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- World Environment Day – 5 June “Think, Eat, Save, Reduce Your Foodprint”
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2012 International Year of Sustainable Energy For All
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Conference of Presentation Sisters in Ministry
Presentation Sisters of North America
Assisting New Americans
Sisters Rosaria Acton and Olivia Scully (Fargo) assist New Americans in acquiring skills and knowledge to attain United States citizenship. Isha Kromah from Liberia was the most recent student to complete the course of study the sisters designed. She passed her citizenship test with flying colors.
Pictured are Sr Rosaria, Isha, and Sr Olivia at a class session.
Las Rosas bringing Nano’s Lantern-light of Education, Service and Justice
How did three San Francisco Presentation Sisters find themselves in the little town of Tipton, in California’s Central Valley?
The Central Valley is the state’s agricultural heartland, which provides much of the nation’s fruit, vegetable, grain and dairy products. At the same time, it is known as the “Other California,” having lower income and educational levels and higher drop-out and unemployment rates than the rest of the state. In view of these needs, the pastor of Saint John the Evangelist parish in Tipton, Tulare County, who had been very impressed with the Union Sisters’ learning center in Watts, invited San Francisco PBVMs to begin a similar center. El Proyecto de las Rosas is sponsored by the Sisters of the Presentation. Housing is provided by the parish – the first Sisters to live in a convent built with great hopes in the 1960s! Las Rosas recognizes both the Portuguese and the Mexican heritage of the area, recalling the miracles of the Virgin of Guadalupe and Saint Elizabeth of Portugal.
Given the area’s majority Hispanic population, the principal need was English as a Second Language. During the three years since the center opened, some eighty students a year have taken advantage of the ESL classes; the first group is now in Level III. Many mothers are able to attend because babysitting is provided. Classes are taught in the morning and the evening in both Tipton and Woodville, a smaller town eight miles away. Students in Tipton are mainly dairy workers or their wives; in Woodville, many are field workers. They come to class after long hours of labor under a hot sun. All have the hope of someday – when comprehensive immigration reform becomes a reality – becoming citizens.
The three Sisters – Pati Reinhart, Rita Jovick and Catherine Mary King – have long experience in elementary teaching and administration. ESL, however, presents different challenges. Faithful students suddenly disappear: “They went to the melons!” A special activity is planned, but the TV announces: “Plan C” (no school due to Tule fog)! Continuity is disrupted by pregnancy, changing milkers’ schedules, and deportation. However, the students’ motivation makes it all worthwhile.
So that all sectors of the parish will be served by Las Rosas, reflection groups are offered in English, including Women of the Bible and Saintly Women, the latter including Nano Nagle.
Originally, one classroom in the parish religious education building was provided to Las Rosas. A second room has now been added. Thanks to twenty-one computers donated by Presentation High School, San Jose, a computer lab will open in September 2009.
Las Rosas has also been one of the sites for immersion experiences for Presentation High School students. This year (2009), eight students and two teachers had a three-day sleep-over in the convent. They assisted with ESL classes and babysitting, and visited four local agencies, including the National Chavez Center, which gave them insight into justice issues regarding farm workers.
It is hoped that Las Rosas will bring Nano’s lantern-light of education, service, and justice to this small corner of the “Other California.”
Walking Together with Hispanic People
The Presentation Sisters of Aberdeen have a long history of responding to unmet needs and an equally long history of ministering to Hispanics, both in this country and as missionaries in foreign lands. As we experienced the Latino population growing in southeast South Dakota, we responded to these new immigrants by initiating a ministry with them called Caminando Juntos (Walking Together).
Currently Sisters Consuelo Covarrubias, Gabriella Crowley, Sheila Schnell, Janet Horstman and Helen Nemmers, along with Pilar Baron, a Colombian lay woman, serve hundreds of Hispanics weekly by:
- Providing English classes for Hispanic adults and children
- Accompanying Latinos as they access social services available to them (medical, dental, legal, transportation, housing, employment)
- Offering support groups to Hispanics in domestic abuse situations
- Providing immigration legal services to Latinos, many of whom have become United States citizens
- Visiting Hispanics in hospitals, jails and state prison
- Offering diversity training and advocacy assistance.
Carrying on Nano’s Education Focus
For 26 years Sister Lou Cota (of Dubuque Congregation) has carried on Nano Nagle’s education focus by teaching those who have few educational choices at St Dorothy’s, an inner city school in Chicago. As technology teacher, Sister Lou has worked to acquire grant money to install state-of-the-art computers and learning software. Her enthusiastic students love to learn with “JiJi.”
Teaching where the needs are greater in Dominica
This is Frances Pennell from the Newfoundland Congregation (Canada) ministering in Dominica, West Indies. Presentation Sisters have been involved there as full-time volunteers since 1992. The sisters’ primary focus is not in the Catholic schools of the island but in the government schools all over the island where the needs are greater. They assist teachers and students primarily in reading. Presently there are two sisters in Dominica. They love it and the people respond warmly to their presence.
Saving the Cumberland Mountains
Giant corporations are clearcutting the forests of East Tennessee to feed the increasing number of chip mills being located in the area. (Chip mills grind the potential saw timber into tiny one-inch chips for use in the paper mill industry.) Through Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM), local residents are working to stop the destruction of their mountains. In the picture, Anne Hablas of the Fargo Congregation, a SOCM member, looks over a devastated area near her home in Campbell County. With other members of SOCM Anne is working to get state regulation of corporate clearcutting. Currently Tennessee has no laws that regulate the practice.
Addressing Increasing Taxes on Food
Presentation Sisters from Aberdeen SD attended “BREAD DAYS” sponsored by Bread for the World of South Dakota. The issue addressed was the impact the increased tax on food will have on the poor. Pictured is Presentation Sister Pegge Boehm (second from right) and friends.
Running a Medical Clinic in Guatemala
Pictured here is Joanna Bruno of the San Francisco Congregation visiting the mother of four small children who had been very sick. The Sisters had been able to help her and she recovered well. Joanna co-directs a medical clinic in Santa Clara la Laguna, Guatemala.
Committed to Protesting Nuclear Weapons
Mary Denis Lentsch of the Dubuque Congregation, Iowa, is a member of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance. For many years she has been protesting against the production of Nuclear Weapons, originally by writing letters, but later found herself wanting to take stronger actions. In February 2002 she was arrested for trespassing at the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. She was found guilty and spent two months imprisoned in Lexington, Ky. This photo was taken on the way to prison to complete her sentence. She is accompanied by friends who supported her.