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News from our Sisters in Canada

Conversations of the Heart 

On Sunday, December 16th, we put our hearts into a Christmas feast of prayer and food and friendship. We were delighted to be able to share our feast with Sisters Rebecca and Catherine who just "happened" to be in the area. What a special visitation happening that was! We, of course, missed the presence of Sisters Noreen H., Bernadette and Della but I was able to bring back to Andrews a taste of the feast for them. We weren't expecting Santa but, imagine our surprise when we found, not one, but two gift bags for each of us under the coffee table. After much feasting and fun, we made plans for our next gathering and went our separate ways, looking forward to continuing to celebrate the Christmas Season with family and friends. We reminded ourselves that we were still, however, in the season of waiting, of preparing, of anticipating the coming of the "God of Surprises" who will make all things new. 

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News from our Sisters in the US

Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame celebrate with Sister Pat Jamele her induction into the Holy Cross Crusader Hall of Honor.

 

From Our Leadership Team:

Led by Associate Co-coordinator Donna Wuhrer, in the province offices we prayed to Our Lady of Guadalupe on her feast day, in solidarity with our sisters and brothers seeking to cross our southern border. Afterwards we feasted Mexican-style! 

In addition, we signed as a Leadership Team a call to end the practice of housing people for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Kankakee County.

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Fourth Sunday of Advent 2018

As we draw near to the Christmas season, we are invited to reflect on the PROMISES of God. 

I invite you to begin by reflecting on someone in your life whom you trust because that person always does what she/he promises. A person who is known to keep promises is reliable. We trust such a person. When we live with trustworthy persons, it helps us to feel secure. 

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What is COP 24?

This is on the Global Catholic Climate Movement website.

Every year for 24 years, the nations of the world have gathered in the UN-convened “Conference of the Parties” (COP) to discuss solutions to the climate crisis. A peak in this process was achieved at COP21, which was held in Paris in 2015 and saw the creation of the Paris climate agreement to limit green-house gas emissions.

 

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Reading for Christmas

Tonight at midnight, God initiates the community of the dispossessed. He creates it by becoming one with it. He sustains it by remaining within it. He gives it meaning by making there a gradual revelation of himself.

Bethlehem is Africa, where children are killed for pretensions of power; it is Latin America, where people starve through the indifference of others; it is every city street, every unholy slum, every fireless room.

It has other facets too: the loveless electric tree, the token giving, the glamour with joy – the signs without the signified. And so the Lord Christ lies between the beasts.

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150th Celebration in Summerside

A large number of sisters and friends gathered for a liturgy of Thanksgiving on November 4th, 2018, to recognize the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of the Congrégation de  Notre-Dame in Summerside, PEI. The presider at the liturgy was Bishop Richard Grecco accompanied by pastor Father Chris Sherren and associate pastor Father Ignatius Sabastian. Father Eddie Cormier was present in the sanctuary. Sister Regina McQuaid spoke on behalf of the Congregation to express our thanks for the past, joy of the present and hope for the future. The lengthy applause and standing ovation following her presentation was witness to the appreciation and respect of the Parish community for the 150 years of service. The whole congregation joined in the joyful recessional hymn “Sing out her Glory” accompanied on the piano by former choir director, Sister Simone Abbass.

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Spirituality Committee

The Spirituality committee invited sisters to take part in Jan Richardson’s online Advent retreat Journey into the Heart of Christmas. This experience is providing an opportunity to travel through Advent and Christmas in contemplation, helping to find spaces for reflection that draw us deep into this season that shimmers with mystery and possibility.

Many of us will relate with Jan as she shares on living with the story of Mary and Elizabeth, drawn to the sanctuary they found with each other, the hidden space that provided sustenance for the path ahead.

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Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation Committee

The JPIC committee met November 23-25 at the mother house in Montreal. A discussion with the Province Leadership Team took place on Saturday afternoon. Sister Becky McKenna was at the table, and Sisters Eileen McQuaid and Maureen MacIsaac joined by conference call from Bedford

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From the Formation Corner

This year’s program is so different from last year’s. I would say that it is very much of a “hands on” year where the novice, during her second year, gets to practice her skills in light of what she has learned about religious life. The three fundamental areas of concentration include prayer, community life and ministry. More specifically, as part of the second year novitiate the goals are:

  • To offer space for integration of all that one learned during her canonical year.
  • To provide the novice with a positive environment that will nurture her discernment.
  • To offer a positive experience that will help deepen the novice’s sense of belonging to the Congrégation de Notre-Dame.

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Parish Tea Party in White Plains

We invited some of the women of Our Lady of Mount Carmel for tea and an Advent prayer service. This morning of prayer had refreshments, a much requested tour of the house, followed by a reflection and personal quiet time, leading to mass at church next door. It was a lovely day, full of interculturality, joy of the season, and prayerful reflection.

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Sister Frances Claus and her Toy Workshop

Among the many opportunities I had to shadow the sisters of Toronto in their ministries, I had the most fun with Frances Claus in her Toy Workshop in the basement of Our Lady of Lourdes parish. She and her fellow elf Bev are busy each year preparing Christmas packages for 500 children, each package containing an age and gender appropriate combination of toys, crafts, books, balls, and something warm (socks, a hat, or gloves). They register the children in October and receive bags and bags of toys from the local radio station CHUM’s toy drive, but they don’t just distribute the gifts, passing them on. They make sure the boys and girls of each age group receive equivalent packages, and verify that they don’t receive the same gift from the previous year.

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Our Lady of Guadalupe – Our Lady of the Peripheries

It’s all about accompaniment. When Mary heard that Elizabeth was expecting, she “went in haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah” (Luke 1:39). A relative “in her old age” would need help, and the mothers-to-be had to talk. The gospel leaves us to imagine their joy, their apprehension, and their hope — mothers whose sons would be prophets and martyrs, yet through whom God would bring down the mighty from their thrones and lift-up the humblest of his people.

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Third Sunday of Advent 2018

Photo credit: Marie-Claire Dugas

“What should we do?” This was the question all – those being baptized, the tax collectors, the soldiers, etc. – were asking John the Baptist. He made such a deep impression on the people that word spread that he might be the Messiah. He assured them he was not the Messiah. They were attracted to him because he was so single-hearted in the way he lived his life and his mission.
Reflect on those persons to whom you turn in difficult times. Give thanks for their presence in your life.

 

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Teaching Religion to the Youngest Among Us

Sr. Joan Brennan, CND, needs to apply all her 60+ years of experience as an educator when teaching religion to three and four-year olds. Yes, that’s three and four-year old preschoolers at Notre Dame Academy in Staten Island, NY. She begins her classes with a song many of us learned in school: Rise and Shine and Give God Your Glory Glory. She tells them the creation story. She employs artwork as well as songs to get her youngest pupils to think about where and how do we see God? How do we find God in our life every day?

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New parish names in New Brunswick

In the Diocese of Saint John N.B. churches are being combined to form new parishes with new names. Parishioners were invited to suggest names. The new parish in the Miramichi area (Newcastle side) is now named Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish. Local churches are designated “worship sites” within the large (new) parish structure; they will maintain their “church name” for now. Our Congrégation de Notre-Dame associates and friends were very active in promoting Saint Marguerite. It is appropriate that the Miramichi area where the Sisters of the Congregation worked for over 100 years receive this honor. Sisters and associates familiar with the Miramichi are very pleased, as are former students and friends of the sisters.

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Montreal Associates

Nearly 200 brave souls battled the elements in Montréal’s freak autumn snowfall last Friday to attend the Catholic Rally organized by the English-speaking Catholic Council. This biennial event brings together and showcases many of the organizations that make up the Catholic Church of Montréal. For the first time the Congrégation de Notre-Dame associates from Montréal were also present with a booth. Associates Sharon DiFruscia, Donna Quelch and Charles Taker were on hand to talk about Associate Relationship to those who called by our booth. A fair bit of interest was generated and we will be following-up over the next few weeks and inviting them to come and see who we are and what we are about.

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Journaling with Mary…

Waiting for baby

I awake each morning

A song of praise on my lips;

I, Mary of Nazareth, wife, of Joseph the carpenter

Carry within my being the child of the Promise.

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Afternoon tea at St. Joseph’s Parish, Kingston

As the Christmas Season approaches, Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame in Kingston were invited to an afternoon tea at St. Joseph’s Parish. Since the closure of our Residence on Wright Crescent, Monsignor Joseph Lynch, Pastor of the parish, has honoured us in appreciation of our involvement in the parish and open invitation to the Pastor and Priest Assistant over the years to share meals with us.

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A little child will lead them

There is a city in New England that has a cross on a hill overlooking the city. At night the cross is lit and can be seen from most of the city which is built on six additional hills. A little five year old girl knelt by her window one night. She was facing the cross and told her Mommy she was praying to God.

I understand why Jesus loved little children, let them come to him when others were pushing them aside, and told all of us to become like little children if we wish to enter into his life. Of the tens of thousands of people who see that cross every night, how many turn their hearts to God in prayer?

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Redesign Of The Virtual Exhibit Faith In Action

Montréal, December 5, 2018 – The Archives Services of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame is proud to present the brand new platform of the virtual exhibit Faith in Action: Centuries of Education by Marguerite Bourgeoys and the Congrégation de Notre-Dame.

First launched in 2011 in collaboration with the Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum, the website has been completely redesigned and improved...

 

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