Pictured: Back row (l-r): Sisters Barbara King, Mary Byrnes, Mary Michael French, Beth Hassel, Rosemary Ward, Janet Dunne, Barbara Heclo and Patricia Anastasio. Front Row (l-r): Sisters Catherine Cleary, Raphael Maher, Margaret Mary Quinn, Lorraine Hale and Martha Otterstedt.
Absent from Picture: Sr. Linda Isola
By Sister Lorraine Hale
It took us the four years between our Chapters to organize the beginning of the next part of our journey. I was at a RCCRI meeting 2014 when I realized how we really needed to work at preparing the community for its final Chapter. I know we talk about that day arriving just the same way as we talk about our death, but I know that I thought it was father away than it really was. We had signed a covenant with New Windsor community that was a blessing for us and still is.
We engaged the services of the Canonist Sister Amy Hereford who became our guide, support and companion thorough out the journey. Sister Amy’s dissertation focused on communities who were reaching that stage of their journey that they needed to change their canonical governance structure. Amy was always there to answer questions make suggestions and give guidance. She worked with New Windsor’s leadership group as well as with us. Amy has a way of working with the sisters to mitigate the fears that aware naturally associated with the changer process we we embarking on.
There were a number of civil documents as well canonical ones that needed to be a revised in order to take into account our changed circumstances. To ensure as far as possible the continued ability of the sisters to live in the convent on Staten Island, there was a need to establish processes and support structures which would ensure quality of life for the sisters and minimal burden to New Windsor. To date these goals have been achieved. We have been able to achieve this is largely because the previous leaderships were able to establish s secure fiscal base.
So four years later June 21, 2018, we paused for our final “Chapter,” really a ritual celebration. We had been through all the business that we would usually do at a Chapter for example the fiscal position of the community, outlining the fiscal disposition of funds that may be left after the last sister dies.
We ritualized the time for Chapter as a celebration of thanksgiving and praise. The format was simple: Mass followed by a presentation by Sister Patricia which traced the relationship between New Windsor and the Staten Island community. Then, using a mixture of traditional e.g. Veni Creator Spiritus, the Te Deum and We Walk One, we ritualized our praise and thanksgiving for what has been and what is to come. After that in great Christian tradition we had a feast!
We Move On
And so we are continuing on our journey as Presentation Sisters of Staten Island. Life still looks very much the same. We are continuing to work in ministry either full time or as part time volunteers, we welcome visitors and we keep the spirit of Nano in the convent. We still have some projects, for example, the update of our web site. What has changed is that we have the support of the New Windsor Presentation Sisters. We know that they are there if we need them.
Thank you to each and every New Windsor Sister, especially leadership and Sister Patricia, and to all of our sisters through out the world.
God bless you all.
The Staten Island Sisters