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An Advent Greeting from Sr. Aileen Donovan, OP

Advent, 2021

Dear Friends,

Peaceful greetings! As I drove to Marian Woods in the dark this morning, the beautiful verse in St. John’s gospel referring to Jesus’ entrance into history kept repeating itself in my mind:

“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

I prayed, “May it be so.” Then, as I pulled into the Marian Woods parking lot, the sun began to light up the day, deepening the experience for me.

Once again, the Advent season is upon us, the time when we, at least on our little corner on earth, approach the shortest hours of daylight in the year. I am amazed each year at how Nature with her early nightfall and chilled air seems to invite a hunkering down to draw in and quiet ourselves. Winter offers a greater appreciation of the possibilities of silence, solitude and simplicity. Not the Christmas preparation our culture encourages! It takes effort and courage to resist being swept into the hustle and bustle to find balance.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa encourages us to, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

We know there is much darkness in our world. The shadows of suffering drop a veil over the lives of so many.

At Marian Woods, we are blessed with a structure and the time to enter fully into Advent while trying to stay aware of the needs beyond our doors. This week the sisters will add an Advent Retreat Day to their prayer schedule. Also, with some of the limitations imposed due to the COVID virus lifted, they have also been able to resume some of their service ministry both inside and outside the house. This past Friday, after a long pandemic-caused pause, the sisters once again prepared bag meals for a ‘midnight run’ to homeless men and women in NYC.

May this Advent deepen your faith in knowing that all of our little acts of goodness, together, can help to lift that veil and bring light and hope to the darkness.

We are ever-grateful for the faithfulness and generosity of our friends over the past twenty years. We hope you will be with us to celebrate our 20th Anniversary on May 22, 2022 when Cardinal Dolan will offer a Mass of Gratitude in our chapel followed by a reception. More information will be sent to you soon.

If your means permit at this time, please include a gift toward our mission of creating a safe and caring home for our elder sisters.   You can donate via our website by clicking this link, or by downloading the form here.

Blessed Christmas to you and your loved ones. You will be remembered in our prayers and liturgies throughout the Christmas season.

Sister Aileen Donovan.