He Is Risen!

An extraordinary reversal of the way society operates occurs within this simple Easter story. To begin with, the soldiers whose job is to be brave in the face of danger faint with fear. The women, though fearful, face the earthquake, and the radiantly terrifying angels, listen to them and obey their orders. Who are these women? The first mention of them occurs at the crucifixion where they remained with Jesus through the humiliation of the cross. They had stood, faithful in love, in the midst of a murderous crowd. Now, after his death, they had come to express their grief by sitting by the tomb. Until the crucifixion Matthew had not mentioned them. It seems that they have slipped under the radar of ‘important people in the Gospel’. Yet these unimportant ones are the first preachers of the central belief of Christian faith. Another sign of their lack of importance is the fact that as women they were not regarded as suitable witnesses in Jewish Law.

With them, we see the marginalised made central to the Christian faith. These are the kind of people Jesus called ‘blessed’ in the Beatitudes. They are the poor in spirit, the ones who mourn, and they are the ones who see the first fruits of the Kingdom of Heaven. Somehow they had the ability to see past all the distractions to love that the other disciples had gotten caught up in: self-preservation, desire for fame, glory and influence. These women wanted to love and to be loved: to them was given the mission to preach his Resurrection. Within our own circles we know people on the margins: the elderly, sick, the lonely, those suffering from dementia, people overwhelmed by the challenges of life, even people in prison. This list can go on. Christian tradition has honoured service of these people: not because it gives us, who are strong and influential, an opportunity to give from our largesse but rather, with these people and through their eyes, we can see what is truly central to our faith: to love and be loved. When we love with them, we will see the Risen Jesus coming to met us.

Adapted Living Liturgy 2020

Angela Merici 475 Years of Spirit, Vision and Presence

Icon by Fabio Nones of Trent Italy

With the new year, the Ursulines usher in the 475th anniversary of our foundation by Angela Merici.

Angela founded her company in Brescia, Italy (more recently famous as the home town of Pope Paul VI) to enable women to live consecrated lives in their own homes and keeping their occupations. At a time when women were expected to choose between a husband or a cloistered life, it was a daring move! As the company required no dowry, it was open to women of all social backgrounds.

Today we give thanks for those who have gone before us and ask the blessings of the Holy Spirit on our future.

Sister Mary Alyce Koval – Education Director- Beatitude House

Sister Mary Alyce Koval has been named to fill the recently created education director at Beatitude House. She brings over 40 years of experience to the position, having served as an elementary teacher and principal in numerous Catholic  schools.

Sister Mary Alyce Koval
Sister Mary Alyce Koval

In talking about the need for education, Sister Mary Alyce said: “I believe education is the most important tool each of us has to open doors to future possibilities.  It can’t be taken away from you, it’s part of you and you will have it forever.”

Sister Mary Alyce’s role at Beatitude House is to coordinate the education programs, to offer advice and career counseling based on the skills and interests of each woman who is part of the programs of Beatitude House and to help them set goals for themselves and achieve those goals.

Sister Mary Alyce will also review and update the curriculum at Potter’s Wheel, an education and career program for women in the Mahoning Valley. These women can work on their GED, computer skills, job and interview skills, and also life skills, such as parenting and budgeting.

Beatitude House Expansion in Warren.

pat Beatitude House hosted an Open House on September 25, 2009 at 1370 Tod Aveneu NW, to present their nearly 1.5 million expansion to the Warren area.  The event began with a brief dedication ceremony and included tours of the building and refreshments. The Beatitude House children’s choir performed at the ceremony.

The expansion includes six apartments, a computer/classroom, a children’s playroom and offices for staff.  With the completion of this project, Beatitude House is able to serve a total of 13 homeless families each year in Warren.

As noted in the Warren Tribune:  Sister Patricia said Beatitude House has been blessed with incredible support from the Warren area, noting Farmer’s National Bank and the Warren -Trumbull Home Consortium were two of  the major funding sources .  She said all the furniture, accessories, appliances and linens for the six new apartments were donated by various businesses, organizations, and churches in Trumbull County, including St. William Church in Champion.

The Beatitude House has facilities in Youngstown, Girard and Warren for its two-year transitional housing program.  Beatitude House is committed to serving disadvantaged women and children in the Mahoning Valley.  By creating homes, providing educational opportunities and fostering healthy families, they provide women with the opportunity to transform their lives.  To learn more about how you can help visit www.beatitudehouse.com or call 330.399.1971.

Nun as Construction Site Coordinator

When Sister Betty Schuster went to college, she pursued a career in education.  After a decade in Catholic Schools , the school in Long Island where she was teaching closed in the early 1990s.  Betty then decided to spend a year in volunteer service in Youngstown, OH.  Part of her volunteer time was spent in Catholic schools.  But she also began to volunteer at Beatitude House, a program for homeless women and their dependent children.

One year of volunteer service turned into two years; and two years have turned into a lifetime.  She entered the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown in 1994 and made her perpetual profession of vows in 2000.

Not only did Sister Betty move from New York to Ohio, she changed careers, and in a dramatic way.  What had begun as a extra volunteer ministry has turned into a full time job.  Sister Betty currently serves the Assistant Director of Beatitude House.

One of her responsibilities as Assistant Director is to oversee the various sites where the families live.  The site in Warren OH has just completed a $1.5 million renovation.  Our Sister Betty served as the Construction Site Coordinator for the project.

“I never thought of myself as working in construction.  But I have always liked really getting involved in a project” said Sr. Betty.  This “really getting involved” has meant meeting weekly with the construction workers and architect, overseeing the progress of the building, and preparing the space for occupancy for seven new families. Imagine having to figure out the cost to level your house in Hoston and get a building back up before the end of the year!

Sr. Betty Schuster on Stilts Inspecting at the newly-renovated House of Blessing in Warren

These are families that have been homeless.  Now in this House of Blessing, the name given to each of the housing sites operated by Beatitude House,  mothers will get the education and support they need to help themselves move from homelessness to permanent housing, and children will live in a stable environment that will nurture their development.

By the way, the dedication of the new space is this Friday, September 25, 2009 at 2:30 p.m.  You can find it at 1370 Tod Ave, NW in Warren OH.  An Open House will continue until 5:00 p.m.