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Monday, November 14, 2011

Making a difference in the 21st Century... Listening with One Heart

Listening with One Heart...To Make Change Together

The panel of Sacred Heart alums above (l-r): Philomene Makolo '59 (Bruxelles) - Project Congo,
JoAnn MacKinnon Murphy '66 City House, Montreal - Pathway to Progress Nicaragua and
Barbara Fisher Townsend, '66 City House, Montreal - The Rave Project - Univ. of New Brunswick

For Alice Burns, AASH Vice-President; Pam Snyder, AMASC President; Barbara Lopiccolo, AMASC Vice-President; Maureen Elliott, AMASC Secretary-General; June Donovan, AMASC Coordinator for North America; Anne Marie Conn, rscj, Religious Counsellor and AMASC Liaison with the Society and myself, our very full day attending the CASHA conference at the Sacred Heart School of Montreal on Friday, October 28th started with the usual meet and greet as well as a continental breakfast followed by a warm welcome and opening reflection.
Pictured above clockwise:  Alice Burns, AASH VP and Pam Snyder, AMASC President;
AMASC Board members present at the meeting;
Beatrice Keleher Raffoul, Event Coordinator with Cecil Meijer, RSCJ and Sheila Donahoe, CASHA President

Sheila Donahoe, CASHA President quoted Clare Pratt, RSCJ superior general of the Society of the Sacred Heart (2000-2008) when she spoke at the first CASHA conference hosted in Halifax.  

In 2007, Sr. Pratt stated: “As limited human beings we cannot address all the needs of the world. If we try we become either paralyzed or do a little here, a little there, and do it superficially. BUT, as human beings we are able to be passionate about something!

My message to you is: GET IN TOUCH WITH WHAT YOUR PASSION IS AND YOU WILL FIND WAYS TO CONCRETIZE IT. Often passion is sparked by a personal experience… Let me offer a few examples of what a passion might be:

                The plight of trafficked women
                The abuses of mining companies
                The Care of the earth as in recycling/composting. There is a slogan I find helpful:   
          “repair – reduce – refuse, recycle what you can’t reuse”.
                Teaching English or French as a second language
                Other ways of welcoming immigrants......
                ....Whatever is calling forth the gift of yourself, connect with others with the same passion.

Perhaps you will ask: “How can I do any more?” I have a job. I am caring for an elderly parent. I am in the “sandwich generation” (caring for parents as well as for children/grandchildren).

With all of that, can you find ways to stay informed, make your voice heard?
The Internet offers alternative sources of news, analysis. A site like the Hunger Site (by which you can give a cup of food a day to a hungry person, provide free mammograms to women without means, make health care possible for some children unable to afford it, provide books for children who have none, save acres of the rainforest, provide adequate shelter for abandoned animals) takes one minute a day and you can request a daily e-mail message to remind you!”

What followed was a panel of three alumnae with a lot of passion for three important causes dear to their hearts.  Philomene Makolo spoke of the Project Congo.  Books are needed for the children in grades K-12.  JoAnn MacKinnon Murphy spoke of her involvement with  Pathway to Progress Nicaragua and Barbara Fisher Townsend gave us an overview of how she got involved with The Rave Project.  Barbara Martell, Communications and Advancement Manager at Sacred Heart School in Halifax has posted background info on each speaker on the school's website click here  to learn more about each of these passionate Sacred Heart woman.

It was a wonderful day and I thank all who had a hand in making the day so successful with special gratitude to Beatrice Keleher Raffoul, Event Coordinator.  I am looking forward to returning to Montreal in 2014 when the AMASC Congress will be hosted in this beautiful city! 

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