The Holy Door of Mercy was unsealed by Pope Francis in the Basilica of St. Peter’s in Rome on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. With the opening of Holy Doors in the Cathedrals and Sanctuaries, and even in prisons chapels worldwide, our Holy Father invites all to experience God’s infinite mercy, and to follow the motto of the Extraordinary Year of Grace: Misericordes sicut Pater. To celebrate Christ’s Nativity, we participated in the Papal Masses together with a great number of pilgrims, and in union with all of our Sisters we listened to the Pope’s messages, which the media transmitted to the world. With the singing of the Te Deum we concluded the year 2015 in St. Peter’s Basilica. The reinforced security at the Vatican reminds us constantly to pray for peace in the world.
▪ The International Union of Superiors General (UISG) celebrated its 50th Anniversary on December 12th . Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, the Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Religious (CICLSAL) presided over the thanksgiving Mass in the packed church, St. Maria in Traspontina. At the end of the vibrant celebration with multicultural songs and processions, 10 Sisters from 8 different Congregations were sent out by the President of the UISG, Sr. Carmel Sammut, SMNDA and their respective Superiors General to serve in 2 communities among the refugees in Sicily.
▪ An historical visit of the three Superiors General of the foundation communities took place on December 14th - Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, SAC, Sr. Ivete Garlet, CSAC and Sr. Izabela Świerad, SAC went to San Prisco to meet Sr. Adalgisa Cammarata, Superior General of the Eucharistic Sisters of St. Vincent Pallotti and her community. It was a familial gathering and sign of hope for future collaboration.
▪ Several of our Sisters regularly accompany our three student Sisters at the evening Lectio Divina held in a nearby church, Traspontina. Our students were recently invited to the Irish Pallottine Community at the ancient Church, San Silvestro.
▪ During Advent we had the possibility to participate in the early morning Rorate Mass with candle light in the German Church of Anima.We were invited to Advent festivities by the Polish and German Embassies to the Holy See. General Superior, Fr. Jacob Nampudakam welcomed all Indian Pallottines to a Christmas gathering at their Generalate, where they had a homily, Eucharistic celebration and a joyful Indian Agape. Our three communities of the Generalate, Procura and Moncenisio gathered to celebrate Christmas together. Words of thanks to the Sisters of the Procura, who were greatly engaged in making our celebrations so delightful.
▪ In Laurel, MD, the newly renovated wing of Pallotti High School, former convent of the Sisters, is now transformed into the new Sr. Lucy Lobby and Arts Academy, which was blessed and dedicated by Fr. Michel Malone, Pastor of St. Mary of the Mills Parish, on December 6th, after a special Mass was held. Srs. Gail Borgmeyer, Diane Bushee and Mary Grace Barile joined the Sisters for this celebration. Later the Laurel community experienced a marvelous Christmas concert performed by the High School students. During the week of December 21st , the school, in collaboration with the Laurel churches, hosted a week of "Winter Haven", a program welcoming homeless people for food and safe shelter.
▪ In Buckhannon, WV, Sr. Francesca Lowis was allowed to keep working at St. Joseph’s Hospital, which since October 2015 belongs to W.V. University. Even though it has been a difficult transition for the Sisters, it has been a blessing to be able to keep the Pallottine Apostolic Spirit alive.
▪ In Huntington, W.V. Srs. Diane and Marian Ruth Creamer attended a "Celebration of 2015" at the new educational Generations Hall of Heritage Farm (Cultural museum). The flooring in this building which in large murals depicts several decades of world events is from the original school of Nursing, donated by St. Mary's. ▪ Srs. Mary Grace Barile and Mary Terence Wall were invited to the ECCHO Christmas Appreciation Dinner for Volunteers at St. Stephen's parish. ▪ Sr. Diane represented St. Mary's and the Pallottine Sisters at the pinning ceremony for the December graduates of St. Mary’s School of nursing. It took place at the First Baptist Church of Proctorville in Ohio, as St. Mary’s does not have a space large enough.
▪ In Florissant MO, staff and Board of Directors gathered to well wish Mrs. Martha Castellanos, who after serving 25 years retired from Pallottine Renewal Center. She has done a lot in dietary and housekeeping and also arranged fundraisers for the Renewal Center among her Hispanic friends.
▪ In Belize City, on December 13th , a grand motorcade ride from Parish to Parish culminated at the Cathedral where a festive Mass was celebrated and the Door of Mercy was opened. It was very impressive and touching.
▪ Sr. Alicia Buddan with her team led a retreat of two days for children in Corozal. In Belize City, homeless people enjoyed a Christmas Dinner prepared by the Sisters with lay helpers; in Punta Gorda the elderly enjoyed took pleasure in their party, dinner and visit of Santa Claus. The poor who come to the Sisters’ door during the year, received a Christmas hamper of goodies, complimented by the merchants, who offered generously to the Sisters so they could share. ▪ The Convent Staff of Gardeners, Security, Nurses, Kitchen Staff, Laundry Staff and Sisters enjoyed a Christmas meal together before leaving for the Christmas Holidays.
▪ Both communities in Cape Town joined for the Annual retreat at Vincent Pallotti Convent in Pinelands that was given by Rev. Christopher Clohessy.
▪ An annual thanksgiving Mass for Consecrated persons was attended by many Sisters, men Religious and also diocesan Priests. The Eucharist was presided over by Archbishop Stephen Brislin in concelebration with other Bishops who were attending a Metropolitan Bishops’ meeting.
▪ As a traditional meeting, the Sisters had a day of BRAI, which is a gathering and socializing with one another, community building and was highly enjoyed by all.
▪ The XVI. Symposium organized by the Polish Pallotti Institute took place in Konstancin-Jeziorna on November 28th and 29th . More than 250 people: Pallottine Fathers with their novices and seminarians, Pallottine Sisters with their novice and postulant, lay UAC members and friends of St. Vincent Pallotti, including groups from the Ukraine and Slovakia participated. It was the first part of a diptych, titled Pallotti’s Mystical Journey. One of the four speakers was our Sr. Monika Cecot, who works in the Pallotti Institute. Her theme was: Expressing the Inexpressible. The Language of Pallotti’s Mysticism.
Special guest at the Symposium was Donatella Acerbi, President of the General Coordination Council.
During the Sunday Eucharist, 13 persons made their Act of Apostolic Commitment in the presence of Sr. Anna Ozon, President of the NCC.
▪ In Rwanda, with the opening of the Holy Doors in the different Cathedrals and also in the three Sanctuaries, Kibeho, Ruhango and Kabuga, the Jubilee Year of Divine Mercy was inaugurated on 13th of December, in union with the Universal Church. Our Sisters attended the ceremonies and were involved in the preparations.
▪ Christmas was the occasion for the Sisters to celebrate together with the faithful in the parishes the mystery of the merciful love of God who came to dwell among us. They attended Holy Mass in their different Parishes and fraternal banquets were shared in the communities. ▪ From December 26th to 31st , the Junior Sisters attended a seminar in Keshero/ D.R. Congo, which was preached by Fr. Georges Kożuch, SAC.
▪ The Third Provincial Chapter of Mary, Mother of Divine Love Province was held at St. Vincent Krupa Convent, Bangalore, from December 27-29, with the theme Missionary: A Beacon of Love and Mercy. Sr. Josephina D’Souza, the Delegate of Superior General, Sr. Izabela Świerad, Sr. Inacinha Fernandes, Provincial Superior and her Councilors, seven elected delegates and two observers participated in this historical event of the Province. Fr. Henry Angel, SAC was the Resource Person and gave helpful orientation to the Chapter Members. He inspired them to show the Merciful Face of God through their witness, getting involved in the life of the needy in the world through a relevant apostolate. Sr. Josephina D’Souza’s presence as the Facilitator of the Provincial Chapter was experienced by the Sisters as a blessing from God.
▪ In the Spirit of UAC, some members of St. Vincent Krupa Convent joined along with the other Pallottine communities in Bangalore for the mid-night Christmas celebration at St. Vincent Pallotti Church, Bangalore and shared the joy and love of the new born Babe – the God with us.