From October 27 to November 2, Brothers Jude, Columba, Gregory, and James Nathaniel visited the Sisterhood of Saint John the Divine (SSJD) in Toronto, Canada. The visit provided brothers with opportunities to meet the Sisters (who we pray for every day) and the opportunity to interact with our fellow novices from SSJD.
The day after all the brothers arrived was the sisters’ day of rest. That provided an opportunity for the brothers and the sisters’ novice guardian, Sister Elizabeth Anne, to visit Niagara Falls and the Canadian countryside. On the way to Niagara Falls, the brothers stopped at the nearby Carmelite Monastery and venerated the relics of Saint Terese of Lisieux.
Pictured above: Brother Gregory on the grounds of the Carmelite Monastery just a stone's throw from Niagara Falls.
Pictured above (from left to right): Sister Elizabeth Anne (SSJD Novice Guardian), Brother James Nathaniel, Brother Gregory, Brother Columba at Niagara Falls.
The next day, the novices of SSJD and SSF went with the novice guardians to visit Trinity and Wycliffe College located on the campus of the University of Toronto.
Pictured above: The chapel at Trinity College at the University of Toronto
After having lunch at Wycliffe College, the entire group paid a visit to the Cathedral Church of St. James in downtown Toronto. There, Stephen Vail, the Rector & Dean of St. James formally welcomed us to the cathedral.
Afterwards, the brothers and sisters were given a detailed tour and history of the Cathedral by the former Sub-Dean & Vicar of St. James, the Reverend Canon David Brinton, OGS. Father Brinton explained to the brothers and sisters how closely the history of the cathedral was tied with the history of Toronto and that of Canada.
Pictured above from left to right: The former Sub-Dean & Vicar of St. James, the Reverend Canon David Brinton, OGS; Brother Columba, Sister Mary Francis, SSJD; Brother Jude, Sister Wendy Grace, SSJD
Pictured above: The interior of the Cathedral Church of Saint James in Toronto.
On Wednesday, the novices of SSJD and SSF engaged in a reading on the history and development of religious orders and their history within the Anglican Communion. The novices read from Peta Dunstan’s work on how different religious communities embraced different leadership models in their history. Specifically, Dunstan looked at the models of leadership exercised at various times in the development of the Community of St. John the Baptist, the Society of St. John the Evangelist, and the Society of St. Francis.
After a lively discussion, the brother and sisters novices were introduced to a reading by Sister Illia Delio, OSF, titled, “Reconceiving Religious Life in the 21st Century”. In her article, Delio wrote of the changes experienced by religious orders since the Second Vatican Council and how religious orders can help facilitate the change and dynamic energies emerging in our interconnected world in the new century.
On Thursday, the brothers and sisters visited the Brothers at Holy Cross Priory in Toronto.
Pictured above the Brothers and Sisters of the SSJD, OHC, and SSF during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
There, Mass was celebrated and a delicious and hearty meal was prepared by the Holy Cross brothers. The novices were also given the opportunity to listen and engage in a discussion of the history of the Order of the Holy Cross (OHC), how OHC came to live in Canada, and how living in community has its own set of challenges and joys.
On the last full day at Toronto, the brother and sister novices were able to invited to listen and discuss with Suzanne Lawson the work she has done with the Anglican Consultative Council and how important discussions affecting the Anglian Communion are made. Lawson also provided the novices with a history of their own communities and how she has worked closely with the brothers and sisters for many years.
Finally, the brothers left Toronto Saturday morning, but not before most of the sisters of SSJD were able to say goodbye to all of us. As the brothers were leaving, the sisters stood outside and waved us goodbye, inviting us to come and stay again.
Pictured above: The Sisters of the Society of Saint John the Divine wave goodbye to the brothers as they depart for the airport, heading back to the USA.
After we returned home, many of the brothers spoke of how much they enjoyed their time in Canada and how they can not wait to return to visit.