Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Reflections on Christmas in Community

Members of the Future of Charity Blog Team responded to the following questions:

What is your favorite community Advent or Christmas tradition?


What surprised you as you celebrated your first Advent or Christmas in community?

See what they had to say!

Beginning on December 17th, our community gathers each day to pray the O Antiphons.  These prayer experiences deepen the meaning of the final days of Advent, and heighten the anticipation of Christ's coming at Christmas.  ~Sr. Annie Klapheke

Our local community took the weekend to Bake chocolate chip cookies, fruit cake, date nut bread, and other goodies. We sorted them out into plates and pans, and then distributed them to our neighbors. We sang, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," as they opened their doors. This was a great way to be of service to others and spread God's love to help others have the holiday spirit.  ~Sr. Judy Donohue

Not only is this my first Advent living in community, it is my first Advent living on the U.S.-Mexico border and ministering at the margins.  My greatest joy this Advent has come from spending the season with people of different cultures, sharing in their traditions and experiencing new ways of celebrating our faith. ~Whitney Schieltz

My favorite advent tradition is praying with our house community in the morning darkness and then the evening darkness.  As we light the candles of Advent, it reminds me of God's light and that the darkness will soon turn into longer days of sunlight!  ~Sr. Mallorie Gerwitz

During my last few years of living in Cincinnati during formation, I've been able to participate in the Christmas caroling day at Mother Margaret Hall, our congregation's nursing facility.  You'll see a mass of young and old sisters and associates dressed in red and green, capped with Santa hats, traipsing through the 7 floors of Mother Margaret, and you'll hear all of the favorite carols floating through the air.  It is a day of joy when I am reminded what it means to be sister - through the presence of the carolers and the flame of hope in the eyes of our older, wiser sisters as they sit in their wheelchairs, tapping along to tunes they will always know.  ~Sr. Tracy Kemme

My first Advent Season with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth has brought me great joy and awe. It's the little moments of 'the baby leaping in the womb' that bring us closer to God and to one another. One way is simply being & praying in community. The SCN sisters received a beautiful advent booklet with inspiring reflections from the larger community to help us pray our own Advent season. My favorite part of Advent is the waiting and wonderings of what is to come in my prayer life.  ~Melissa Catherine Fisackerly

My favorite community Christmas tradition is our Christmas Novena.  Hearing everyone sing together all the O Antiphons is so special to me.  It also is a great to know all the Daughters of Charity throughout the world are singing it as well!  ~Sr. Meg Kymes

Though I've only been participating for a couple of years, there are so many special traditions that I already love:  caroling for the sisters in nursing care, the communal prayers and Mass on Christmas Eve, lining the front drive with luminaries, decorating the grand staircase at the motherhouse...! But in each community I've lived with, from the formation house in New Mexico, to the Novitiate House in Cincinnati, and now at our newly established residence, Visitation House, one tradition stands out as being especially meaningful to me. Each of these communities made a point to choose something to do together during Advent in service or support of our sisters and brothers who are less fortunate and in need of someone to be Christ-bearers to them. In New Mexico, weeks of planning activities, gathering gifts for the children and preparing vast quantities of food went into a providing a beautiful Christmas celebration at the Santo Nino center across the border in Mexico. Last year the Novitiate community spent a day volunteering at Salvation Army downtown helping families load the donated gifts into their vehicles as they pulled up. And this year, our house plus Annie and Tracy's parents went to a posada in our low-income neighborhood where we cheered for a free children's orchestra, ate food prepared by the many Guatemalan immigrant mothers, and enjoyed a live mariachi band as we built community with our new neighbors. In each of these examples, I was blessed to witness and be a part of the birthing of Christ anew, and the gift of the realization of Emmanuel-God With Us-is the best gift I ever receive, filling my Advent heart with Christmas joy!  ~Sr. Andrea Koverman

My first advent/Christmas/New Year holidays as a Sister were very international!  I was in Seminary with a Sister from Vietnam, one from El Salvador, and one from the Philippines.  We celebrated each of their traditions- Posadas, Simbang Gabi, and addition to my American traditions.  One of my favorite Advent practices that I brought with me was a Taize style Advent prayer.  ~Sr. Roberta Treppa

My favorite community Advent tradition is singing the Christmas Novena each evening with my local community.  We gather in the stillness and silence of the evening, and sing the words of the Messianic prophesies, sacred O Antiphons, and Mary's beautiful Magnificat with one voice.  The Lord, the King who is to come, come let us adore!  ~Kara Davis


  1. A lot of children in the Philippines celebrated Christmas last Friday, they had fun and shared gifts with each other. :)

  2. Great Work ........
    Create Event and Donate
    donation for children, donation for old age homes, donation for poor, fundraising, fundraising for cause


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