship.

National Aboriginal Day, celebrates the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

Tomorrow, in celebrating National Aboriginal Day, June 21. APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) is making broadcast history with its 7-hour live show uniting Canadians from coast to coast in Eight Cities, One Great Gathering.  

APTN in its promotion of Aboriginal Day Live announced a live concert which will feature some of the most recognized entertainers in Aboriginal music and television, including the award-winning and those on the rise.

The eight cities hosting Aboriginal Day Live include Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Yellowknife, Edmonton and Vancouver. Performers will appear on location and live on APTN. No other broadcaster has ever put together an event of this magnitude. I encourage you to watch on Wednesday, June 21 starting at 7 p.m. EST.

This is an excellent way to come to a better understanding and greater appreciation of our sisters and brothers and make a personal contribution to writing a new chapter in our common history. 

Nancy Wales, CSJ


Weekly Pause & Ponder

The foundation of existence is not mere being itself (what is) but relationality (what is becoming): union is always toward more being.

Ilia Delio, from Teillard to Omega: Cocreating an Unfinished Universe.


A Dad’s Day

Becoming a Dad changes you - completely.

It’s miraculous, really. 

The hardest part? Being there. And I don’t mean showing up, I mean being present. Fatherhood really hammers home the difference. It helps you realize how much you unknowingly phoned in important parts of your life — work, volunteerism and the friendships that matter. 

Being a good dad is hard

Everything gets hyper-focused. But focused doesn’t always mean easy. A selfish to selfless transition is a turbulent one. Even with a life partner that makes Wonder Woman look dazed and confused. (Thx love! xoxoxoxo)  

Over time you settle in. You wise up (sometimes). You start to calibrate your parental antenna to some universal truths about advice for your kids in this modern age.


  • curiosity and creativity are more important than any string of characters at the end of an email signature;
  • report cards influence life outcomes far less than we give them credit for;
  •  the most valuable people in this world don’t do what they’re told, they tell the leaders what should be done;
  • happiness has little if anything to do with material possession (especially in the long term);
  • you never need as much stuff as you think you do;
  • And perhaps most importantly, that you should never watch In the Night Garden, no matter how much your kids beg. ‘Cause some things, you just can’t un-see.

And on and on…

But the best thing about father’s day is being home with your kids, and loving them. 

Of all the things that make up the foundational pieces of our lives, family is by far the most important. 

You can tell a lot about a man by how he holds himself as a father. 

I didn’t get a chance to spend as much time with my Father as I would have liked. He worked morning, afternoon and night shifts, 10,000 feet underground, for 30 years, so I would never have to. 

The bottom line

I’ve got more from my kids, Molly (5), Cooper (8) than I can ever give back in a life time. 

I worry less these days about them not listening and realize I need to worry more that they’re always listening. And that parenting with purpose is something you practice, not something you perfect.

It’s about making a conscious effort to create a more profound relationship with the people that you love.

Everything else, I think, will fall into place. 


Guest Blogger Jeff Sage

Jeff Sage is a Senior Strategist and Co-Founder at sagecomm, a London-based strategic marketing firm specializing in brand, product and cause positioning for brands across North America.





So what ARE we Celebrating on this 150th Birthday of Canada?

After having just returned from the Kitchi Blanket Exercise on June 2, on Parliament Hill and having been involved in “blanketing the city of Ottawa” that same morning, in 16 different locations, by presenting the Blanket Exercise, we KAIROS facilitators asked ourselves:
“WHAT are we really celebrating this July 1st?”

I guess it depends on the lens through which one views the birth of Canada. If we celebrate the British North America Act of 1867, through Indigenous eyes, we are celebrating the resiliency and firm commitment of the Inuit, Metis and First Nations Peoples in Canada, to seek Truth in order to find Reconciliation, as they rightfully strive to have jurisdiction over their lands ….lands which they occupied long before the settlers arrived.

In light of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission findings and the 94 Recommendations, how can we NOT live in the reality of walking with each other as two nations, instead of one?

Reconciliation is in the Wind. Is THIS not what we need to be celebrating and toward which we MUST be moving? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bh2Ol48mSmE

The Blanket Exercise is one very effective Teaching Tool that is literally blanketing Canada at this time. It is a movement that is rapidly expanding, sweeping across this land uncovering the TRUTH of our birth. One participant, Heenal Rajani, of the Blanket Exercise expressed his experience of it on April 9, 2001 when he first encountered the harsh truth of our history for the first time. Heenal expressed it in this rap, which is a 6 minute overview of the Blanket Exercise.


After you have heard this rap and read this blog, you are invited to answer the question, Just WHAT ARE we really celebrating?  What do you and I WANT to celebrate in order to bring about Reconciliation?

Kathleen Lichti, CSJ


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