Features

{mosimage}TORONTO - The University of St. Michael’s College has appointed Sr. Anne Anderson, C.S.J., as its first female president. The Sister of St. Joseph of Hamilton had been interim president from July of last year until the present.

A press release issued Jan. 13 said the decision had been recommended by the college collegium at a special meeting the day before and was confirmed by Fr. Ken Decker, superior general of the Basilian Fathers, who founded the university. The new president’s five-year term will be effective retroactive to July.

Sr. Anderson takes helm at St. Mike's

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The University of St. Michael’s College has appointed Sr. Anne Anderson, C.S.J., as its first female president. The Sister of St. Joseph of Hamilton had been interim president from July of last year until the present.

A press release issued Jan. 13 said the decision had been recommended by the college collegium at a special meeting the day before and was confirmed by Fr. Ken Decker, superior general of the Basilian Fathers, who founded the university. The new president’s five-year term will be effective retroactive to July.

Loretto Sisters meet needs of their community for 400 years

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary , commonly known as the Loretto Sisters, continues to serve the needy in a variety of ministries as the worldwide order celebrates its 400th anniversary this year.

While the order’s early years during the Protestant Reformation were rough at best, its introduction to Canada nearly 250 years later also met with some dramatic obstacles. Five sisters, sent to Toronto from Ireland in 1847 to teach Irish immigrants, landed in the midst of a deadly typhus outbreak which took the life of Toronto’s Bishop Michael Power just weeks after their arrival. Within the year, a few of the sisters had passed away themselves, unprepared for the harsh Canadian winter. However, the survivors were later joined by more sisters from Ireland, and today the order here still counts as many as 100 religious sisters, mostly based in Toronto and Guelph, but also present in Saskatchewan, who strive to emulate the charisms of their foundress, Mary Ward.

Mary, the model of motherhood

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{mosimage}Christmas centres on the Nativity, the birth of Christ who came into the world to save us from our sins. There would be no birth, of course, if there were no mother. As the poet Coventry Pattmore has remarked, Mary is  “Our only Saviour from an abstract Christ.” 

If there is a secondary message that Christmas brings, yet one that is still intimately tied to the first, it is the motherhood of Mary which, in turn, serves as the model for all motherhood. This message takes on greater significance in an age in which motherhood, in many instances, is routinely eviscerated into a  “choice.”

Some biotech advances playing God, Vatican says

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - A new Vatican document warned that certain recent developments in stem-cell research, gene therapy and embryonic experimentation violate moral principles and reflect an attempt by man to “take the place of his Creator.”

The latest advances raise serious questions of moral complicity for researchers and other biotech professionals, who have a duty to refuse to use biological material obtained by unethical means, the document said.

School boards choose 2009 leaders

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Most Ontario Catholic school boards have chosen their leaders to guide them into the next year, with one notable exception.

The Toronto Catholic District School Board, which has been under a provincial government-appointed supervisor since a controversy erupted over trustee spending last year, has postponed its board elections until January.

Halton's helping hands for Haiti

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{mosimage}BURLINGTON, Ont. - The children at St. Mark’s Catholic Elementary School learned a lesson about social justice and Christian love recently. It was that they should share from their abundance with their much poorer fellow students in Haiti.

The school was one of 49 in the Halton Catholic District School Board that are being introduced this fall to Helping Hands from Halton Catholic: the Solidarity-Haiti Project.

Campus pro-life battles are about free speech

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Tensions on Canadian university campuses have intensified this year as pro-life clubs continued fighting for status while others were denied funding.

Yet, while only half a dozen of the 40 or more pro-life clubs on campuses across Canada have butted heads with their student unions, many are worried that the silencing of pro-life speech has expanded to a threat against freedom of speech in general.

Trustees call for changes in special ed funding

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TORONTO - The underfunding of programs for special education and high needs students as well as “short-lived” declining enrolment grants are serious concerns for many Catholic school boards, says the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association.

In a Nov. 18 financial brief to Ontario Education Minister Kathleen Wynne, the association said while special education grants total almost $2.1 billion, many school boards “continue to express serious concerns about the ongoing gap between the cost of current programs and services for students and special needs and current funding levels.”

OECTA targets bullying

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Bullying should be labelled a workplace hazard to make schools safer, says a proposal made to provincial legislators by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association.

But the proposal isn’t suggesting that Catholic schools are more dangerous than any other workplace, said Elaine MacNeil, president of OECTA.