Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” John 11:25-26
Sr. Mary Finn passed to her eternal reward with the Lord and dominion of Saints on January 4, 2021.
Mary Catherine Finn was born in Detroit on September 11,1934, the oldest of three girls to Mary (O’Hara) and Frank Finn. Her mother was born and raised in Chicago and her father was raised in County Tyrone, in farm country in Northern Ireland where he was a parish catechist. Frank (aka Barney) Finn was a Detroit street car motorman. Grandpa O’Hara also lived with the family; he would bundle young Mary, Marge and Pat in their red wagon for walks through their Glenfield-Gratiot neighborhood on the East Side of Detroit. “Every neighbor, store keeper and beer garden patron met and loved Grandpa and the three little Finn girls.” Mary loved parish and school life at nearby St. David on beautiful Outer Drive. In the 7th grade, Bishop Schoenherr invited her to play and coach the CYO parish girls’ basketball and fast pitch softball teams. Mary wrote: If there had been honors and awards for girl players and coaches in those days, I would have received the best! My batting average for the four years of high school was 800!
While in high school, Bishop Schoenherr introduced three encyclicals to Mary: Mystical Body of Christ, Holy Scriptures and Divine Liturgy – the building blocks of her life. She didn’t want to be a teacher after high school so she entered the Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary in 1952.
Mary received degrees from Marygrove College, Marquette Univ. and Duquesne Univ. She served many times as retreat director and delegate for religious and ministry formation of seminarians. She loved her evenings engaged with teens at the Catholic Information Center on Oakland Avenue. Mary writes: A transforming moment for me was the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 which shook my social innocence with a great sadness about White Catholic racism. The young men who came to play pool at the center became my Life-Teachers.
Sr. Mary moved to Sacred Heart Seminary where she taught for fifty years, still enamored with the words of God. “A few Scriptures that still surprise and change me every time are: God’s original garden words in the human conversation with Adam and Eve: “You are very good.” And the greeting to Mary: “Hail, favored one. The Lord is with you.””
Sr. Mary was precede in death by her parents, beloved grandfather, sister Patricia and brother-in-law Don Barkume; and brother-in-law Ed Stano and nephew Jim Stano. She is remembered by Marge Stano, her sister, nieces and nephews: Maureen, Dan, Brien Barkume and John and Patrick Stano along with their families and dear friend Jacqueline (John) Ahern and her religious congregation and untold number of friends and companions.
Funeral mass will be at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Detroit on Thursday, January 7, 2021. 10:00 am viewing. 11:00 am Eucharistic liturgy. Msgr. Daniel Trapp presiding.
The Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary rejoice in the appointment of Archbishop Wilton Gregory. Washington, D.C., as a new Cardinal by Pope Francis on October 25. Cardinal Gregory has been actively engaged in the struggle, the life of the church, for many years. His appointment represents a joyous recognition of his vision, his character and his leadership.
Letter from Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary:
Dear Bishop Gregory, It is with profound gratitude and joy that the Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary congratulate you on your elevation to the office of cardinal. These are indeed trying times in which your elevation is made, but in times like these the Holy Spirit raises up the elect of God’s own heart to lead His people. It is not a little thing that your elevation comes in a time and place in history when our world is in need of profound healing . Be assured of our prayerful support and prayers.
Sr. Elizabeth Harris, HVM.
Letter from The Leadership Conference of Women Religious:
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious rejoices over the news of the appointment of Archbishop Wilton Gregory as a cardinal in the Catholic Church. Over the years we have been grateful to Archbishop Gregory’s leadership within the church where he has not only been a strong pastoral presence, but also a fearless outspoken critic of injustice. His public stances on many critical matters such as the repair of the US immigration system, race relations, climate change, sexual abuse within the church, LGBTQ matters, and much more reveal his deep integrity and courage.
In making this historic appointment of the first African-American cardinal, Pope Francis is clearly giving a message about the importance of assuring racial diversity at all levels of society and within the church. We are pleased that the African-American voice will be represented in this important decision-making body.
As an organization headquartered in the Washington archdiocese, we are especially pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with Archbishop Gregory. We look forward to this continuing relationship and congratulate him on this important recognition of his gifts and abilities as an outstanding leader.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious issued a series of reflections leading up to the U.S. general election on November 3, 2020. Share their thoughts and prayers by clicking on the links shown at the bottom of this post below.
Prayer: God of all, in this year of election, in these days of discernment, IGNITE us with the fire of your love. ENFLAME our hearts with courage to embrace dialogue that transforms and truth that frees. KINDLE our love with kindness to heal divisions and reconcile relationships. LIGHT our imaginations with insight to envision and create a world where all are one. STIR our actions with justice and peace to engage critical concerns and cherish all of life. FIRE our lives with audacity and hope to risk all for God’s mission.
Election Day. Love. Contemplative. Common Good:
Please walk with the women answering the call of Christ
The annual Gala event hosted by Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Gala has been the crucial fund-raising event to support SHVM missions in Nigeria for the past 16 years. The Sisters need your support more now than ever! The pandemic raises awareness of our oneness. The Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary are able persevere in their mission because of support from people like you who share our vision. We seek your financial and prayer support. Your generosity helped birth the HVM congregation in Nigeria and has continued to support its ministries.
COVID-19 further challenges life in Nigeria: Shutdowns leave people without work and thus unable to afford to eat. Travel bans lead to higher cost of basic goods. Social distancing raises the cost of bus transportation. Our Sister’s already modest salaries have been cut in half to $50.00 a month. The HVM Theology Institute has cancelled classes and the Day Cares have closed.
Your support, no matter how small, is needed and so deeply appreciated.
Please make checks payable to Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary. 121 E Boston, Detroit, MI 48202. Or click our Donate page to use credit card or Paypal. Monthly recurring donations are a convenient way to maximize your support.
Jesus fed the 5,000 with 2 loaves and 5 fish, twelve baskets of bread were left. May we, as disciples, feed the minds and heart and bodies of our brothers and sisters today. US Rep. John R. Lewis spoke and lived the truth that we are brothers and sisters in one house, one world. Please join us in nurturing our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.
Thank you for caring. May all of God’s blessing flow to you and yours.
Sr. Rosemarie Abate, HVM
Voter Guides for upcoming general election
As Catholics, we are called to participate fully in the political process of our nation. Pope Francis states that “…our political lives must be seen as an essential element of our personal call to holiness.” The November 3 U.S. general election will influence life in United States, and indeed, in the entire world, for years into the future.
Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary strongly encourage you and your loved ones to study A REFLECTIVE VOTING GUIDE: Creating Communion at the Intersection of Racism, Migration & Climate Crisis created by the National Assembly of Leadership Conference of Women Religious. It thoughtfully examines 3 critical issues in the U.S. — Racism, Migration & Climate Crisis – and offers reflections on what to expect from the candidates in deciding how to vote.
OTHER VOTING GUIDES AND ISSUE RESOURCES
- Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice Network 2019 Voting Record
- Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center – Legislative Resources
- Faith in Public Life & Interfaith Power and Light: “Democracy Values and the 2020 Election” A Reflection Guide for Faith Communities
- League of Women Voters Voting Information – Vote 411
- Racial Justice and the Catholic Church by Bryan Massingale
- White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
- Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen
- Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
- “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh
- “What is White Privilege, Really?” by Cory Collins
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- Bishop Robert McElroy
- “The Great Climate Migration” New York Times Magazine, 26 July, 2020
- “Background on Root Causes of Migration 2020” US Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Papal Messages for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees
‘”Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Here’s a great opportunity to reach out from the safety of your own home. Write letters of support to women and children held in detention at the Southwest border. This is a “can-do” project you and your friends – even small children – may be happy to do.
The Proyecto Dilley, a partner of the Immigration Justice Campaign in San Antonio, TX, serves immigrant mothers and children seeking asylum who are detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, TX. Fifty three families detained in Dilley have been there for over 100 days. 35 of those have been there for over 300 days! They have waited out 3-10 months of depression, medical neglect, reheated food, nonexistent education, and the anxiety of an uncertain future, all just hoping for the chance to be safe in the United States. They have had to sue for their rights to a fair asylum process.
They are now watching guards come in to work after a weekend at the bars in one of the states hardest-hit by COVID-19, and then leave their masks off and hug the detained children. They have seen judge after judge decide they can’t force ICE to release them. They are now preparing themselves to be asked if they want to send their children alone to sponsors, or keep them detained in a congregate setting where their growth has stunted, development has been repressed, and behavior has regressed– and where Coronavirus is slowly but surely spreading among the staff.
These 53 families have no idea what future is in store for them. They would love to hear from people all over the country who are supporting them and rooting for them. That’s why we’re renewing our call for letters of encouragement for our detained families. Children are also welcome to send drawings. Unfortunately, due to rules, we cannot pass out any food or gifts of any kind, even stickers. Subject of the letters may include:
-your belief that they deserve justice
– your best wishes/prayers/blessings and encouragement to fight for their families
-your thanks to them for having the courage to seek asylum despite all the road blocks and bad treatment.
Please mail letters to: Mackenzie Levy, in care of Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid , 1111 N. Main Ave, San Antonio TX 78212.
Put each letter in it’s own stamped but not yet addressed envelope. Place all envelopes into one larger package to send together. Mackenzie will collect all the letters, address the envelopes, and mail them individually to each family. Don’t forget the stamp on each envelope or make a check out to Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid to cover cost of mailing your letter.
The vast majority of the families speak Spanish; one family that speaks Haitian Creole and another Portuguese.
Gracias! Mèsi! Obrigado!
The Baton Passes to Us
Exercising your right to vote is the least possible way to honor the life of John Lewis. VOTE! And work to facilitate the ability of others to vote.
Every person’s voice is needed. Continue John Lewis’s message. Vote in every election to support the ideals to which he devoted his life! VOTE to honor John Lewis.
Fr. Victor Clore of Christ the King Parish in Detroit provided Home Visitors of Mary with the following account of the life and courage of John Lewis, a true prophet, a witness of love and rights …
John Robert Lewis was born in Troy, Alabama. His parents were sharecroppers. By the time he was six, Lewis had seen only two white people in his life. As he grew older, he began to experience racism and segregation. “White kids went to high school, Negroes to training school. We couldn’t take books from the public library.” John, called Preacher, was the odd child out. He loved books and hated guns.
At 15, Lewis first heard Martin Luther King, Jr. on the radio. “Every minister I’d ever heard talked about ‘over yonder,’ where we’d put on white robes and golden slippers and sit with the angels. But this man was talking about the problems people were facing in their lives right now, black lives in the South.” He followed the Montgomery Bus Boycott, met Rosa Parks and King while still in high school.
He enrolled in the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville where aspiring black preachers willing to take campus jobs could attend free. Here he learned “New Testament pacifism” (how to love rather than strike the enemy tormenting you) and Gandhi-style civil disobedience (staying calm when punched in the head). These lessons guided Lewis (age of 20) and his friends as they formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). They conducted sit-ins aimed at forcing retailers in Nashville to allow black customers to use the stores’ eateries. He experienced his first arrest when police collared the quiet young demonstrators, not the roughnecks who had been knocking them off their stools.
In 1961 he became one of the 13 original Freedom Riders, sponsored by an older group, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Seven whites and six blacks determined to ride from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans in an integrated fashion (James Farmer). States in the old Confederacy still enforced laws prohibiting black and white riders from sitting next to each other. The “Freedom Rides” aroused fierce resistance. Lewis was the first to be assaulted. He tried to enter a whites-only waiting room in Rock Hill, South Carolina and two white men attacked him, injuring his face and kicking him in the ribs.
“Get into good trouble!”
Two weeks later Lewis joined a CORE Freedom Ride bound for Jackson. “We were determined not to let any act of violence keep us from our goal. We knew our lives could be threatened, but we had made up our minds not to turn back.” In Montgomery, an angry mob met the bus, and Lewis was hit in the head with a wooden crate. “It was very violent. I thought I was going to die. I was left lying unconscious.” When the bus was firebombed, CORE gave up on the Ride, but Lewis and fellow activist Diane Nash and other SNCC riders refused to quit. They brought that Freedom Ride to a successful conclusion – although Lewis spent 22 days in the infamous Parchman Penitentiary. The Freedom Rides drew national attention and attracted recruits. Robert Kennedy began to enforce the Supreme Court decision against segregated facilities. SNCC gained confidence: “We now meant to push, we meant to provoke.” He became well known for his expression: “Get into good trouble!” In June 1963, Lewis was elected as chairman of SNCC. By this time he had been arrested 24 times. His courage and his convictions about reconciliation and nonviolence made him emerge as a leader.
As chairman of SNCC, Lewis was the youngest (age 23) of the “Big Six” who organized the August 28, 1963 March on Washington, along with SCLC Martin Luther King Jr., National Urban League Whitney Young , CORE James Farmer, NAACP Roy Wilkins and Labor Unionist A. Philip Randolph. These men and the organizations they represented grew the human rights struggle in the United States into a powerful movement for social change.
We do not want our freedom gradually! We want our freedom now!”
The August 28 March is famous for Rev. King’s “I Have a Dream,” but Lewis was assigned the keynote, and he drafted a fiery challenge. Randolph and the other more experienced men knew that President Kennedy was concerned that the march would inflame tensions with Southern politicians and set back the civil rights cause. They convinced Lewis to tone it down, because they knew the sound engineers would pull the plug on the microphones if the speeches got too bombastic. His “toned down” speech was still quite forceful: “If we do not get meaningful legislation out of this Congress, the time will come when we will not confine our marching to Washington! We must say, ‘Wake up, America, wake up!’ For we cannot stop, and we will not be patient! We do not want our freedom gradually! We want our freedom now!”
We should all be working for the Kingdom of God in this real world
The contrast with his elders symbolized Lewis’ unusual role in those tumultuous years. At one point he rejected the advice “Don’t get arrested, get a lawyer.” Handcuffs and truncheons never dulled his belief in confrontation. Yet he stoutly maintained his belief in nonviolence, based on his faith in Christ, and he explicitly opposed the militant black nationalists. He always believed that we should all be working for the Kingdom of God in this real world, by following the Sermon on the Mount, and loving one another.
SNCC opened Freedom Schools, and in 1964, Lewis coordinated “Mississippi Freedom Summer.” Mississippi made it practically impossible for black persons to register and vote. The Freedom Summer was a campaign to convince people of the importance of voting, and to help them register. Lewis traveled the country encouraging college students to spend their summer working in this project, and at the same time they would learn of the perils of African American life in the South. Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, from New York, worked as a team along with James Chaney, a local African American youth. They conducted sessions in a Methodist church. Then the church was set on fire. On the morning of June 21,Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner set out to investigate the burning. They were waylaid by the KKK, who chain-whipped and killed them. If this was meant to scare off the civil rights activists, John Lewis became more galvanized in his conviction that racist hate had to be confronted and defeated.
Lewis still bears scars on his head from the Edmund Pettus Bridge incident.
On March 7, 1965 – now known as “Bloody Sunday” – Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr. and fellow activists led 600 marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in a voting rights campaign. At the end of the bridge, they were met by Alabama State Troopers who ordered them to disperse. When the marchers stopped to pray, the police discharged tear gas and beat them with night sticks. Lewis’s skull was fractured. Before he could be taken to the hospital, he appeared before the television cameras calling on President Johnson to intervene in Alabama. Lewis bears scars on his head from the incident.
In 1966, as the War in Vietnam dragged on, he co-founded the Southern Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam. In 1968, Lewis joined Robert Kennedy’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. He was with the entourage in Los Angeles when Kennedy was assassinated. Although the murder devastated him, campaigning sharpened his own interest in seeking public office.
In 1986, Lewis ran for U.S. Congress for Georgia’s 5th District (the north side of Atlanta), and won by 75%. He was reelected 16 times. Lewis was one of the most liberal congressmen ever to represent a district in the Deep South. He drew on his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement as part of his politics. He made an annual pilgrimage to Alabama to retrace the route he marched in 1965 from Selma to Montgomery. That trip became a tradition in Washington among lawmakers, Republican and Democrat, eager to associate themselves with Lewis and the movement. Now that Lewis has died, there is a movement to rename the Pettus bridge after him.
Will I ever be able to vote for a Black person?
After Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination for president, Lewis said, “If someone had told me this would be happening now, I would have told them they were crazy, out of their mind, they didn’t know what they were talking about … I just wish the others were around to see this day. … To the people who were beaten, put in jail, killed, who were asked questions they could never answer [“Will I ever be able to vote for a Black person?” ] It’s amazing.”
Time magazine included him in list of “living saints.”
The last survivor of the “Big Six,” Lewis kept striving for black-white amity. Time magazine included him in a 1975 list of “living saints.” The New Republic in 1996 called him “the last integrationist.” Taylor Branch, a civil rights historian said: “His most distinguishing mark was steadfastness. He showed lifelong fidelity to the idea of one man, one vote – democracy as the defining purpose of the United States. “John Lewis saw racism as a stubborn gate in freedom’s way, but if you take seriously the democratic purpose, whites as well as blacks benefit. And he became a rather lonely guardian of nonviolence.”
On Inauguration Day 2009, Obama, the country’s first black president, gave Mr. Lewis a photo with the inscription: “Because of you, John.” It joined a memorabilia collection that included the pen President Lyndon B. Johnson handed him after signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. His last public appearance came at Black Lives Matter Plaza with D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser on a Sunday morning in June, two days after taping a virtual town hall online with former president Barack Obama.
John Lewis served the role of conscience of the Democratic caucus on many matters. His reputation as keeper of the 1960s flame defined his career in Congress. When President George H.W. Bush vetoed a bill easing requirements to bring employment discrimination suits in 1990, Mr. Lewis rallied support for its revival. It became law as the Civil Rights Act of 1991. It took a dozen years, but in 2003 he won authorization for construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Mall In 2012, when Rep. Paul C. Broun proposed eliminating funding for one aspect of the Voting Rights Act, Mr. Lewis denounced the move as “shameful.” The amendment died. President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He died of pancreatic cancer: “I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.”
“We are living the wounds of many years of injustice”
The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, joined his voice to those of other U.S. bishops in sorrow and pain brought on brought to the forefront by the death of George Floyd I Minneapolis. “We are living the wounds of many years of injustice.” See letter below. Or click Here.
U.S. Conference of Bishops chairmen issued a similar statement … “We are broken-hearted, sickened, and outraged to watch another video of an African American man being killed before our very eyes. What’s more astounding is that this is happening within mere weeks of several other such occurrences.” “This is the latest wake-up call that needs to be answered by each of us in a spirit of determined conversion.
Racism is not a thing of the past or simply a throwaway political issue to be bandied about when convenient. It is a real and present danger that must be met head on.” See Statement of U.S. Bishop Chairmen in Wake of Death of Geoge Floyd and National Protests.