Extended Family Newsletter


The Newsletter from the Extended Family of the RSHM keeping us all up to date






Issue 7 – October 2007



                                 “All over the world people are running

                                               to catch up with the Spirit”


This summer, Sue and I spent a few days in Bamburgh with our younger son, Joseph.  Why Bamburgh?   Well, it’s ancient, it’s beautiful, it has the best beaches in the land –

and above all it’s right next door to Holy Island.   The Holy Island of Lindisfarne;  the place where Aidan and Cuthbert lived, worked and prayed;  where the fabulous Lindisfarne Gospels were created;  a place of peace and serenity and a deep ancient spirituality, even with the modern tourist trade.   This is a place that speaks to the soul, as it has done ever since Aidansettled there when,at the invitation of King Oswald   (whose fortress was at Bamburgh), he brought Celtic Christianity from Iona to northern England.                                     


                                                                                                                                     Lindisfarne Priory


If ever a people had a sense of “the God-Held-Wholeness of All Creation” , it was the Celts.   From first waking to the smooring  of the fire, they had prayers, hymns, chants and blessings that reveal their minute-by-minute consciousness of the connectedness of all creation, their place in it and of their dependence on the love of God for all things.   They knew too, of their dependence on each other, that they were duty-bound to share what God had given them with each other, and that every individual contributed to the good of all.   Many of the “borders” which confine us were simply unknown to the Celts.


All of this was vividly brought to mind again, on reading the transcripts of Sr. Marie Chin’s presentations to the General Chapter. She says “We hear the gospel telling us of connectedness and interdependence, of integration and wholeness, conservation not exploitation, abundance not scarcity, solidarity with, and not competition against;  [of] inclusive humanity … It proposes an alternative form of discipleship that urges us to recover the fundamental community orientation of the gospel that calls us to cross over … to stand in solidarity with others who have nothing ... ''




Poles marking the ancient pilgrim way across the sands at Lindisfarne



This is challenging.   It calls for a transformingshift in the whole way of seeing our relations to one another …”   If we are still seeking to discern a definition  of  Extended Family, it opens up a whole new range of possibilities and responsibilities.   Who do we include as Extended Family?


And who can we include in our celebrations on 13th November?





Béziers – 4th June and 9th July 2007



Another step for the Extended Family. Around forty people celebrated the birth of the RSHM Institute, since that was the theme of the last meeting.

Also, on 9 July we had a nice evening with

the group of SHM Sisters and lay people staying at Béziers.



The reports from the RSHM and the Californian couple were quite different and captivating.  It was a chance for the residents of Béziers to see that Fr. Gailhac is at work in other places.



                    Eileen gives a view on the Province





 Andre translates for  Jean Debiliers                                                                                          





     The Californian couple report                              Chance to relax: M Paul, Janine Dolgues

         Bernadette translates                                             Anna Jeanette, M Claude le Hir,

                                                                                                 M de Lourdes


                                                                        Bernadette McNamara      



It was wonderful re-connecting with Janie Eggleston, Gretchen Hailer, and Cathy Garcia, members of the WAP EF Core group, while I was visiting California in August.  We had been together the previous summer for the EF Beziers Experience.

During our province gathering in September where our delegates presented the outcomes of our General Chapter, I was especially excited by the action step taken for establishing a task force to explore the possibility of creating an RSHM Volunteer program of lay people to participate in our ministries around the world.  This would be one means of broadening our global consciousness and

embracing the needs of the global community.  In a small way we are already moving towards this goal at Centro Corazon de Maria, our RSHM sponsored outreach Center to the Latino immigrant community in Hampton Bays, New York.  Marie Courtney, a member of the EAP EF who spends her summer in the same town, generously offered to participate in a new program for teaching English in the home.  She worked two mornings a week on English conversation with one of our young mothers who attends the regular English program during the year. We are hoping that such an example will encourage other volunteers to join us.

                                                                                                                                          Sr. Mary Lang 


 Mary Lang is a sister of the East American Province, working in New York. She was instrumetal in

setting up the language classes she writes about


Bearing in mind the theme of EF collaborating in the missionary work of the Institute in the last Newsletter, it seemed appropriate to include the following item.  It comes from Sr. Rita Arthur’s “News from the UN” newsletter, with her permission.  Sr. Rita is an American sister based in New York.









17October 2007 – General Councillor-elect Catherine Patten will join me at the UN to commemorate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17October 2007. 

This year’s theme is People Living in Poverty as Agents of Change: 20th

Anniversary of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This day is

celebrated annually on 17 October to create a space for people living in conditions of poverty to speak about their life experiences. It’s a day for consciousness raising, remembrance, and commitment to poverty eradication. To mark the occasion, the United Nations headquarters in New York holds several commemorative events.

See   http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/social/intldays/IntlDay/index.html


The UN DPI and UN Millennium Campaign invite you to

STAND UP AND SPEAK OUT against poverty, and

join in breaking the Guinness World Record set in 2006,

when over 23 million people participated worldwide.

The Secretary General, international visitors, UN staff,

and NGO representatives will mark this ceremony in

the UN Garden.  We invite RSHM everywhere to be with us in spirit and prayer.

 If you’re holding commemorative events in your area for the Eradication of Poverty Day, email me a quick note about them - rarthur@gmail.com

I’ll compile a list of RSHM sponsored activities around the world for our next newsletter.


Sr. Rita Arthur

RSHM Representative to the United Nations




AnAppeal    I’m very much aware that the Newsletter goes out almost exclusively to the

isters of RSHM.. And yet, Extended Family is about, and for, lay and religious people.  Simply, we need a wider lay readership, or the Newsletter is not doing its job. With their permission, could you provide me with contact details for your lay collaborators, or even better, encourage them tp contact me at the e-mail address below? And best of all, could they be encouaged to write for the Newsletter, reporting on your activities, on how they see EF, what it means to them, or how they think it could develop?





Stop Press        

Join us in giving thanks for the safe arrival of John Patrick Black, born 21st October 2007 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA – our first grandchild!       Sue and Patrick


NEXT ISSUE – Spring 2008

What implications does the General Chapter have for Extended Family?   Did you hold an event for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty?   What did you do for November 13th?   Please send thoughts, reflections, stories, information, pictures to:


Patrick Black                                                          Address:   141, Hawcoat Lane,

e-mail:     patrick.black@btinternet.com                                     Barrow-in-Furness,

Phone:  01229 839437                                                              Cumbria,

(Outside UK:  0044 1299 839437)                                               LA14 4HS     UK




Best wishes from the SHM EF Core Group (NEP)


  ''That All May Have Life''



Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary at the UN



Outreach in New York