The coronavirus has been slower to take hold in Africa than on other continents according to the numbers released daily by the World Health Organization. But Nigeria is beginning to emerge as one of several places in Africa where the pandemic is taking its terrible toll. The Sisters Home Visitors of Mary are trying to cope – continuing their missions of serving, caring, teaching and daycare as best they can.
This post highlights recent activities of Sisters Patience and Monica at the St. Gabriel Chaplaincy located in the Durumi area of Abuja, capital of Nigeria. Srs Patience and Monica coordinate and teach catechism for children who attend local public and private schools. Classes are normally held on Saturday and Sunday afternoons but have currently been suspended.
As many as 130 students attend, divided into classes corresponding to their next upcoming sacrament: prayer class for the youngest children, Baptism class, First Holy Communion class and Confirmation class. Building a community of faith with lives centered on Christ and His teachings.
The Sisters Home Visitors of Mary in Nigeria appreciate your thoughts, prayers and support as Covid-19 ravages the world.
May 15 – 24 is Laudato Si’ week marking the 5th anniversary of Holy Father Pope Francis’ encyclical letter “Laudato Si’ – On Care For Our Common Home”. The opening words form a poetic picture of it’s powerful message on the care of our Home, the Earth:
“… our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.”
The COVID-19 pandemic heightens our awareness that EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE IS CONNECTED. Let us together acknowledge and rejoice in that fact. And let us together – connected – build a better tomorrow on this earth. All it takes is one good person to restore hope! (Laudato Si’ #71)
You are invited to join with brothers and sisters around the world in the Prayer below at noon on May 24th. Who will you invite to share with you? Learn more about Laudato Si’ week at Catholic Climate Covenant.
Immigrants and their families often face a grueling reality in this global corona virus pandemic. This is a time, friends, when we are reminded that our suffering occurs in solidarity with one another and with all of creation. The words of Etty Hillesum, the Dutch writer and spiritual seeker who died in Auschwitz, may speak to our current condition: “I am not alone in my tiredness or sickness or fears, but at one with millions of others”.
See excellent current information resources for immigrants (and others!) HERE.
Strangers No Longeris reaching out for much needed support in this time of great need. Might you be able to donate part of your stimulus check?
Happy Easter! Yes, Happy Easter. As we experience the greatest of Christian holy days may you see the beauty of God around you and within you. Our Christian faith is centered in Life – as exemplified by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – despite the current suffering and dying around us. Through it all let us not lose sight of trust and hope. We are anchored in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us hold each other in love and prayer along with the many families suffering at this time.
For those who are particularly vulnerable, we pray for safety and protection.
For all who experience fear or anxiety, we pray for peace of mind and spirit.
For affected families who are facing difficult decisions between food on the table or public safety, we pray for policies that recognize their plight.
For those who do not have adequate health insurance, we pray that no family will face financial burdens alone.
For those who are afraid to access care due to immigration status, we pray for recognition of the God-given dignity of all.
For our brothers and sisters around the world, we pray for shared solidarity.
For public officials and decision makers, we pray for wisdom and guidance.
Father, during this time may your Church be a sign of hope, comfort and love to all.
In the interview with “La Stampa” newspaper , published on Friday, Pope Francis speaks of the sorrow and pain that “everyone” is experiencing due to the coronavirus.
The only way to survive this situation, he says, is by sticking together. The Pope invites us to live this moment “with penance, compassion and hope”. We need “humility”, he adds, “because too often we forget” there are dark times in life as well. “We think they can only happen to someone else. But these times are dark for everyone”, he says. Pope Francis explains that the season of Lent “trains us to show solidarity with others, especially those who suffer”.
The Pope emphasizes the importance of prayer, recalling how the Apostles turn to Jesus to save them during the storm (Mark 4:35-41). “Prayer helps us understand our vulnerability”, he says. “It is the cry of those who are sinking, who feel they are in danger and alone. And in a difficult, desperate situation, it is important to know that the Lord is there to cling to”.
All are suffering
Pope Francis makes no distinction between “believers and non-believers”. People are weeping because they are suffering, he says. “Everyone” is suffering. “We are all children before God”, he adds.
A delightful afternoon was held at Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary convent in Detroit on February 16, 2020, when guest speaker Arlene Reese presented an entertaining lecture on “The Rivers of Detroit”. This friendly “Tea” event helped raise funds for HVM ministries in Nigeria. Guests mingled and enjoyed heavenly Tea and snacks prepared by HVM associates.
Arlene Reese is a gifted and energetic woman who is herself a poet and celebrated librarian at Detroit Public Library. Her lively presentation was based on her research at the library, including facts on the Detroit River’s role in the Underground Railroad, photos of items found on the bottom of the river over the years (!!!) and stories of the Boblo boats and the Purple Gang mobsters running rum from Windsor to Detroit during prohibition.
Ms. Reese’s presentation closed to long applause with her recitation of American writer Langston Hughes’ 1920 poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”:
I’ve known rivers: I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.
The Lord through migrants invites us to embrace fully our Christian life and contribute to the building up of a world more in accord with God’s plan.
When we show concern for migrants, we also show concern for ourselves – we give voice to a part of ourselves that we may keep hidden because it is not well regarded in our throw-away culture
Our fear of “the other” conditions our actions and makes us intolerant, closed and even racist. Fear deprives me of the ability to encounter the other and Jesus.
Progress depends on our openness to being touched and moved by those who knock at our door. Their faces shatter all those false idols that can take over and enslave our lives-idols that blind us to the lives and sufferings of others.
A development which excludes makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. Real development seeks to include all and show concern for coming generations.
Person is at the heart of reality – the whole person and all people.
The true model of the Christian is “the last shall be first!” We need to see, and help others see that migrants and refugees are brothers and sisters to be welcome, respected and loved.
Peace is a journey of hope: Hope is the virtue that inspires us and keeps us moving forward, even when obstacles seem insurmountable.
Peace is a journey of listening: The world does not need empty words but convinced witnesses, peacemakers who are open to dialogue that rejects exclusion or manipulation.
Peace is a journey of reconciliation: Only by choosing the path of respect can we break the spiral of vengeance and set out on the journey of hope.
Peace is a journey of ecological conversion: This conversion must be understood as a transformation of how we relate to our sisters and brother, to other living things, to creation in all its rich variety and tot the Creator who is the origin and source of all life.
Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary on two continents have dedicated their lives to these precepts for the past 70 years. We thank you for walking with us and we appreciate your support.
May the Joy of Christmas ring in your heart and your family!
In the beginning was the Word. Through Him all things came to be. Whatever came to be in Him, found life, Life for the light of all. The light shines on in darkness, A darkness that did not overcome it. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. Coming from the Father, filled with enduring love. Jn 1.
God fill you with the LIGHT so you know HOPE and Give Hope to others!
Could you or your classroom or organization include in your Christmas giving:
Religious Education Books for children in Nigeria?
Subsidy for Child tuition or Day Care?
Construction costs of Day Care Center?
Solar Panels cost?
Christmas greetings from Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary in both Detroit and in Nigeria!
On an icy morning 70 years ago on the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady, November. 21, 1949, the Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary were born! Click here for some history details.
Founding of Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary
Sr. Mary Schutz, foundress of the HVM, wrote this account in an article celebrating our 50th anniversary in 1999:
A one inch notice in “The Michigan Catholic” was the initial seed that eventually came to fruition as the Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary. Miss Josephine Brownson asked for an after-school instructor for Wednesdays – which was my afternoon off from work at Van Antwerp library. Dr. George Hermann Derry, president of Marygrove College, inspired in me the reality of the Indwelling Presence of the Trinity and a growing awareness that the laity must share in the work of the bishops.
Miss Brownson introduced me to my class. All the students were Colored (the term of the time). I would walk the students a few blocks from the school to St. Peter Claver church (now Sacred Heart Parish) to make a visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. St. Peter Claver was treated as a national parish for all Colored Catholics in Detroit east of Woodward. Later, Fr. Thiefels invited me to take over the Sunday School at the parish. I invited Lou Murphy to teach with me.
Ten years later, my mother died and I was searching to join a religious congregation that would assure ministering in the Black community. I consulted Msgr. Ryan, head of CCD in the archdiocese. He said, “I’ve had an idea itching the seat of my pants. Why not start a community that will go house to house inviting people to the Church and be responsible for catechetics!”
On October 31, 2019, Senate Bill 0631 and 0632 and House Bills 5192 and 5193 were introduced and are sponsored by Sens. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, and Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, in the Senate and Reps. Alex Garza, D-Taylor, and Rachel Hood, D-Grand Rapids, in the House. Both bills are supported by Michigan Immigrant Rights Centerand the Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary. We encourage you to attend any future hearing and to take a moment to contact your elected officials to express your support.
The bills would make noncommercial Michigan driver’s licenses and state identification cards available to applicants who do not have proof of U.S. citizenship or immigration status. The bills eliminate the “legal presence” requirement for proving Michigan residency and they would specify types of documentation allowable for proving Michigan residency and identity for the new category of documents.
The bills would have a broad positive impact. They would
Allow citizens and currently, eligible immigrants who lack the documentation required by the Secretary of State, to get licenses and state identification cards.
Widen the insurance pool and lower costs for all Michigan residents due to unlicensed and uninsured drivers submitting fewer claims.
Promote public safety by ensuring that drivers are trained, screened and tested; law enforcement will be able to more efficiently and effectively identify individuals they stop.
Increase workforce and economic participation by making it easier for individuals to travel to work, go to the grocery store or doctor, rent an apartment, access health care, purchase insurance, etc.
Increase state revenue through vehicle registration and taxes on insurance premiums and car purchases.
Fourteen states and the District of Columbia already have similar laws that provide access to a driver’s license or identification, regardless of immigration status.