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A Life Devoted to Serving Others

Click Magazine, Greenville, SC | Annia Ossandón C., November 2018

Andean Spirit

Her name is Gabriela Ruiz Espinoza, native of the north coast of Peru, where in her own words, is the place where beautiful ceramics are crafted and exported, delicious northern ceviche is prepared, the people are super celebrative, and there is a lot of human warmth.

Sister Gaby, as people call her, or simply Gaby, doesn’t use titles, much less feel distanced from people. She feels like just another woman who shares her life and work in this multicultural context where people learn and marvel at the richness that each culture possesses and the people share in its essence and profundity.

“Before I formed you in the womb… I consecrated you.” (Jeremiah 1:4-19)

Gaby, a religious sister who for 28 years has belonged to the congregation of the Sisters of Bon Secours, whose motto is compassion, healing, and freedom, comments that the consecrated life is an invitation from God to live a Christian vocational experience in which we all take a determined place in the work of announcing and building the Kingdom. She adds that, in addition to the formation of the consecrated life, the vocation is a grace by which God consecrates the life of whoever decides to follow Him and prepares him to live out his faith in community. She adds with satisfaction, “The consecrated life is the result of a vocational process that becomes mature. God’s calling is heard and is responded to with loyalty and obedience.” Giving a hint of a smile, she says, “God chose me out of pure compassion, and the religious vocation is truly a gift that God gives to the church and to the person who receives it. One just has to live this call in gratitude, with love, and give oneself to God and to the brothers and sisters, no matter what culture or religion they profess, to serve others without distinction.”

Gaby and Sister Rosa came together to the United States, invited by Bon Secours Health System, whose hospitals Saint Francis Downtown, Saint Francis Eastside, Cancer Center, and Millennium belong to the work of the congregation and were the agents to start a mission so that the sisters of Peru could come and share the charisma and spirituality of the congregation to the Hispanic community and interchange community experiences with the sisters who are natives of this beautiful country.

Mission in Greenville, South Carolina

The mission is for five years; Gaby has two more to complete. This woman of small stature, a luminous face, and a big smile, feels proud to be a part of her congregation and lovingly pours herself into serving the Latino community in Greenville through the Cancer Center, where she gives the best of herself. Her vocation of service, which aims toward helping others, has led her to volunteer her time in the Catholic churches San Sebastian and Saint Mary Magdalene. Gaby and her companion interchange experiences and share their own traditions in a world that feels close to home thanks to the love that they give and receive.

Gabriela is the spiritual support system of the Hispanic people, as much in the hospital as in the Saint Francis Hospital offices that are in the San Sebastian church. Gaby is a person who wears a habit, the same dress that her Peruvian sisters use, but according to her, “my habit allows me to get closer to people, and for me, is a symbol that I use joyfully.”

Prepared for the Mission

Gaby has taken courses in philosophy, theology, and religious education, has a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology, and has a diploma in human sexuality, which means to her that she provides spiritual support to all of the people who cross her path. She cannot practice her profession in this country because she doesn’t have certification and “respect[s] very much the mission that the hospital entrusted [her] with as a sister of Bon Secours.”

Greenville won her over because of the kindness of its people, the tranquility that she feels, and she likes it above all because she can interact with people from different cultures. She hasn’t had problems with the language because her work is focused on the Latino community. Her English is basic, and while she’s tried to learn it, sometimes she needs more patience and perseverance. She recognizes that she has been in her comfort zone with respect to the language because she doesn’t possess sufficient vocabulary and “gets stuck” in thinking about how to start a deeper conversation in English, so she then comes to the conclusion that maybe she will never be able to sustain a fluent conversation in the language that she loves and dreams of speaking one day. The experiences of a person consecrated to God and to the church are innumerable. To Gaby, they are etched in her mind because people remind her of the comfort they feel; they are thankful to her because she listens to their problems, sorrows, and hardships. Therefore, she feels satisfied and wants nothing else but to give thanks to God because, in addition, she says like the servant, “I have only done what I was sent to do” (Lucas 17:10). However, Gaby reflects that “the consecrated vocation is more about being than doing, and it’s because of that that the church receives our consecration. It does not ask ‘what are we doing’ or ‘if we are useful,’ but rather, if we announce prophetically with our lives that God is the Greatest Good and that there is nothing more precious than to consecrate oneself to Him.”

 Hobbies

Aside from dancing and playing volleyball, Gaby loves to read and is always looking up new information and at the same time enjoys gaining more knowledge of the new postulates that emerge in the world. She has a profound interest in the stimulation of a gland that we have in the center of the brain, which is in charge of generating the hormone of the eternal youth and regulating the cycles of sleep and wakefulness: the pineal gland. She comments excitedly that someday she will learn the technique and will apply it to her everyday life because she feels like it would be very useful for her.

Message for the Youth

“I would tell all young men and women: do not be scared of responding to God’s call that He is making in the depths of your hearts. Have the boldness to search for it, whatever you feel called to, because a lot of times you stay in silence, embarrassed, feel like you’re getting too old and you don’t dare to talk about it. I invite you to go farther; I invite you to discover ‘what is my vocation that I am being called to?’ Because I assure you that when someone falls in love with Christ, they are never going to leave Him and they are going to want to follow Him in the vocation that they have discovered because Christ, Christ will always fill their hearts.”

 

Una Vida Entregada al Servicio de los Demas

Click, La Revista de Greenville, SC | Annia Ossandón C., Noviembre 2018

Su nombre es Gabriela Ruiz E s pinoza, natural de la costa del norte de Peru, donde segun sus propias palabras, del Iugar en donde se confecciona Ia hermosa ceramica de exportacion, se prepara el rico ceviche norteno, la gente es super celebratiua y de mucho calor humano.

La Hna. Gaby coma le llama la gente o simpiemente Gaby, no anda con titulos ni mucho menos sentirse alejada de las personas, se siente una mas de las mujeres que comparten su vida y su trabajo en este contexto multicultural en donde se aprende y se marauilla de Ia riqueza que cada cultura posee y la gente la comparte en su esencia y profunidad·

Antes que te formaras dentro del vientre de tu· Madre… Yo te Consagre (Jr.1,4-19)

Gaby, es una herrnana religiosa que pertenece desde hace 28 anos a la Congregacion de las hermanas del Buen Socorro cuyo carisma es: Compasion, Sanacion y Liberacion , comenta que la vida consagrada es una invitacion de Dios vivir una experiencia vocacional cristiana y por lo cual todos ocupamos ‘ un determinado lugar en la tarea de anunciar y construir el Reino, agrega ademas que en la formacion hacia la.·- vid a consagrada, la vocacion es una Gracia por la cual Dios consagra la vlda de quien decide seguirle , y lo prepara para vivir su Fe en comunidad; agrega con satisfaccion: La vida Consagrada es el resultado de un proceso vocacional que llega a su madurez; se escucha la llamada de Dios, y se responde con fidelidad y obediencia; esbozando una sonrisa dice: Dios, me eligio por pura misericordia y la vocacion religiosa es verdaderamente un regalo que Dios le hace a la Iglesia y la persona que la recibe, solo le queda vivir este llamado en Gratuidad, con Amor y entrega a Dios y a los hermanos y hermanas, no importa la cultura ni la religion que profesan, servir a todos sin distincion,

Gaby, junto con la Hna. Rosa, llegaron a los Estados Unidos invitadas por el Sistema de Salud “Bon Secours” cuyos hospitales San Francis Downtown , San Francis Eastside, Cancer Center,Millenium pertenecen a la obra de la Congregacion y fueron los gestores de abrir una mision para que las hermanas de Peru vengan a compartir el Carisma y Espiritualidad de la Congregacion a la Comunidad hispana y a intercambiar experiencias  cornunitarias  con las hermanas  nativas de este hermoso pais.

Mision en Greenville, Carolina del Sur

La mision es por cinco anos; a Gaby le quedan dos para cumplir . Esta mujer de estatura menuda, cara luminosa y amplia sonrisa , se siente orgullosa de formar parte de su Congregacion y amorosamente se vuelca al Servicio de la comunidad latina de Greenville, a traves del hospital Oncologico Cancer Center, de donde entrega lo mejor de se misma : su vocacion de servicio, que apunta hacia el apoyo de los demas la ha llevado a brindar su tiempo en la Iglesia Catolica San Sebastian y Santa Maria Magdalena; Gaby, junto a la otra compatriota intercambian  experiencias  y comparten sus propias tradiciones dentro de un mundo que sienten cercano gracias al amor que entregan y reciben.

Gabriela es el seporte espiritual de los hispanos, tante en el hospital como en las oficinas del hospital San Francis que estan en la Iglesia de San Sebastian. Gaby es una persona que usa habito, la misma vestimenta que usan las Hermanas peruanas, pero segun lo que ella refiere, mi habito, me permite acercarme mas a las personas y para mi, es un simbolo que uso con alegria.

Pasatiempos

A Gaby aparte de bailar y jugar Voleibol, le encanta leer y siempre esta buscando nueva informacion ya la vez que disfruta al acercarse al conocimiento de los postulados nuevos que emergen en el mundo, siente un profundo interes por la activacion de una glandula que tenemos al centro del cerebro y que esta encargada de generar la hormona de la eterna juventud y que regula los ciclos de suefio y vigilia: la glandula pineal. Comenta entusiasmada que algun dia aprendera la tecnica y la aplicara en su cotidianidad porque siente que sera de gran aporte para ella.

Mensaje para la Juventud

Yo, les diria a todos los jovenes hombres y mujeres: No tengan miedo de responder al llamado que Dios, les esta haciendo alla en lo profundo de su Corazon , que tengan la audacia de buscar que es eso, a lo cual se sienten llamados y que muchas veces se quedan en silenclo, avergonzados, sienten que se les paso la edad y no se atreven a hablarlo; les invito a ir mas alla, les invito a descubrir cual es mi vocacion a la que he sido llamado? Porque les aseguro que cuando alguien se enamora de Cristo, no van a dejarlo nunca y van a querer swguirlo sea en la vocatioon que han descubierto porque Cristo, Cristo les llenara siempre el Corazon.

 

 

Honorary coaches and ball carriers

Four Sisters of Bon Secours served as honorary coaches and ball carriers for the women’s basketball game at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina this past Saturday. Streamed live on ESPN3, the event marked Furman’s annual “Play4Kay” fundraiser in support of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund for breast cancer awareness and research. The fund was founded in 2007 in honor of the former NC State University head women’s basketball coach. Cancer survivors and those fighting the disease were admitted free. For each ticket sold, $3 was donated to the Kay Yow Fund, and the first 300 fans admitted to the game received a free pink T-shirt sponsored by Bon Secours St. Francis Health System.

Pictured from left – Srs. Gabriela Ruiz, Kathleen Moroney, Dorothy Brogan and Rosa Sanchez pictured with the Berea Fire Department pink fire truck outside Timmons Arena prior to the game.

World Youth Day in Panama with Sr. Pat

Tuesday evening, January 22, 2019, was the opening Mass for #WorldYouthDayPanama2019  pilgrims from all over the world. It was an awesome cultural experience of young adults celebrating our faith together with joy! I made two new friends from Argentina (Francesco and Sean). We exchanged small gifts – I gave them a #SistersofBonSecours prayer booklet (they wanted them signed), and I received a half decade rosary.

Sr. Pat Dowling

Feast Day of St. Sulpice

Today is the Feast Day of St. Sulpice. St. Sulpice Church in Paris is a landmark in the sisters’ history because it is where the original 12 sisters who formed the Sisters of Bon Secours in 1824 took their vows. St. Sulpice was the son of wealthy parents, who devoted himself from a young age to good works, especially the care of the poor. In the church in Paris, there is a plaque on the chapel wall commemorating the sisters’ founding.

Novitiate Reception

It was a special weekend for the Sisters of Bon Secours. Jennifer Jean Catherine Doyle was welcomed into the novitiate on Sunday. The period of the novitiate is a time for a deepening relationship with God and to study and reflect on the spirit and mission of the Sisters of Bon Secours. Congratulations Sr. Jenn!

A Prayerful Come and See Weekend

The Sisters of Bon Secours held a prayerful Come and See Vocation weekend in Marriottsville at the Provincial House. The women who attended also enjoyed an uplifting concert by singer Carrie Newcomer and got to relax and get to know one another a little better over s’mores at a camp fire.

These weekends are a time of discovery and sharing. They’re also a time to listen – not only to what the sisters have to say – but to what God may be saying. Our next Come and See Weekend is March 15-17, 2019.

If you want to talk to someone before then, we are here for you. Call our Vocations Office at 410-442-3172, or you can always take part in our monthly Sisters Chat. The next one is this Tuesday, October 16th from 7pm to 8pm. Click on this link if you want to join the chat:  https://lifeasasister.org/event-details/sisters-chat-room-3/

 

Day of reflection for Bon Secours Young Adults

Bon Secours Young Adults gathered over the weekend to discuss the recent developments in the Catholic Church.  They held a day of reflection at Notre Dame of Maryland University to inspire leadership and empowerment to the church from within.

Young Adults’ voices heard at V Encuentro

Soli Salgado, Maria Benevento, September 22, 2018 | National Catholic Reporter

Grapevine, Texas — For Gerardo Vargas, the prospect of dining with a bishop seemed like a meeting with the “undercover boss.”

“He’s the person in charge, and there are so many steps before getting to the bishop. We can’t even get to the first one, let alone the tenth [step],” said the 22-year-old youth minister from Colton, Calif.

But on Sept. 21, Vargas and 700 other young adults got the opportunity to skip straight to the last step at the dinner that closed the second night of the National V Encuentro. The dinner brought together participants ages 18-35 with the approximately 130 bishops who attended. (more…)

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Blessings for more affordable housing in West Baltimore

As Sisters of Bon Secours, we have a deep commitment to help those in need and the most vulnerable in our society, extending the compassionate ministry of Jesus Christ. In West Baltimore this week, that commitment was visible when the Bon Secours Baltimore Health System and partners held a grand opening for a new housing complex, New Shiloh Village. The four-story multifamily development expands affordable housing to individuals and families who need it, and provides critical community services. Vocation Director Sr. Pat Dowling offered a closing blessing and was honored to be part of the ribbon cutting ceremony. Also in attendance were Congressman Elijah Cummings, Senator Chris Van Hollen, Mayor Catherine Pugh and First Lady of Maryland, Yumi Hogan. This new development, the latest addition to the New Shiloh Baptist Church campus, includes 73 modern apartment homes, 65 of which are affordable for low income families and  disabled citizens,  as well as eight apartments for formerly homeless persons. Bon Secours Community works will provide a range of resident services on site, including family support and financial and workforce development services. A community for seniors, New Shiloh Village Senior Living, opened in 2007.

Photo by Alan Gilbert