On November 11, 2017 Ursulines of Brown County Companions held their annual gathering and day of reflection. The theme of the day was “Justice and Peace Shall Kiss” (Ps. 85): Antidotes for Our World: Civility, Aging, Addiction and Poverty”. Each topic was addressed by an Ursuline Companion or friend. The presentations were followed by a time of silence to reflect on what was heard and more specifically, how each one would be able to be an antidote for our world.
Dolores Berish, a core team leader of the Companions and Librarian and Chatfield College, opened the day with a PowerPoint developed from the book, Choosing Civility: Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni. The second presentation was on Aging. Sue Hamann, also a core-team member and a Chatfield College emeritus faculty member, shared her insights on aging. Her resources included reflections on aging from The Grace in Aging by Kathleen Dowling Singh as well as Sister Joan Leonard, OSU, PhD’s (deceased) book Cutting to the Root of Ageism: The Effects of Developing Three Gift. Sr. Joan’s book is available through our website ursulinesofbc.org.
The twenty-eight Companions and Sisters were enlightened by Erna Dennis and Heather Daugherty as they shared both the facts and personal witness to addictions in the lives of those they know. Erna is a longtime companion and Heather, a former Chatfield student, is now an admissions officer at Chatfield. They highlighted the facts of opioid addictions plaguing our country, while also describing Al-Anon as an antidote for persons who experience others in a myriad of addictions.
The issue of poverty was addressed from both a local and global perspective. Sr. Lucia Castellini, OSU, core-team member and co-director of Hope Emergency in Brown County, gave information on poverty in Ohio and the experiences of local food insecurity witnessed weekly by Hope staff through clients who come from Brown, Adams, Highland and Clinton Counties. Those present learned of the abject poverty seen firsthand by Jean McNamara. Jean, also on the core-team and a graduate of the former School of the Brown County Ursulines, has made four trips to Congo as part of the Project Congo, a non-profit which provides medical assistance and equipment to one of the most impoverished and violent parts of the world. Her video gave a glimpse of the conditions facing the people she serves there.
All present were then invited to reflect and share how they may be able to make a difference and provide an antidote to the issues presented during the day.
The hymn, Ubi caritas et amor. Ubi caritas, Deus ibi est. (Where charity and love are, God is there) became the repeated refrain after each presentation.
The day ended with the recitation of Psalm 85: 9-14
I will hear what God proclaims; our God-for You proclaim peace.
Near indeed is Your salvation to those who fear You.
glory dwelling in our land.
Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
God, You will give us our benefits; our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before You, and prepare the way of Your steps.
Erna Dennis and Heather Daugherty describe various form of addiction and how Al-Anon helps those affected by it in their families and friends.