Inspired to learn

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"You must go on to develop your leadership skills."
Sister Meri Halam, CSC

This is part 2 in a series of stories about sisters who are continuing their education to better serve others in need.

Sister Meri Halam, CSC, from Bangladesh, is continuing her education in the United States to better serve others in need. She is enrolled at Holy Cross College, Notre Dame, Indiana, founded and operated by the Brothers of the Holy Cross.

Growing up in India, Sister Meri Halam and her family were well acquainted with the Holy Cross priests who served in her village. They were frequent visitors and she learned many things from them. After completing 10th grade, she stayed home to work and help support the family. The priests told her, "But you are so smart! You must go on to further your schooling and develop your leadership skills."

The priests communicated with Sister M. Bruno (Beiro), CSC, in Shillong, India, where Holy Cross sisters minister. Soon, Sister Meri was living with the sisters and attending college at one of the oldest Catholic institutions in India, "with great hope and good spirit to build my leadership quality." Toward the end of her two years, Sister Meri felt God was calling her to become a Sister of the Holy Cross. She traveled to Saint Mary’s for her novitiate and the very day after making her initial profession, she flew back to India. She began ministering in an orphanage, where she taught the young children and did parish ministry. She loved it.

After three years, Sister Meri was asked to continue her studies so she returned to Indiana to pursue a major in elementary education and a minor in theology.

Currently a freshman, Sister Meri enjoys the professors at Holy Cross College. "They are very helpful and welcoming, especially to students of other cultures who need a little more attention," she said.

Sister Meri will graduate in 2019, after which she says she will be ready to serve wherever the Sisters of the Holy Cross need her to go.

Have hope, fear is useless

Friday, September 23, 2016

by Sister Margie Lavonis, CSC

I learned a new verb from the radio the other day. It is probably not in the dictionary, but it seems to say a lot about the present state of affairs in which we find ourselves in the world today. The announcer said that due to the recent events of terror and war, we are prone, like never before, to awfulizing!

Actually, it doesn’t take a terrorist attack or a war for people to awfulize about life. There is a saying that if you take a half filled glass of water, some people would see it as half empty and others as half full. Nay-sayers and awfulizers can wear us down.

It is true that the present state of affairs in our world is not good. It seems that every day we hear of a shooting or a terrorist bombing. There are wars in many countries. Without faith these events can really depress us.

The mission of Christians is to let people know that, despite all this suffering, God is still with us and loving us. God is always faithful.

In the Scripture Jesus says that fear is useless, what is needed is trust. We need to hear and believe these words now more than ever. We need to trust that God is still present and loving in the face of the turmoil in our world. We are called to live out our belief that God can and does bring good out of evil. An example is Christ’s resurrection. He was not left on the cross. New life came from his suffering.

I remember hearing somewhere that the words “Be not afraid.” are used the most in the Bible (over 150 times). If we let it, fear and anxiety can paralyze us. With God’s grace we must trust the words that tell us to not be afraid. We must believe that God will not allow us to destroy the world. Fear must not have the final word.

As Christians we believe that our God is always faithful. God keeps his promises. When we start to become anxious or worried about what might happen next in life, let us recall what Jesus said to console a father whose daughter was critically ill—fear is useless, what is needed is trust. Let us put our trust in our good and gracious God and encourage others to do the same.

A summer of learning

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

by Sister Mary Ann Pajakowski, CSC

This summer, four students from Saint Mary’s College and two students from the University of Notre Dame volunteered to help elementary school students in the Holy Cross Ministries Summer Program in Park City, Utah.

Saint Mary’s College senior social work majors Liza Felix, Aspen Davis and Elizabeth Tiete as well as junior elementary education major Jenna Buche and Notre Dame students Allison Hidalgo and Mary Shea Kelly-Buckley teamed with Holy Cross Ministries education staff and Park City School district personnel to staff a full day summer enrichment program for more than 120 children. This program provides children a safe and nurturing environment and helps improve literacy through activities based on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in the morning and sports, recreation, art and field activities in the afternoons. The volunteers were assigned to a classroom and able to spend a full day with the same children helping to forge positive and loving relationships with them.
This fall, the volunteers the will work through the Office of Civic and Social Engagement at Saint Mary's College to share their experiences of the summer with other students who are looking for ways to participate in the work of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in service to others.

I thoroughly enjoyed each of the volunteers and their sense of sharing. It was a great opportunity to see the heart of Saint Mary’s in the young women who share the campus with the sisters, and the very real care, value and concern the college has for the mission of the Congregation. Go Belles!

Holy Cross Ministries provides needed services including parish health screenings, legal assistance for immigrants as well as school readiness, after-school and summer learning programs.Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana, and Holy Cross Ministries, Salt Lake City, Utah, are sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

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Inspired to Learn

Friday, September 16, 2016

"Reflective learning brings out my inner knowledge."

Sister Arpita Rozario, CSC


This is part 1 in a series of stories about sisters who are continuing their education to better serve others in need.

Sister Arpita Rozario, CSC, from Bangladesh, is enrolled at Holy Cross College, Notre Dame, Indiana, founded and operated by the Brothers of the Holy Cross.

When she was in high school in Bangladesh, Sister Arpita Rozario studied bookkeeping and business, and found she very much liked it. Now, she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business with a minor in theology.

Sister Arpita hopes her business major will help her obtain an administrative position, possibly in a hospital. She enjoys learning about non-verbal behavior and how to communicate with people. These skills, she believes, will help her understand and deal with people wherever the Congregation sends her.

Through her education, she is learning to think differently, to see people in a positive way and, in turn, give a good impression of the Congregation and her heritage. A major difference between education in the United States and what she experienced in Bangladesh is that her studies here are more thought provoking.

"It’s a reflective system," she said, "where you think about something then write your own thoughts. Before, the teaching was more about what was in the books. Reflective learning brings out my inner knowledge."

Sister Arpita will graduate in December.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows focuses on Mary's intense suffering during the passion and death of Christ. In her suffering, she reminds us of the tremendous evil of sin and shows us the way of true repentance.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

We honor the cross by which Christ redeemed the world. We remember our Lord’s words, “He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:38-39). Meditating on these words we unite ourselves with Jesus’ obedience and sacrifice, and we rejoice in this inestimable gift through which we have the hope of salvation and the glory of everlasting life.

Lord, forgive me!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

by Sister Margie Lavonis

When I was at Mass the other day and we prayed the Confiteor at the Penitential Rite, a sentence really popped out at me. I heard it in a new way. In this prayer we ask God to forgive us for what we have done, but we also express our sorrow for what we have failed to do. Sin for me is usually active. It is something we do, but we can also sin by not doing something. These are called sins of omission.

What would be a sin of omission? It could be witnessing a crime or wrong doing and being silent about it. Holding back the truth could be sinful, especially if that causes harm to someone. Not living up to promises made is also sinful. Perhaps there was a problem that you could have done something about, but instead you chose not to get involved.

Seeing others in need and not providing help when it is within your power could be a sin of omission. I think of the passage in the gospel of Matthew. “I was hungry and you gave me no food. I was thirsty and you did not give me a drink, etc.” (Matthew 25:35-40). We often do not think about the fact that we can be guilty of not doing something or closing our eyes to an unjust situation.

There are also missed opportunities to show love. These may not be sins, but we would have improved our lives and the lives of others and sometimes we are left with regrets. Maybe someone had a serious issue and needed a listening ear, but you were too busy. Perhaps you had a chance to visit or contact a sick friend or relative, but did not and the person died.

How can we learn to better recognize these sins of omission? A good thing to do at the end of the day is to reflect on your actions. Ask yourself if you missed any opportunities to show Christ’s love and forgiveness? What did you fail to do? The more we make ourselves aware of these opportunities, the easier it is to make sure that they do not become sins of omission.

Sisters gather in India

Friday, September 2, 2016

by Sisters M. Bruno (Beiro) and Isidora Dkhar

The first country assembly of the Sisters of the Holy Cross from India was in Shillong, India, earlier this summer. Sister Pushpa Teresa Gomes, Area of Asia coordinator, along with 20 sisters in ministry in India were present. The theme for the gathering was from 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.”

The meeting opened with the Indian ritual of Rakhi Bandhan, the bestowal of a beautifully made bracelet tied as a bonding symbol with a blessing for peace and joy for each sister. The Rakhi Bandhan ritual reminded us of our call, our union, our bonding with God and with each other, our self-sacrifice and service.

The day also included a presentation by Father Simon Fernandes, CSC, which left us with three reflections on asking for and receiving forgiveness: (1) admit and accept that you have hurt someone; (2) seek God’s forgiveness; and (3) take courage and go to the person you hurt and ask for forgiveness.

The second day began with the Empty Bowl gathering ritual. Sisters were asked to place flowers in an empty bowl that represented a community. As the bowl filled with flowers everyone could see how different flowers, representing individual personalities and cultures, can make intercultural life together beautiful.

Father Barnes Mawrie, SDB, gave a presentation that provided each of us with a new understanding of life in an intercultural community.

Our country assembly closed with thanksgiving and a candlelit procession. It was a successful event enjoyed by all attendees.

Learn more about our ministry work in India. Make a donation to help support our ministries around the world.