Friday, September 29, 2017

October Ordo

Definition of ORDO
a list of offices and feasts of the  Church for each day of the year

Some Resources for Daily Readings, collects and biographical information

For All the Saints
A resource to accompany the Calendar of Holy Persons in the BAS. It includes propers for memorials, commemorations, and saints’ days, along with biographical information and primary source readings.
Download the PDF HERE

Holy Women, Holy Men

The liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church of the USA
Download the PDF HERE

The Lectionary Page
Lesser Feasts and Fasts, and additions from a Great Cloud of Witnesses 
Calendar with links to the Collects and Readings for each day.
Find the website HERE

Download SSJD's October  Ordo HEREPlease note that many monastic communities follow their own list of commemorations and many of the celebrations will not be listed in any of these resources. 


Sunday Eucharist - Year A; Weekday Eucharist and Divine Office - Year 1

Su 1 Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 26, B.A.S. p. 382

Mo 2 Nathan Soderblom, Archbishop of Uppsala, 1931; George Kennedy Allan Bell, Bishop of
Chichester, 1959, Ecumenists. (Comm - collect only at MP).

Tu 3 Feast of The Holy Guardian Angels (D) (trans)
St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Religious, Spiritual Teacher, 1897. (Comm - collect only at MP).
at M.P.: Psalm 8, 148 Lesson: Matthew 4:1-11
at E.P.: Psalm 34, 150 or 104 1st Lesson: 1 Kings 19: 1-8
2nd Lesson: Luke 22: 39-46

We 4 Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, Friar & Religious Founder, 1226 (S)

Fr 6 William Tyndale 1536 Translator of the Bible, Martyr, (Comm - collect only at MP).

Su 8 Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 27, B.A.S. p. 384

Mo 9 Thanksgiving Day. Propers & Collect: B.A.S. p. 396-7
[At the Eucharist, use the first set of readings. The other readings are used at the Offices.]
Wilfred Grenfell
at M.P.: Psalm 147 Lesson: John 6: 26-35
at E.P.: Psalm 145 1st Lesson: Joel 2:21-27
2nd Lesson: 1 Thessalonians 5: 12-24
Wilfrid Grenfell, Missionary in Labrador, 1940. (Comm - collect only at MP).

Tu 10 Feast of St. Paulinus, First Bishop of York, Missionary, 644 (S)

Fr 13 Feast of St. Edward the Confessor, Saint, King of England, 1066 (S)

Su 15 Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 28, B.A.S. p. 385
Feast of St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor and Reformer, 1582 (S) and of St. John of the Cross,
Doctor, Reformer, and Writer, 1591 (S)

Marguerite D'Youville
Mo 16 St. Marguerite D'Youville, Religious Founder in New France, 1771; (Comm - collect only at MP)
Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, Bishops and Martyrs, 1555. (Comm - collect only at MP).

Tu 17 Feast of St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch and Martyr, c. 115 (S)
at E.P.: 1st E.P. Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist (D)
Psalms 48, 122 or 84, 150 1st Lesson: Sir. 38: 1-4, 6-10, 12-14
2nd Lesson: Colossians 4: 7-end

We 18 Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist (D) B.A.S. p. 425

Th 19 Feast of St. Etheldreda, Queen, Abbess, Religious Founder, 679 (S)
Jean de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and their Companions, Missionaries and Martyrs in New
France, 1642-1649. (Comm - collect only at MP)

Fr 20 Requiem

Su 22 Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 29, B.A.S. p. 386
Week of Prayer for World Peace begins today and continues to Saturday
Prayers for World Peace at each Office and during the Intercessions daily

Tu 24 Feast of St. James of Jerusalem, Brother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and Martyr, c. 62
(D) (trans)
at M.P.: Psalm 119:Parts 19-21 Lesson: Matthew 10: 16-22
at E.P.: Psalms 122-125 1st Lesson: Isaiah 65: 17-25
2nd Lesson: Hebrews 12: 12-24
United Nations Day. Choice of Collects: Occ. Off. p. 199, or "New Parish Prayers" p. 81 & 92

Th 26 Feast of St. Alfred the Great, Saint, King of the West Saxons, 899 (S)

Fr 27 at E.P.: 1st E.P. Feast of St. Simon & St. Jude, Apostles and Martyrs (D)
Psalms 48, 122 or 84, 150 1st Lesson: Deuteronomy 32: 1-4
2nd Lesson: Luke 6: 12-19

Sa 28 Feast of St. Simon & St. Jude, Apostles and Martyrs (D) B.A.S. p. 426

Su 29 Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost Proper 30, B.A.S. p. 388
James Hannington, Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, and his Companions, Martyrs, 1885.
(Comm - collect only at MP).

Mo 30 John Wycliffe and Jan Hus, Martyrs, 1384 and 1415. (Comm - collect only at MP)

Tu 31 Saints & Martyrs of the Reformation Era. (Comm - collect only at MP).
at E.P.: 1st E.P. Feast of All Saints (D) B.A.S. p. 497

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

See the World, You ARE Able, part 5

Cruising the Mediterranean
My wanderlust continued, even though I had experienced a severe setback due to a diagnosis of advanced osteoporosis.  My husband had never "crossed the pond" so to speak, and I had not done so for several decades.  I decided to investigate the itineraries offered by Holland America once again because I had had such a great time travelling through the Maritimes.
 Travelling through Europe, for me, is akin to a pilgrimage.  Each trip that I make, brings me into touch with the history of Christianity and closer to God.  With each cathedral, church, gravesite or monument, there is a sense of the Almighty being present and imagining those who had come before me sharing this same feeling deepened my conviction that somehow God had led me to that place. 
The first pilgrimage we made to Europe was in the Mediterranean region aboard the Niew Amsterdam, one of the larger ships in the fleet.  I don't think that I have mentioned this, but if you are a member of the Holland America Loyalty programme, the Mariner Society, you are invited to a reception where you are presented with porcelain tiles made in the Delft factory in Holland.  Each tile bears the likeness of the ship on which you are travelling.  I have collected several of these tiles and mounted them in a picture frame which hangs in my kitchen. They also make excellent coasters.  The Niew Amsterdam tile is on the top left of the picture below. 
As with the other ships in the fleet, the accommodations for those with mobility challenges were plentiful and I found that dietary restrictions were accommodated as the norm, perhaps because European countries are far more advanced in this than we are in North America.  The diversity of the restaurants on this ship had grown in size from our previous excursion on the Maasdam, as well as the number of people aboard.  There were a few welcome additions on this ship.   In addition to the West Coast grill (The Pinnacle) and the Italian fare (The Canaletto), the Nieuw Amsterdam sported an Asian fusion restaurant (The Tamarind).  There was also a real movie theatre with comfortable theatre seats, a very large screen and a popcorn machine.  And, of course, there were two types of religious services celebrated each day (non-denominational and Catholic) and on Fridays, the Jewish passengers were invited to celebrate their Sabbath Eve services complete with traditional kosher treats from the kitchen. 
I know that I have mentioned previously that I am accident-prone.  Six weeks before our trip, I tripped over a bag of groceries on my front porch and broke my leg. The doctors assured me that the cast would come off before we left so my wonderful travel agent booked a seat for me in the last row of the airplane so that I could avail myself of the large space between my seat and the washroom to stand behind my seat to help with the circulation in my leg.  The cast was removed in time and, although my leg was somewhat stiff, we set off for Venice.  Again, the airlines provided excellent service from the time I arrived at the airport to the time that we landed at Marco Polo airport.  We hadn't booked transfers to the ship as were wanted to spend a few days in the city of romance prior to our cruise.  That meant we had to arrange water transport to our hotel by ourselves.  As luck would have it, we met another couple staying in the same area as we were and together we managed to pay the very expensive fare to the dock nearest our destination.  What I hadn't counted on was the lack of steps from the water taxi to the dock, something that you should investigate before your trip.  I will be eternally grateful to those very strong men who hauled my "curvy" body up and down from the dock in the gentlest manner possible.
Every couple in love should visit this magnificent city; however, in my condition, walking on cobblestones and traversing the many bridges proved to be a challenge.  Rule of thumb when walking in all European cities where cobblestone streets are plentiful -- look down at where your feet are going.  If you want to enjoy the scenery, stop and look at it and take your pictures while stationery.  Canes with three prongs or walkers are really handy, especially if your walker sports a seat.  If you are tired, there is a greater chance that you will have a mishap, so pace yourself.  Luckily, there are many cafes, parks and gelato places to sit and rest.  In Venice there are gondolas and vaporettos (large water taxis) to get you to various destinations.  The bridges posted somewhat of a challenge for me; however I planned my walking itinerary carefully so as not to overexert myself.
Our hotel was near St. Mark's Square, just down the way from the church where Handel gave his performances. We managed to book a room on the main floor so that I didn't have to manoeuvre any steps to get to street level.  I had been to Venice many years before so I was content to spend time people watching in the many cafes and restaurants while Darryl went sightseeing.  That being said, I did venture out on my own into a few back streets to see the wig and marionette makers' shops.  There was always something to see in the streets -- dancers, puppet shows, minstrels, etc.
 Our pilgrimage took us to many churches and cathedrals, and, once again we had the good fortune to be able to attend Sunday mass --  this time at St. Mark's Cathedral.  I should mention that a little bit of local language skills, or a good translation app on your phone goes a long way as I was able to ask at a side door if we could attend the service, thereby avoiding the long line of tourists waiting to get in at the main door.
 What a delight to be able to worship in places that we knew held centuries of history and great music and to consider God's hand in the shaping of the architecture, art and music that had withstood time.  And, of course, the privilege of sharing the worship experience with so many people from diverse cultures all speaking in their native tongues.  I will always cherish those sacred space memories. 
 During the 1990s, I worked as an assistant to an art glass collector who had many fine examples of glass made on the island of Murano.  As it was just a short boat ride to there, we decided to take a tour of the glass factory.  We passed one of Elton John's houses -- painted bright yellow -- and saw many of the smaller islands such as the Lido which was the home of the famous resort and casino.  Our tour was fascinating but we were sad to learn that the glass blowing industry was in danger of becoming a lost art h as the once family-based career was becoming less attractive to the younger generation.  Needless to say, my retail sightseeing prompted a visit to the gift shop where all I could afford was a very small cross and a snow globe. (Have I mentioned that I have a collection of 250+ snow globes?)
After two days, it was time to leave Venice and board our ship to begin our cruise on the beautiful Mediterranean sea.  God willing, we will be able to go back to explore the great city of Venice again.

The only reference that I had to "Montenegro" was in the name of the musician, Hugo Montenegro so when our next port was to be in a country of that name, I was quite intrigued.  We took a shore excursion by bus from our port in Kotor to explore the rich culture, natural beauty and historical heritage of that country.  We travelled up the Louveen hills which wound around narrow roadways like a snake and, had it not been for my prayers of thanks for the beautiful view of Kotor Bay and the exquisite mountain scenery, I surely would have kept my eyes closed all the way to the top. 

We reached the village of Njegusi where the "aroma" of the smoke houses filled the air.  Darryl took the opportunity to visit the inside of one of these; however, being a vegetarian, I opted for sitting in the outdoor café where people were tasting the local specialties of ham and cheese sandwiches, wine and brandy.

 And here I must interject another tip -- carry a small first aid kit with you and, if you have allergies, remember your Epi pen.  I got stung by a bee so I was lucky that the guide was prepared with these items.  I don't remember much of the ride down the mountain towards the 2,000 year old city of Budva, and sadly did not take the walking tour of the city of Kotor, known as "the jewel of Montenegro".  As I was not up to the challenge of the cobblestone streets, I found yet another shady spot to wait for the bus to go back to the ship.

The last time I was in Greece, I was almost mown down by a tank in Athens when the military took over the city.   Our port in Greece was Kekira on the island of Corfu.  We decided not to take a tour; instead we went ashore by ourselves and walked around Corfu Town and saw Cricket Square and the Palace of St. George and St. Michael.

The night before we landed in Naples, we got an e-mail from my friend Helen saying that her father had died so our two objectives for the next day was to find a church in which to light a memorial candle and to eat a slice of the famous Queen Margarita pizza.  Again, our luck was with us in that we landed on a Sunday and, with my terrible Italian language skills, I asked and was taken to the nearest church to celebrate mass with a friendly resident and her son.

 We then set out to find pizza, but all we could see was a Chinese restaurant. One thing that I noticed in Naples was the excellent graffiti adorning many of the walls.
 It was starting to rain and we had forgotten our umbrellas (remember to take some sort of raingear with you to avoid exorbitant prices in the stores) so we took a short walk around the city and, when we boarded the ship, we were treated to a "slice". 

Even if you are not a fan of the Game of Thrones books or television series, you really must see our next port -- Dubrovnik. 

Me on the Iron Throne

I had never heard of the books until, on one of my low energy days when I really didn't feel like going ashore, I discovered the well-stocked library and the knowledgeable librarian aboard the ship.  The library also had a Starbucks-like coffee bar and computers which was all I needed for happiness that day..  I began a conversation about C.S. Lewis's Narnia with the Librarian and she suggested that I read Game of Thrones.  I'm not a great fan of the television series, but seeing the actual place where the "shoots" took place was quite a thrill.  Dubrovnik is an ancient walled city but beware -- the streets are all cobblestones.  I did more stopping and looking up from the ground in this city than in any other one that I have visited.

Local residents recounted many stories about the film shoot for the t.v. series and I could absolutely see why they chose that location for filming.  The walls of the city were gigantic -- I didn't climb to the top to see the view but I did see them from afar.  We visited the church there and also the synagogue in the Jewish quarter. 
There were too many steps for me to go into the sanctuary (Darryl went) so I stayed in the gift shop and talked to the docent about the community that worshiped there.  It's amazing what you can find out while you are waiting -- most locals are so willing to share their knowledge with you if they see you standing or sitting around.  We were directed to the main square where the oldest alarm clock stood -- what an amazing sight to see, especially when we were told how it worked.

Our next stop was the ancient city of Rome.  I had been there at least four times in my life and had loved every minute of exploring the museums, galleries, shops and churches.  My best tactic for sightseeing was to hop on a different city bus each day and go to a new area to explore.  That was when I was younger and didn't have quite the stamina and mobility challenges that I now face.  I knew that the bus ride into the city was quite long and that there would be a tremendous amount of walking, so I sent Darryl on the excursion as he had never been there.  I opted for a great day at the Spa on the ship.  The Spa often has great deals which you find out about each day by the notices left in the envelope on the door to your cabin.  Believe me, I'm not one to run to have facials or massages, but when you can get all that plus unlimited time in a room of silence looking out on the sea, it was too good to pass up.  Darryl took a lot of pictures and confirmed that it would have been madness for me to have attempted so gruelling a trip ashore.  Much as I would have liked to see the inner rooms of the Vatican, I thought I had made the right decision.  
These are only a few of the many pictures that he took.
And here I will stop as there is so much more to tell about the places that we have visited.  I will continue in another installment of this Blog.





Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Education for Ministry (EfM)

Education for Ministry (EFM) is an opportunity to expose oneself to the great treasure trove of riches bequeathed by generations of believers that makes up the Christian tradition and to understand which pieces speak most directly to the purposes of one’s own life.
The four year curriculum, to which members commit one year at a time, covers a close reading of Old and New Testaments, a history of world-wide Christianity, and a consideration of contemporary ethics, interfaith dialogue, and theology. Integrated into the academic coverage of tradition, there are exercises in theological reflection, spiritual autobiography, prayer life, systematic theology, and ministry.

EFM at the Cathedral:

The community is a small group (12 participants maximum and 2 trained mentors) who meet every other Saturday morning from mid September though early June, 9:30 to 1:15 pm in the Cathedral Centre. This past year we had people from every decade of life between 20 and 60.
There are lively discussions of each year of study within the group as a whole, as well as theological reflection, worship, and contemporary ethics.

Curriculum and Sponsorship:

  • Texts selected or developed by the Faculty of Divinity of the School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee and EFM Canada.
  • EFM is fully supported by Dean Andrew Asbil and the clergy of St. James Cathedral.
  • EFM program sponsored by the Anglican Diocese of Toronto and supported by all local area bishops
  • Recognized as training for all Christians as well as for lay leaders and those seeking ordination to the diaconate

Fees and Registration:

  • Annual fees: $350 plus texts books, about another $50.
  • Bursaries: $100 bursaries can be applied for, in cases of financial need
  • Registration: contact Carol Kysela ( to discuss whether EFM is
    right for you.
For more information see the EFM Canada website.

EfM Student Experiences


As someone fortunate enough to have been  part of both the Cathedral and Convent group, I would give this course a five star rating.  I grew up in a Jewish family and formally converted to Christianity in my early forties.  I had heard many of the stories in the Old Testament but had never really thought about them until I took a comparative religion course in University.  I knew nothing about the New Testament except that there was a man called Jesus who many claimed was the Messiah.  I became part of my husband's congregation and attended some bible study sessions; however, I had too many questions that really needed a more in depth examination.  I first heard about EfM from Sister Sue Elwyn at the Convent of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine in Toronto and I signed up immediately.  One of the first things that we were required to do was a Spiritual Biography (something that we did every year thereafter) and, believe me, I was elated to find out that I was not the only person who did not grow up as an Anglican and that my fellow students were not all experts in quoting Scripture.  I agonized about starting yet another degree at the age of 65 and whether I could read the amount of material required as I have a visual disability.  I thank God for the person who invented the Kindle and for Amazon that provided me with at least 90% of my books which I could read by enlarging the text.  I absolutely loved studying the Old Testament during first year.  I proudly could tell my family that I was reading Torah -- it was like being at the Yeshiva.  In addition to learning how to read Scripture, I was so fortunate to have a great mentor, Carol Kysela, who taught me how to thing theologically about what was happening around me (Theological Reflection).  I must add that EfM is what you make it -- it is up to you how you want to study and apply what you have learned to your life.  During second year, when a large part of the material had to do with St. Paul, I wrote reply letters to him discussing what he had written.  My favourite year was Year Three because my knowledge of the History of Christianity had been garnered from terrible movies that I had seen over the years.  The textbook my Dermid McCullough was fantastic and the discussions in our group were intriguing.  It amazed me how the contributions by students in all four years could come together on one topic, even though they were concentrating on different areas of study.  Theological reflection continued to amaze me as I had now begun to formulate my own Ministry.  By fourth year, my areas of ministry to the marginalized community had been solidified and I knew which path God had directed me to.  The bond among my fellow students has endured over the years and I am proud to say that I have a different perspective of the world thanks to EfM.
Sue Ann Elite, Oblate, SSJD


This ad is an excellent description of the EFM programme. EFM is certainly not for everyone, but it IS for people who take their Christian faith seriously and want to mature and grow in their understanding. Prospective students who are outside the Diocese of Toronto can check with their diocese or the EFM national office (link above) to see if there is a class near them. On-line classes are also available.
 Gail Holland, 4th year student,
St. Matthews, Oshawa


My husband, James, recommended that I take EfM in 2006.  He took the course in McDonough, Georgia and told me that I will learn so much more.  He was right!  The best part was the theological reflection discussions and that everyone had a voice that was heard and listened to.

Edith Reese, EfM Graduate 2010


I started EfM at the urging of Sister Sue--she is a hard person to say "no" to.  As I was already Chaplain to the Ladies Auxiliary at the Legion, I thought it would be good training.  It was very interesting listening to each of the participants every week presenting what they had read and their take on it.  Also, it was good to discuss and relearn the precepts of our faith and the Bible stories I grew up on.  The friendships and fellowship was wonderful.  I hope to keep those friends for the rest of my life hee in the material world.  Thank you, EfM.

Janet Kaminskym EfM Graduate 2009

If you wish to have your comments added, please email them in Word to

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Definition of ORDO
a list of offices and feasts of the  Church for each day of the year

Some Resources for Daily Readings, collects and biographical information

For All the Saints
A resource to accompany the Calendar of Holy Persons in the BAS. It includes propers for memorials, commemorations, and saints’ days, along with biographical information and primary source readings.
Download the PDF HERE

Holy Women, Holy Men

The liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church of the USA
Download the PDF HERE

The Lectionary Page
Lesser Feasts and Fasts, and additions from a Great Cloud of Witnesses 
Calendar with links to the Collects and Readings for each day.
Find the website HERE

Download SSJD's September Ordo HEREPlease note that many monastic communities follow their own list of commemorations and many of the celebrations will not be listed in any of these resources. 
The SSJD Ordo for September 2017
Sunday Eucharist - Year A ; Weekday Eucharist and Divine Office - Year 1

Fr 1 St. Giles, Abbot in Southern France, c. 720. (S).

Sa 2 Martyrs of New Guinea, 1942. (Comm - collect only at MP).

Su 3 Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 22 B.A.S. p. 377 - 378
Feast of St. Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome and Doctor, 604 (S)

Th 7 at E.P.: 1st E.P. Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Foundation Day, S.S.J.D. (D)
with Octave
Psalms 84, 85 1st Lesson: Isaiah 52: 7-12
2nd Lesson: Hebrews 2: 5-end

Fr 8 Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Foundation Day, S.S.J.D. (D)
at M.P.: Psalm 48 Reading: Romans 5: 12-end
at E.P.: Psalms 46, 98 1st Lesson: 1 Samuel 2: 1-10
2nd Lesson: 1 John 4: 7-end

Sa 9 John Medley, Bishop of Fredericton, 1892. (Comm - collect only at MP).

Su 10 Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 23 B.A.S. p. 378 - 379
Edmund Peck, Missionary to the Inuit
Edmund Peck, Missionary to the Inuit, 1924. (Comm - collect only at MP).
We13 Feast of St. Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr of Carthage, 258 (S)
at E.P.: 1st E.P. of the Feast of Holy Cross Day (D) (see B.A.S. p. 497)

Th 14 Feast of Holy Cross Day (D) B.A.S. p. 422
at M.P. : Alternative O.T. Reading: Isaiah 45: 21- 25

Fr 15 * Special collect and hymn for ministry at Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer

Sa 16 Feast of St. Ninian, Bishop of Galloway, c. 430 (S)
* Special collect and hymn for ministry at Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer

Su 17 Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 24 B.A.S. p. 379 - 380

Tu 19 Feast of St. Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690 (S)

We 20 Ministry Day - Special Propers at Eucharist & use Ordination Litany Form A - B.A.S. p.661
for the Intercessions; Additional collect at MP& EP
John Coleridge Patteson, Bishop of Melanesia, and his Companions, Martyrs, 1871. (C).
at E.P.: 1st E.P. Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (D)
Psalms 48, 122 or 84, 150 1st Lesson: Prov. 3: 1-6
2nd Lesson: Matthew 19: 16-end
Order of Collects at EP 1) St. Matthew
2) Ministry Day

Th 21 Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (D) B.A.S. p. 423
Benjamin Cronyn, Bishop of Huron

Fr 22 Requiem
Benjamin Cronyn, Bishop of Huron, 1871. (Comm - collect only at MP).

Su 24 Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost Proper 25 B.A.S. p. 381

Tu 26 Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, 1626. (Comm - collect only at MP).

We27 Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, Priest, Reformer and Religious Founder, 1660 (S)

Th 28 at E.P.: 1st E.P. Feast of St. Michael and All Angels (D)
Psalms 89, part 1 1st Lesson: Daniel 10: 4-end
2nd Lesson: Rev. 8: 1-6

Fr 29 Feast of St. Michael and All Angels (D) B.A.S. p. 424

Sa 30 Feast of St. Jerome, Priest, Monk of Bethlehem and Doctor, 420 (S)

Monday, August 14, 2017

See the World, you ARE Able, Part 4

The cruise began in Montreal and sailed up the St. Lawrence River stopping at Quebec City, Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island), Sydney (New Brunswick), Halifax (Nova Scotia), Bar Harbour (Maine) and ending in Boston (Massachusetts).  We decided that the weather in May did not warrant having a balcony so we booked an Oceanview cabin with a window so that we could lie in bed and see the stars.  Remembering how sick I had been years ago on a ship, I came armed with seasickness patches, Gravol and packages of ginger tea, the latter of which was the only one that I had need to use.  "Look out at the horizon, not down at the waves" warned my brother-in-law Ed.  Good advice as I never felt one moment of seasickness.  Whether it was due to that or to the fact that the Maasdam was large enough that the sea didn't transmit any turbulence, I cannot say, but the handrails on either side of the wide hallways and the decks,  made it easy to get around and meant that I really didn't have to be accompanied by my cane wherever I went on the ship.

 I had ordered a cabin designated for disabled passengers and found that the  doorways and spaces in the cabins were very generous as was the size of the washroom.  The bathtub was easily accessible with bars and safety mats and there definitely was enough room for wheelchair access.  I can't say enough about the comfortable beds, so much so that we purchased one of their mattresses for our own house.  The furnishings, linens and cabin stewards were top notch.  We loved the towel creatures that rested on our beds each night. 
The ship had a casino and nightly Las Vegas-type shows and so many other activities that you could indulge in; however, avid movie goers that we are, we went into their "cinema" each night to view current movies and eat popcorn. 

We began our journey by flying to Montreal where we had booked air to ship transfers -- something that I highly recommend doing when booking your cruise.  It really does save the hassle of finding your way through the airport and getting to the right area to board the ship.  We were met by a very cheery representative who did her utmost to make sure that I had a place to sit while waiting for our bus and that I had a front seat on it when it came.  Boarding buses can be a challenge but she was prepared with a small footstool so that I could easily reach the front step and the bus driver was extremely helpful in guiding me to my seat. 

When we arrived at the terminal, we were shown to a special line for mobility challenged people and were processed and on our way to our cabins in no time at all.  Our luggage was delivered to our cabins within the hour; meanwhile we were invited to a welcome party on the deck.  We had chosen to eat in the dining room at the early sitting -- something you can arrange when you book your cruise.  As first time cruisers, we thought that a table with another couple would be ideal so that was what we chose.  You do have other options such as a later sitting or no dining room booking at all.  Should you choose this option, there are many other restaurants on board in which to dine. If you intend to do "free style dining", don't book the dining room seating as they prepare food for the number of people they expect, so if you don't show up, it wastes food.  Mind you, they are geniuses at transforming unused food for the midnight buffet which my husband truly loved.

Our first port was Quebec City.  I had been there on business several times but had never really seen the city itself.  One of the most magnificent views from the deck was the Chateau Frontenac.
There were many shore excursions from which to choose, ours being the trip to St. Anne de Beaupre.  Now, I must explain how I choose my excursions.  Holland America has a rating system which easily shows a one stick figure for the least amount of walking to four stick figures for a lot of walking and they also show dollar signs for the least to most expensive tours.  Needless to say, my upper limit of walking is two stick figures.  Most buses have the first few rows designated for mobility challenged people and there is storage for walkers as well.  You can also book private tours which many of the guests with scooters did because they could book vehicles which could accommodate them at their own pace.

Our bus took us through the city and the guide pointed out various areas of interest and then we proceeded into the country side, past Montmorency Falls
 to the great cathedral of St. Anne de Beaupre.  It was a Sunday, so while everyone else walked around looking at the grounds and the other sights, I went inside the church as part of the congregation.

See those steps -- I didn't climb them.  A tip about these old buildings is that if you walk around most of them, you will find an accessible entrance.
The next stop on our journey through the Maritimes was Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.  I was so excited to see the home of my childhood hero, Anne of Green Gables.  In my youth, my curly, auburn hair was worn in pigtails and my nickname was Sue Ann of Green Gables.  The picture below is of Lucy Maude Montgomery's great granddaughter who works in the Green Gables house as a hostess. 
Unfortunately, I was limited to seeing only the main floor of the house as there were too many steps but what I did see was so interesting that I didn't mind.  One of the pictures on the wall that peaked my interest to re-read the books, was a portrait of Anne that I'm sure inspired the image we have of her so many years later.

Aside from the wonderful furniture and mind-boggling clothes on display within the house, were the many antiques (horse and carriages, water pumps) that were on the property itself.  We even went on a hayride (a very, very strong farmhand managed to lift me onto the wagon).
Sadly, we had to leave this beautiful island where the scenery and food were plentiful and so memorable.  I have to admit that I didn't leave without first stopping at COWS, the famous ice-cream store and, it is worth the however many miles trip to taste such glorious craft made products.

Continuing on, on our journey, the next port was Sydney, Nova Scotia.  As I mentioned before, we had travelled through Nova Scotia on the Celtic Colours tour a few years before this cruise, so I wasn't too disappointed in not being physically able to descend into the mines.  While my husband waiting in the lobby with my husband who was going on the tour, I met a few other women who had the same mobility challenge, and, together, we hailed a taxi to take us to the craft show that was on in the city.  One thing I have realized is that I am not the only person who has challenges and I am getting pretty good at reaching out to others to find things that w have in common and discover things to do. 

Our next port was Halifax and there is not enough time to recount all the wonderful sights to see in Halifax.  You can take shore excursions that will take on historic sightseeing tours as my husband did or you can sightsee retail, as I do, on Spring Street or along the harbour.  Since we had previously visited Peggy's Cover, home of the famous lighthouse, we opted for a tour to Lunenberg, home of the famous ship and to various towns around that area.  There was a wonderful nautical museum there which occupied my time while others climbed aboard the schooner.
It was that night, as we entered the Atlantic Ocean that I experienced my first encounter with rough seas.  Luckily for us, there were railings on both sides of the hallways so our regular nighttime dinner plans and visit to the cinema were not hampered.  It actually felt like being rocked to sleep in bed rather than anything unpleasant.  When we awoke the following morning, we discovered the reason for the turbulence was the storm that we were going through.  We were about to dock at our next port, |Bar Harbour, Maine and were told that it was raining and it was up to us if we wanted to continue with our shore excursion and regardless if we went or not, we would receive refunds for the tour.  My husband decided that he would go on the tour while I spent a delightful afternoon under a tent talking to local residents about the town.  Darryl brought back a few pictures of the colourful houses and some useful information.  I learned that the town is located on Mount Desert Island and is surrounded by Acadia National Park, rocky cliffs and blue waters and that had the weather been better, we could have gone lobster fishing or on a Schooner ride. 
We were very surprised when, upon re-boarding the Maasdam, we were greeted with a champagne reception, courtesy of the ship's captain who was feeling guilty about the weather mishap.
Our next and final port was Boston.  Darryl decided to take the shore excursion entitled USS Constitution and Harbour Cruise.  By this time, I had had quite enough of climbing on and off boats, so I decided to get on a city bus and knit the rest of my prayer shawl while I saw a bit of the town.  I happened to position myself right behind the driver who took an interest in the what I was knitting and, while I gave him a lesson in the theory behind the prayer shawl ministry, he gave me a guided tour of Boston.  What a treat!  And here I must draw your attention to bringing something you can do like knitting or crocheting or reading a good book.  It not only gives you something to do while you wait while other tour companions go where you are hesitant to tread (cobblestones, steps, etc.), it gives you a chance to talk to local passers-by and to interested tourists as well. 
We disembarked from our cruise with fond memories of our journey and proceeded to stay for a few days in this wonderful historic town. We loved Boston, especially our hotel.  We stayed at the historic Parker House Hotel, famous for, you guessed it, Parker House rolls.  What we didn't expect was the beautiful room with the antique furniture.  When choosing a hotel, I would suggest doing a bit of research about it first.  I had no idea that we would have an antique bed that was so high that I couldn't get in unless Darryl gave me a boost.  I got into the bed but when I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I had to wake him up to help me.  That being said, the food made up for the difficulty.  Not only were the Parker House rolls everything we expected, but the Boston Cream Pie was unbelievable.  So this ends my tale of our first cruise.  We have gone on many more and I will continue the next installment detailing our trips to Europe.