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The Passion of Mary of Magdala

Stephanie Molloy, Special to The Review, July 15, 2021

Sometime ago I wrote about Mary of Magdala for a course I was taking.  It’s very interesting to read
something that you put your heart and soul and mind into so many years before.
This also took me to a little village in Spain called Azpeitia where there is a chapel dedicated to Mary of Magdala and where Ignatius of Loyola would meet with people and teach.  Being at that chapel on July 22nd is an experience I’ll never forget.

Rereading that paper spoke to me of passion – the passion that I felt getting to know Mary of Magdala.  But what I want to highlight is her passion.

In a significant Gospel account about her she’s gone to the tomb, is weeping, disconsolate. Not only has she suffered a horrendous loss with his death, but now Jesus’ body is missing. It must have been gut-wrenching. And then to confuse the issue she sees what maybe seemed like a mirage, two angels. Then the encounter.

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  RCWP Canada Bishop's Message

Reports provide grounding in history, social, cultural and political background to residential schools

There is a plethora of news reporting and social media commentary on the burial sites at residential schools that have shocked our country and the world.  In some instances the choice of words in reports are dramatic and even exaggerated.  This can add to the trauma that people feel, which already is a burden heavy to bear.

In our efforts to take in the gravity of what happened, it is helpful to have a substantial grounding in the history of the schools such as that provided to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as well as social, cultural, and political background.

In his report, Dr. Scott Hamilton from the Department of Anthropology at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario addressed the question of deceased children living in residential schools and buried on school lands.  His report, Where are the Children buried? can be found here.

In the report, Dr. Hamilton explains factors that make it difficult to find answers to what exactly happened to the children: some Indigenous residential schools were rebuilt in various locations under the same name, physical evidence was difficult to find since the story extended over a century in many cases, and archival documentation was not always available. Using the documents that did survive, his report offers explanations based on his professional expertise as an anthropologist about the approximately 100 years of operation of 150 Indian residential schools in Canada. The search indicates that at least 3,213 children were reported to have died in these residential schools.  Factors addressed in the report include Aboriginal Mortality, the Residential Schools, and the Burial Policy of the Department of Indian Affairs. 

The report is 44 pages, but I find it worth taking time to read.  It is well researched and documented offering a comprehensive view of what is known beyond what is available to us in the press and social media.  I find that having a substantive source of information as a grounding is helpful to me as a container to hold the pain of our Indigenous relatives, listening deeply to their truth with great tenderness and compassion in this time of immense suffering. 

I urge a “hermeneutic of suspicion” when reading the latest news report or social media comment.  Before contributing to the conversation it is wise to do a “fact check” so as not to get drawn into the echo chamber of disingenuous and untruthful information.


[Jane Kryzanowski, Regina, SK is bishop for RCWP Canada]

Comments to the Editor

What an inspiring issue! I could not stop reading. To mention a few items of note, I was especially touched by the NCR interview which featured Archbishop Don Bolen, who for a long time I have believed is a prophet and a visionary in the Roman Catholic Church and just a good person all around. Too few like him, unfortunately. I also really enjoyed Lori's book review, and have added the book to my list for summer reading. And as I read Bishop Jane's message, I was reminded once again how grateful I am for the solid leadership of our RCWP priests and for the work they do for us. We are truly blessed. Thank you again for this current issue of The Review.


So far, the Canadian Bishops have expressed sorrow for the mistreatment of Aboriginal children at Residential Schools run by the RC Church. That is simply not good enough! For the church to have any chance of recovery from this scandal of atrocities, it is vital that the bishops immediately vow to reveal all records they, or any religious orders involved in those schools have. To withhold any records they have approaches criminal obstruction. If any records held by the church have been lost, or destroyed, they must be clearly named and reparations as far as possible be made in every case. To claim privacy requirements in any of those matters is simply not acceptable.

I am hoping against hope that I may get a response from either the CCCB, or the Calgary Diocese.

[Gene Swain, St. Brigid of Kildare Catholic Community, Calgary, AB]

Saskatchewan bishops propose new fundraising appeal for the support of residential school survivors and their families and communities

Bishops' letter, archregina.sk.ca | July 3, 2021

Excerpt from bishops' letter:

We are deeply grateful for the signs and indications of commitment we have been hearing, and have begun consultations this past week towards a province-wide fundraising effort, which we would each undertake in ways discerned in our respective dioceses. To maximize the effectiveness of such an effort, it is important to plan well and to coordinate the efforts of various potential participants, and most importantly, to consult with Indigenous dialogue partners, including Survivors, Elders, Knowledge Keepers and Chiefs. Those conversations are already underway and we hope to be able to announce a plan soon.

Read letter

There is No Stopping the Spring: Women Priests Are Here to Stay

Bridget Mary Meehan, bridgetmarys.blogspot.com | June 29, 2021

Pope Francis missed an opportunity to take a first step toward the inclusion of women in ordained ministry in the newly revised Canon 1379 of the Code of Canon Law released on June 1, 2021. This canonical penalty is a shocking example of the abuse of patriarchal power, because it equates the ordination of faith-filled women with the clergy sexual abuse of children. Both are labeled grave crimes that incur excommunication. It is contradictory that, on one hand, Pope Francis set up a commission to study the diaconate for women on April 8, 2020, and one year later promulgated Canon 1379 which continues the denigration of women called to Sacred Orders.

This newly revised law should have removed all punishments against Roman Catholic women priests who have been serving the people of God in ecclesial communities and justice ministries around the world for the past 19 years. We are leading the Church toward a path of partnership in ministry that challenges the clerical abuse of power, a major factor in the horrific rape of thousands of children worldwide.

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Updates to Canon Law Fail to Correct the “Crime” of Women’s Ordination

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Mary Magdalene

Retreat DAY

July 22, 2021 9-4 MT with 3, 1 hour long breaks, Zoom & limited live attendance

Meet the “Apostle of the Apostles” in Scripture & recent scholarship -- a contemplative day to ponder & pray. Look into Magdalene’s village, life, witness, & rabbouni.

Whether at home with Zoom or in person, Teresa Hanlon opens up what it means to be a woman apostle in the 1st century & now

REGISTER ONLINE: martharetreatcentre.ca
Look for: “Seeing Mary Magdalene with New Eyes: A Meditative Day”

PHONE: 403-328-3422 -- $50

LIVE: $65

WELCOME to Martha Retreat Centre Lethbridge, AB


FutureChurch will once again celebrate the Feast of Saint Mary of Magdala on Zoom.

Please join us for our art tour on Tuesday, July 20th and/or our liturgy on Thursday, July 22nd - both at 7pm ET.

Register for either/both events.

Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community, Regina, SK -- Activities Promoting Indigenous Justice

Jane Kryzanowski, Special to The Review | July 15, 2021

From the time Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community was formed, Indigenous justice has been an important part of our mission. Emphasis has been on listening and learning and on building relationships with Indigenous people by tapping into programs being offered in Regina and area through First Nations University, the University of Regina, KAIROS-Regina Chapter, Indigenous/Non-Indigenous Relations Circle of the Archdiocese of Regina, and Regina Multi-Faith Forum.  We also write letters and financially support local agencies. Throughout the Covid-19 period of isolation and limited in-person opportunities, initiatives have moved to an on-line format.  They have not been discontinued.

The following is offered by way of example and is not intended to be an indication of all that we are involved with.  Individual community members are encouraged and supported to participate in a variety of opportunities as they are able. 

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Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community, Vancouver, BC --  Activities Promoting Indigenous Justice

Vikki Marie, Special to The Review
| July 15 2021

In response to the call for information on how we are implementing the Calls to Action I offer the following.

The Vancouver Catholic Worker, the parent community out of which the Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community Society (OLGT) was born, has been involved with supporting Indigenous rights since its founding in 1998.  We put our sense of reconciliation and relationship in the name of our Community.  Our Lady of Guadalupe and Tonantzin both originate in Mexico. Our name is a marriage between the sacred mother figure of Christianity and the sacred mother figure of an Indigenous group, the Aztecs.

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Saint Brigid of Kildare Catholic Community, Calgary, AB --  Activities Promoting Indigenous Justice

Monica Kilburn-Smith, Special to The Review | July 15, 2021

Saint Brigid of Kildare Catholic Community newsletter often features various articles about Indigenous issues. This is something we do regularly - include articles from all over, many sources, regarding Indigenous (and other social justice) issues.

We include, as others among us do, a land acknowledgement at the beginning of our Mass and group gatherings, and are in the process of choosing which version of this we will put on our newsletter and website.

Our community members are also involved in creating and manifesting special services, events, attendance at civic events, etc to do with social justice. Eg. Liturgies with Indigenous prayers (and drumming), inviting local Indigenous leaders to participate in one liturgy in particular a couple of years ago,
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Personal responses on how Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are being implemented

Members of RCWP Canada responded in a variety of ways on how they are personally responding to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
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Walk of Sorrow

Follow Patricia Ballentyne on Facebook during her Walk of Sorrow, Prince Albert to Ottawa

#94in94 Campaign

A social media campaign was launched on June 29th to raise awareness of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.  Receive one Call to Action per day via email.

Read More and Join the Campaign

21 Women's and Men's Catholic religious communities appeal to Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to do more regarding justice for Indigenous people

Joint Ecological Ministry, marywardcentre.ca | June 28, 2021

There is a new collective consciousness about the nature of the colonialism, racism, and abuse of the residential school system. This awareness demands a renewed, collective response from our church that builds on the work each of us has done with our own partners.

News release

Letter to Canadian bishops

Reflections on the Sunday Readings
by Susan Roll

Reflection for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time B, August 1 2021

Exodus 16: 2-4, 12-15;    Psalm 78;    Ephesians 4: 17, 20-24;    John 6: 24-35

It‘s hard to think of anyone who actually likes to be told what to do.  Do you know of anyone?  Probably not.

Little children certainly don’t like it, and will pull a screaming temper tantrum when their frustration goes out of control.  Teenagers, well, it goes without saying.  I’m thinking of a friend, a mother of five, who was interviewed for a job and was asked if she could deal with oppositional behaviour.  She exclaimed, “Are you kidding?  I’m the mother of five teenagers!”

And it can happen that older people don’t either.  I’m smiling thinking of a now-deceased German woman from my parish, who was expelled from a nursing home.  The frustrated staff told her daughter, “She won’t cooperate.  All she says is ‘Nein, nein, nein!’”

(God help me, there’s a part of me that wants to go into old age just that feisty ;-)

We find both in our readings for this Sunday – stiff-necked oppositional resistance on the one hand and a cautiously cooperative “What do you want us to do?” on the other.

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Read More reflections by Susan Roll

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