FRIENDS OF THE LITTLE SISTERS OF JOY
An ecumenical Foundation of Prayer, Peace and Reconciliation
I greet you all very warmly, and say that, despite all the difficulties of the last couple of years, I have managed recently to put on another good concert, and to host a party for 40 of my friends; both events in honour of my 70th Birthday.
St Ives is an historic town, about 15 miles from Cambridge, with a thriving market and a variety of churches. The Free Church (United Reformed) stands tall at the edge of the market square just along from the Guildhall, and is home to a variety of activities in the local community, with The Centrum, or Worship Space, right at the top.
Over 20 years ago I had earmarked this beautiful space as a lovely place to sing-and-I was right! In 2019 I performed there in the presence of the Mayor of St Ives and the Mayor of Huntingdon. This time the current Mayor also graced us with his presence. Councillor Hussain, a well-known business man in the town of St Ives and from a Muslim family, listened attentively, especially to the Jewish music. Some new people came this time, and some made a great effort to attend, and hopefully it brought them some joy.
The birthday party took place on the 4th of December, a week before my actual 70th birthday. The venue was Murray Edwards College (formerly New Hall) a women’s college and home to the second largest collection of women’s art in the world. And the paintings are extremely diverse!
Just like my 40 guests, from all walks of life in my time in Cambridge, with a few of my own relatives. As the guests arrived in the beautiful Fellows Dining Suite, they enjoyed a glass of non-alcoholic punch, while they chatted, and I sang a couple of folk songs to welcome them.
The buffet, laid on by the college catering team, was delicious, sandwiches accompanied by a whole salmon as a nod to my Jewish childhood. That did not take long to finish! The whole evening went well, and I myself began to relax when I launched into some more songs from the little stage at the back.
Now I am looking to the future, and my trip to Canada, which I hope and pray will take place as planned in the Spring. There is much to be done! I must meet with the archivist, to discuss the wonderful Special Collection on The Little Sisters of Joy in the John M Kelly Library in St Michael’s College at the University of Toronto.
I will make regular visits to my Friends in the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto which, this time, will be right across the street from my little hotel.
Canada is finally coming to terms with its Indigenous population and there are good things coming out of its latest moves towards reconciliation.
There is talk of the Pope making a visit to Canada. Unfortunately the First Nations were unable to see him in Rome, due to the pandemic, but there seems to be goodwill on both sides.
I will try to continue to play my humble part, consolidating my Friendships with the Native Canadians, whom I first encountered first in 2008 in their centre in Toronto.
After all-I called my second memoir ‘Where the Woods mean Toronto’-the meaning of Toronto in the Mohawk language.
Blessings, and may the Light of Epiphany shine on you and your families.
Shalom from Gila