Some echoes from USA

Lois Woods, Provincial Secretary, retires

The U.S. Province expressed their gratitude to Lois F. Woods, Provincial Secretary from July 1998 to January 2014 as she retired for a second time! Lois wrote to the Sisters sharing some of her memories which included snippets of each Little Sister she encountered during her time with us. A small excerpt of her text follows:
“Where should I begin? I had retired from IBM. Maryalice, my stepdaughter who was already working in Walden, asked me if I would help the Little Sisters to set up the Provincial Office in Walden as they were moving the office from New York City. It was July 1998 and I wasn’t looking for a job because I was ready to start my own business doing seminars for Women in Business. However, I offered to meet with Sr. Jean McCormack, the Provincial at the time, to see what was needed. She wanted me to come to work for her and it didn’t take me long to agree to come to the LSA.
The Sisters welcomed me with open arms. I grew very attached to them and they became my “family”. Every year I would tell my husband: ‘Maybe I will work for one more year.’ ‘One more year’ became a little longer, and a little longer until what was supposed to be a short period of time, turned out to be almost 15 ½ years! 
Daily life with the Little Sisters has been quite an adventure. I have loved every minute of it and my life has been richly blessed!”
Lois played a significant role during her years in the Province including assisting us through numerous Provincial Chapters. She was a great team player in handling many details at once. Her generosity of time and talent has often been hidden and humble, above and beyond the call of duty, equally important and appreciated by the entire LSA Extended Family. The Souvenir Photo Book which she received from the Province will keep her memories alive for years to come.
The following poem which is a favorite of ours exemplifies the spirit of mutuality in relationship. We are grateful to Lois for this quality of mutuality which existed among us. 
Sr Annette, LSA
East Harlem women at the united nations 
On October 17th, 2013 I gave a speech at the United Nations on the Eradication of Poverty. Martha Andrade who works and lives with the Little Sisters asked me to speak about my experience living in a neighborhood with poverty. I accepted the invitation because it was an opportunity for me to express my thoughts on the issue. 
A small group of 15 mothers from East Harlem and 3 members of the Little Sisters Family Health Service were among the people who attended. 
At the U.N. I spoke about living in East Harlem since 1992 after arriving from Mexico with my husband and three sons. During these years I realized that a large amount of teenagers dropped out of high school because they felt the need to choose between going to school and working to help provide for their family. Once they dropped out they lost interest in returning to school. Schools are over-crowded and lack the materials in order to provide an excellent education for our children, sometimes even lacking the proper books for learning. They also lack the programs to help our children succeed in getting into good universities after high school.
The Little Sisters of the Assumption provide many programs that can aid those in need such as mother’s groups, English classes, after school programs, etc. I’ve been going to the Little Sisters since 1993 and they have helped me so much. 
Attending the U.N. left me with a huge impression – it was sad to realize that youth are the ones who are greatly impacted by poverty. I was also amazed at the sight of a lot of world leaders coming together to find a solution to this problem. 
Celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe 
I was fortunate to be invited to participate in the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12th. This celebration began the day before with the arrangement of the place where they were to put the image of our Lady and the space where they were going to receive the people.
These preparations are made with great dedication and effort. We were five women and we did it by giving of our time (3 hours after work) and love. It was during this time that we shared in an intimate way part of our lives and we allowed ourselves to be known by each other in a special and different way.
The day of the celebration people arrived with flowers, food to share, and some women came dressed in typical costumes that identified them as Mexicans and Guadalupanas. Some of them even dressed their little girls in traditional costumes from their villages. During the ceremony there were many praises, songs, music, and dances to celebrate our Lady of Guadalupe.
I was amazed to see so many faces of women, some excited, some silent, some singing, and some moving to the beat of the music. I also noted that most of those that attended were Mexican women.
There was a very exciting moment when the mistress of ceremonies, Yolanda, thanked our Lady by saying ’...because she protects us with her mantle and accompanies us, and this is done through people like Sister Susanne Lachapelle (LSA) who pays attention to us and visits us’; she also named Sister Suzanne Delee (Sister of Mercy). All present responded by giving a strong and warm round of applause.
I was invited to close this sacred moment by thanking everyone for their presence to her, our Lady, who brought us together no matter where we were coming from. Then I invited all to join me by praying the universal prayers that unite us, the Our Father and the Hail Mary.
The celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe ended with dancing and food for all and ’12 baskets of bread’ were left over. 
This is the miracle that takes place when faith, dreams, and hopes are shared with each other.
Sr Deysi, LSA
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