In January 2014 eight of our retired MSBT sisters moved from our Motherhouse Healthcare to establish the Mother Boniface Missionary Cenacle at Wesley Enhanced Living at Pennypack Park (WEL). It was just a mile and a half away. From outward appearances, it was a small journey in comparison to the various journeys these sisters had taken to places like New York City, Puerto Rico, and Alabama over their lifetime as missionaries.
Yet, inwardly, it was a significant missionary journey for each of these sisters, as well as the religious community as a whole. This journey empowered these pioneer sisters to continue to live as missionary disciples in the world even after “retirement.” Living alongside fellow residents and having daily contact with WEL staff, administration, residents’ family members and other visitors provided the sisters with the opportunity to be a living witness to missionary discipleship and to consecrated life.
In the 3 years since this journey, over 25 of our sisters have been part of the Mother Boniface Missionary Cenacle at Wesley. They have been blessed with attentive and personal care, the benefits of a supportive community life and the richness of a devoted prayer life. And, perhaps most significantly, these sisters have been blessed by the cherished opportunity to continue their faithful response to our founder Fr. Thomas Judge’s call to be “a power for good.”
Our MSBT General Council joined the Mother Boniface Missionary Cenacle for a celebration of the 3rd anniversary. They enjoyed a pizza party and shared a beautifully decorated white cake in the main dining room. Sr. Catherine McCarthy read aloud the first entry in the official chronicle (provided below), and then Sr. Genevieve Gomez led everyone in song.
Chronicle Entry written Thursday, January 9, 2014
On Thursday, January 9, 2014, our initial “eight” pioneers, Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity, embarked upon a journey from the familiar and comfortable surroundings of our Motherhouse Healthcare through the uncharted waters of Pennypack Creek to unfamiliar and unknown territory of Wesley Enhanced Living, a mile and a half from the Motherhouse.
Over the span of a week our initial pioneers made this mile and a half journey. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, our whole Motherhouse, Sister Joan Marie, Council, volunteers, sisters, housekeeping, and maintenance accompanied us on this historic journey. Sister Ellen and Sister Audrey worked along with the administration at WEL to get us all accommodated in our new surroundings. We seemed to arrive two by two, just like Noah’s Ark. By January 16, 2014 our long moving journey of our eight pioneers was completed. Warm welcomes were given each day by the residents, staff and administration. As one group of sisters came, they were on deck to welcome the next sisters. Sister Mary Vincent and Sister Catherine were the first arrivals.
“Moving” expresses every aspect of our healthcare coming to WEL – moving out of ourselves – moving toward the residents – our newly discovered brothers and sisters. Moving is being confronted with challenges – moving in terms of fear of the unknown – moving in getting a chapel set up for the Liturgy, prayers, adoration – looking out for one another and further enlarging our circles of care in praying daily for the residents, administration, staff and their families. Yes, what a moving experience!!
Sister Anthony Therese expressed this experience well when she shared that “our arriving at our point of destination has been a “hazardous” journey, lifting us to where our presence can be a source of joy and life for so many who had lived in the Northeast and had built up the Christian Community under one roof”.
Community events, house counsel meetings, daily prayer and Liturgy have brought us to the writing of our “Areas of Agreement” which will be adjusted as different needs or situations arise as new sisters arrive.
The initial move of our eight pioneer sisters from our Blessed Trinity Motherhouse took place between January 9, 2014 and January 16, 2014. The second move from the Motherhouse began on September 2, 2014 and continued through September 18, 2014.