Welcoming God’s surprises
“I didn’t intend to go there but I fell in love with it,” said Fr. Yvon Sheehy, SCJ, talking about his 22 years in South Dakota. He had instead hoped to go to Mississippi, or perhaps to DR Congo.
“But that didn’t happen,” said Fr. Yvon. When South Dakota was suggested, Fr. Yvon said, “Isn’t there ANYPLACE else?”
A year after ordination, Fr. Yvon was assigned to rural parish ministry in west-central South Dakota. He was instrumental in developing team ministry on the Cheyenne River Reservation, allowing SCJ brothers and priests to live together and support each other as a religious community instead of as individuals alone at a parish, many miles from each other.
Of the Native Americans he served, he spoke with admiration of their trust and faith in God. “They live day to day, help each other day to day,” he said. “They always depend on God to help them through the hard times. They believe that God will take care of us.”
Fr. Yvon spoke about South Dakota in the latest installment of “Heart to Heart.” Click here or on the image above to view it.
Keep in prayer
Fr. Bernie Rosinski, SCJ, is scheduled to have a laminectomy (back surgery) on November 18th to relieve pain that he has been experiencing for the past several months and to allow him to be more mobile. Please keep him in prayer.
Thank you, and safe travels!
On Tuesday, Fr. Joseph Quang Tran, SCJ, will return to his home district of Vietnam after serving for four years at St. Martin of Tours parish. He writes the following:
“As my mission and ministry here in the province is about to end, I would like to send to you all my appreciation and thanks for your welcoming, hospitality, acceptance, kindness and care during the years that I have been working in the province, particularly in my assignment in St. Martin of Tours Parish.
“I would like to thank Fr. Ed Kilianski, the provincial superior, for the approval that allowed me to work in the ministry as an associate pastor at SMOT, especially to the Vietnamese community. I fulfilled the four-year pastoral assignment with happiness, joy and learned experiences that enriched my knowledge and spirituality.
“I’m thankful to Fr. Terry as a pastor and as a brother working together in serving the parish.
“I would like to thank also the community on the 4th floor [St. Joseph’s] where I lived. I thank them for their brotherly love and care. We shared and enjoyed many things together. I wish you all good health, zeal and compassion in your ministries.
“I also thank the Provincial Council, the Sacred Heart Community at SHML, the Sacred Heart Monastery Community, the Novitiate, our co-workers, and everyone else whom I have had opportunity to meet. May God bless you all!”
Safe travels Fr. Joseph!
In June we shared news about an autobiography Fr. Herman Falke, SCJ, was working on with editor Michael J. Walsh of Mosaic Press. As Michael noted in an article published in the Catholic Register (Toronto Catholic weekly), Fr. Herman’s art is very contemporary but his communication tools are rooted in the pre-laptop era. The Canadian SCJ priest submitted the first eight chapters of his draft on handwritten pages with pictures glued in place, indicating where he thought that they might best fit.
The handwritten draft is now a formatted digital book, just about ready for print.
“It is a fully illustrated autobiography of 150 pages from a still active 93-year-old sculptor and priest, who had a 78-year-old ‘kid’ named Michael J. Walsh serve as his editor,” said Michael.
“In life, happy events are interwoven with set-backs,” writes Fr. Herman at the end of the book. “One can just let life pass you by, or one can use it as a learning experience, or even celebrate it in art, music, drama. As the Good Book states in Psalm 90: ‘Our lifespan is seventy years, or eighty for the strong. Yet mostly they bring us trouble and sorrow.’ Then the Psalmist ends with a prayerful wish: ‘Make us come to terms with that relative shortness of our life, so that we may gain wisdom of heart.’
“I am content: I loved my life in spite of my introverted hesitation of shouting out that happiness. I trust that my paintings and sculptures may do the shouting for me.”
Click here to read more about the book. It will be available in the United States in 2022 from IPG. However, there is currently a pre-publish 30% discount from Mosaic Press for direct buyers. Click here to contact Mosaic via email for information about pre-purchasing.
St. Joseph’s hosts visiting artist
Air-dry clay was the medium and sixth through eighth-grade students at St. Joseph’s Indian School were the artists who enjoyed the guidance and wisdom of visiting artist Sculptor Darwin Wolf. Their task: create sculptures of the animals who inhabit the South Dakota Prairies. The fist-sized finished products will find a home in the Lakota Studies classroom, where they will be used to learn the Lakota names of the buffalo, turtle, coyote, eagle, spider and other creatures significant to Lakota cultural life. Students chose from several animals that are part of the Lakota language curriculum used at the school. “The students are excited about this project because they get to give something back to the school, “ noted Wolf.
Wolf is no stranger to St. Joseph’s. He is the bronze artist who collaborated with students to create the statue of St. Joseph that graces the entrance to campus. He returns to the school often and intentionally. “The arts are strong here,” said Wolf. He can tell because the students want to get in and do the creative work. “Other places that I go to as a visiting artist, the students ask me to make them something. That doesn’t happen here.”
He advocates for art education to develop well-rounded individuals. His daughter is in the human resources field. “She tells me that it is a struggle to find people who can think for themselves and be creative. Many people can follow instructions, but few can create them. It is a real void in employment,” he added. “Art,” he said, “isn’t just about having fun. It is about exercising a valuable part of the brain.”
The visit was made possible in part through the South Dakota Arts Council Artists in Schools & Communities (AISC). AISC is a residency program for K-12 schools and community organizations, with matching funds from the South Dakota Arts Council.
Have you subscribed?
The Dehonians’ General Communications Office recently published its electronic newsletter. Topics include the future vision for Dehonian ministry in the German Province, as well as Europe in general; a feature on Fr. Joseph Famerée, SCJ, who was named emeritus at the Catholic University of Louvain; a story about a Dehonian center in Venezuela; and an interview with Professor Myriam Wijlens, professor of Canon Law at the University of Erfurt, in Germany.
“I have known the Priests of the Sacred Heart for, I think, more than 35 years,” said Prof. Wijlens. “Your Generalate in Rome has become a very significant place for me. Some of our Vatican commissions have met in your house; and it is really wonderful to experience your hospitality.”
Click here to read an interview done with her by Fr. Stefan Tertünte, SCJ, of the Centro Studi Dehoniani in Rome. Their topic? Prof Wijlens’ experience as a consultor to the Synod of Bishops. On September 7, she was one of the presenters of the preparation document for the Synod titled “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.”
“What was so beautiful about the presentation, and what I really appreciated, was that on the podium when we presented the document, there was Cardinal Mario Grech, there was another Bishop, then there was a sister, she and the bishop are undersecretaries,” said Prof. Wijlens, noting that besides the bishop and religious sister, “there was a priest, and I was there as a lay person. So, on the podium the People of God, in all of their diversity, were really represented. I thought that that in itself was a statement of how the Church is moving into a different way of thinking, and a different way of acting.”
To subscribe to the Generalate’s electronic newsletter, click here and scroll to the bottom of the home page to access the “subscribe” button.
Sharing the Dehonian charism
Leonard Temple, a parishioner from the Catholic Parishes of Northwest Mississippi, shares a photo from last week’s meeting of Dehonian Associates at Christ the King parish in Southaven, MS. “The topic for this month is our baptismal call and the role of the laity in the church,” he said. “Members of the six parishes in North Mississippi participate in this program; the meeting location rotates between the parishes.”