Anyone Can Be A Disciple, A Message from The Society of Saint Edmund
The Society of Saint Edmund is a religious community of Roman Catholic priests and brothers that was founded in 1843 with a mission to serve where the need is greatest, a credo that has led to four core ministries: Social Justice, Education, Spiritual Renewal, and Pastoral Ministry. The Edmundites seek to serve as Jesus did, and to make known the love of His Sacred Heart for all.
"Edmundites have always been responsive to the needs of people on the margins, and are good at collaborating with others. People have told us we Edmundites are ‘on the cutting edge.’ It is a good place to be,” said Brother Frank Hagerty, S.S.E.
National Vocation Awareness Week begins Nov. 3 and we are celebrating ordained ministry and consecrated life through prayer and education. The Society directs a thriving campus ministry at Saint Michael's College, cares for the hungry and homeless in Alabama, counsels recovering alcoholics in 12-step programs, and makes a home for people in the Catholic Church. Their ministries are diverse and are carried out with the intention of making God known, and loved, in deep and meaningful ways.
It is important for religious and lay leadership alike to reevaluate relationships and go with Jesus, Father Cray said. Edmundite ministry is on the move. As His disciples, we are asked to set our face toward Jesus and away from any desires that are not in line with love. “If what you are doing doesn’t have Jesus at the center of it, it won’t truly succeed,” SSE Superior General Father David Cray said. “Go with Jesus because there is no higher place above or safer place below.”
Vocation Director Father Lino Oropeza, S.S.E. said, “God is calling us all to be Saints, to be Holy. It is a universal vocation. We are all called. We are all supposed to be joyful players in His Grace. We need to shake off fear. God will never impose an all-consuming ultimatum on us.”
For more information about The Society of Saint Edmund please visit www.sse.org.
Chad McEachern ‘91, President and C.E.O of the Edmundite Missions in Selma, Alabama lectured on Faith-Fueled Philanthropy: Fulfilling the Gospel and Making an Impact in the Modern Era in the Dion Family Student Center at Saint Michael’s College on Oct. 24. The talk was sponsored by the Edmundite Center for Peace and Justice.
The core of McEachern’s talk focused on what he coined as “service to solutions.” He spoke of the profound systemic poverty where Edmundite Missions operates. He said the heart of the solution is helping everyone they touch see that just because people might be poor, this does not mean that they do not have intellect. Much of what Edmundite Missions has done in the area for 80 years, in addition to feeding and clothing the poor, has centered on helping people to build on their intellect and learn how to be better role models for one another.
McEachern spoke of Father Francis Casey, S.S.E. and how Edmundite Missions began in 1937. Pope Pius XI appealed to the Society of St. Edmund to minister to the African-Americans of the deep south. Casey discovered thousands of people living in extreme poverty, similar to that of a third world country, in Selma. Edmundites are still deeply involved in this important work to this day, providing food, clothing and shelter to poor and marginalized people of all faiths, while attempting to address the long-term issues of systemic poverty.
This work is guided by the corporal mercies found in Matthew 25: 35-36: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
While the Bosco Nutrition Center, run by Edmundites Missions, serves hot, nutritious meals 365 days a year, there is also a commitment to empowering the community through educational programming and by providing jobs. McEachern said education about voting rights is of paramount importance in Selma. In his talk he walked Saint Michael’s students through the historical progression of how some of our most vital voting laws came to fruition to protect minority voters and why they are still so important today.
The Edmundite Missions’ Dr. Michael and Catherine Bullock Community and Recreation Center is slated to open in November. This is a state-of-the-art facility close to the Bosco Nutrition Center on Broad Street. It is designed to provide a safe place for neighbors to come together. McEachern said the center will be a valuable resource for Missions staff to identify individuals who are in need of their help. For example, with the new basketball court, kids who come to play could also have a chance to take part in tutoring services, ACT prep and so much more.
McEachern urged students and others in attendance to visit Edmundite Missions in Selma. For more information visit https://www.edmunditemissions.org/.
The 2019 Pilgrimage season is at its end at Saint Anne's Shrine. We started amidst cold and wet weather in the spring which negatively impacted our collections. The brutal heat managed to arrive in July with one Sunday hitting a heat index of 103 degrees. I am constantly amazed each year as to how cold and hot Isle La Motte can be from season to season. Despite the inconsistent weather, the season was full of activities with many guests making pilgrimage to the Shrine.
The 5-Day Directed Silent Retreat had a record number of participants this year. The weekly reflection series had very good attendance too. Bishop Terry LaValley of Ogdensburg and the NY State Knights of Columbus had another great visit for their annual pilgrimage. I especially enjoyed their homemade Michigan sauce on hot dogs! We hosted the Diocese of Burlington for a family day celebration with Bishop Christopher Coyne celebrating a mid-day liturgy. We had a team of staff and volunteers to serve a bountiful cookout of hamburgers, hot dogs and various salads. We had perfect weather for these gatherings and all had a grand time enjoying Christian fellowship with one another.
We were also blessed by the generosity of benefactors who donated funds to acquire two new statues: St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Church and St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to be canonized a saint. St. Kateri was known also as the “Lily of the Mohawks.” A third statue was recently ordered by another benefactor for St. Michael the Archangel which has special significance to the Society of St. Edmund due to our past ministry at Mont St. Michel in France and our continuing ministry at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. These statues enhance the devotional environment of our grounds and inspire pilgrims on their own journey of discipleship.
Closing Mass of the pilgrimage season was on October 13 followed by our traditional Harvest Dinner. We will be turning to the many items on our deferred maintenance list to complete before the winter arrives. We have a small window each year to complete outstanding items that need repair on the grounds and with buildings. I ask that you consider making a gift as we celebrate the end of another pilgrimage season. We are blessed to have served so many people this summer and in large part this is only possible with the financial support we receive from friends such as you. We invite you to also list the names of your deceased family members and friends on our prayer request form. We will remember them on All Souls Day and throughout the month of November.
Thank you for your continued generosity and as we approach the season of thanksgiving, know of my deep and sincere gratitude for your assistance.
Rev. Brian J. Cummings, S.S.E.
The heart of the Society of Saint Edmund’s mission is serving where the need is greatest, a credo that has led us to four core ministries: Social Justice, Education, Spiritual Renewal and Pastoral Ministry. It is through these core ministries that we live out a faith-based life of service and make a real difference in people’s lives by bringing them closer to God.