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Teach Us to Pray: Being Grateful

Posted on: October 12th, 2020

The Rev. Frances Drolet-Smith offers her reflection on Gratitude- just in time for Thanksgiving!

By Whose Authority?

Posted on: October 8th, 2020

Settle down with your favorite cup of tea and be inspired by Sr. Anne’s latest homily.

The Humbling of Humanity

Posted on: September 29th, 2020

by Sr. Louise, SSJD The phrase “the humbling of humanity”, came up as we discussed the impact of Covid 19 at our Chapter meetings this year.  We spoke of how it has changed our world, our community, what we have viewed as normal and the result of this time of isolation. These were fruitful discussions […]

Rest in Peace, Sr. Sue, SSJD

Posted on: September 24th, 2020

It is with deep sadness that we share with you that our dear Sr. Sue Elwyn, SSJD passed away early this morning.

Introduction To Contemplative Prayer: Part 2- Growing In God

Posted on: August 27th, 2020

Course Format: Online (Zoom) Registration Fee: $150.00 Registration Deadline: February 21, 2021 Course Dates: 6 Wednesday evenings, 7-9 pm, March 3, 10, 24, 31, April 7, 14, 2021. Limit: 30 Students (a waiting list we be started for those unable to register) Taught by Sister Constance Joanna Gefvert who for the past 16 years has taught […]

Introduction to Contemplative Prayer: Part 1- Rooted In God

Posted on: August 27th, 2020

Course Format: Online (Zoom) Registration Fee: $150.00 Registration Deadline: December 27, 2020 Course Dates: 6 Wednesday Evenings 7-9 pm January 6, 13, 20, 27, February 3, 10, 2021 Limit: 30 Students (a waiting list we be started for those unable to register) Taught by Sister Constance Joanna Gefvert who for the past 16 years has taught […]

On the Feast of the Assumption of Mary

Posted on: August 21st, 2020

By Sr. Doreen, SSJD. Isaiah 7:10-15; psalm 132: 6-10, 13-14; Gal 4:4-7; Luke 1: 46-55 Mary is the favored one, the beloved in whom God is well pleased – and the one saint that has at least 7 Feasts attached to her name, either directly or because she was intricately involved.Mary’s birth, the Annunciation, the […]

On the Feast of St. Stephen

Posted on: August 19th, 2020

By Sr. Elizabeth Ann, SSJD. Jer 26:1-9(10-11)12-15 Ps 31 Acts 6.8 – 7.2a, 51c – 60 Matthew 23. 34-39 Even though initially I was drawn to the fact that the Church moved the feast of Stephen from December 26th to August 3rd , and I really love to sing the carol Good King Wenceslaus, instead […]

The Feast of the Visitation

Posted on: August 19th, 2020

Enjoy this homily, as Sr. Doreen reflects on the Feast of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth.

August 16th Homily from Christ Church Cathedral, BC.

Posted on: August 18th, 2020

By Reverend Canon William Morrison  How does God speak to the Church? How does the Church change its mind? How does transformation happen? We could ask the same question of ourselves as individuals. How does God speak to us? How do we change our minds on important subjects? How does transformation happen within us? One […]

On Listening: Homily for August 9th

Posted on: August 18th, 2020

By Sr. Elizabeth, SSJD On my first reading of the scriptures for today, I was struck by a common theme running through them, the theme of listening for the voice of God. The reading from 1st Kings has long been a favourite of mine. What immediately leapt out for me when I read it this […]


Posted on: August 18th, 2020

Spiritual direction is a relationship that has nurtured Christians for centuries.  It offers a private, prayerful accompaniment towards a deeper personal relationship with God and greater sensitivity to the presence of God’s Spirit in your daily life.  Many people find it helpful to engage in spiritual direction in an ongoing way, usually monthly, and often […]

2020 Fall Retreats and Courses

Posted on: August 9th, 2020

COVID-19 PANDEMIC UPDATE The Guest House and Convent remain closed, but most of our Fall retreats have been re-designed as on-line retreats. How to Register: Click here to register for Retreats or On-line Courses. Find the retreat or course you desire to attend and click the “read more” button. The registration form is below the […]

Feeding Thousands

Posted on: August 7th, 2020

Sr. Wendy Grace offers her reflections in her latest homily.

In Celebration of Womanliness

Posted on: July 28th, 2020

Join Sr. Sue as she offers her poem on the Celebration of Womanliness.

Click here to read the poem…

Homily for Saint Peter and Saint Paul

Posted on: July 28th, 2020

Sr.Wendy Grace, a SSJD Novice, offers her homily on Saints Peter and Paul for your enjoyment.

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A Journey Just Begun

Posted on: July 28th, 2020

Join our Companion Kelsea as she reflects on her experience in the 2019-2020 Companions Program.

Online Courses!

Posted on: July 25th, 2020

SSJD will be offering online courses beginning this Fall. The following courses will be taught by Sister Constance Joanna Gefvert, who for the past 16 years has taught in the Pastoral Theology department of Wycliffe College (one of the participating colleges in the Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto). These courses are […]

A Journey Full of Grace

Posted on: July 25th, 2020

Read our Companion Jasmine’s final blog entry for the 2019-2020 Companions Program year!

To Walk On An Ancient Path

Posted on: July 24th, 2020

In her final blog of the 2019-2020 Companions Program, Florence reflects on her experience as a Companion.

Fall 2020

Posted on: July 23rd, 2020

While our Guest House continues to be closed for the foreseeable future, we are converting most of our fall retreats to an on-line format. Silent Directed Retreat- September 15-17, 2020 Growth of the Soul – led by Rev. Max Woolaver. Friday–Sunday, October 16–18, 2020 Discover Spiritual Treasures in the World’s Religions – led by Kathy […]

Homily Proper 14 A: God of Love

Posted on: July 21st, 2020

 Sr. Constance Joanna offers her reflections on God’s relationship to us for your nourishment. Enjoy!

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Homily on The Birth of John the Baptist.

Posted on: June 30th, 2020

Sr. Louise offers her Homily for the Feast of the Birth of St. John the Baptist for your reading pleasure.

Please click here for more…

The Light In Our Hearts

Posted on: June 26th, 2020

Join our Companion Jasmine as she reflects on the Holy Spirit as the Light in our hearts.

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Models of Ministry

Posted on: June 23rd, 2020

Pour a cup of tea or coffee, settle on the deck and enjoy Sr. Anne’s Homily on Models of Ministry!

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My Big Sister

Posted on: June 18th, 2020

Join our Companion Kelsea as she shares her thoughts about her Big Sister.

Spirit of the Living God

Posted on: June 12th, 2020

Join our Companion Florence as she reflects on the Holy Spirit.

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Friends of the Soul

Posted on: June 9th, 2020

Pull up a chair, grab a cup of tea and settle down with Sr. Elizabeth Ann’s Trinity Sunday Homily!

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Plaint of an Ordinary Christian

Posted on: June 5th, 2020

From the creative writing of Sr. Sue, a poem she’d like to share with you. Enjoy!

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Home for the Heart-June 2020

Posted on: June 1st, 2020

Are We There Yet? Sarapion the Sindonite travelled once on a pilgrimage to Rome. Here he was told of a celebrated recluse, a woman who lived always in one small room, never going out. Skeptical about her way of life – for he himself was a great wanderer—Sarapion called on her and asked, “Why are […]

Homily for Easter 5

Posted on: May 21st, 2020

Join Sr. Constance Joanna, SSJD as she reflects on Paul’s sermon in Athens…and Toronto!

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Christ is Risen?

Posted on: May 21st, 2020

We invite you to read the latest reflection by our Companion Jasmine as she reflects on her experience of Easter in lock-down at the Convent.

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Teach Us to Pray: Keep Holding On.

Posted on: May 20th, 2020

Join the Rev. Frances Drolet-Smith as she reflects on prayer, the pandemic and Holding Crosses.

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Mindfulness for Christians Event: Online!

Posted on: May 19th, 2020

We are very happy to announce that a Mindfulness for Christians Event is being offered online.

WHEN: MAY 21, 2020, 7-9 pm
FACILITATOR: Rev. Sandor Borbely
HOW TO REGISTER: Please write to
COST: Free of Charge!

Click for more details…

Lumen Christi

Posted on: May 15th, 2020

We invite you to read our Companion Kelsea’s reflection on her experience of Easter at the Convent this year.

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Love Poem II

Posted on: May 14th, 2020

We invite you to read a poem by our very own Sr. Sue entitled Love II.

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Convent Lockdown: An Easter Experience.

Posted on: May 8th, 2020

Easter 2020 may be remembered for a lot of things, one of which may be “the year that people throughout the world became monastics,” albeit the vast majority, unintentionally so.

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Let Nothing Disturb You

Posted on: May 5th, 2020

Sr. Wendy Grace, n/ssjd For the last three or four months I’ve been repeating a few lines from St. Teresa of Avila as a kind of mantra, “Everything is changing. God alone is changeless”. These two sentences come from a longer poem which I have often used with the Anglican Rosary:‌Let nothing disturb you, Let […]


Posted on: April 29th, 2020

By Shannon, Assistant Coordinator of the Companions Program Please note that while the written text can be found below, those who prefer audio recordings are asked to click “play” to listen to Shannon’s recording of the text. Friends, the state of the world is changing. But I don’t have to tell you that! Countless words […]

Time is Turning Catherine Wheels.

Posted on: April 29th, 2020

By Sr. Sue, SSJD. To help celebrate the great St. Catherine of Sienna, whose feast day is today, Sr. Sue has some lovely music to share with you! On the Day of Resurrection Time is turning Catherine wheelson this, the day of His rebirth;Time is somersaulting, leapingto the stars and back to earth;Time is playing […]

Easter 3

Posted on: April 28th, 2020

by Sr. Doreen, SSJD Propers: Acts 2: 14a, 36-41; Psalm 116: 1-4, 12-19; 1 Peter 1: 17-23; Luke 24: 13-35 Easter 3 – within the Great Fifty Days!  Each year as we walk through the scriptures of Lent and Holy Week, and we arrive at Easter, I am always surprised!  It is a surprise that […]

Lay it all down: Lament as a spiritual practice.

Posted on: April 24th, 2020

By the Rev. Frances Drolet-Smith, Oblate SSJD The hope and joy we always anticipate of the Resurrection has been revealed to us. Depending on where you live, spring may have already made a welcome entrance with its usual gorgeous palette, accompanied by a fanfare of glorious bird song, floating on warmer breezes. Now, these poetic […]

Global News Article Features Former SSJD Companion.

Posted on: April 17th, 2020

Click the image below to read the Global News article featuring former SSJD Companion Amanda Avery and her work with Bayers Westwood Family Resource Centre. “Halifax Resource Centre Delivering Care Packages as Demand Rises for Food, Hygiene Products. Global News Article written by Aya Al-Hakim. April 15, 2020.

The Tree of Life and Your Story: A Reflective Exercise.

Posted on: April 16th, 2020

Tell our own story through the Tree of Life—- an experiential reflective exercise. By Jasmine, SSJD Companion.   Since the last blog post that I wrote about the tree of life, some readers have asked how the tree of life imagery connects with our own storytelling. In this post, I am hoping to present a […]

Uncle Carl and the Easter Bunny

Posted on: April 15th, 2020

by Sr. Constance Joanna, SSJD. Readings: Acts 10.34-43, Psalm 118.14-29, Colossians 3.1-14, Matthew 28.1-10 The following homily was preached on Easter Wednesday when the Convent sisters celebrated the return of three of sisters who have moved back to Toronto from B.C. and were isolated in the Guest House for two weeks of self-isolation. It was […]

Easter Sunday: SURPRISE!

Posted on: April 14th, 2020

By Sr. Constance Joanna, SSJD. Readings: Romans 6:3-11; Psalm 114; Luke 24:1-12 What memories do you associate most with Easter? No doubt some sad, some joyful, some even playful. We had a ritual when I was a teenager that my Mom, Dad, brother and I always watched “Your Hit Parade” on TV on Saturday nights. […]

Holy Saturday: A FERTILE TIME

Posted on: April 14th, 2020

By Sr. Constance Johanna, SSJD. Readings: Job 14.1-14; Psalm 31.1–4, 15–16; 1 Peter 4.1–8; Matthew 25.57-66 What happened during those hours from Friday afternoon till early Sunday morning, when Jesus was in the tomb? What we know from the Bible is that John took Jesus’ mother Mary to his home, and perhaps that is where […]


Posted on: April 14th, 2020

By Sr. Constance Joanna, SSJD. Readings: Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12; Psalm 22:22-30; Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 19:1-42 One of my favourite musical compositions is Handel’s Messiah – a universally-loved oratorio in the Christian world as well as among people of other faiths and none. It encompasses the whole of the Incarnation – from Advent through […]

Maundy Thursday – NOT ME!

Posted on: April 9th, 2020

by Sr. Constance Joanna, SSJD. Readings: Ex 12:1-4, 11-14; Psalm 116.1, 10-17; 1 Cor 11:23-26; John 13.1-17, 31b-35 I recently read a delightful and deeply moving book by Sarah Miles, called Take this Bread. Sarah is an American journalist who loved cooking for lots of people, worked in restaurants as an assistant cook doing the […]

Triduum Homilies!

Posted on: April 8th, 2020

Join Sr. Constance Joanna, SSJD as she reflects on the events of Holy Week through Art! Beginning Maundy Thursday through to Easter Sunday, Sr. Constance Joanna’s Homilies will be posted on the Homilies Blog of the SSJD website. Please see below for the posting schedule: Maundy Thursday Homily will be posted April 9, 2020 at […]

Wading In

Posted on: April 8th, 2020

By Kelsea, SSJD Companion I have three plants in my room. All of them I have rescued from somewhere. One is a poinsettia from this last December that I couldn’t bear to watch disappear (probably, and it is shocking, into the garbage). The first I rescued from the chapel at the hospital next door (there […]


Posted on: April 8th, 2020

by Sr. Constance Joanna, SSJD. Readings: Zechariah 9.9-10;  Psalm 24; Philippians 2.5-11; Luke 10.28-40. Rejoice, rejoice, rejo-o-o-o-oice greatly! That’s a theme from Handel’s Messiah that we tend to associate with Christmas but of course Messiah is also a beloved oratorio in Holy Week. We tend to talk about the “Christmas portion” and the “Holy Week […]

Tree of Life

Posted on: April 1st, 2020

By Jasmine, SSJD Companion Music tradition in the SSJD community is heavily involved in our worship, especially in the Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline. The use of worship music is diverse which includes monastic traditional chant, Anglican chant and hymns, compositions written by contemporary composers including our sisters, and other contemporary worship praise songs. […]

A Miniseries: Traveling from the Dark to the Light

Posted on: March 27th, 2020

Homilies for the 2020 Lenten Season by Sr. Constance Joanna, SSJD Most of us have traveled through Lent this year becoming increasingly burdened by the darkness of the world around us – politically, economically, and personally – as the COVID-19 virus has exploded. During some of that time I have been preaching on Sundays either […]

Women at a Crossroads 2020: CANCELED

Posted on: March 26th, 2020

***It is with heavy hearts that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to cancel this year’s Women at a Crossroads Program. *** We thank all those who have applied. We hope to hear from you next year!

Snow and Silence

Posted on: March 26th, 2020

By Florence, SSJD Companion. Ash Wednesday was a snowy day. I was listening to the snow. Silence ushered the listening to my deepest self. “The highest form of prayer is to stand silently in awe of God” (Saint Isaac the Syrian) Holding its breath and standing on tiptoe, the creation is eager to hear from […]


Posted on: March 25th, 2020

Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, […]

COVID19 update

Posted on: March 14th, 2020

Dear Associates, Oblates, Friends and Visitors to St. John’s Convent,     With heavy hearts we have closed our Guest House as of today and until further notice. We have also closed the Convent to all non-necessary visitors, which means our worship services, in response to directives from the Bishops of Toronto, will not be open […]

Re Member

Posted on: March 5th, 2020

By Shannon, Assistant Coordinator of the Companions Program These are familiar peopleWhose names I rememberAnd sometimes forget. We have been through life TogetherApartTogether Again Once strangers, we are now familyIn a mysterious sort of way Water and WineBread and VoiceThe Spirit makes it so Trying to follow the One who loves us and binds us […]

News regarding the Branch House

Posted on: March 5th, 2020

Dear Associate, Oblates and friends of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, At a meeting on February 26, 2020, Bishop Logan McMenamie informed Sr. Elizabeth Rolfe-Thomas that, due to budget constraints, the diocese would have to radically reduce its financial support to the Sisterhood of St John the Divine going forward. At that meeting, […]

Mea Culpa

Posted on: March 5th, 2020

By Kelsea, SSJD Companion Mea culpa. Mea culpa.  Mea culpa. Through my own fault.  I have done wrong. Christe Eleison. We are going to say the wrong thing. I am going to say the wrong thing. It is immeasurably difficult to bare ourselves to one another wholly. It is just as difficult, to handle with […]

Wednesday Musings

Posted on: March 5th, 2020

By Shannon, Assistant Coordinator of the Companions Program It’s Wednesday and the Companions and I have just finished our weekly discussion group. As I gather my tea and rise from my chair, I marvel for the hundredth time at how fortunate I am to journey with these fine women. We’re almost seven months in. During […]

A Morning Meditation

Posted on: February 25th, 2020

By Kelsea, SSJD Companion I am not sure how I wake up to my alarm. It gives off one little pulse on the sixth hour of the day. It is imperceptible, though it does the job of waking me up for the day; mostly. Morning.  There is a little less darkness outside today.  Through the […]

Holding Onto God’s “Cantus Firmus”

Posted on: February 19th, 2020

by Jasmine, SSJD Companion   Dietrich Bonhoeffer once described life to his friends as a polyphonic composition, with God’s love as the cantus firmus and our life stories as the counter-melody. All together they make up harmonies and the beauty of a musical piece. The concept of cantus firmus or fixed song is a pre-existing […]

Welcome to our new website!

Posted on: January 30th, 2020

We want to welcome you to the Sisters’ new website. We hope you enjoy the new look, and find what you’re looking for easily. If you have any comments or suggestions about the site, please email Sr. Constance Joanna at We would also like to acknowledge our web designer, Chris Steingart of QT Web […]

Article: Spiritual gap year gives women space to reflect, deepen faith

Posted on: January 29th, 2020

By Stuart Mann – posted January 27 to One is a music therapist, recently graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont. The second is a spiritual director from Hong Kong. And the third, from Lethbridge, Alberta, is discerning a call to the religious life. Three women from different backgrounds, but with one thing […]

Sr. Elizabeth Rolfe-Thomas re-elected as Reverend Mother

Posted on: January 6th, 2020

The Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, Toronto, is delighted to announce the re-election of Sr. Elizabeth Rolfe-Thomas as the Reverend Mother. The voting took place on January 4, 2020 and Sr. Elizabeth was elected on the first ballot. Her term of office runs from May 2020 – May 2025. We would appreciate prayers for […]


Posted on: December 17th, 2019

For the Sisterhood of Saint John the Divine, a vow of poverty is about ‘more than dollars and cents.’ Read the full article by clicking the photo or download the PDF

Divine Light

Posted on: December 1st, 2019

Daily Advent Reflections written by the Oblates and Sisters of SSJD. Read online here or sign up to recieve the reflections via Email