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Are We Being Good Ancestors?

Eileen Roach, CND

Recently, I had the opportunity to have lunch at The Convent. For those of you who may not know, that is the new name given to the New Dawn Centre for Arts and Culture, the former Holy Angels Convent in Sydney. No, I was not downstairs in the old kitchen; I was upstairs in the new Better Bite Café, in the space that once was the sisters’ community room. This café is but one of the many projects operating out of our former Congregation de Notre-Dame convent. It is a venture whose profits go back into funding some of New Dawn’s valued community undertakings, many of which would be dear to the heart of former Congregation de Notre-Dame residents, and very much in keeping with our continued mission of liberating education. New Dawn’s mission of creating a culture of self-reliance through social innovation translates into creating an environment in The Convent for the development of music, art, and drama, not to mention providing culinary education and training for the healthy “meals on wheels” program and other socially conscious endeavours.

As I enjoyed a delicious sandwich out on the balcony, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the articles I read recently in the summer edition of the LCWR Occasional Papers. Questions from the first article like: “Are we being good ancestors?” and “Where will we place our limited time, passion and attentiveness so that it speaks clearly of a legacy?” came immediately to mind. Despite our diminishment, I believe that the support we give organizations like New Dawn is a very real example of the new and creative ways we continue to be present to a world searching for meaning. Through our contemplative prayer and attentiveness to the needs of the most vulnerable, like those served by New Dawn, we ensure that the “purposes of God” are moving forward. As is stated in the article, we may not know with any certainty what lies ahead, but we can be sure that those ministering out of our former, prized space, are carrying on the mission, standing on the shoulders of the many sisters who trusted that “the Holy One does not abandon” its commitment to advocating for affordable housing, providing quality home health care, providing culinary education and training for the healthy “meals on wheels” program, not to mention its emphasis on creating an environment for the development of music, art, and drama.


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