Living Joy

"I have never felt so blessed" shared one of our young adult pilgrims after he had received a departure blessing from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto at their home at 2 O'Connor. The second weekend in August, Faith Connections and the Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada organized a pilgrimage to London, Ontario for young adults (18-39 years). Within the theme of “Living Joy”, the 22 participants experienced the history, charism, spirituality and ministries of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Ontario.

Each participant received a letter from a Sister who was praying for him or her during the pilgrimage, telling how she experienced joy in her life, and as they travelled to London an excellent printed guide told of the history and ministries of the CSJs in Ontario including references to sites being passed in Toronto and Hamilton. The pilgrims stayed at King’s College in London at night but were hosted by the Sisters of St. Joseph of London during the day and evening.

On Saturday the pilgrims participated in a choice of three different service projects; meeting with the retired Sisters, taking part in a music program with those suffering from dementia, or gardening. In the afternoon they walked to various sights of the works of the Sisters of St. Joseph in London; from this rich history the young adults were invited to reflect on what they might learn from the Sisters in order to further embrace joy in their own life. Prayer and reflection experiences included St Joseph, vocation, the Examen, the CSJ history in Canada, the Divine Office — all inviting the young adults into joy. On Saturday evening there was a Taizé prayer service and the pilgrims participated in the Sunday liturgy and meals with the Sisters.

The hospitality of the Sisters in Toronto and in London was one of the great graces of the pilgrimage; when asked to reflect on the joy they had experienced over the weekend, many young adults shared stories of their unexpected encounters with the senior sisters who shared with them stories of their lives as well as warmly welcomed them into their home. After the Sunday Liturgy Sister Loretta Manzara ended the pilgrimage with a beautiful blessing on behalf of the Federation.

Sr. Rosemary Fry