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Climate Change

At a recent meeting, Sister Mary Corbett, CND, guest presenter, using Laudato Sí’ as a framework, explored some critical issues around climate change. While exploring the contamination and evaporation of water, Mary strongly emphasized that access to life-giving water is an essential right for all life forms. She stated that the hydrological cycle (water cycle) of the planet is a closed cycle. There is not a limitless supply of water. “Our present levels of water pollution, stated Mary,” “harm the hydrological system, are unsustainable and put all life forms on the planet in peril.” Several times throughout her presentation, Mary asked: “What are we leaving for the next generations to come and for all life forms?” Moving from this painful reality into a more contemplative mode, Mary presented some magnificent pictures of the Earth taken from Space. She also shared the Astronauts’ profound statements about their experience of viewing Earth from Space.

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The St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Math Contest

Mathematics is the language of the universe. It is then fitting that, as we celebrate the 400th anniversary of our foundress Marguerite Bourgeoys, we joined with the grade five and six students of the Catholic School board of Kingston for their first math contest. Mr. Henry Santos, a passionate math teacher, and former student of the CNDs, contacted us asking if our 400th celebration and their contest might link-up. He wanted the Kingston sisters to name the contest, and to choose a name and design for the new trophy that would be passed on to the winning school each year. There was much enthusiastic discussion around these topics until we came to the consensus of “The St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Math Contest,” and “St. Marguerite Bourgeoys trophy,” with the design of the official picture we received of Marguerite.

 

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National Indigenous People’s Day

Today, June 21, is National Indigenous People’s Day, a day to learn more about the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Metis Indigenous peoples of Canada. Current terminology can assist our understanding and respectful dialogue.

– First Nations is a term that came into common use in the 70’s as an alternative to the outdated term Indian. It refers to people who have official status under the Indian Act of Canada, as well as persons without status who identify as belonging to a First Nation. First Nations have specific names we can learn to use.

– Inuit means people in the Inuktitut language and is used to refer to Indigenous people who live in the Arctic regions of Canada. The term Eskimo is no longer used and may be considered as offensive.

– Metis refers to people of mixed ancestry who have developed their own traditions, cultures and languages distinct from those of their Indigenous and European ancestors. The term should be used only to refer to people who self-identify as Metis.

It helps to move away from using old terms, like Indian or native as these words evoke Canada’s colonial past. Indigenous peoples now have the opportunity to choose the terms used to identify them.

 

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National Indigenous Peoples Day 2017 Presentation

To begin with, I am not an expert on the history and customs of First Nation People. So I can only share with you what I have learned and experienced in my 29 years with the people of the Canim Lake Reserve, Shuswap Nation, known in Secwepemc as Tsq’escenemc.

I would like to tell you a little about the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, of which I have been a member for 61 years. Our foundress, Marguerite Bourgeoys, came to New France in 1653 to be the first teacher of Ville Marie. She fought long and hard to have her group of women recognized as an uncloistered religious community. She wanted the sisters to go out to the native people around the fort that was Montreal at that time. She opened a school located in one of the towers, which still stands on the property of the Sulpician Fathers. So, we have always been a congregation devoted to education and inclusive of all people.

 

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Annual Gathering of Sisters and Associates from Visitation Province West

We met at Seton House of Prayer in Kelowna on the last weekend in May. This is our yearly opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones while sharing our passion for all things related to the Congregation de Notre-Dame.

Participants were invited to bring symbols from their home and explain why these particular items are meaningful reminders to them of the person of Marguerite Bourgeoys. This was a special year for our group as we were offered two presentations – one from Sister Eleanor McCloskey, CND, who gave an interesting, in-depth and lively presentation on Marguerite Bourgeoys in celebration of her 400 year anniversary. The second presentation was from our JPIC Coordinator, Monica Lambton, who spoke to us about taking new steps in new directions towards caring for the earth and for those living in poverty and struggling with injustice. She spoke to us about the fire inside of us and gave us tools for keeping that motivational fire alive and helping others to catch hold of that same flame through her usage of biblical quotes and the life and words of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys. These tools included conversations about how to decide what action will have the biggest impact, what resources are the best fit, and how each of us is invited to be part of living the call of Laudato Sí.

Maureen Wylie, Associate

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Going to Peripheries

I will share about my going to the peripheries. For over twenty-five years, I have been actively involved with the work of Development and Peace. I am a member of the Charlottetown Diocesan Council of D&P and responsible to carry out the two annual campaigns in my parish. Being involved in this work is truly a call from God. The work is demanding and sometimes discouraging… a test of one's faith! However, the Spirit is alive. Working with members, parishioners and partners inspires me to continue doing my little bit to help build a just world. Members of D&P are encouraged to network with like-minded organizations and groups.

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400th Anniversary Invitation

On Tuesday, June 11th Rosemary McGhee, Louisbourg volunteer and friend of the Congregation de Notre-Dame, will present Marguerite Bourgeoys - Valiant Visionary at the Cape Breton Regional Library located at 50 Falmouth St., Sydney, NS. Her presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. with tea and coffee following the session. Come and help us celebrate Marguerite!

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Feast of the Visitation from coast to coast

PEI 

It was May 31, the Feast of the Visitation. It was the day for the renewal of our vows. It was the occasion on which we celebrated our jubilarians. The PEI Sisters were all together. We began with Mass in our community room, presided by our chaplain, Father Bob Coady. After the homily, we renewed our vows in English and French. We then enjoyed a delicious lobster dinner in Andrews’ dining room. After dinner, we returned to our community room, where we expressed our appreciation for our three jubilarians, Sisters Catherine Smith (70), Marie Gaudet (70) and Anne T. Gillis (60). We did this through song, cards and spoken words. These sisters were invited to tell stories about their life as sisters of the Congregation de Notre-Dame, and we very much enjoyed their anecdotes. The celebration continued in the evening with the sisters living at Andrews. We had a prayer service, our Jubilarians received gifts and we enjoyed refreshments. Many reasons to celebrate, and celebrate we did!

Réjeanne Bourque, CND with Notre Dame Community at Andrews

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Reflection for the Visitation Mass

Initially, I was surprised when I heard myself volunteer to give this reflection, especially as I consider how truly inspirational and wise the messages emanating from this podium have been. However, I now realize that it was a spirit-led moment that the newest among you might offer some words on today’s feast. I’ll explain why, starting in 33 BCE and following that up with a little bit of physics.

We often think of the Mary of the annunciation story as a quiet, demure, and obedient young girl, but being a young girl, she was likely also energetic, bubbly, and joyful. She did what her parents said, and then when an angel appeared, we imagine that this angelic young girl obediently gave her ‘yes’. How sweet.

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Our Father who art in heaven

Among the many activities of June, in addition to weddings, graduations, and the beginning of summer, Father’s Day takes on a special significance. This year four first grade girls revealed something to me about the meaning of fatherhood; and, in particular, an insight into God as our Father.

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News from Blessed Sacrament Province (USA)

From Our Leadership Team

During our May 11-13 meeting we watched Sharing the Vision: A Dialogue on Religious Life Today and into the Future, an excellent video presentation by the officers of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) at the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) in Rome. We invite you to view it—if possible with others—at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEtO4cV67q4&feature=youtu.be and if you do, don’t skip the questions and comments at the end—some of the best parts are there, especially the section on vocations!

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Retreat at Andrews of Charlottetown

We spent three grace-filled days of retreat with Sister Denise Bérubé from May 22-24. The theme dealt mainly with the compassion of Jesus, our call to compassion and the ministry of presence. Denise’s gentle, reflective approach, her use of sacred music, appropriate handouts and a well-balanced schedule all contributed to a prayerful experience. We were fortunate to have daily Mass with our chaplain, Father Bob Coady. We are grateful to God and to Denise for her precious ministry.

Réjeanne Bourque, CND

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Sr. Libby Osgood Accepted to Profess First Vows

It is with great joy and gratitude that we share with you the news that Sr. Libby Osgood has been accepted to profess First Vows in the Congrégation de Notre-Dame of Montreal. 

Please continue to hold Libby in prayer as she prepares to deepen her commitment to live the mystery of the Visitation as a professed member of the CND.

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Meeting of women in the parish of Santa Bárbara, Honduras

This meeting was a collective experience lived from a perspective of the faith and the daily reality of women.

Five years ago we began to meet once a month with some village coordinators. We also meet, once a year, with eighty to one hundred women from different villages to celebrate and share our rural women ministry.

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Angels In Our Midst - Going To The Peripheries

On a Tuesday, a friend invited me to accompany her to the Friendship Room, which is an outreach of the Salvation Army. They serve coffee, donuts, muffins, etc. to people who drop-in. I knew very little about this ministry and was eager to learn more so I accepted.

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Anniversary Of First Visitation Province Associate Assembly

The first Visitation Province Associate Assembly became a reality one year ago and is now part of our Associate Relationship history. Forty-six associates and fourteen sisters from across Visitation Province as well as two associates from Blessed Sacrament Province participated in this special Gathering.

We chose as the theme, “On Fire for Mission,” which was so appropriate for the gathering that was held on Pentecost Sunday. It was also close to the Feast of the Visitation so sisters renewed their vows and associates their commitment to Associate Relationship at Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel.

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Celebration Of The Eucharist

The Sisters and Associates invite you to join them in the Celebration of the Eucharist in anticipation of the 400th birthday of their foundress, St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, on Sunday, June 16 at 10:30 am at St. Dunstan’s Basilica in Charlottetown.

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First Annual Sister Margaret MacDonell Prize In Gaelic Poetry Awarded

The Department of Celtic Studies at St. Francis Xavier University, in partnership with the Clan Donald Lands Trust, is pleased to announce an annual Gaelic poetry competition named in honour of Sister Margaret MacDonell, CND, former chair of the StFX Celtic Studies Department and lifelong champion of the Gaelic language. An award ceremony was held May 10th, 2019 during Gaelic Month in Nova Scotia.

The inaugural recipients of the Sister Margaret MacDonell Prize in Gaelic Poetry were first prize Brìan MacLeòid, second prize Goiridh Dòmhnullach, and third prize Deborah Moffatt. StFX Celtic Studies Department Chair Dr. Michael Linkletter presented the prize.

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Presentation of the Mosaic at the Motherhouse

On Wednesday, May 15, during the regular afternoon coffee break, the Mosaic art piece, the contribution of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame to the international Sowing Hope for the Planet project was unveiled to a full and expectant dining-room. The Congregational Leadership Team was present along with Motherhouse staff, Montreal area Sisters and Associates from Visitation Province and Becky McKenna and Catherine Walker who were visiting Montreal and area this past week. We were joined by the artist, Claire Jacmin-Park who shared some reflections about her creative process. CND Social Justice Coordinator Bineta Ba introduced the project.  Project Committee member Monica Lambton also spoke, along with Congregation Leader Sr. Agnes Campbell who had just returned from UISG meetings in Rome. She shared with us her joy in seeing an image of the Mosaic and the name of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame in the slide presentation during the plenary there. The original Mosaic will be on display at the Motherhouse. It is hoped that this will be a resource for us long term as we draw on what we encounter in the images and meaning portrayed there.

 

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A Celebration of Visitation

Leader:  As we come together today to celebrate the Feast of the Visitation, we call upon Mary, our mother in Faith and our Foundress, and ask her guidance as we strive to incarnate the Word in our world.

Opening Song:  In the Footsteps of Mary (from Visitation – K. Deignan, CND and M.A. Foley, CND)

In the footsteps of Mary we love to find the inspiration of our lives, hidden with Christ in God.

The life Mary led throughout her time on earth was the life of poverty:  a way of mystery like the Pasch of Jesus.

The life Mary led throughout her time on earth was a life of incomparable love—unified, transparent, and deep.

The life Mary led throughout her time on earth was the life of an apostle, first herald of the gospel.

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