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A Retreat : Seeing With New Eyes

“It is the Fire in our midst….. the Spirit of God deep within….. an invitation into a new vision that will transform and energize us.” (Barbara Fiand) Sister Barbara Fiand, SNDdeN, will invite and guide retreat participants into Seeing with New Eyes…Embracing Our Faith in Times of Transition during a time of reflection from Friday, May 2, 2014-Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Retreatants will gather at Holy Family Retreat House, Oxley, Ontario on Lake Erie’s North Shore.

What to Expect? “It’s hard to say, but I know this much, Barbara has a way of engaging everyone in the conversation whether you have an extensive theology background or perhaps one or two courses. Her style is invitational and she leaves one with the desire to plumb the issue further whether it be the reality of Hell, A Theology of Eucharist or Seeing the Universe as Expanding in all Directions. Through her passion and depth of personal prayer, qualities which are manifest by her mastery of the material and the sincerity of her words, Barbara is able to stir one’s intellectual abilities and penetrate one’s soul. You will be free to ask questions in her presentations and Barbara may even have open sessions for participants’ questions only.

I have made two retreats with Barbara and because of the soul stretching I experienced on these occasions, Sister Jackie Janisse and I invited her to come to Canada. This is a wonderful opportunity to engage your mind, heart and soul as you listen to Barbara and to the urgings of God’s spirit in your soul.

The environment at Holy Family Retreat House, Oxley Ontario, which is extremely peaceful is conducive to contemplative prayer in a milieu of God’s natural beauty of trees, flowers, Lake Erie, birds and other little fur babies running around the property.

Sign up now! You will return home invigorated, renewed, relaxed and profoundly grateful.

For brochure click HERE. For a flyer click HERE.

Pat Hogan CSJ”


Evolution - An Integrative Force

“We have to realize that evolution has leapt beyond the biological context,” says evolutionary philosopher Steve McIntosh in Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution.

In the last twenty years, not only Steve McIntosh but also philosopher Ken Wilber has focused on evolution happening in both the interior and exterior worlds of consciousness and matter (cosmos) while also examining the Individual and collective levels of consciousness and culture (shared values).

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the French Jesuit priest and paleontologist, wrote in the early 1900’s, “Is evolution a theory, a system, or a hypothesis? It is much more: it is a general condition to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must bow and which they must satisfy henceforth if they are to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light which illuminates all facts, a curve that all lines must follow.” (The Phenomenon of Man, 2008, p. 219) To learn more about Teihard’s ideas go to. This link contains a transcript only without slides, but is very comprehensive.

What does evolution in this large overarching sense have to do with us and with our world?

We know our planet, our cultures and institutions are experiencing profound dysfunction and breakdown. The need for a new vision, a new paradigm along with workable models for living has never been greater than now.

Evolution, as an all-pervasive process, seems to hold the promise. Entering into a deeper grasp of this all-pervasive process will challenge our old ways of seeing ourselves, culture, cosmos, and even God. We humans will know (urged from the Spirit of God within) that we are the consciousness of the cosmos, the universe. If this idea seems mind-blowing and radical – it is!

To learn more about this process YOU ARE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SUMMER SYMPOSIUM 2014, ‘Becoming Agents of Evolutionary Change’.  Find out more HERE.

Science has established factually that we are 13.8 billion years old – going back to the “Big Bang” and the emergence of stars whose elements are found in our bodies. Tracing the evolutionary process from its beginning up to now is going on and has been for the last two hundred years. Only in the last twenty years have this research and knowledge gained rapid ground through authors and researchers already mentioned as well as many others.

The evolutionary way of understanding “everything” is now beginning to take deeper root. Unlike previous philosophical systems it is as yet unformed in mainstream societies.  This evolutionary understanding is in progress, and as Henri Bergson, evolutionary philosopher and Nobel laureate, wrote in Creative Evolution (1907), “…it [evolutionary thinking] will only be built by the collective and progressive effort of many thinkers, of many observers also, competing, correcting and improving one another.”

Each one of us is in process of becoming, of evolving. The question is, “Am I evolving consciously, with intent, with others similarly wanting something better for everyone?”

Hopefully in our search to make our world more “whole,” we will discover an evolutionary way of viewing ourselves, our culture and our cosmos and be in tune with the Source that originated the “Whole” of creation and of which we are an integral part.

Mary Vandersteen, csj



Weekly Pause & Ponder

Evolutionary spirituality, though it comes in many colors, has a message much more suited for the life conditions of the modern and postmodern world: The evolution of this  world is the goal of spiritual life. And by “world” I mean the manifest cosmos of time and space, both the interior and exterior realms – consciousness, culture, and cosmos. The action is here – in this time, in this place, in the possibilities that lie in the near and distant future of this culture, this world, this universe. Yes, there still may be spiritual transcendence of the most radical, sublime, and subtle forms, but transcendence is in the service of evolution, not the other way around. And that difference is everything.
Evolutionaries; Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea, by Carter Phipps, p.272. 

Technology and Lent

Currently, a local  restaurant has been offering a ten-percent discount to diners who turn off their cell phones and texting activities during the time they spend at the restaurant. The response of visitors has been positive and they agree it has enhanced their dining experience. Mulling over this interesting concept has caused me to suggest that this season of Lent might be a good time to apply the practice of curbing our over–use of technology that can lead to neglecting those around us.

If I am always checking my email messages, might I set this compulsion aside at mealtime to honour those who sit at table with me?

Might I limit my time on my iPod, iPad, iPhone, Internet, TV, etc., to spend more time engaging in face-to-face and heart-to-heart conversation?

If television consumes my evening hours, might I instead visit a lonely person in an apartment or nursing home who would love the pleasure of my company?
If technology has crept into my life, usurping ever larger portions of my time, might I, this Lent, take time to be in silence and allow myself to be called deeper into relationship with the Divine?
Lent is about letting go of those activities that fail to enhance our lives. Limiting our use of technology could lead to positive transformation so that we can grow in our relationship with God and others. Let’s try “turning off and tuning in” for the 40 days of Lent and notice what transpires!

Jean Moylan, CSJ

Ash Wednesday

In Canada, Ash Wednesday arrives in the midst of winter’s deep freeze. However, little by little the days grow longer and the softer colors in the evening sky speak to us of future spring days so long anticipated. This is the day when Christians throughout the world flock to the Ash Wednesday service where ashes are placed on foreheads as we hear the words, “Repent and believe in the Gospel”.
Thus begins the sacred forty days of Lent where we concentrate on Jesus’ forgiveness, love and compassion as he lived among the people prior to the events that led to his passion, death and resurrection. We strive to imitate Jesus in his mercy and compassion as we, forgetful of self, perform our own acts of love for our neighbours. At the same time, we look forward to the joy of celebrating the resurrection feast of Easter in April’s springtime.
May we grow deeper into God as we walk in reflective joy and peace throughout these forty Lenten days.
Jean Moylan, CSJ


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