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Our 'Precious' Adventure in Toronto

Mary Rose Bacani

September 29, 2009
005[The following blog comes from my friends at the Precious Blood community, whom I have written about many times. They took a day to visit us in August and share their experience with us.]
As a contemplative Community, we Sisters of the Precious Blood fulfill our main mission in the Church - our ministry of prayer, of love, adoration, reparation and intercession -- within our local Monasteries. However, our Rule permits us an occasional day of relaxation (usually once or twice a year) away from the Monastery. These day trips or “outings” provide an opportunity to enjoy God’s creation and its beauty.
On a particular Monday, August 10th, our Community of 10 Sisters situated in London, Ontario, along with our good friend, Fr. Michael Prieur, decided we would go to Toronto. Little did we know that we were embarking on a multi-media adventure – one that would involve television, radio, and the internet!preciouscollage
We have had for many years the joy and the privilege of having as a friend Fr. Tom Rosica, CSB, the CEO of Salt + Light Television Network. Through Fr. Rosica we have also come to know Mary Rose Bacani, producer at Salt and Light, who comes to our Monastery for retreats each year. At their gracious invitation, our first destination was at Salt + Light.
We had a wonderful welcome at Salt + Light, where we had a first-hand glimpse of the dedicated young people and process involved in preparing such wonderful programs for our faith nourishment. It was beautiful, encouraging, and certainly inspiring to witness the young people working so intently for the Gospel, to see the ‘glow’ in their eyes as they use modern technology to evangelize, and to feel their excitement as they explained new projects in the making. This said to us “Jesus is alive today!”
Fr. Rosica then welcomed us into his office where he shared with us the good news about their current projects, their past success stories and their hopes and dreams for the future. We in turn were able to assure him and the production team of our ongoing prayer support. Being at Salt + Light Television was certainly one of the highlights of our day!
For many years we had wanted to visit old St. Michael’s Cemetery in the heart of downtown Toronto, where 24 of our pioneer Sisters from our early foundation days in Toronto are buried. Most of us had never been there but had heard that the cemetery was now surrounded by high-rise apartment buildings, businesses, and private residences. Armed with our trusty map we did find it. However, there was no entrance, so we had to jump over the wall (a three-foot drop) to enter the cemetery - what a sight that must have been! We then began looking all around to find the area where our pioneer sisters are buried.
Out of nowhere, a young man opened his gate and walked out with his dog to take a stroll. We asked him if he could help us and he directed us to our Sisters’ graves. We gratefully acknowledged that he was like a ‘guardian angel’ to us, coming right at that time of need. It was only from this new friend, John, that we found out the cemetery had been closed to the public for five years, and that the gate was locked! When we explained how we had gotten in and expressed our concerns about getting out again, John offered to leave his gate open so we could leave and pass through his backyard to the street. We thanked him and then proceeded with the prayer service for our departed sisters.
033We had time to reflect on the lives of our early Sisters who had gone before us and on the part they played in passing the charism of our loved Foundress on to us today. Here were the Sisters who paved the way through their hard work and very difficult circumstances to make our life possible today. Many of them lived only a few years and died in their twenties or thirties of tuberculosis or other illnesses due to the very poor living conditions at that time, especially those who lived in the very early days, between 1869 and 1905. They gave their lives wholeheartedly and generously so that our Institute could be established in English Canada. May the life and faithful perseverance of these dear pioneer Sisters give us new courage and zeal in our own lives as Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood.
As providence would have it, it turned out, as we found out only later, that “John” who was like a guardian angel for us, is none other than John Moore, the host of The John Moore Show, on the Toronto radio station CFRB! John subsequently shared publicly on his radio talk show, on two occasions, about the Precious Blood Sisters and the August 10th experience which he had! He also wrote about “the Nuns” on his blog. His comments and those of others are hilarious, yet there is a certain depth to them, if you want to read them. (here's the first blog and the second blog)
This day, August 10th, 2009, was one that renewed and refreshed our spirits! It reminded us that God is present everywhere, in the “here and now”. He allows us to help one another, to be like “guardian angels” for one another. He provides for our needs in the most extraordinary and yet simple and seemingly ordinary ways. Every event and moment of our life is graced with His loving presence. Thank you, Lord!