L to R: Sister Suzanne Elizabeth, Sister Laura Katharine, and Sister Barbara Jean during their time as teachers at St. John Baptist School.
Three of our current Sisters were teachers at St. John Baptist School, and all three of them have recently celebrated their 50th Anniversary of Profession in Life Vows. Suzanne Elizabeth (p. 05/26/1969), Sister Barbara Jean (p. 03/31/1970), and Sister Laura Katharine (p. 09/08/1970) came into the Community amid the political and social upheavals of the 1960s when they felt a call to serve God’s people in an uncertain time. All three are still finding new ministries and new beginnings as they continue to discern God’s will. On September 8, we celebrated Sister Laura Katharine’s 50th Anniversary of Profession in Life Vows with a special Eucharist on the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a cake baked by Sister Pamela. Sister Laura Katharine was overwhelmed with gratitude that so many friends sent their well wishes and prayers for her. She thanks you all for remembering her special day.
September also marks the new year for our Jewish friends. St. John Baptist School Alumna Debbie Kamins (SJBS ’70) serves as the assistant cantor and leads musical parts of the services for the Shoreshim Community in Reston VA. She sent us links to their High Holy Days services for this year, including Rosh Hashana which took place on September 19.
Links to upcoming services are:
Kol Nidre: Sunday, September 27, 7:30 pm
Yom Kippur Day: Monday, September 28, 10 am.
Debbie gives thanks to Sister Jane Patricia from St. John Baptist School for her excellent musical training!
We’re beginning our program year this fall by offering the first in a series of online presentations. Sister Victoria’s Bead Workshop will take place on Oct. 3 via Zoom, and we’re very happy to see that 28 people have signed up so far. If you’re interested in attending this workshop, we still have some spaces left. Suggested donation for the workshop is $25. Please email email@example.com for more information or visit our Events page on the CSJB website.
Our next Associates’ Program and optional meeting will take place via Zoom on Saturday, October 24, 1:30-3:30 pm.
The program topic is St. Teresa of Avila, led by Sr. Eleanor Francis. Suggested donation for this program is $25. Please email CSJB Oblate Pat McKenzie at firstname.lastname@example.org to register. After registration, a zoom link will be emailed to you.
Mail a check for your $25 donation, made out to the Community of St. John Baptist, to PO Box 240 Mendham, NJ 07945 - or donate through Paypal here: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/CommunityofStJohnBap
If you would like to learn more about becoming an Associate, we’d love to hear from you! Just email Sister Eleanor Francis at email@example.com
Sister Victoria volunteered at Homeless Solutions in Randolph on Sept. 19.
She, along with the Rev. Margaret Otterburn and other volunteers from the Church of the Messiah in Chester, helped cook and serve dinner to 30 people.
Many of the CSJB Sisters are now prepared to lead programs on Zoom. We can provide online retreats, presentations, and quiet days for Advent and Lent or for any other needs you might have. Just email Sister Monica at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like more information.
Sister Suzanne Elizabeth, our Community Infirmarian, has this update on Sister Barbara Jean: On July 12, 2020 Sr. Barbara Jean had a neurological incident when she fell on the floor, and we had to call 911 to take her to the hospital. After 4 days and many tests and rest, she was taken to Holly Manor for rehab. She likes her roommate Anne who is a retired teacher and has a big flat screen TV on which they both watch the news, movies and right now the tennis US Open matches as her roommate used to be a tennis player and avid tennis watcher. Sr. Barbara Jean reports the people there are very nice and also she enjoys the food they serve. She receives many phone calls, as I often get a busy phone signal when I try to call. I take her mail and articles she requests and she receives them after they’ve been in quarantine for 48 hours. No one may go into the facility due to the virus but we were able to have some outdoor visiting with social distancing once a week for a few minutes the past three weeks. Hopefully when no staff or resident tests positive we may be able to visit again. Sister keeps busy with all her projects that she has never been without, under any circumstances, and is always ‘cooking up’ some creative activity. They have also invited her to lead songs and the Rosary prayers via Zoom that may be seen virtually in every room.
If you would like to hear from her, please send her your phone number and she will be delighted to call you and keep in touch. If you would like updates, leave me your name and phone number on my house phone 973-543-4641 ext 5 and I will get back to you as I am able. Please keep us all in your prayers. --Sister Suzanne Elizabeth, CSJB
Sister Jane Mankaa, head of the Good Shepherd Home in Cameroon, West Africa, sends us this update: Greetings from all of us. All is well despite of the war going on northwest and southwest of Cameroon. It has been two weeks that we have not been to town to buy food for the Home. The military is all over the place and doing all sorts of atrocities. We are safe in the Home. The good Lord is keeping us safe. We run a Home school for the kids. Teachers come from the city to teach, and go home. All of our kids who sat for the first school living certificate made it. We are now waiting for the results of those who wrote the G C E. We hope they shall make it as well. The children all studied at home with the help of these teachers coming from outside. Schools will re-opened in Cameroon on the 6th of October. We hope to reopen the Good Shepherd Academy in October as well. The children are doing well health-wise. No malaria this time but a lot of rain. We also have some young men and women doing their internship in Agriculture in the Home. Our pig farm is one of the best around, so students from different schools come for internship on our pig farm. One of our children did Agriculture in University. He is the one giving lectures to the internship students. Stay blessed and our love to all. – by Sister Jane Mankaa, EBSB
Our Garden of Hope is really looking great! Many thanks to Julie Crawford and Sharing Project founder Matthew Borinshteyn for bringing us so many great ideas and new volunteers. We've been regularly delivering produce from the Garden of Hope to local food pantries and we are looking forward to fall projects such as refurbishing the wood around the beds and restarting the compost bins. Julie has very kindly begun a GoFundMe page to raise money for the Garden of Hope. The GoFundMe page can be viewed HERE. The garden was founded in 2005 in cooperation with the Interchurch Committee of the Mendhams and is now one of six plots cultivated by the Sharing Project.
St. Marguerite’s Retreat House remains closed to overnight groups as we continue to plan a socially-distanced reopening. In the meantime, we are open for socially-distanced outdoor events, labyrinth walks for individuals or groups, and 1-2 overnight guests at a time at our guest cottage. Please email our Retreat House Manager Bradley Kalos at email@example.com to plan an outdoor event at the retreat house, and please email Sister Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a stay at the guest cottage. The cottage has its own bathroom, an eat-in kitchen, a bedroom and living room so guests are self-contained. We also allow ample time between visitors for proper cleaning and disinfecting of all surfaces and linens.
A Memory of 9/11 - By Sister Eleanor Francis
The tragedy of September 11, 2001 occurred 19 years ago. It’s hard to believe so much time has passed. I was fortunate to serve as a Ground Zero chaplain during the long period of clean-up. There are memories that will remain etched in my mind forever, but for the sake of brevity, I will recount one.
One day, I was serving in a building called “T-Mor”, which stood for “Temporary Morgue.” You can imagine how grisly was the work that went on there. However, my job was simply to sit in my corner and be available to anyone who wanted to talk. I always wore my habit at Ground Zero; it attracts some and scares others. A big, burly fireman approached me. He said something like this: “I so admire the work you are doing. You listen to people talk all day long. You pray for us. I could never do what you do.” Feeling a bit embarrassed, I replied, “Well, what have you been doing?” Slowly he answered, “The other day I rescued a baby from a burning building.” Does he think prayer is more important than rescuing babies from burning buildings? I wouldn’t want to pass judgment on that. What I can say for sure is: “Never underestimate the power of prayer.” – by Sr. Eleanor Francis, CSJB
We now have a page on our website with details, photos, and a video of the former St. John Baptist School property. There are contemporary photos and video by the Rev. Cynthia L. Black, DD – rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Morristown, as well as vintage photos of the SJBS students and the school property from 1929 to 1983. CLICK HERE to view the new page.
Due to the Corona Virus pandemic, our 2020 Celtic Journeys has been canceled, but
Please see our trips for 2021! https://www.celticjourneys.org/copy-of-ireland https://www.celticjourneys.org/cornwall
For more information, contact Sister Margo Elizabeth:
Phone: 973 543 4641 ext 4
PLEASE JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR
Jon, James, Carolyn and Bruce, Alexis, our Searchers, Jarad and Monica, Rebecca and her family, Nadine, Norman, Erin, Jess, Linda Lee, John, Myram, Juli and Gil, Michael, Doug, Janet, Jessica and Brendan, Tommy, Janet, Patty, Patrick, Chris’ wife Sam and their two children, John, Sister Barbara Jean, Greg and Pat, Phoebe, Jay, Dean, Raajiv, Geri and family, Claire, Margaret and family, Chris, Larry, Kenneth, Louie, Annette, Michelle, Manh, Kristee, Judith, Suzanne, Anthony, Warren, James, Ingrid, Chris, Sully, Daniel, Nicole, Jennifer, Joyce, the Clewer Initiative, our Sisters in England, Virginia, Maureen and Donald, Bill and Carol, Michelle, Tiffany, Myles, Jim.
Also: For a new ministry for the former Daytop Buildings and grounds.
Sister Victoria has recently experienced a sense of calling to volunteer at the Jersey Battered Women’s Shelter in Morristown. She is currently exploring ways to join their efforts in person. Please join us in praying for her as she discerns her path there.
We would be honored to pray for you. Please email email@example.com with any prayer requests.
TO SUPPORT OUR GENERAL FUND We Sisters of CSJB look forward to the day when we can reopen our ministry of hospitality and welcome hundreds of people per year to our Retreat House and the Convent as we have always done in the past. Until then, like many nonprofits, we are having a very difficult time covering our monthly operating costs after nearly six months with no income. If you'd like to help us continue our ministries, please consider making a gift to our general fund through our new online Paypal portal: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/CommunityofStJohnBap
If you’re interested in becoming an Associate or Oblate, we’d love to hear from you. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO HELP PRESERVE OUR SACRED SPACE?
The cost of replacement for our septic system was $481,598 and our friends and benefactors provided the entire amount! Thank you!
THE NEXT ITEM ON OUR CSJB CAPITAL CAMPAIGN WISH LIST:
St. Marguerite's Roof:
We are hoping to raise $500,000 to replace the 114-year-old roof at St. Marguerite's. Thanks to generous donors, we have already raised over $70,889.00.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the CSJB Capital Campaign