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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Beginning An International Year--Jamaica

Outside the Kingston Airport
 As the year 2014 kicks off I realize that it is going to be an international year.  I have been in Kingston, Jamaica since Dec. 26 to preach a retreat to the Allegheny Franciscan Sisters here. the retreat ended on New Year's Day and I am staying a few days longer to get to see the country and some of the other work that the sisters do here.  Later in the year I will be going to Honduras again with Christ the King parish in Little Rock, AR, and in October I am to be the spiritual director on a pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome.

View from my "palatial" quarters at the Franciscan sisters convent
  With this blog entry I will share the retreat and in a few days share about the second half of the experience. As you can tell by the pictures the  convent is on a beautiful piece of property which was once the Constant Springs Hotel when Jamaica was a British colony.  It is part of the campus of Immaculate Conception High school begun by Scotish Franciscans in the 1800's and later given to the care of the Allegheny Franciscans.  The school provides a wonderful education to girls from all strata of Jamaican society.  Unlike the US state aid is given to religious schools here. The sisters can be rightly proud of the work they are doing.

   The retreat takes place over Christmas vacation. In some of the pictures you can see the sisters gathered for their conferences as well as for Mass. I have been very well received here and look forward to venturing out and seeing the rest of the country and other work that the sisters are doing here.
                                                                                          
Convent, Once the Constant Springs Hotel
                                                                                          
Sisters Gathered for retreat conference

 



Convent Chapel with Christmas decorations

Ready to begin Mass--Sisters in wheelchairs not part of the retreat but very well cared for by their community

Happy 98th birthday to Sr. Jean Frances Chen

After New Year's Eve Mass for peace with Carol Anglin, perhaps a distant cousin

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