Jubilee, it is all Gift - By Sister Jeanne Barasha

Jeanne BarashaOn May 5, sisters from across the SSND Atlantic-Midwest Province gathered at Villa Notre Dame to celebrate an historic jubilee.  For the first time, through the blessing of technology and live-streaming, our entire province could share in the experience. Neither distance, nor sickness, nor age, nor responsibilities separated us. On that day, the 2018 jubilarians celebrated our call by the Triune God, who impells us into the heart of the world as women of peace, hope and love. 

At the jubilee liturgy Mass, bountiful with beauty, music and inspiration, we listened as Sister Jeanne McGue, who is celebrating her 75th jubilee, proclaim the Second Reading, the Directional Statement of the 24th General Chapter.  For me, at that moment the Directional Statement came alive! “Love gives everything.  We direct our entire lives toward oneness.  We have heard our deep desire to trust and dare.”    

As the celebration concluded, Sister Charmaine called each jubilarian by 
name.  Wherever God’s call found us that day, whether in Villa Notre Dame’s chapel or in a distant community, every jubilarian heard her name just as clearly as she had so many years before at First Profession.  And whether in North or Central or South America, or in countries across the continents of Africa, Asia or Europe - wherever our life in community and our ministries have taken us through the years - that day we all came together, from near and far, to celebrate God’s faithfulness to us as sisters.  

As I celebrate my 50th Jubilee this year, I carry in my heart all those God has destined to journey with me through the years. Forty-five of those years were spent in the heart of the cities of Baltimore and Washington, D.C.  There, so many of my ministry dreams came true – teaching at St. James in Baltimore - one of our original SSND schools in North America; living in community and teaching at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish, Anacostia, D.C. during the MLK Civil Rights era; living among the people of N.W. Baltimore at St. Ambrose Center and walking with the Church community of St. Ann in East Baltimore, where I was welcomed into a family of faith who deeply understands what it means to be anchored in 

My ministry in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. prepared me for realizing my greatest desire - to go to Africa.  I arrived in Nigeria just as the newest SSND province, the Province of Africa, was celebrating its beginning days in each of the countries where SSND ministers and where young sisters continue to be Called and Sent.  

I “Count It All as Gift” these fifty years.  I walk now with the women of Caroline Center in Baltimore, on the same Holy Ground where Mother Theresa and Mother Caroline once lived.  With our dedicated staff, I experience our internationality among asylee and immigrant women who join hands with young women from Baltimore City. Together they step into the promise of a brighter future as their chosen health careers unfold.  

I, too, look forward to what God holds for me. Truly, it is all Gift!

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