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Ah-men - Ah-women

Ah-men, Ah-men, Ah-men, we respond after the consecration at mass. My mouth responds, but strangely, some days, I find my mind singing in tune – Ah-women, Ah-women, Ah-women. As for my heart – it is doing a duet (being all inclusive).

We are coming up to the month of May – Mary’s month but it is interesting that it begins with the feast of Joseph the Worker. Ah-men, Ah-women! Together in life and death -they made quite the team.

They knew joy (birth of Jesus), hardship (flight into Egypt), and grief (the death of Joseph). Through all of these times there was Jesus, the joy of their lives. Is this not true for all of us – Jesus in good times and in bad.

We have concluded the Lenten Season and have bounded out of Easter. Jesus is risen and invites us to do the same. Here is an invitation to joy. Are we up for it? Take off those mourning clothes, colour-up your days, spread the Word, Jesus is Risen and walks among us!

Ah-Men; Ah-Women.

Join Mary, Queen of the May; Joseph, her husband Patron of Workers; Jesus their son, brother, and Saviour of us all.

Hail Holy Mary Hail!

Hail Holy Joseph Hail!

Hail Jesus Hail

Ah-men – Ah-women


Barbara Vaughan CSJ


Weekly Pause & Ponder

The central idea of the Western tradition is that human beings are partners with God in the continuing creation of the world. “Creation” isn’t something that happened a long time ago in the past. It’s what’s going on right now, right this  minute. We’re in the midst of it. As Jesus said, God is God “not of the dead but of the living” (Mat. 22:32). Theologically we are living in an open universe. We have access to endless energy.  Being creative is the nature of Being itself, and it is our nature. We can’t identify or judge ourselves by what we have been. We must look to what we yet shall be.
...This idea of the future. The idea of an intentional transformation of the fundamental arrangements of existence. The idea that God expects things to change, wants things to change, intends change and growth and improvement, and expects us to participate in this creative effort. God is the God of the living, is the living God. Maybe there will never be a time when it’s finished, all over.
The Holy Thursday Revolution by Beatrice Bruteau, p. 248.

Irene - Goodnight

Several weeks ago, I said “God always calls our Sisters home in threes”.  WRONG – the God of Surprises came to call again – Sr. Irene Connelly, at 2:20 pm on Easter Sunday. Immediately came to mind the old song “Irene Goodnight Irene…Irene Goodnight”.  Better to sing “Irene come home Irene, Irene come home”.  Alleluia.

Irene liked to call her own shots – even as death approached, Irene let her family and Sisters know that she was ready for the journey and looked to celebrating Easter with her Risen Lord.  Our Chaplain commented during his homily that “If Irene had come to the empty tomb and seen the clothes scattered about, she would have asked “Who left this mess?” and she would go about folding the clothes.”

May 1st is the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, surely one of Irene’s favourite patrons. As a true Sister of St. Joseph, Irene took to heart the word “service”, she reached out in many ways, from direct service to her Sisters and Family to ushering at the theatre in Windsor and Detroit, singing in a choir and playing the harmonica. Like St. Joseph, she laboured with love. On Easter Sunday, I’m sure St. Joseph was in the welcoming party!

“Welcome home Irene, welcome home!  Would you play us a little tune?”  The celebration began and continues for eternity. Sr. Irene - pray for us!

Sr. Barbara Vaughan


Boundaries and Bridges - Part 2

We need to build ‘bridges’! Carter Phipps, author of Evolutionaries - Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea, lays out a full description of what bridge building really entails. He considers not only Teilhard de Chardin an Evolutionary pioneer who discovered the holistic patterns in nature, culture cosmos and consciousness, but also many others – scientists, philosophers, theologians who build bridges to wholeness and Oneness.

Carter’s book, Part I begins with the exterior aspects of creation – Evolution and Science. Part II deals with the interior aspects - Culture and Spirituality. Phipps interviewed many scientists in writing his book including these:

Elizabet Sahtouris, evolutionary biologist – about the Evolution Cycle – Competition to Co-operation. One stands in awe of how our ancient ancestors, bacteria, learned how to co-operate in order to survive. Sahtouris explains how consciousness is evolving ....


John Stewart and Robert Wright, evolutionary scientists – about Directionality in Evolution and Cultural Patterns. Stewart saw that DNA in biological cells is really a management or governance structure enabling cooperation that also operates in higher forms of organization like tribal councils, contemporary megacities to eventual planetary governance and beyond. Check out these links: http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2010/mar/05/meaning-life-evolution-universe and http://www.evolutionarymanifesto.com/.

Howard Bloom, prolific complexity scientist and writer – about Novelty or Creativity.  When interviewed by Carter he expounded on complexity  where new and higher forms of both novelty and order emerge that mark evolution’s advance and that these happen usually at the edges of chaos. A system generally has to be thrown into disequilibrium for new and higher levels of self-organization to emerge.

Ray Kurzweil, informationalist and humanist. Here Carter touches on artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, robotics, life extension, genetics, space travel, and computational theory through interviewing Ray Kurzweil. Religion as we have known it cannot answer questions of meaning in the face of this. Neither can science. Philosophy is struggling with them.

Bridge building is crucial in the face of developments already occurring on our planet. Science, Philosophy and Theology/Spirituality can form a Whole by recognizing each other’s importance and function. Evolutionaries, beginning with Jesus do just that. However, bridge building is done by each human like you and me, not only by Evolutionaries.

Do you want to be a ‘bridge builder’?

If so please come to the Symposium “Becoming Agents of Evolutionary Change” July 4-6, 2014. Carter Phipps is the keynote speaker and will be presenting with Sue Wilson, CSJ. Please see www.etouches.com/ehome/79110 for details.  

Mary Vandersteen, csj and Ann Steadman, Associate


Boundaries and Bridges

Science and religion can be bridged. Michael Dowd, author and evolutionary evangelist interviewed Richard Rohr, a Franciscan who leads the Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico. The interview focused on the evolution of the Christian tradition and on science.

Richard Rohr suggested that science can be empirical theology, i.e., things in their bare existence become revelation - that we all share a global heart with care and commitment to a larger global life on which we all depend. Science need not be an enemy. It can teach us not only relative truth, but humility, patience and willingness to live with less certitude in always anticipating further insight and development. The cosmic dance is a global dance not only a sacred dance for my group - we must stop seeing our religion as in competition and instead see ourselves and Christianity as gift.

Richard Rohr goes on to say that our pioneer Jesus crossed boundaries and built bridges. He was inclusive. We “Catholics” in his honour became exclusive. Too long have we been tribal and addicted to group think whereas there is one God for all. Even atheists have a role helping us evolve by rejecting gods that are unbelievable. Richard Rohr’s alternative is to see Jesus, not as exclusive, not as a product, to be reproduced thus setting up boundaries. Instead, he suggested, “be Jesus” and be pioneers who build bridges. Bridges to what?

The sciences are discovering that there are no boundaries because there exists an interconnectedness at levels not available to the naked eye. Yet that is not what most humans at this point in history believe or accept.

Watch The Science of Interconnectedness  


Interconnectedness already exists. We, as humans need to wake up and “realize” it. Moreover, we also need to help one another wake up.  

Do you want to ‘wake up’, to help change our world? 

If so, you are invited to the Symposium “Becoming Agents of Evolutionary Change” July 4-6, 2014. Carter Phipps is the keynote speaker and will be presenting with Sue Wilson, CSJ.  Click HERE for more information.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog.

Mary Vandersteen, csj and Ann Steadman, Associate







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