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Archives Sister brings healing, reflection in two events

March 1, 2023

By Darcy Fargo

A visiting Dominican sister will bring opportunities for reflection, prayer and Christ’s healing in two separate events planned by the diocesan Office of Faith Formation and Office of the New Evangelization.

Sister Mary Michael Fox, of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, will present a Women’s Prayer and Healing Retreat from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, March 31, in the Hearthside Room at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse in Watertown. The theme for the event is “If You Only Knew: Reflections on John 4: 1-26.” The cost is $20 for the session, and financial assistance is available. To register, go to www.rcdony.org/healingretreat.

The next day, Saturday, April 1, Sister Mary Michael will present “Blessed, Broken, Given: Living Eucharistia! – A Day of Reflection” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Wadhams Hall in Ogdensburg. The cost is $30 and includes lunch. Financial assistance is available. To register, visit www.rcdony.org/dayofreflection.

Catherine Russell, assistant director of Faith Formation, said she became familiar with Sister Mary Michael at an event held in the summer at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. There, Russell, along with Anita Soltero, assistant director of Faith Formation, and Deb Mullin, Faith Formation coordinator for the Catholic Community of St. Peter, St. Mary, St. Hedwig in Lowville, Glenfield and Houseville, attended a workshop presented by the Dominican sister. Mullin had previous experience with Sister Mary Michael (see the sidebar story on this page), but it was Russell’s first encounter with the sister.

“I’m hard to please,” said Russell. “It takes a lot to impress me. That woman is gifted. She’s funny and engaging, but she can also draw you into a very meditative and prayerful state very easily. Her presentations are really something special.”

The Women’s Prayer and Healing Retreat will be “meditative on healing and prayer,” Russell said. The retreat will include time in the chapel.

The April 1 event is “open to anyone who wants to come,” Russell noted.

“The focus is living a Eucharistic life,” she said. “It’ll start with Mass. There will be some presentations and prayer, and there will be some discussion. It should be amazing!”

Registration for both events is open until the day prior.

For more information, contact the Office of Faith Formation at 315-393-2920.



Encounter with sister brings peace

By Darcy Fargo

It was an encounter that gave her insights and peace.

Deb Mullin, Faith Formation coordinator for the Catholic Community of St. Peter, St. Mary, St. Hedwig in Lowville, Glenfield and Houseville, first encountered Sister Mary Michael Fox, the Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia in Nashville who will be giving two presentations in the Diocese of Ogdensburg in coming weeks, in 2021, shortly before the death of her son, Jeremy. Mullin was attending a conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio when she met the sister.

“I was crying,” Mullin said. “She walked up to me and said, ‘is there something I can do for you?’ I told her my son is an alcoholic and is very sick. She prayed over me. She gave me a big hug.”

Mullin said she had been struggling to understand her son’s illness and some of his decisions and actions.

When she attended the sister’s presentation shortly after, the presentation focused on addiction and alcoholism.

“It was divine intervention,” Mullin said. “Her presentation just made it so much clearer to me. I always thought, ‘he could stop if he wanted to.’ I thought he wasn’t trying hard enough. She helped me understand the disease. It’s like two sides of the brain – one saying ‘don’t do it! Don’t drink,’ and the other saying, ‘do it! Have the drink!’”

Mullin said growing in understanding helped her tremendously.

“It gave me some peace,” she said. “She helped me get over that hump and helped me understand. That presentation was on a Tuesday night. Jeremy died the following Monday.”

God gifted Mullin with peace in other ways, as well.

Mullin noted that she was initially saddened that her son didn’t go to confession and receive absolution when he had an opportunity in the latter part of his life.

“(Jeremy’s child) was making her first reconciliation,” Mullin said. “I really wanted him to go. He didn’t.”

Jeremy was, however, able to celebrate the sacrament and receive the anointing of the sick prior to his death.

“We arranged to have a priest visit him in the hospital,” Mullin said. “He was very, very sick at that point, but he was able to make his confession. It was very peaceful when he went.”

Mullin said she still grieves her son, but she knows he is now free of his suffering and addiction.

Mullin said she was able to share the peace she was given with Sister Mary Michael when Mullin saw her again over the summer.

“I was able to tell her how peaceful it was when he died,” she said. “She gave me a big hug.

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