On July 12-28, 2023, religious Sisters from the countries of Kenya, India, Mexico. Zambia and virtually from Ghana, participated in a summer program organized by Sister Peter Lillian DiMaria, O.Carm. and Staff of the Avila Institute of Gerontology -Project Manager, Tony Silvestro, Shane Cooney, Head of Education, Erika Koestle, Administrative Assistant, and team support from Michelle DuFresne and Melissa Silvestro. The Avila Institute of Gerontology has been awarded a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to fund an 18-month pilot program entitled “Sisters Aging Well Together.” The program aims to enable Catholic religious sisters worldwide to assess their communities and proactively approach elder concerns. Each community will learn techniques through education and training on implementing solutions to identified needs.
The Sisters participated in several classes with knowledgeable presenters in different areas of aging concerns who were invited to the Motherhouse for the duration of the program. These speakers were Dr Francis Battisti and Dr Helen Battisti, Alfred Norwood, Sr Annelle Fitzpatrick, Dr Philip McCallion, Sr Lois Wetzel, Dr Richard Pulice, Clare Horn, and Sr Siohban O'Keefe. They also went to Teresian House for a day, another facility in Albany the Carmelite Sisters serve.
It was a great experience in multicultural living as the Avila Sisters and our guests mutually shared cultural ways, food, stories, laughter and friendships. We were truly One Body in Christ and bound by a common tie of Sisterhood! After the last class was officially ended, the Sisters departed for the next stage of their learning which is a ministerial experience in Saint Patrick's Manor, Framingham, MA. Below are the names of the Sisters, the religious communities they belong and the countries they represented:
Sr. Veronica Modesta Gonzales Gutierrez (Religious of the Assumption)- MEXICO
Sr. Sophy Therese Kallupalathingal Matthew (Daughters of Mary)- INDIA
Sr. Aquinatta Marceline Lihanda Lumili (Sisters of Mary Kakamega)- KENYA
Sr. Beatrice Mapulanga (Sisters of Mercy, SOM)- ZAMBIA
Sr. Regina Mumbuluma Mulenga (Little Servants of Blessed Virgin Mary Conceived Immaculate, LSMI)- ZAMBIA
Sr. Sophia Ariet (Daughters of the Sacred Heart)- KENYA
Sr. Arcadia Rivera Gutierrez (Daughters of Most Holy Mary of Guadalupe)- MEXICO
Sr. Gabriela Silva Schutte (Sisters of the Cross of the Sacred Heart of Jesus)- MEXICO
Sr. Laura Cecilia Velasquez Alcala (Daughters of Mary Immaculate of Guadalupe)- MEXICO
Sr. Anitha Yandava (Society of Sisters of St. Joseph of Annecy)- INDIA
Sr. Judith- joined virtually from GHANA
Sr. Immaculate- joined virtually from GHANA
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The liturgical dance performed shows the cultural diversity in worship as the Sisters danced while bringing the fruits of the earth as gifts to the altar.
The days were spent in study learning the science and skills of caring for the elders from qualified speakers invited to held the conferences. A time spent with Mother Mary Rose, Prioress General, is also shown.
As all good things must end, the Avila Sisters bid our guests God's blessing as they travel to their next learning experience, Saint Patrick Manor in Framingham, MA.