One of the many theories about the unanswerable question: “Why would a loving God allow bad things to happen?” is that this world is a classroom in which we learn wisdom, strength, and compassion through our trials and tribulations. We also learn that no matter what our circumstances are, we can still spread the joy and light of Christ. In that spirit, all of us Sisters look forward to the many new things that God will teach us in 2021. We have learned so much in this long time of trial, and we have gained a deeper faith in our Lord’s mercy.
FROM SISTER JANE MANKAA AT THE GOOD SHEPHERD HOME
Our dear friends of the Good Shepherd family. Happy New year 2021. We pray and hope all is well with you. We follow American News and we are worried about our loved ones like you. We keep you all in our thoughts and prayers. This is all we can do. Life in Cameroon is not the best. The war is going on and so much suffering around. Yesterday a young mother of twins came to see us with her babies who were so sick. She was coming back from the hospital. She came to see us because someone directed her to come see us for support. The babies were so sick and so malnourished. She left her village because of the war. We face so many challenges on daily basis. We thank God for the Good Shepherd Home. Many find refuge here with us.
Cistus leaves this week for Nigeria. Cistus is one of our young men studying in Nigeria. He has been of so much great help to the younger ones. Helping them with their homework helping with the pigs and leading the kids in their morning and evening prayers. The kids will miss him lots. Pray for a safe trip for Cistus please. God keep all of us safe in His Love.
If you’d like to help the children of the Good Shepherd Home, CLICK here for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are deeply grateful to the generous donors who have sent substantial gifts to the children in recent months. You are providing support not only for the Home but for all the people they are assisting through the Cameroonian Civil War.
FROM SISTER MARGO ELIZABETH:
Greetings, dear friends…
Here’s an update from yours truly, Sr Margo.
As probably most of you might have guessed, due to the COVID virus we had to cancel all Celtic Journeys in 2020 as well as our Feb 2021 retreat on Lindisfarne. And just this week an email went out to those who signed up for the Ireland trip this coming May. It doesn’t look promising, on both sides of the Pond. Ireland is in lockdown until at least the end of January, and it is likely that will be extended. So we’ll see about Cornwall and the Southwest of England in September (Sept 7-17) here’s the link: https://www.celticjourneys.org/cornwall And only today we saw in the news that a variant strain of the present virus would likely be in the states by March. Sigh. When will this ever end?
I always think of all those on the front lines, so to speak - doctors, nurses, healthcare workers. They need our prayers!
We are all OK here, inasmuch as how OK can any of us be after the events of Jan. 6 at the Capitol. Still trying to process… almost surreal, isn’t it? The important thing to remember in all this is to stay grounded. Do whatever gives you a sense of peace (ie, listening to classical music, knitting, perhaps woodwork, going for walks, etc. And of course, pray… encourage those who are perhaps feeling alone or discouraged.
And, be thankful. Even in the midst of what seems to be endless dark times, we can always find the things that give us joy.
On another note, many people have been asking how the book is coming along. Oh, for those of you that didn’t know, I’ve started writing the story about our beloved Pony. Over the years, folks would say to me, write a book! So, it is about how he came here, or found us, as well as so many wonderful anecdotal stories. Copies of the articles “he wrote” for countless CSJB newsletters over the years will be included, with accompanying black and white photographs. There will also be some illustrations in color (we hope!)
Anyway, the book is “a work in progress”, with fitful starts and stops. It experienced “suspended animation” due to the holidays, and is awaiting for me to return (it has taken on a life of its own.) In the Fall there were some weeks with bursts of energy (5, 6, 7 hours a day.) But alas, these ol’ bones just can’t take that kind of grueling pace any more. The months ahead hopefully will provide the opportunity to get back to some kind of routine, in moderation of course. Pray that I have the endurance to see it through.
Stay well and safe. Keep the faith during these trying times.
love and prayers to you all,
FROM AUTHOR VALERIE BONHAM:
In January, 2017, the Sisters launched my first volume of their history - Living Stones. This covered their work in the USA after arriving from Clewer, UK in 1874, until 1939. Since 2017, I have continued to visit the Sisters for research until prevented by the pandemic. Here in UK lockdown, I have been preparing the next volume, which is now with my UK editor/proofreader. This covers the Sisters’ life and ministry from 1940, until September 2020. The title is The Second Spring and will be published later this year. It’s too early to give the number of pages, but there will be at least 85 photographs. After 1940, the Sisters withdrew from their older institutional work and began new work which took them into parishes, schools, giving spiritual direction, leading and hosting retreats, giving hospitality and much more, undergirded by their life of prayer. It was for them, a ‘second spring’. But CSJB has undergone many ‘second springs’ as they have taken up new ministries. Now, in the midst of this terrible pandemic the Sisters have begun to minister electronically – another ‘second spring’. In this new way, the Sisters share their life of prayer and ministry, which continues to be a light in dark times, and is something beautiful for God.
PRAYING FOR OUR NATION
The prayer service was led by Sister Monica Clare along with St. Mark’s Episcopal Church Rector Lorna Erixson, Hilltop Presbyterian Church Pastor Alison Paden, and Colleen Peterson of Grace Lutheran Church. Amy Southerland from Brookside Church provided music. A recording of the service can be viewed by clicking the image above.
The Interchurch Committee of the Mendhams will be planning more of these inspirational community-building events in the coming year.
My family were very protestant. I remember standing before a huge statue of Mary and crying “if you really are a great advocate please ask for a good husband for me.” Did she ever! 54 happy years of marriage!"
WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?
PLEASE JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR
We pray especially for the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed,
We would be honored to pray for you. Please email email@example.com with any prayer requests
OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO:
All who have responded so generously to our Reaching Out appeal letter.
Our many helpers, volunteers, and those who encourage us
All our CSJB Oblates, Associates, Alumnae, and friends, and:
The S.A.D. Foundation
The Rt. Rev. Carlye J. Hughes
The Rev. Kevin Coffey
The Rev. Cynthia L. Black, DD and the people of the Church of the Redeemer
The Rev. John A. Rollins
The Rev. Lorna Erixson and the people of St. Mark’s Mendham
The Rev. Margaret Otterburn and the Church of the Messiah
The Rev. Victoria McGrath and the people of All Saints Millington
The Rev. Anne C. Thatcher and the people of St. Peters Morristown
And all those who have generously donated to the Good Shepherd Home, our Capital Campaign, and our general fund despite all the economic uncertainty.
TO SUPPORT OUR GENERAL FUND
Our Diocese, along with the Episcopal Church Foundation, provides expert legal and financial guidance to guide you through the process of the many ways of making a planned gift. Please contact Sister Monica at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 973-543-4641 ext. 2 if you’d like to find out more
CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW FOR:
COVID-19 Resources from the Diocese of Newark
COVID-19 Information from the Centers for Disease Control
Dialogue from the Diocese of Newark
THE CLEWER INITIATIVE
PROGRAM founded by our Sisters in England and the Rt. Rev. Alastair Redfern
THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS!
Thank you to all our donors who raised over $480,000 to replace our 114-year-old septic system!
Next, we hope to replace the Convent stucco, St. Marguerite's roof, and restore our cemetery.
Thank you for supporting our Capital Campaign to help us continue God's work in our sacred space.
It's easy to help!
To donate by check, make your check out to:
St. John the Baptist Foundation
"Capital Campaign" on the ledger line of your check.
Mail to: PO Box 240
Mendham, NJ .7945
To donate by PAYPAL, go to
and in the "purpose" section of your online donation type "Capital Campaign."
Thank you for supporting our ministries of retreat and spiritual direction which are needed more than ever in today's world.
The State of New Jersey recently stopped giving grants for repairs to religious structures, so this has taken away half our funding for repairs and restorations. The COVID crisis has also negatively impacted our funding for these projects.
If you're interested in contributing to our Capital Campaign to help with these goals, or you'd like to learn about donating in other ways to the ministries of CSJB, CLICK HERE