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Marguerite Bourgeoys 400th Birthday Celebrations in Japan

Marguerite Bourgeoys 400th Birthday Celebrations

The celebrations occurred at the Provincial level and in all the communities, Chofu, Hanazono cho, and Sensui cho. We welcomed between 120 to 200 Christians, and graduates. We could be so grateful to see the fruit of 88 years of missionary activities. And there are still more celebrations to come that we keep in our prayers. 

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Marguerite: A Woman Who Compassionately Lived Life on The Peripheries

A Canadian Saint Celebrates 400th Anniversary

Marguerite Bourgeoys was born in Troyes, France on April 17, 1620, the seventh of 13 children in the family. She was raised in a loving and nurturing family. At the age of 20, Marguerite’s young life changed forever. In her most complete account, Marguerite Bourgeoys wrote, “On Rosary Sunday, I went to the procession at the Dominican Church where there was so great a number of people that the cloister was not large enough. So, we crossed the street and passed in front of the portal of Notre Dame where there was a statue in stone above the door. And glancing up to look at it, I found it very beautiful. At the same time, I found myself so moved and changed that I no longer recognized myself. When I returned home, this was apparent to everyone.” It was then she decided to give herself to the service of God with little idea of what her gift would imply.

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Belated Celebration

After a winter storm, caused Kamloops CND Associates’ gathering to be postponed in January, our group gathered February 3rd for our belated celebration of St. Marguerite’s Feast Day. It is always so wonderful to greet each other with great hugs and smiles, and catch up on each other’s news.

It was exciting to hear of the appointment of our very own, Teresa McKerral, as the Associate Coordinator for Visitation Province, West/North. We are so proud of her and know she will add a spark to Associates efforts to live in the spirit of St. Marguerite.

We began our gathering in prayerful reflection honouring the Feast Day of St. Marguerite and remembering her 400th anniversary and sharing how the words and songs inspired us. A bowl of water was added to our “inspiration table” and a prayer was included keeping us in focus with Visitations Blue Community Project. After this we all stood and recited our renewal commitment as associates. One by one we signed our names on the list affirming our Associate Relationship.

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News from Blessed Sacrament Province (USA)

Photo: Some of the Sisters of the Congregation de Notre-Dame who attended Mass at Jewish Senior Services on Christmas Eve

All our Sisters have moved from Lourdes Health Care Center, which is now closed. They made the transition to Jewish Senior Services very gracefully, including Margaret Brennan, who prayed the Hail Mary with Clare Kearney and Maryann Calabrese less than two days before her death and then slipped away quietly and peacefully in her own good time. There are now five Sisters at JSS, served by a new navigator from Connecticut Community Care.


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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Toronto Celebrating!

Sisters and associates have been visiting schools and parishes to speak about St. Marguerite’s life as we celebrate her 400th birthday. Here are a few of those experiences:

On January 10th Notre Dame High School celebrated St. Marguerite’s Feast Day: As part of the 400th celebration, Sr. Eileen Power spoke at the school Mass of Marguerite’s history and legacy. The Mass and reception which was attended by Congregation de Notre-Dame sisters, associates, staff, students, alumni and donors, celebrated “her spirit, courage, determination, love, light and compassion have been beacons for each of us as we navigate our careers either high school or professional.” (Sandy Soave, school chaplain)

"The St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Mass was an amazing experience that reinforced our school theme for this year "Do something." Sr. Power's speech gave me newfound motivation to keep helping others in 2020.” (Grade 11 student Maria Petersen)

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People are still lovable

St. Valentine’s Day seems to have been taken over by the greeting card companies, the candy-makers, and the florists. Even when we live with people who know we love them, there is something special about a card or a gift of flowers to express the specialness of a relationship.

In Holland during World War II, there lived a woman who understood the need to speak words of love and to bring flowers to the one loved. A Dutch Jew, she was killed in Auschwitz in 1943 at the age of twenty-nine. Her name was Etty Hillesum.

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Capsule unearthed at former Notre Dame Convent, Kingston

As the Sisters of the Congregation de Notre-Dame in Kingston gathered to celebrate Sr. Anne Coffey's birthday, little did we know the treat that was in store. The capsule that had been contained in the 1968 cornerstone of the new residence on Wright Crescent was opened for us to view. Found inside the copper tube were newspapers, a book about the Grand Trunk Railway, some religious medals, a small statue of St. Marguerite and one of St. Joseph. Recorded were the names of all the Sisters involved in the move from Johnson Street Residence. Along with these treasures was the brass plaque, which had graced the door of 130 Johnson Street, "the Convent." The Sisters are grateful to the demolition crew who recognized the historical value of the capsule and made sure it was not damaged so that it could be placed in the hands of the Sisters. In due time the capsule will be placed in the Archives at the Motherhouse.

Anne Coffey, CND, Emily Doherty, CND and Barbara Prior, CND

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Marianopolis and the Legend of a Thousand Cranes

To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the birth of Marguerite Bourgeoys, last September Marianopolis College launched the Crane Project. This initiative is based on the story of Sadako Sasaki in Eleanor Coerr’s novel Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. It is about a Japanese girl who is diagnosed with leukemia caused by radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. She is inspired by the Japanese legend that says that if a person folds a thousand paper cranes, her wish will be granted. Today, Sadako’s story and the symbol of the crane are associated with world peace.

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Marguerite’s Feast day at St. Marguerite Bourgeoys school in Kingston

Last Monday, January 13, I joined the students at St. Marguerite Bourgeoys school in Kingston for their celebration of Marguerite’s Feast day. The 450 plus student body from kindergarten to grade eight assembled in the gym for their annual celebration to honour their school’s patron. They sang with all their hearts the song “Saint Marguerite We Love You” which has become their school song. I presented a series of slides illustrating the “Life of Marguerite” made from sketches drawn years ago by a Japanese Sister. Before showing the slides, I reminded the students that there would be a quiz at the end of the presentation and so they watched and listened with great attention. I was utterly amazed and impressed by the knowledge they have of Marguerite’s life! The school does not have any sisters but the spirit of Marguerite and her mission is certainly alive and well. These pictures speak for themselves. When I was leaving the school after a wonderful time with the students, I congratulated the teachers on the fantastic work they are doing in spreading the spirit of Saint Marguerite.

Marijke Gerretsen, CND

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Canadian Government Survey re Pre-Budget Consultations

There are four sections and you can do any one of them or all. All sections are important and the survey does not take long. It is a good exercise for expanding your knowledge of the complexity of the options being considered. It's a chance for Canadians to provide feedback on their priorities such as Climate Change. Some note you can choose as many options as you want while others have only one option choice. You can add another option if you select Other. There is an opportunity at the end to comment further. You'll find the survey at https://budget.gc.ca/2020/prebudget-prebudgetaire/index-en.html?utm_source=CanCa&utm_medium=Initiatives&utm_campaign=PBC20

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Marguerite Bourgeoys: Woman of Contemplation and Compassion

The anniversary of Marguerite’s 400th birthday is drawing near! For many months now, sisters and associates in our Province have been very involved in so many ways recognizing and celebrating the 400th Anniversary of Marguerite’s birth.

We are very pleased to distribute the reprint and translation of the book Marguerite Bourgeoys: Woman of Contemplation and Compassion. Initially published by Sister Denise Lamarche in 2007, the book was inspired by the beautiful statue of Marguerite with a sheaf of wheat at Maison Saint-Gabriel. 

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Sr. Dorothy Maher's 90th birthday.

On January 14, Sr. Dorothy Maher celebrated her 90th birthday. The sisters from Mary of Peace were joined by the Sisters from de Sève Residence at 3:00 p.m. for a glass of wine, cake and ice cream. A grand time was had by all as we fêted Sr. Dorothy on this her very special day.

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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – January 18-25, 2020

Theme chosen for this year is: They showed us unusual kindness. (Acts 28:2)

Christian Unity Week has been observed since 1908. This year the invitation is to show hospitality and welcome, and risk dialogue with persons who do not share our faith, our culture, customs, traditions or language. Unusual kindness may include attentive listening, and compassionate care. For us, moving to the peripheries showing unusual kindness may be a way for us to promote unity as well as praying for it.

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January 12 celebration in Visitation Province (Canada)

Celebrating St. Marguerite: Andrews of Charlottetown

On Friday, January 10th, we were happy to welcome all Sisters the Congregation de Notre-Dame in PEI to join with us in celebrating Marguerite’s Feast. We began with the liturgy of the Eucharist made very meaningful and joyful by our celebrant Fr. Bob Coady and our song leader Sister Shelley Grant. This was followed by a delicious steak dinner with all the trimmings. Much to our surprise, each of us found a personal message from Marguerite taken from her writings at our place setting. In the evening, we gathered to pray the much appreciated evening prayer prepared by our Sisters of Blessed Sacrament Province. Later, we ended the day sharing our stories about our journeys inspired by Marguerite’s life and enjoying some refreshments.

Anne T. Gillis, CND

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Perpetual Profession in Maria Province

On January 12, 2020, the sisters of Maria Province celebrated Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys and the beginning of the year marking the 400th anniversary in a very special way with the perpetual vows ceremony of Sister Akiko Usui.

In the presence of Sister Agnes Campbell, Leader of the Congregation, sisters, associates, teachers, friends and parishioners of Tobata, Sister Usui responded “hai” (yes) to the call of God and of Marguerite. Magnificat!


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January 12 celebration at the Mother House

On January 12, the sisters of the Mother House Community and the members of the Council celebrated together the Feast of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys. Vespers led by Sister Marie de Lovinfosse were followed by aperitifs and a simple and friendly supper


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Seeing the Stranger as a Friend - Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys

Read Sr. Susan Kidd article from the current issue of Living with Christ: Seeing the Stranger as a Friend - Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys

© Novalis/Bayard Presse Canada ‹ Used by permission.

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Living Internationality

The Epiphany reminds me of internationality. Jesus manifested himself not only to one race, but to wise men from afar. How proud and grateful we are for the international character of our community! We pray daily for our young members in formation and for those who guide them; and what an opportunity we have to live internationality! Besides Canadians, our staff members are from the Philippines, Nigeria, China, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Kenya and Jamaica. We love them and they love us. They are so eager to help and serve us! They brighten our life! We thank God for the gift of internationality they bring to us. Let us pray for peace and harmony among nations.

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Feast Of St. Marguerite

On January 12, 2020, St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish in Brookfield will host a "French” breakfast after the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday Masses to mark the 400th anniversary of the birth of Marguerite Bourgeoys.

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Living Narrative

A bilingual lecture-show (with English – French simultaneous interpretation) in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Marguerite Bourgeoys.

Written and presented by Sabrina Di Matteo and directed by Normand Chouinard, LIVING NARRATIVE is a lecture-show with theatrical performances (featuring Denys Chouinard, former archivist at the Congrégation de Notre-Dame) and songs of the period (under the musical direction of Alfred Lagrenade).


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