Our Lady's Missionaries honoured
For the first time, the Canadian Churches Forum for Global Ministry presents the Katherine Hockin award to a community in mission
By Sr. Marie Clarkson, O.L.M.
Patti Talbot (right), Co-Director of the Canadian Churches Forum for Global Ministries, presents the 2006 Katherine Hockin award to Our Lady's Missionaries' community leader Sr. Frances Brady.
"It is an honour and a special ecumenical joy for me as chair of the Board of the Canadian Churches Forum for Global Ministries to inform you that your community has been chosen to receive the annual Katherine Hockin Award for 2006."
These were the words written by Patti Talbot, Co-Director of the Canadian Churches' Forum for Global Ministries, in her letter to Sr. Frances Brady and the leadership team of Our Lady's Missionaries.
"This is the first time that the award has been offered to a community in mission," Patti wrote. "In Our Lady's Missionaries we see a sisterhood of Christians who sustain each other in breathtakingly generous response to the call of the Gospel. In ways that are practical, contemporary, profoundly respectful, courageous and full of compassion, your Sisters have hurried to the aid of people in need in Asia, Africa, South America and here at home. As your first priority you have cherished the invitation of Jesus to meet him already present in the poor, sick and hungry of the world. In faithfully living out that 'option for the poor', you have consequently found new ways to obey the Lord's command to go, teach and make disciples in every nation."
What a wonderful blessing it was to be honoured in such a way on February 26 at the Bloor St. United Church. The special messages received, the presence of our friends, the award presentation, the music, and the shared meal made the experience so memorable. The joy in the room was palpable. Perhaps not least of all, Sr. Margaret Myatt and the Sisters of St. Joseph (C.S.J.) of Toronto rejoiced since their Sisters provided our first formation in the early years and have been constant supporters since.
Speeches were short but filled with lifegiving words. Sr. Leona Spencer, C.S.J., National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in English Canada, said: "Ever since my coming to Pontifical Societies I have been struck by Our Lady's Missionaries' generous creativity, their open-handed hospitality, their simplicity in love and service of the poor, and their ability to have fun, to rejoice in the Lord and in each other."
Rejoicing with Our Lady's Missionaries at the awards ceremony were (L-R) Sisters of St. Joseph Marie Tremblay; Margaret Myatt, General Superior; Josephine Conlin; and Mary Carol Lemire. The Sisters of St. Joseph provided Our Lady's Missionaries with their first formation in the early years and have remained their constant supporters.
Burser Sr. Jean Groves added congratulations, "As a Toronto C.S.J., I enjoy a family relationship with Our Lady's Missionaries. And as a Pontifical Missions staff member, I'm ever reminded that we are collaborators in mission. I wish you blessings as you continue your journey."
Mary Jo Mahon, National Secretary of Holy Childhood Association Toronto, said,"Our Lady's Missionaries are independent, involved, inclusive and incredible. Congratulations friends! Each of you is a treasure to know."
Scarboro missioner Fr. John Walsh, National Secretary for the Society of St. Peter the Apostle, sent congratulations highlighting our community's qualities of being adaptable to the needs of people and encouraging the individual charisms of members.
Co-Director of the Canadian Churches' Forum for Global Ministries, Rev. Jonathan Schmidt, welcomed all and read a message of peace from Dr. Bernard Sabella, a Roman Catholic who teaches at Bethlehem University and is program director for the Middle East Council of Churches in the area of services to Palestinian refugees. Dr. Sabella was to attend the award ceremony as this year's International Visitor and guest speaker, but has been recently elected to a seat in the Palestinian Parliament.
Patricia McKinnon, Editor of Missions Today closed with a reference to Psalm 150:
"We praise you with trumpet sound
We praise you with lute and harp
We praise you with strings and pipe
We praise you with sounding cymbals
We praise you Our Lady's Missionaries and we thank you."
Our Lady's Missionaries likewise thank each of you who have supported us openly and in many unseen ways. We know that it is your great love for our sisters and brothers around the world that deserves the praise.
Dr. Katherine Hockin Award
Dr. Katharine Hockin, a former Director of the Canadian Churches' Forum for Global Ministries, was a Canadian born in China of missionary parents. Dr. Hockin worked throughout her life to deepen and promote an ecumenical understanding of God's mission in the world and of how this mission can be shared by Christians today. The Canadian Churches' Forum has chosen to honour her memory by offering an award annually to someone who is living the grace of mission in a particularly significant way.
The Canadian Churches' Forum operates under the aegis of the Canadian Council of Churches and works closely with other denominational and ecumenical organizations.
For more than 80 years the Forum has played a unique role in preparing people for cross-cultural mission and ministry. Their goal is to stimulate ecumenical dialogue on issues of mission, global concerns and social justice, and to prepare individuals to serve faithfully in mission in an ever-changing world.
The Forum continues to foster a spirit of community and solidarity among groups and individuals of distinct traditions and beliefs involved in global ministry through its many cross-cultural activities and programs.
Taken from the website of the Canadian Churches' Forum for Global Ministries: www.ccforum.ca