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Wednesday
Jun262019

Celebrating Canada Day: We The North 

On July 1, 1867 four British colonies: Canada(provinces of Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick joined together to create the Dominion of Canada. The passage of the Statute of Westminster in 1931 augmented Canada’s power to govern ourselves. With passage of the Constitutions Act in 1982 Canada, composed of ten provinces and three territories, we achieved complete independence from Britain.

Celebrating the victory of the Toronto Raptors was a great prelude to the celebration of Canada Day. Enthusiastic fans watching televised basketball games on the streets, at home, or attending the victory parade in Toronto were the epitome of diversity in unity that is characteristic of our great country. 

We Canadians are a people composed of many faiths, cultures, and ethnic origins.  Most of us arrived in Canada, welcomed by the indigenous Inuit and Indians already here. We are still learning to accept and honour each individual and group as equal and honoured citizens of Canada.

Sports events, such as the public gatherings of Raptor fans, have the power to unite us in a common goal. Community gatherings throughout the country have a similar power to draw people together in celebration of being Canadians. In London, Ontario, Canada Day offers many opportunities to come together, have fun, and contribute to our pride in being Canadian consider participating in:

  • Fireworks displays in parks throughout the City
  • Night Market June 30, 7:00 to 10:00 pm at Dundas Place, Talbot street with local bands, performers, a craft beer garden, food trucks, artisans, local crafts

These events are opportunities to greet your fellow Londoners, celebrate and promote our unity as Canadians. HAPPY CANADA DAY! 

- Sister Patricia McKeon, csj

Wednesday
Jun262019

Helping Others to Help  Ourselves

Can-Voice Community Support Services Centre 450 Spruce St., London, ON“Helping others to help ourselves”, is an apt motto for Can-Voice, a London, Ontario agency “dedicated to the educational and social support of consumers/survivors of the mental health system in their struggle for wellness and to increase public awareness regarding mental health”. Sister Esther Lucier and I saw this motto in action as we answered an invitation to tour Can-Voice (I can have a voice) program quarters and the recent renovations to their nearby Willow Creek House.

Esther and I were greeted warmly by Betty Edwards, pictured lower right, the well qualified, volunteer executive director.  We were soon to learn that the entire undertaking is staffed by generous volunteers who have kept this valuable, community support service alive and active for thirty years!  In every room we viewed, proud, friendly volunteers explained the programs offered in the modest Can-Voice building. They spoke about outreach services, self-help groups, support services and activities which assist the consumers/survivors in achieving quality of life.

A special focus of our visit was touring the Willow Creek House next door where several men and women with mental health issues live and form community.  We were impressed with recent renovations such as new windows and flooring throughout the home.  This was due to the generosity of kind donors. More improvements need to be done as other donors become aware of areas calling for attention.

As we took our leave, it was obvious from the smiles and friendly handshakes extended to us, that those who live at Willow Creek House are happy to have found stability, comradery and support.  On the way home, Esther and I reflected on the Can-Voice initiative as another example of how selfless volunteers and bighearted donors can uplift spirits and change peoples’ lives.  How blessed we are to live in a city of caring people.

- Sister Jean Moylan, csj

Can-Voice    is a local member-run, peer support, self-help organization for the education and empowerment of consumers and survivors of the mental health system.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday
Jun242019

Weekly Pause and  Ponder

…God loves things by becoming them.  God loves things by uniting with them, not by excluding them.  Through the act of creation, God manifested the eternally outflowing Divine Presence into the physical and material world.  Ordinary matter is the hiding place for Spirit, and thus the very Body of God.   - Richard Rohr.  

Thursday
Jun202019

National Indigenous Peoples  Day

Honouring the Contributions of Indigenous Individuals

I offer you an excellent way for keeping the spirit of June 21st alive. National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day for Canadians from coast to coast to coast to celebrate the heritage, diverse cultures and achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada. I encourage you to set time aside this Sunday, June 23rd, to tune into the airing of the 2019 INDSPIRE AWARDS [i]. The awards will broadcast nationwide on June 23, 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT) on CBC, CBC Radio One and CBC Gem.

These awards celebrate exceptional First Nations, Inuit, and Métis individuals. This Award Presentation highlights the significant contributions made by Indigenous people in Canada.

These awards recognize:  an outstanding Indigenous person with a lifetime achievement award, three youth, First Nations, Inuit, and Metis respectively, plus seven other individuals from various fields including the Arts, Culture, Heritage and Spirituality, and Sports. This televised event allows viewers the opportunity to witness the wonderful gifts and skills Indigenous individuals contributed in Canadian society.

The 2019   Indspire Awards recipients are:

  • Lifetime Achievement: Atuat Akittirq, Aggu, Nvt.
  • Arts: Barbara Todd Hager, St. Paul des Métis Settlement, Alta.
  • Business & Commerce: Grand Chief Ron Derrickson, Westbank First Nation, B.C.
  • Culture, Heritage & Spirituality: Jijuu Mary Snowshoe, Gwich'in Nation, N.W.T.
  • Education: Dr. Vianne Timmons, Mi'kmaq, N.S.
  • Health: Dr. Marlyn Cook, Misipawistik Cree Nation, Man.
  • Law & Justice: Dianne Corbiere, M'Chigeeng First Nation, Ont.
  • Public Service: Peter Dinsdale, Curve Lake First Nation, Ont.
  • Sports: Brigette Lacquette, Mallard, Man. and Cote First Nation, Sask.
  • Youth – First Nation: Billy-Ray Belcourt, Driftpile Cree Nation, Alta.
  • Youth – Inuit: Kelly Fraser, Sanikiluaq, Nvt.
  • Youth – Métis: James Lavallée, Métis Homeland (St. Vital, St. Boniface, Bissett), Man.

Interspersed among the videos highlighting the achievements of award recipients and the award presentations there are featured special performances by Indigenous talent from across Canada including classically trained operatic tenor and composer Jeremy Dutcher, traditional Grass Dancer and drummer Spirit Eagle, and Pow-Wow group Northern Cree Singers.

The list of this year’s showcase of performers includes:

·        Musician Pat Vegas (Redbone)
·        R&B/hip-hop artist PJ Vegas
·        Pow-Wow group Northern Cree Singers
·        Choreographer Christine Friday
·        Classically trained operatic tenor and composer Jeremy Dutcher
·        Singer-songwriter and rapper Joey Stylez
·        Singer-songwriter and guitarist Derek Miller
·        Traditional Grass Dancer and drummer Spirit Eagle
·        Singer Carsen Gray
·        Singer-songwriter and bass player Shakti Hayes
·        Singer-songwriter Beatrice Love
·        Electro-pop performer and composer Wolf Saga

Please join me in watching the Indspire Awards Presentation. As an annual member of the TV audience I always come away enriched by witnessing this stellar evening’s show.

[i]  https://www.cbc.ca/indspire/how-to-watch-the-2019-indspire-awards-on-cbc-1.5154913

- Sister Nancy Wales, csj

Indspire is an Indigenous-led national charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people for the long-term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. With the support of its funding partners, Indspire invests in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students so they will achieve their highest potential. In 2017-18 Indspire awarded $14.2 million through almost 4,900 scholarships and bursaries to Indigenous students across Canada.

 

Wednesday
Jun192019

Affordable Housing - A Crisis in London and  beyond

The lack of truly affordable housing has created a crisis in London, Ontario and beyond.  Low vacancy rates along with low OW and ODSP benefits mean that people accessing these benefits cannot even afford single rooms at boarding houses.  As of April 2019, there were 4,897 on the wait-list for geared-to-income housing in London.  Hope is lost, and peoples’ efforts are quashed when there is no safe, affordable housing from which to build a future.

The Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada support the call from Margaret Wills at Crouch Neighbourhood Resource Centre in London for immediate interim solutions to fill the gap until City of London staff finish the process of updating the Housing Strategy.  These interim solutions include but are not limited to: making money available for motel stays, allowing people accessing OW and ODSP benefits to share rental space without being penalized, and short-term rental top-ups.

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