Ministry Reflection from Sisters in Halifax
We, the Sisters of St. Martha, embrace each day the new challenges and joys that come with waking up to the cry for Gospel Hospitality on the streets of Halifax. Individually, we do this in different ways by accessing our own giftedness.
The vision is broad but lived out in small episodes. We are on the front-line of what our culture would call the margin and what Jesus would see as a birthing place.
It is all about relationships and welcoming without judgment on the front-line of living lives.
On the street you may find us walking, stopping to talk and listening to people pan- handling, who, after getting to know and trust us, share instantly about life's circumstances, fair or unfair as they may be. Often we are the only ones who spend time with them.
Each encounter is gift and we are blessed to come face to face with our God living in the margins. We spend time with folks whose sheer negotiation of life can often be overwhelming. The ordinary tasks of dressing, eating, and sleeping have become extraordinary achievements.
We line up at soup kitchens, step into shelters, join corner gatherings, and mingle at food banks. Someone watching our encounters at these various sites would find us sharing a pair of gloves, socks, an encouraging word/ear or a radical hug to someone who is mistakenly perceived as unlovable.
For us, networking is crucial. We have been able to create a credible place in the weaving of the many threads of existing hospitality offered on the streets whether it is the street nurses, chaplains or the mobile crisis unit. As a way of multiplying ourselves in the ministry, we have extended this essential component to involve Alumni of St. F. X. It has provided an opportunity to continue striving for "whatsoever things are true, noble and pure" The response has been wonderful.
The most recent adventure for us is the drop-in at the Basilica. Although it takes the most hours of our day, we see it as only a small segment of this rich connecting with poorer folks. This drop- in will be as good as our relationships in the broader scope of the street where every meeting is ripe for inspiring undaunted hope and disarming the social injustice, even for a wee moment, with the often surprising touch of hospitality.
Some say that these activities are band-aids on a hemorrhaging wound. Yes and no. The world is bleeding in its cry for justice and our society needs radical surgery. But in our preparation of the much- needed operating room and its necessary procedures, we cannot forget the bedside manner. If we do forget, the folks may not make it to play a role in their own healing and that of the world.