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My Ministry in  Peru

I, Pauline Coulterman, went to Peru in 1980 and returned to Canada in 2003.

Living in Peru for twenty-three years, gave me a great appreciation for what we have in Canada and a recognition of my great need to share what I can with the “People of Peru”.

The people with whom we, the Sisters of St. Joseph, are working in Chincha Alta, have a great love for us as we do for them. They are just so willing to give of their time and energies to help in the formation for ‘Basic Christian Communities’, the preparation for the Sacraments and/or any other initiative that is sent their way.

These People have the true Spirit and willingness to help others but often they themselves are in need of medicine, food and /or other basic needs of life. When I was there, I saw so many of our parishioners struggling to put their children into school, or struggling to find a job that would allow them to put food on the table for their family.

My time in Peru helped me to recognize that the ministry that we as Sisters continue to carry-on among the Peruvian People can only be done if the financial support comes from Canada.

I see that I can continue to serve the Peruvian People by being a liaison person between our Canadian Benefactors and our Peruvian Sisters in mission.

A good portion of my time in October is spent soliciting support from our Canadian Benefactors for the needs of the Peruvian People. Usually I send out about 300 letters of reminder to those who have supported us in the past couple of years.

By November and December donations returns are coming in and I spend many hours doing “thank you notes” to all, and pictures of school children to those who have chosen to sponsor the education of a child.

I do the campaigning for the mission in the Fall of the year to have a good picture of what funds might be available in January as the Sisters in Peru plan their Ministry for the New Year.

For ten years, the Pembroke Diocese was twinned with the archdiocese of Lima and I served on the Lima-Pembroke Partnership Committee. Working with this committee has opened the opportunity for me to organize and accompany groups to Peru, who are interested in a third world mission experience.

In the Month of October, I send out an e-mail  invitation to all who have expressed a desire to visit Peru.

This year’s invite is as follows…

Dear Friends:

This is the time of year I start my ‘Fall Campaign’ for our Peruvian Mission in Chincha Alta. As many of you may know, Yvonne and I are no longer organizing Pilgrimages to Peru but I am open to organizing a trip for anyone wishing to visit Peru for the purpose of meeting Christ in the Peruvian People and to see how our Canadian funds are helping the people of Chincha and area.

I wish to invite anyone who wants to spend a week or two visiting the families in our Mission of Chincha Alta, Peru to come and be a part of that experience. Sisters María and Gloria are always happy to have friends from Canada come and visit them and be a part of their living situation for a short time. We also encourage those making the trip to Peru for the first time, to visit Cuzco and Machu Pichhu. (Lost city of the Inca’s in the mountains of Peru.)

I have four people who have already started giving thought to coming with me for a couple of weeks in February 2019 and I want to open it up to anyone else who might be thinking they would like to do this. Just send me an e-mail and I will forward you a tentative outline of the trip and an over-view of cost.

Every year I travel to Peru on the first Monday of February and return in March with the last of the visitors.

You are welcome to pass this message on to any of your family or friends who might be interested in visiting Peru.

Thank you for your interest and support of our Peruvian Mission.

This work gives me a great sense of fulfillment and allows me an opportunity to still a part of our Peruvian Mission without having to live in Peru.

My visit to Peru in February gives me the chance to help start the school children into their new school year, get a report from them regarding their studies of the previous year and pick up notes and pictures for their sponsors. My time in Peru is also spent visiting the ongoing projects that are being supported through Canadian funds. Senior home, nursery schools, water projects, soup kitchens or whatever might need our attention in the new year.  My visit each year helps me stay in tune to the happenings in Chincha and thus more able to speak from experience when addressing school groups, C.W.L. groups and other organizations here in Canada. I take every opportunity I can to do presentations that would help people appreciate what they have and maybe someday be able to share with others.

My heart is with the Peruvian People and as long as I have the stamina to travel, my hope is to continue to introduce Canadians to the Peruvian reality.

Sr. Pauline, csj


Giving Tuesday 

Thank you Water First for the lovely thanks we're so thrilled to be a part of the incredible work you do!


Weekly Pause &  Ponder

For Teilhard, the future of the earth lies not in science but in the spiritual power of world religions and the power of love.  He envisioned an eventual convergence of religions so that the emergence of Christ would ultimately not be limited to a single religion but would be the convergence of psychic, spiritual energy, the unification of the whole. - Ilia Delio.

From Teilhard to Omega:Co-creating an Unfinished Universe


We are deeply concerned by inadequate social assistance and freezing of minimum  wage.

The Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada is deeply concerned by Friday’s announcement of changes to social assistance in Ontario.  While the decision to allow recipients to keep more of the money they earn, before clawing back these earnings, is relatively positive for affected recipients, the change still does not take their income anywhere near the poverty line.  The announcement also leaves recipients who are unable to work woefully below the poverty line.  Further, the decision to make it harder to qualify for a disability pension will keep more Ontarians, who are are unable to work, in deep poverty.  In short, this policy announcement leaves too many people behind.  Together with the decision to freeze the minimum wage at the current level, the government in Ontario has done little to remove barriers which are undermining meaningful participation, in both society and the labour market.

Federation President, Sister Mary Ann McCarthy, sees these policies through an ethical lens: “The Sisters of St. Joseph place a great deal of importance on community.  We know community works best when everyone feels like they belong; when they’re participating in the life of the community, contributing to the good of the whole and feeling valued.  This is our hope for all people in Ontario.”

Sister Sue Wilson, from the Federation’s Office for Systemic Justice, adds, “In Ontario, there are too many people in our communities who are made to feel like they don’t belong.  While many are finding work, too many are not finding decent work.  They’re not making a living wage or getting benefits.  Some can only find temporary jobs and sometimes the work isn’t safe.” 

The Sisters of St. Joseph note that, rather than undermining participation in the labour force, strong social protections, such as social assistance, are a critical mechanism for increasing employment rates.  Wilson explains, “Strong social protections provide vital support for workers as they transition from one job to another.  Without these protections, people can become so socially and economically excluded they are not able to recover.”

It is important to learn from experience.  Wilson says: “Inadequate rates of social assistance create barriers to social and economic inclusion:  They erode physical and mental health; they put people in a position where they must sink all their energy into surviving and end up marginalized from the labour market and vital social connections.  We have been watching this play out in Ontario since the mid-1990s.” 

McCarthy concludes: “We can do better!  Trust cannot thrive while different social groups experience starkly different social and economic outcomes.  Greater equity isn’t just important for people who live in poverty.  It benefits all of us, strengthening the ties which bind us together.  Strong social protections and a living wage would create a critical foundation for greater equity in Ontario.”


Already got your canvas shopping bag? 

Here are five other ways to go #PlasticFree

By: Ashley Wallis,  Program Manager, Water,  Environmental Defence

Maybe we’ve finally seen enough photos of dead and dying animals choking on or entangled in plastic trash. Or maybe we’re rattled by reports that our bodies and drinking water (bottled and tap) are also contaminated with plastic bits. Whatever the reason, more people than ever want to do their part to help curb the flow of plastic into our lakes, rivers, and oceans. And that’s a great thing.

The good news is that all over the world folks are trying to go plastic free, or reduce the amount of plastic they use.

But where to start? We all know about saying no to plastic shopping bags and straws, but what next? We’ve put together a list of ways to ditch plastics for good which you might not have thought of.

1. Say “No” to single-use

So let’s start with the obvious.  Single-use plastics are the kind of plastics you use for only a few minutes before throwing them in the bin. Items like plastic bottles, shopping bags, coffee cups and drink straws fall into this category, but so do most take-away containers and produce bags. You can make a huge difference by refusing to buy or use these items in the first place.

Plastic bottles and coffee cups can be replaced with stainless steel or glass alternatives. And you don’t need to get fancy. I’ve taken a regular, clean mug to my local coffee shop and they’ve happily filled it. If you’re looking for a more portable option, you can use a canning jar and buy or make a cloth sleeve to protect your hand from the hot drink inside.

The Plastic Free July website has loads of awesome alternatives to single-use plastics.

And if you’re the kind of person who usually needs a “doggy bag” when you eat out, bring your own reusable containers to date night. Instead of leaving the restaurant with leftover spaghetti in a Styrofoam box wrapped in a plastic bag, you can bring your food home in a container you can wash and reuse over-and-over again.

Unfortunately, many takeout restaurants refuse to fill personal containers, citing concerns over food safety. If that’s the case, you should seriously consider taking action number two…

2. Tell businesses they need to do better 

A few fast food chains have recently announced plans to stop using plastic straws. This is a great first step, but there are lots of other problematic plastics businesses should kiss goodbye. For example, in many jurisdictions (including Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa) black plastic simply isn’t recyclable. That means coffee cup lids and takeout trays are destined for the landfill. If black plastic can’t be efficiently recycled, it shouldn’t be used.

“If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.” – Pete Seeger

And what’s with packaging bell peppers in cellophane and avocados in plastic mesh sacks? This kind of packaging doesn’t do anything to protect or preserve your produce. If anything it encourages shoppers to over-buy, which can lead to unnecessary food waste.

If you have concerns, write, tweet, or call the companies you think are the worst offenders, and ask them to eliminate unnecessary packing. Kicking up a stink works, especially if lots of people do it.  And use your wallet as a tool for advocacy by choosing to support companies and products that use less useless plastic.

3. Rethink what you wear

Peppers aren’t the only things wrapped in plastic. There’s a good chance you are too. Many of the common modern fabrics and textiles we wear are actually made from plastic. Performance fleece, stretchy athletic wear, and really anything with polyester, spandex or nylon is made with plastic.

The polyethylene terephthalate (PET) industry has been singing its own praises for transforming used plastic bottles into performance fleece. But huge quantities of textiles end up in landfills every year. And before they even get there, these fabrics shed millions of microfibers into our rivers, lakes and oceans through laundering processes.

To decrease your impact, choose high-quality, durable clothes made from natural fibres like wool and hemp. And buy less, because all of this stuff inevitably ends up in the landfill, incinerator, or environment.

4. Join a beach clean-up event

Wondering where littered single-use plastics end up?  Last year, over 80,000kg of litter was collected from shoreline clean-up events across Canada. And most of the commonly collected items were – you guessed it – plastic.

If you want to get involved with a shoreline clean-up, Environmental Defence bookmark this website for upcoming events. If the timing or location doesn’t work out for you, you can join an existing clean-up or lead your own through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

While shoreline clean-ups on their own won’t get us out of this mess, they’re a great way to roll-up your sleeves and help your local environment. They also provide vital data on the amount and types of plastic that are out there. But if we really want to end plastic pollution, we need to change the way we use, collect, and recycle plastic. And the best way to accomplish that is through point number five: government action.

5. Tell governments to do more

As individuals we have important choices to make, but the biggest change happens when we change the way a system operates. Over the last several decades, we’ve established a system that ignores massive costs to people and the environment. If it doesn’t have a price tag, it doesn’t seem to matter. Governments need to write new rules that make businesses financially responsible for the polluting plastics they put on the market. And we need a unified approach from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

We need federal, provincial, municipal, and Indigenous governments to work together to establish a national framework that moves Canada to a zero plastic-waste future.

If you agree, take action and tell government you want a plastic-free environment now. 



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