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Team of three completes transformational term

by RSHM Eastern American AreaCategory: Updates

(L-R) Sr. Catherine Patten, Eastern American Area Leader, with Councillors, Srs. Catherine Vincie and Maria Timoney

On July 31, 2021, a transition ceremony will mark the passing of the mantle of leadership of the Eastern American Area to a new team. It’s a time to look forward, and also a time to remember with immense gratitude the blessings of the past six years. The wisdom and work of Sisters Catherine Patten, Catherine Vincie, and Maria Timoney (and Monica Walsh until her missioning to the Generalate in Rome) have enriched us in countless ways. A broad overview reveals a consistent pattern of facing challenging realities with a view toward new possibilities. As sisters in the Area have dealt with the vulnerabilities of aging and loss, leadership has sought to be transformative, to ensure care for the membership and the ministries into the future. To facilitate this process, professional collaborators were hired and have made significant contributions in the areas of Advancement, Maintenance, Finance, Communications and Human Resources.

Special times of coming together – Missioning Day, Learning Festival, Feast Days, Jubilees, and Anniversaries – were planned and celebrated with reflection on current realities. The scourge of racism, concern for immigrants and refugees, the inequalities revealed by the COVID pandemic, the work at the United Nations, Pope Francis’ challenge to us for personal transformation in response to climate change – gave impelling focus to the desire “that all may have life.” The same focus led to landscape and construction projects: creation of the RSHM Native Garden and renovation of Rogan Lodge as a gift to LifeWay Network for a new administrative center.

Properties in Tarrytown and beyond have been transformed. Butler Memorial Chapel was renovated to increase accessibility and update the worship space liturgically while preserving its beautiful features. The walkway and supporting wall behind the convent and the space where Pelissier Lodge had been are newly reconfigured and greened for leisurely enjoyment. The main house in Cormaria has been totally renovated to preserve its beauty and enhance its ministry. Traditional RSHM appreciation of the arts has been evident not only in care for property but in encouraging the development of sisters’ gifts and talents — for example, upgrading the organ in the convent chapel, hosting Catherine Vincie’s concerts, reconfiguring Bianca’s stained-glass windows for the Native Garden, and supporting Clare McBrien in establishing the convent art studio.

Community life progressed on several fronts. The pandemic led to positive developments in technology – livestreaming from the chapel, improving internet in the convent and Provincial Center, creating assemblies on Zoom, and ensuring that all sisters have what they need to participate in Zoom events. The website and social media posts were enhanced. A new publication, Highlights, updated the long-loved Soundings in content and design. More lay staff in administration, life enrichment and pastoral care added to the quality of life at Marymount Convent. Establishment of the Planning Team expanded participation of the sisters in the Eastern American Area in visioning for the future.

Transformation is written large in the exercise of leadership during the past six years. It has been a season of hope in the face of challenge, laying solid foundations for times ahead, exemplifying the words of our RSHM Constitutions:

Our faith-journey as Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary is one of total commitment to follow Christ, to personal transformation in Him and to transformation of the world.

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