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Rooted in  Optimism

Beatrice Bruteau author of Radical Optimism and many other books, wrote many articles including one entitled Radical Optimism Rooting Ourselves in Reality.  In this she spells out thoughts and concerns, applicable for our times, re the imagination.  To this article I add my own thoughts and reflections.

Bruteau suggests we need to be aware of the power of our imagination. Is my personal and our collective imagination feeding distortions, fear, falsehoods and being fertilized by such things as the news and social media that conjure up the worst of the news?  Often today, the term “fake news” throws red lights and fear around what we use to take as truth or fact.  In our minds, inner walls now rise.  We seek safety. Such reports may lead to bullying or buying guns as suspicions grow.  In these ways, the images we absorb from the media, can reinforce an unbridled imagination by building negative thoughts.

Louise Hay cautions, “If you accept a limiting belief, then it will become a truth for you”.  Frequently, those who can imagine the impossible against all odds, can achieve their goals.  Here the imagination projects hopeful, inspiring direction.  The learning then I would suggest, is that on our life journey, we need family or friends who are help up stretch our boundaries and to live the best of who we are and can be together. We never do this alone. Ever!

In history, Jesus stands out as a person not limited by his fears. He called others to trust. While perhaps imagining the worst for himself, he was not consumed by such thoughts, but believed beyond his own imagination, in a God who loved and cared for the world. Not once did he repeat “do not be afraid.” But rather over and over again.

Bruteau in her writings during her lifetime, like Jesus, rained down courage, faith, inspiring rays of light upon the earth. Her influence engenders refreshing hope to readers even today. Inspired by prayer, she exuded the gift of imagination in a broad, positive and reflective way.  Bruteau is a guide for today who envisoned the story of creation and relationship with God, in a new way because of a deeply refreshing perspective .  

Quoting from Pauls’ Epistle to the Philippians, Bruteau writes, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). Those words root us, ground us and focus us. They serve as a “guide” for our imagination. We find direction for our lives.  We find hope.  Now when hearing many voices, we, with an awakened consciousness, are firmly rooted.

- Patricia St. Louis csj

Reference: www.worldcat.org/title/radical-optimism-rooting-ourselves... Radical optimism : rooting ourselves in reality. [Beatrice Bruteau] -- Beatrice Bruteau is a Christian philosopher whose vision of life is an inspiration to some of the most influential thinkers of our time. In Radical Optimism, she shines new light on the deepest truth ...  



Letter to Premier  Ford

Dear Premier Ford,

We urge the Ontario government to re-think its budget cuts to legal aid funding.

In the April 11, 2019 budget, you announced a 30% reduction in Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO) budget and indicated the government will no longer fund refugee and immigration law services “outside of any potential transition costs.”

Access to legal aid is already far too limited in Ontario.  The immediate cuts of 30% to LAO’s budget will create further marginalization from legal justice.  This can only erode faith in the fairness of the legal system. 

In addition, assisting refugees and newcomers with legal services is integral to creating a fair society. Moreover, it costs us little.  In 2017-2018, refugee and immigration services were just a small piece ($45 million) of LAO’s $460 million budget.  Yet, in that same year, this money allowed LAO to address 13,687 immigration and refugee legal matters.  Without such legal assistance, these legal matters would be very hard to navigate and leave newcomers vulnerable to irreversible decisions with hugely negative impacts.

One of the ways we define our character as a province is by how we treat each other when we’re in vulnerable circumstances.  The Ontario government’s new slogan suggests we want an Ontario in which all people have a fair chance to grow.  This can only happen if we ensure each of us has access to the resources and opportunities which are fundamental to participation in our society.  Fair access to the legal system is one of the basic resources everyone needs.



Sue Wilson, CSJ
Joan Atkinson, CSJ
Office for Systemic Justice
Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada


Easter  Message

Patterns of dying and releasing into the hope of new life are the threads that tether us with hope to the Christian mystery of Easter.

May our whole being open to the good news that new life is already daily in our midst.

- The Sisters of St. Joseph


Holy Saturday  Reflection


“There is a great silence on the earth today, a great silence and stillness”. Holy Saturday was thus once described in an ancient homily.

Today throughout the world our churches are symbolically empty of the Blessed Sacrament, their tabernacle lights extinguished, and their altars stripped.

So, what shall we make of this time… this interval? Should we just go on about business as usual until we pick up our Holy Week observance at sunset?

During Holy Week the significance of Holy Saturday is easily overlooked with the liturgies of Good Friday and Easter Sunday taking up the bulk of our attention. What about Saturday, this “in- between” day? How do we make sense of it?

To enter the spirit of this unique day we gather here to reflect and keep vigil at the Lord’s tomb. We can keep this day holy by letting the sense of its mystery enter us. Holy Saturday should perhaps be for us one of the most contemplative days of the Christian year.

After the witnessing the drama of Friday, an immense silence descended on the disciples. We find ourselves somewhat out of step with them for we know the sequel to Good Friday. We are certain that Easter will come, as it already has.

However nearly two thousand years ago today, the disciples of Jesus were without words of faith, having witnessed their friend’s execution and having come face to face with their own betrayal of him. They were numbed by the sadness and confusion of the moment into inactivity. They could only wait.

Let us not rush too quickly to the resurrection and miss the significance of this day of waiting. Let us not rush but rather pause and remain awhile with the disciples in this time span between Friday and Sunday. These moments described as “the world was still, the tears fresh, the grave sealed- the darkest day past, a brighter morning imminent- but waiting.” which were posted on the website Acoustic Tide.

Perhaps the mood of the first Holy Saturday might be felt as captured so well on the same website: “God was silent, though it was a pregnant silence; those who endured it were blind to any evidence of the arriving joy.  “It was as if God stood speechless, holding his breath and waiting a moment to utter the holiest of words in response: resurrection.”

The quietness of this day invites us to ponder the enormity of Mary’s and the disciples’ experience. Perhaps Holy Saturday as well let us entertain how life might be for us without the reality of resurrection and the possibility of new life. Today affords us the spaciousness of time to reflective leisurely upon the course of our own faith journey. An opportunity to realize the difference the gift of faith makes in our lives.

Tina Beattie asserts that “there is a fragile link which connects the tragedy of Good Friday to the promise of Easter Sunday. Th[is] link is - to dare to believe … [I]t was surely the challenge which faced Mary and the faithful disciples throughout the long day when the tomb was sealed and silent.” Our life situations also at times challenge our own faith. Our fragile belief is fortified by our willingness to hope in spite of the circumstances. We too need to dare to believe.

Alan E. Lewis in his book “Between Cross & Resurrection reflects: “Holy Saturday is significant because it exists “as that day between days, which speaks solely neither of the cross nor of the resurrection, but simultaneously remembers the one and awaits the other, and guarantees that neither will be heard or thought about, or lived, without the other.” (Lewis, 2001)

Today let us hold still as we inevitability shift our attention between the mystery of the cross and the mystery of the resurrection and the part each of them plays in the pattern of our lives.

“There is a great silence on the earth today, a great silence and stillness”.

Nancy Wales



The Sacrament of Jesus’ Life Among  Us

Good Friday invites us to set aside our regular routines to enter a sacred time of quietness and reflection. Today’s remembrances beckon us to delve deeper into the depths of the unfathomable Paschal Mystery. We are invited to see it in it a sacred cycle inherent in the very fabric of our lives. A pattern relived within our personal ups and downs.  Our prayerful reflection seeks to draws us reverently into this mystery. The events of the Passion are an integrated segment of a whole: part of the unfolding mystery of God’s design. Thoughts can easily go awry if we too narrowly try to find the meaning of Jesus’ death apart from his ongoing incarnation, Jesus’ entire earthly life and his resurrection.

I propose that one might consider the writing style of Matthew, Mark and Luke akin to reporters of the daily news. These three writer’s provide the graphic details of  Jesus’ passion. Whereas, John’s approach more closely resembles the writing style of a documentary writer who wishes to convey a central message to his audience.

Sandra Schneider describes John’s central message in this manner:

“In the fourth gospel, events are not put forth in terms of sacrifice or retribution but in terms of self-gift: God so loved his own in the world that he laid down his life for them. Jesus’ self-gift was an act of friendship: “no longer do I call you servants…you I have called friends.” John’s gospel’s trilogy of –life, light, and love- captures [this] entire dynamic."

In God’s unfolding design the Word became flesh and lived among us. Jesus graciously took upon himself all that human life entailed. Faithfulness to his mission and message brought him face to face with opposing forces. An opposition strong enough to demand the death sentence of the times. That sentence entailed punishment cruelly meted out in accordance with the methods of the day- crucifixion.

We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be too myopic in our view of Jesus’ death on the cross but rather see it in the context of Jesus’ whole life. Let us treasure the image of the crucified Jesus not as one defined moment, but as the ‘sacrament’ of Jesus’ total life among us. Jesus’ fidelity to his mission without any limits put on the cost. An example for us of a life lived out as total self-gift.

Nancy Wales


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