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Keeping the Momentum  Going

As highlighted in the infographics produced by Elections Canada,  pictured below, voter turnout showed an increase over all age groups in the 2015 Federal Election over the previous numbers in 2011. This increased voter turnout  was most notable among youth 18-24. However, the percentage of eligible youth voters who cast a ballot was still the lowest percentage of any group going to the polls among all age groups.   


As the infographic to the right shows, eligible youth voters cast ballots in greater numbers for the 2015 Federal Election across all regions of the country.

Will that pattern be repeated in 2019?

Statistics indicate that the largest segment in the pool of eligible voters for the 2019 federal election are between the ages of 18 and 38. "We're looking at Canadians between the ages of 18 and 38 who will represent upwards of 37 per cent of the electorate," Abacus Data CEO David Coletto told   Cross Country Checkup   host Duncan McCue.

This election, to build upon the momentum of increased voter participation in this millenial demographic, I offer several suggestions:

  • Candidates need to make specific efforts to engage youth.
  • Campaign speeches and party platforms must address issues that concern youth.
  • Youth need to encourage their circle of friends to exercise their democratic right to vote.
  • Youth can use social media to challenge peers to be the group with the highest voter turnout.
  • All of us can encourage youth participation and ensure that they register to vote.
  • Lead by example by making plans to vote.

In the remaining days leading up to October 21st,  let’s invite and encourage young adults to actively participate in the 2019 federal election. Their voice indicates the kind of country they want Canada to be. 

 - Sister Nancy Wales










Weekly Pause &  Ponder

Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.

- Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.   


Bridge Over Troubled  Water

My daily commute to work can take me along various routes, some determined by the weather others by my mood. After a busy day at work, my preference is a more leisurely ride home along tree lined streets through a quiet residential area. In the morning I tend to use the most direct route, busy Adelaide Street one of London, Ontario’s main thoroughfares.  Driving along for about 8 km there is a constant change of the usual sort of sights. Apartment buildings, homes, shops, gas stations line the street.  My least favourite part of this route are the railway tracks.  However, my favourite, at least until very recently, has been a bridge spanning the road that lies beneath.  It is not so much the bridge that is my favourite but the fascinating sight of hundreds of tiny birds most days perched on the wires spanning the bridge.

While I wait at the nearby intersection for the lights to turn green, I like to watch these birds, fascinated by how they huddle together on the wires, mostly all facing the same direction.  On my early morning commute the sight of the bridge and the tiny birds has always been my favourite part.  Until a few days ago when what is happening on the underside of the bridge made the evening news. Now I don’t know about you, but though I have driven across that bridge innumerable times over the past ten years, I have never given any thought to its underside since I have never driven on the road below.

There are usually two sides to every story, and there are two sides to the bridge.  Above and below.  Above the sky, the birds on the wires, my mind set on the day to come.  Below, I learned this week, troubling things have been going on of which I was totally oblivious.  Below, tragically, homeless people who have been seeking refuge.  Safety concerns and damage caused to the bridge by those seeking shelter under the bridge has now prompted the authorities to take drastic measures. Security guards who have been hired have removed needles and other drug paraphernalia from beneath the bridge.  “The city has hired the firm to keep the area clear of people because of recent vandalism to cement slabs under the bridge.” (London Free Press, 19 September 2019) Though the city is reaching out to these homeless people by providing housing through London Cares Homeless Response Services, the problem will not be solved over night. It will be a slow process. 

So, I am asking myself, “What to do! What can I, what could all those who daily drive across this bridge spanning the ‘troubled water’ below, do to aid our less fortunate sisters and brothers? How can we bridge the gap between ‘those of us above and those below’?”  I can no longer simply drive over the Adelaide bridge, merely enjoying those tiny birds on the wires as I used to do. Now, every time I cross that bridge, I wonder who might be evicted right there and then at the underside of the bridge.  Whenever possible, I slow down and say a prayer for those who may continue to seek shelter right beneath me, waiting for help, waiting for a safe warm place provided by London Cares and other agencies reaching out, looking for long term solutions for our homeless sisters and brothers. Are any of us daily commuters willing to be that bridge over troubled water, ‘laying down’ for our sister and brother ‘down and out…on the street’?

Whatsoever you do for the least of my sisters and brothers, that you do unto Me.

 - Sr. Magdalena Vogt, cps





Associates and Sisters Pause to Ask, “What’s Next”?  

Working alongside the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada are women and men who form a group known as Associates/Companions.  Since the 1650 foundation of the CSJ community in Le Puy, France, lay women (and now men) have joined with the Sisters in a diversity of ways carrying out a common mission through loving, caring and compassionate service. 

The London Associates were founded about 30 years ago. In collaboration with the Sisters, they developed a Spiritual Ministries Network in 2007 to facilitate adult spirituality promoting growth in body, mind and spirit.  The Network promotes activities such as spiritual direction, retreat opportunities, art experiences and massage therapy, to name a few.

Recently, a group of Sisters and Associates gathered in our London residence for a day of reflection to review the Spiritual Network’s purpose and to consider where it is being called in 2020.  Will it continue offering public lectures, workshops and such initiatives? They also pondered what new initiatives might be beckoning for attention. Sharing discussions about issues that really matter is a rewarding experience.

At the conclusion of the retreat day, through contemplative dialogue, reflection, deep listening and sharing, the Spiritual Ministries Network Council renewed its commitment to adult spiritual growth, particularly to adults aged 18-35 as a predominant focus area.  The Network will look for opportunities to engage with youth in new and generative ways that meet the needs that are revealed.

The Spiritual Ministries Network would love to hear from youth yearning to deepen their purpose on earth through loving, caring and compassionate being in the world.  We encourage youth to seek further information on this emerging initiative. Interested? Contact the Spiritual Ministries Network. Mary Shamley is our Coordinator of Spiritual Ministries Network.  (519) 432-3781 x567

 - Sr. Jean Moylan








Weekly Pause &  Ponder

It doesn’t matter where on Earth you live, everyone is utterly dependent on the existence of that lovely, living saltwater soup.  There’s plenty of water in the universe without life, but nowhere is there life without water.

- Sylvia Earle.  Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans (1995).


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