Thursday, July 27, 2017

Peace by Piece: Stitching together Canadian Stories

Read the CBC story HERE

Last week I visited Hamilton to see an exhibit ‘Quilt of Belonging’, which is 120 feet long and ten feet high. This AMAZING piece of work is made of 263 hexagonal blocks about 6 inches, with each block representing Canada’s main Indigenous groups, or a country from which immigrants have come, with a depiction of something from their home country, or what Canada means to them. The bottom row, the foundational one, is from main Indigenous groups.

The creativity and ingenuity displayed by the artists are phenomenal. Few of the blocks are quilted in the traditional way, rather they are a display of embroidery, appliquéing, tatting, beading, and other kinds of textile art. The exhibition runs from July 10 – August 16 and is free. Guides are available to explain some of the blocks. My friend bought me the book that shows each block and explains why the artist depicted the country that way. For example, France has a petit point oval about 4 inches long and about 3 inches wide—depicting a scene in the Impressionistic style. This sits on a square with Richelieu cutwork embroidery. The Canadian block is an incomplete maple leaf, outlined in beadwork.

The quilt shows the diversity of the cultures of Canadians, both new and old. Though it has been around for more than 10 years, the showing is particularly important in this year of Canada 150.

Sr. Helen Claire, SSJD
July 27, 2017

The incredible journey of making this project is a testament to what can be achieved when ordinary people work together with hands, heart and spirit for the good of all!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Associates of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine. Who we are!

Associates of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine are men and women, lay and ordained, who are members of a Christian parish community and seek to deepen their life in Christ through following a Rule of Life in association with the Sisters.
In other words, they are ordinary people who are seeking “something more” in their spiritual life and believe they can be nurtured in their spiritual journey through being connected with the life and ministry of a monastic community. 
The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, was founded in 1884. It owes its founding to the vision and dedication of a group of women and men who prayed and worked for a monastic community to be established in Canada – where the life of Christians could be nurtured and strengthened. 
The first Associates of the Sisterhood were members of the group who had the vision for the Sisterhood. A relationship of mutual support of prayer, love, and ministry exists between the Sisterhood and the Associate.

The Rule for Associates

  1. To become informed, and to be willing to tell others, about the overall principles of the Monastic Life, and in particular about the life and work of the Sisters of Saint John the Divine. 
  2. To be an active member of a worshipping congregation within the Christian faith, and when possible, to share in the Eucharist on Sundays and on Major Feasts. To pray especially for the Sisterhood of Saint John the Divine on their four major anniversaries: February 9 (Hannah Grier Coome, Founder, SSJD), May 6 (Feast of St. John), September 8 (the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Foundation Day of SSJD), December 27 (Feast of St. John the Evangelist). 
  3. To include in one’s daily intercessory prayer the Community and Associates. 
  4. To seek to grow in prayer, for renewal of life in Christ, by spending time daily in some form of listening prayer, often called meditative or contemplative prayer. 
  5. To seek to live an intentional Christian life with thoughtfulness and integrity. 
  6. To read some portion of Holy Scripture daily, and to read books helpful to growing in the Christian life. 
  7. To make an annual Retreat of at least two days whenever possible or to have/participate in two or more Quiet Days annually. 
  8. If called upon, to be willing to help the Community, and to help Associates who live in their vicinity. As they are able, Associates contribute financially to the Sisterhood. 
  9. To report yearly through a reflective letter or to visit with the Director of Associates in their area (Eastern, Central, Prairie or Western) within the month of the Anniversary of their Admission as to the value of the keeping of this Rule.

To Become an Associate

Write, phone or e-mail the Director of Associates at the Convent or the Branch House nearest you to request further information about becoming an Associate. 
A period of discernment is required (approximately one year) before being admitted as an Associate. The purpose of this time is to discover if the Associate Rule of Life is a help to you on your spiritual journey and in deepening your relationship with Christ; it also provides time for deepening your understanding and practice of prayer and for developing a relationship with the Director of Associates and the Sisters. 
The Rule for Associates is intended to provide a framework for the journey of faith, a trellis to support you in your own life and ministry of love in and for the world.


  • ST. JOHN'S CONVENT Attn. Director of Associates 233 Cummer Avenue Toronto, ON M2M 2E8 TEL: 416-226-2201 FAX: 416-226-2131 E-Mail:
  • ST. JOHN’S HOUSE, BC Attn. Director of Associates 3937 St. Peters Road Victoria, B.C. V8P 2J9 TEL: 250-920-7787 FAX:250-920-7709 E-Mail:
  • To view and/or download the Associates brochure click here »

Monday, July 17, 2017

See the World, You ARE able, Part 2

I have always been a traveller, so after many years of hitchiking and couch surfing and going to all-inclusive resorts, I decided (in the early 80s) to go on a cruise with a female friend of mine. We went on Carnival Cruise lines to the Caribbean and visited San Juan, Barbados, St. Kitts, Martinique and the Line's private island of Bequia. My memories of that experience are clouded, both by age and overindulgene at the time, but I do remember that we stayed in an interior cabin which was so small that we two "curvy" women had trouble moving around inside it. The washrooms were the size of the closets and were a challenge for both of us. Other than that, the ship itself and the cruise were what we expected -- sun and fun. What do I remember of our itinerary? The large size womans' store in St. Thomas and the wonderful shopping. Stuffing the hungover friend into a cab so I could see the beautiful island of Martinique and winding up in a restaurant surrounded by aquariums. Swimming ashore from a rubber raft to the not yet touristy island of Nevis. Getting off the ship in San Juan and having my  'no sea sickness'' patch fall off and becoming so sick that I had to sit in a restaurant that used to be a convent while the rest of the passengers went on a tour of the Fort. Not too bad an experience as the London Fog outlet was across the street and, even though I was ill, I could still shop. It was a very long time before I had the urge to cruise again and then I found Holland America Cruise Lines,

My husband, Darryl, and I had spent several years taking short trips to various U.S. cities to visit museums, art galleries, theatres, music venues and, alas, relatives.  As time passed, I became sadly aware that my mobility and energy levels were declining rapidly and that the actual physical effort to get places would have to change.  For instance, to get to Pearson Airport, we used to love hopping on the subway to Islington station and taking the Rocket to the Terminal for the price of a ticket or token.  Each of us just pulled our carry-on bag behind us and that was it.  Unfortunately, with my cane and arthritic hands, the transporting of even the smallest of suitcases and the challenge of the stairs and the airport distances were daunting, if not impossible.  The price of limos and cabs were out of the question since we live in the east end of the city and we have not yet won Cash for Life or Lotto 649.   My mobility challenges qualify me to get Wheel Trans and I soon discovered that they would transport me and my escort to the airport! I hope that the upcoming changes to this wonderful programme will not include the discontinuation of this valuable service.

 I also found out that I could order a wheelchair or other mobility solution from the airlines.  The airlines, if you notified them when you booked your flight, would be happy to make all sorts of accommodations for you.  They will ensure that you can board early and will even cater to most of your food requests.  I have bizarre food allergies and I can honestly say that I have not gone without food on any flight.  The only problem that we have ever encountered were the seats on an Air Canada flight overseas that were so small that we both had to order seatbelt extenders.  We have also found that it is worth the money to ensure that you have seats where you can either have no one in front of you or a seat where you can easily get up and walk around.  On one flight, our very knowledgeable travel agent, booked us in the last row so that I could stand up in the area behind the seats.  (Have I mentioned that I am accident prone -- a klutz -- and have broken my leg and torn ligaments shortly before two of my vacations and that I caught pneumonia during my travels?) 

We have also purchased a large, ultra lightweight suitcase with wheels rather than taking two small suitcases.  Why?  Not only does it cut down on how much you have to unpack and carry, but it costs less than paying for two suitcases!  Beware, the airlines keep the cabin temperatures at what I consider to be sub-zero C..  One of  the best purchases that I have made was the travel package on Air Transat that contained earphones, eyeshades and the best blanket all in a small pouch. And, don't be afraid to ask for a blanket.  Sometimes there is a small charge to buy one; however on a recent trip to Calgary on West Jet, the flight attendant became concerned when she saw me shivering with my sweater and a scarf pulled over my head and happily offered me a medical blanket.  Dress in layers and especially, DON'T WEAR SHOES WITH LACES.  So those are my tips on getting to your destination.