Prayers for New Year

Daily Prayer for National Unity and Healing

God of wisdom and mercy, grant us patience to listen; compassion to be open to other views and opinions; generosity to forgive and grace to change. As you taught us to love our neighbor, compel us to be healing instruments of unity and reconciliation. We pray that you give us strength as we encourage our nation to move forward in unity. Amen.

mlk-jrJanuary 16, 2017, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, celebrating the life of one of America’s greatest moral heroes.

Just four days later on January 20 a new administration is inaugurated in Washington DC.  The Sisters of St. Joseph have created and shared a calendar called “100 Days of Prayer” in keeping with the new administration’s first 100 days in office.

In 12 words or less each day the prayers encourages unity and reconciliation and offer support to people who may be vulnerable to policy changes.  Here is the first installment for January:

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January 20.  For guidance for our elected officials to make decisions that respect human dignity.

January 21.  All join together to abolish racism, sexism and extremism. <link>

 January 22.  For our personal commitment to make changes that protect our Earth.  <link>

 January 23.  For a political commitment to address the root causes of migration.

 January 24.  That we seek to build bridges amongst our diverse communities.

 January 25.  That we hold elected leaders accountable to protect our vulnerable communities.

 January 26.  For the support and solidarity of refugees who are forced to abandon their homes.

 January 27.  For equal education for all children.  <link>

January 28.  For the future of health care coverage for the poor.  <link>

January 29.  To recognize and affirm acts of kindness.

January 30.  That global trade decisions protect our Earth and natural resources.

January 31.  Guide our leaders that they respect the rights of those they represent.

 

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Christmas Reflection from Nigeria

Dear Sisters, Associates, Friends, and Benefactors,

My reflection during this season of Advent is: Lord, make us more aware.

Map Abuja to GwagwaladaGreetings from Nigeria.   It has been long since we communicated. I do hope all is well with you. I am well and now living mainly in Gwagwalada at our Formation House. I am here to fill in for Sr. Winifred who is away this year for training for Sister Formation 200 miles away in Jos.

Here at our Formation House is so different from the Garki district in Abuja being relatively quiet. We are a Community of six including one second year Novice- Chioma Susan and one candidate –Blessing. These two women are now my responsibility.

So much has transpired since I left Detroit last year. You in the U.S. had your Election for President – electing Donald Trump. God only knows the implications for international relations let alone on the domestic scene. There were almost simultaneous elections here.

Again, the recession that has followed is devastating to the middle and lower economic strata. People are really suffering hardship. Together with this is the influx of immigrants from areas that suffer from suicide bombers and real massacres of farmers versus the cattle men. Some whole villages have been destroyed in retaliation for killing of cows that were destroying farms. Survivors are flooding into places like Abuja, Adding to this is the Middle East crisis. Is there a full scale war on the Horizon?

prince-of-peaceIndeed we need the “Prince of Peace” now, more than ever. May this Christmas unite your prayers to ours for understanding, reconciliation, respect for human life and the dignity of life.

Lord, make us more aware. You sent your beloved Son to change the course of history through his life of Grace by which your own Spirit has come to live your life within us. You have adopted us to be your children through your son and our brother Jesus.

Make us to love and honour your presence in the people you have created. Father, free our hearts of bigotry, hatred, anger, fear, and the need to retaliate. Give us grace to imitate the model you have given us in Jesus, WHO SHOWED US BY A LIFE POURED OUT WHAT IT MEANS TO BE YOUR TRUE SONS AND DAUGHTERS. Give us your SPIRIT to break down walls, demolish barriers, open dialogue, speak the truth and embrace in true brother/sisterhood. Amen

Have a blessed and joy filled Holiday.

Love and Prayer,

Sr. Elizabeth Harris

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Christmas Message from Sr. Rosemarie

shvm-theadorationofthemagiChristmas Blessings!

Christmas is family time – a time for giving to and receiving from those to whom we relate.  Our Home Visitors mission embodied from the outset on the streets of Detroit and on the roads of Nigeria and in the HVM constitution calls us to witness universal love to all people.  Epiphany, or Little Christmas, raises our view that we are family with all people.  The Magi followed their star, their dream.  May we each have the dream that Christ puts in our hearts – that all will be one; we belong to one family.

Pope Francis’ encyclicals underscore that we share a common home; we are family.  The pope says that Christians must offer a dignified welcome to migrants because every human being is precious and more important than things.

“The worth of an institution (our country, our self) is measured by the way it treats the life and dignity of human beings, particularly when they are vulnerable, as in the case of child migrants.”

Hope is the key to witness the Love we celebrate at Christmas.  When we are hopeful we are energized by our Faith in the One who gifts us with Life, a life we share with all – all people and all creation.

“Jesus, in many ways you are leading strangers into my life.  Give me a humble heart, open to receive gifts from others and to receive others into my heart.  I will then learn that they are my sons and daughters, my brothers and sisters.”  Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P., Biblical Meditations for Advent and Christmas Season.

World Day for Migrants and Refugees is January 15.  National Migration Week will be celebrated in the United States January 8-14.  This year’s theme is “Child Migrants, the vulnerable and the Voiceless.”  As we repent may we work to change our laws and behavior so that solutions can be found to the war, greed and corruption that push people and families from their homes; solutions that benefit the entire family, especially the rights and needs of children.

Could you volunteer?

As Catholics who believe in the sanctity of life, we must not be complicit in the suffering of migrants dying in the shadows.   Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center is one organization serving such people in our very diverse metro Detroit area. SWIRC seeks volunteers to assist with the pro bono legal services they provide.  Volunteers are needed for translation and preparation of cases.   Contact Sr. Rosemarie to see how you might help care for our brothers and sisters seeking life.

Might your parish organization in southeast MI be interested in an educational reflection on immigration?  Contact Sr. Rosemarie for details.

Check out US Conference of Catholic Bishops or Latin American Working Group for news on immigration issues.

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Photos from Oct 9 Gala

stjohnarmeniancenterThe SHVM Fundraising Gala at  St. John Armenian Center in Southfield, MI, on October 9, was a wonderful event.  The Gala featured top notch music, theater and dance performances highlighted by a theater program under direction of Gina Ellis, storytelling by Satori Shakoor, and an Adult Dance Troop from Legacy Dance Studio  directed by Rosalind Leath.

Their performances speak to us in harmony with the Sisters Home Visitors of Mary vision of the Mystical Body of Christ, wherein each individual has a place and part to play …

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Mr. Joseph Emerou & Family

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Msgr. Michael LeFevre

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Beatrice Cochran Chairperson of HVM Fundraising Committe

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Family of Melissa Belevender

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Sr. Rosemarie Abate

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Courtney Jackson

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Lorielle Walker, onstage

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Lorielle Walker

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Click here to see dancing … Video

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Maria Larkins

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Satori Shakoor

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Thelma Wilson (r) and friend

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Ben Washburn, Mrs. Washburn, Sr. Fiorentina

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Kaitlyn Clark

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Sr. Mary Finn

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Janet Sapanaro

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Five smiling ushers and Janet Sapanaro

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Two happy young gentlemen

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Mr. Hugh Buchanan

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Adopt a Sister!

Help Educate the Sisters

Can you find an Organization or Family to Adopt a Sister in studying for her degree in Nigeria?  $2,000 US would cover living expenses for one year or fees.

Srs Mary Martha (l) and Margaret (r)

Srs Mary Martha (l) and Margaret (r)

Sr. Mary Martha Mbah is in her third year at Veritas University (http://www.veritas.edu.ng/) thanks to an anonymous donor. Besides carrying a full schedule, Sr. Mary Martha attends St Martin De Porres parish every week-end to lead faith formation for children at religion classes and children’s liturgy as well as develop an empowerment sewing project for women. Sr. Mary Martha has developed a Sunday worship guide for children that she is marketing to several parishes in Abuja; this is new to the churches which may have as many as 500 children for Sunday Mass.

Sr. Lydia Agba

Sr. Lydia Agba

Sr. Lydia Agba began her 3 years at Veritas University this fall with the help of a scholarship  from Catholic  colleges  in PA   Sr. Lydia  initiated the Mary Schutz Women Empowerment Project seven years ago. While studying, Sr. Lydia is developing her connections with organizations serving women who have been caught in trafficking.  She hopes to develop her skills to better serve.

 

 

 

Sr. Jane Nwachukwu

Sr. Jane Nwachukwu

Sr. Jane Nwachukwu has been serving at the Archdiocese of Abuja Development for Peace and Justice Office where she touched the lives of prisoners and internally displaced persons (Nigerian refugees) living in camps around Abuja. She has been given a scholarship to continue her study of law to prepare her for work in peace and justice projects. She begins her studies at Nile University in Abuja.

 

Sr. Sylvia Etim

Sr. Sylvia Etim

Sr. Sylvia Etim has served the past ten years as religious educator and church secretary at two parishes in Abuja. She will work towards completing her degree at Veritas University.

 

 

 

 

 

Sr. Calista and Sr. Helen, Little Angels School

Sr. Calista and Sr. Helen, Little Angels School

Sr. Calista Iwu has served as principal of Little Angels School in Ichama, Benue State since its beginning 5 years ago. In addition to her overwhelming responsibilities at school, Sr. Calista is working on her Masters degree in administration.

 

 

Sr. Juliana

Sr. Juliana

Sr. Juliana is working on her masters degree in England.  A scholarship covers her tuition costs but substantial additional living expenses still need to be covered.

 

 

 

 

 

PLEASE CONTACT SR. ROSEMARIE AT HVM in DETROIT if you can adopt any of our Sisters for a year.

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Upcoming Gala – Sunday, Oct 9

stjohnarmeniancenterThe soon-to-arrive SHVM Fundraising Gala on Sunday, October 9, promises to be a wonderful event.  To be held this year at the beautiful St. John Armenian Center in Southfield, MI, the gala will feature top notch music, theater and dance performances by renowned local artists to accompany a sumptuous dinner and cash bar.  Items for sale via Silent Auction and a “Five and Dime” per bag table will raise funds to support Home Visitors of Mary missions in Nigeria.

Entertainment will be highlighted by a theater program under direction of Gina Ellis, storytelling by Satori Shakoor, and an Adult Dance Troop from Legacy Dance Studio  directed by Rosalind Leath.

Doors open at 5:00 pm.  Dinner at 6:00.   Home by 9:30 pm.  Special honorees this year are The Ladies of St. Peter Claver.  Donation: $90.00.  Table of 8: $600.

Tickets can purchased online using the Donate/Contact tab above.  Be sure to include a note saying the payment is for tickets to the 2016 Gala.

Map & directions to the golden spire of St. John’s Armenian Church & Cultural Center, 22001 Northwestern Highway, Southfield, MI 48075, 248-569-3405.

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  • From the East, South or West: enter parking lot from northbound Southfield Road service drive.
  • From Northwest: exit southbound Lodge at Northland exit.  Immediate turn right on Winora and enter parking lot.
  • From North:  travel southbound Southfield Road to Lodge Xway exit.  Take right of exit branch to Northwestern Highway.  Turn right at Winora and enter parking lot.

 

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HVM News from Nigeria

MOVING TOGETHER IN HOPE

!00 Srs Winifred and ChiomaPlenty of HVM good news from Nigeria!  Sr. Rosemarie Abate returned to Detroit from a month-long visit with her HVM Sisters in Nigeria.  She is delighted to share from her trip, highlighted by the joy of witnessing the perpetual profession by Rev. Srs. Winifred Umoh and Chioma Unomah on August 21 at St. Paul Parish in Gwagwalada.   Sr. Monika Etokudoh also professed her first vows.  The ceremonies and Sunday Eucharist were celebrated by Most Rev. Anselm Umoren, Auxiliary Bishop of Abuja.

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Srs. Winifred, Chioma & Monica

The beauty and struggle of the future is being confronted with boldness, courage and conviction by the Sisters Home Visitors of Mary in Nigeria.  Growth and involvement are blossoming.  We’ll try hard to report further on the activities and challenges of our sisters in future online posts and at the upcoming SHVM Gala at St. John Armenian Cultural Center in Southfield, MI on Sunday, October 9.  The formation house in Gwagwalada is nearer to completion.  The Home Visitors of Mary Theology Institute housed there provides certified pastoral ministry and theology courses through CIWA (Catholic Institute of Western Africa) especially for laity and women religious.  In addition, the Home Visitors will be welcoming Blessing Oluchulawu as a candidate on September 12.  Blessing has been a pre-candidate for 2 years as she finished her degree and government community service requirement of college graduates.

Profile of Sr. Winifred …

!SHVM Sr. Winifred

Profile of Sr. Chioma …

!SHVM Sr. Chioma

Associate members also play an important role in HVM ministries.  Associates meet at 7:00 pm the third Tuesday of every month at the SHVM convent at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria in Abuja.  They welcome new members …

!SHVM Associate Members

In addition to the profession of vows by Srs. Winifred, Chioma and Monika, Sisters Home Visitors of Mary also held their quadrennial chapter congress attended by all available Sisters.  See smiling sisters below posing with His Lordship Most Rev. Anselm Umoren, Auxiliary Bishop of Abuja  …

!00 All Sisters with Bishop Anselm

Below: Elected leadership of SHVM.   Sr. Mary Divine, Sr. Barbara, Sr. Clare, Sr. Calista, Sr Rosemarie.  With Most Rev. Anselm Umoren, Auxiliary Bishop of Abuja …

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Below:  Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Cathedral in Abuja.  The SHVM convent is right across the parking lot from the cathedral.

 

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Our Lady Queen of Nigeria

Below:  typical Sunday attendance at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria.

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Sunday attendance

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Sunday attendance

Below:  Sisters Home Visitors of Mary Convent at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria.

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Sisters Home Visitors of Mary Convent

Below:  scenes from day care center near the SHVM convent & Our Lady Queen of Nigeria.

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Below:  scenes from day care center and book store in nearby Apo.  Click here to see a fuller description of these two new SHVM endeavors.

Nap time in Apo

Nap time in Apo

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Bookstore

Bookstore

Srs Rose and Viivienne at bookstore

Srs Rose and Vivienne at bookstore

 

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