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Fire in our Hearts - Easter Reflection

A journey is a journey.   A trip has a map, a GPS or a plan of some kind, but a journey requires openness to change, trust in journeying companions and living in the moment.  The story of the Emmaus journey (Luke 24:13-35) is a perennial favorite Easter story. It is a story of ordinary events – a walk home, conversation, remembering, a meal, and recognition. It is a story of emotions that move from sadness, maybe even anger, and disappointment, through eager learning (feeling fire within) to joy and a need to “run back to the others and share.”  The disciples experience something very deep as they make their way back home. “A walk and a meal can transform our life.”  The walk is a familiar trail, and the familiar may be around us; neighbors, children, pets, tiny birds that look at us, asking for our notice.   God finds ways to reach us, and speak to us, always; alone or in a group. The events in this story follow a weekend like no other, and result in a moment when they knew, “Yes, He is risen.  We recognized Him in the familiar breaking of bread!”  God graces us with peak experiences that come when we need to be reassured and reminded we are not alone.   They may come when we are sharing what we have, when we are pondering, when we are tired and hungry, or when we are fired up with excitement and energy.   God knows our needs and God will find a way.  Happy Easter! 

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A Poem for Earth Day

Silent Psalm

 

Slowly, the cool dark

earth beneath my feet exhales.

Slugs leave silvered trails.

 

Tree trunks breathe, listen.

Mists rise, coiling up like smoke

swallowed in stillness.

 

Towering elms, midget

walnuts, still-green mossy logs,

tangled ivy, fallen

 

oak leaves floating red-

veined in silky-soft sea-grass,

seagulls’ feathers, frisky

squirrels and that dear orange

butterfly – All praise our God!

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Earth Day 2017

Saturday, April 22 will be Earth Day. Sometimes people ask, ”What can I do to respect, protect and nurture the Earth?” Each one of us needs to find our own answers and do our own search. In our local paper, one environmentalist wrote a column about plastics, that huge umbrella of manufactured materials that can be made into so many of the products we use so liberally. We see bags, bottles, jugs, clamshell containers, stretch wrap, disposable cutlery, stir sticks, straws and so on. Plastics are made of very long and strong chains of carbon atoms; this makes them last a long time. Plastics have a very large carbon footprint; it takes huge amounts of petroleum to make just the plastic water bottles so commonly purchased and tossed away. Plastics pollute our land and our water bodies. Plastics may have additives that cause health problems. We could all make an effort to learn the plastic recycling symbols: Number 4 plastics (bread bags, grocery bags and milk bags) can be recycled into new products; Number 7 plastics belong to a catch-all class that is diverse and essentially unrecyclable. We could make choices about our use of and dependence on plastics. 

 

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Palm Sunday Reflection

Associate Maria is involved in many ministries in her parish, Sacred Heart/Immaculate Heart of Mary.

As I was reading the gospel for Palm Sunday, I was struck by such contrasts from welcoming and cheering to violence – betrayal, deceit, injustice and death. As a mother I felt the anguish that Mary must have felt to witness her son’s pain and suffering. And there is a part of me that is in awe of Jesus obedience to his Father – to die on the cross for us. 

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A Reflexion on Resurrection

Resurrection is a hard sell. One would think it would be easier than suffering and crucifixion, but ironically it isn’t. No one alive today is unaware of the ordeal of suffering and pain: in themselves, in the people they love, in their own cities and countries. Unfortunately, we are also acutely aware of the sufferings of people around the world through the media. We can see on our televisions and media devices the horror as it unfolds from natural disasters and from evil inflicted by others. We can see the effects of torture and death on the evening news as clearly as if we stood on Calvary looking up at the Son of God as he was dying by the hands of those who hated him. 

 

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PEACE and JUSTICE NEWS

Photo: Sr. Rose Mary Sullivan and Sr. Jackie Hanrahan 

We are winding down the Have a Heart Campaign. We received many notes for our brothers and sisters in detention. We have raised money to be used in collaboration with First Friends, the group which is actively working with immigrants in metro NY detention sites. There are a few more promised donations to come. Our sisters, associates, local Congregation of Notre Dame Communities, former CND sisters, family and friends of CND sisters, several schools, parishes in Norwalk, Kankakee, and Bourbonnais have generously responded to the Campaign. I was especially touched by a letter from a parishioner from Maternity Parish in Bourbonnais who reminded me that the novitiate used to be in her parish and that she loved attending the CND ceremonies held in her church! Her letter and several notes spoke of gratitude to be able to do something in the face of the growing ugly prejudice against immigrants. On April 6, Sr. Marilyn Medinger and I will meet with Sr. Regina Holtz of First Friends to strategize as to the best way to use our funds and to get information on “Packing Day” – the day the materials are packaged for distribution. I hope some of us can go to Kearny, New Jersey to help on that day. I firmly believe this campaign gives concrete and specific expression to our commitment to dare to live interculturally and to go to the peripheries. May we continue to walk where we talk. Thank you for Having a Heart.

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Associate News

New Ministry For Women At Holy Cross/Immaculate, Heart Of Mary Parish, Chicago, IL

The associates and candidates at Holy Cross/ Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Chicago are beginning a Prayer Shawl Ministry. Associate Maria V. explained that many women in their immigrant community are afraid to leave their homes at this time. The purpose of this new ministry is to bring women together to pray, share and support each other as well as make prayer shawls. Maria describes the enthusiasm of their first gathering.

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Vocation Formation

Elizabeth (Libby) Osgood, candidate, has been accepted to enter the Novitiate of the CND. We offer Libby our prayerful support in her ongoing discernment as she continues to prepare for her entrance to the Novitiate in August 2017. 

Update re Ontario Basic Income Consultations

There was a high level of support expressed for the upcoming 3-year pilot project. The names of participating communities will be announced this spring. The following link provides a good overview of the project and lists other countries already implementing it. There is also a link to a good 2-minute video explaining the concept.

https://news.ontario.ca/mcss/en/2017/03/ontario-releases-basic-income-consultation-feedback.html

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Green News!

Photo Marie-Claire Dugas

During the past three years, personnel at the Mother House have been taking specific steps towards Greening. The Congrégation de Notre-Dame Mother House is now a member of the Green Church Network. http://www.eglisesvertes.ca/enregistrees/par-categories/monasteres-verts/267-cnd-maison-mere

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“The Right To Be Cold”

“The Right To Be Cold” by Sheila Watt-Cloutier will be featured in “The Canada Reads” competition March 27-30 on CBC radio. It is the personal story of one woman’s efforts to save her Arctic culture, the Arctic itself and the Planet. She has many outstanding accomplishments especially being nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, was awarded the Aboriginal Achievement Award and the UN Champion of the Earth Award. Her personal story is a story about climate change and how shifting environmental conditions affected her and her Inuit people’s history. But it goes farther than that when she describes the great disconnect that has developed between our communities, our economies and our environment. She says “we Inuit are the ground-truthers of climate change; we are on the front lines of cataclysmic environmental shifts that are affecting the world, and we have observed and confirmed these changes in the Arctic for decades.” She goes on to say: “If we cannot save the frozen Arctic, how can we expect to save the rest of the planet?” 

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Reflection Fifth Sunday in Lent; Reflections on John 11: 1-45

Photo: Marie-Claire Dugas

In this Gospel reading we are to see ourselves in Lazarus and his two sisters. Jesus uses this miracle of restoring physical life to show us that, if we truly believe and trust in Him, He will give us eternal Life. Much hope is offered to us in Psalm 23, ' The Lord Our Shepherd'.

Jesus' weeping for Lazarus is not only for His love for him but for each and every one of us when He grieves over our sinfulness. We have come to know Jesus as a very merciful God. His love for us shines through His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead when He conquers death forever. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for His friends.

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Reflection Fifth Sunday in Lent, 2017

Sister Mary Ann Rossi, CND resides with four CND’s in Norwalk, CT where she is the local leader for the eight CND’s at Lourdes Health Care Center.  For many years she was part of the RI Associate group and now gathers each month at Wilton with Associates from the CT area.  

John’s Gospel’s telling of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead is a favorite of mine for two reasons.  First, Martha is a favorite of mine and it is in THIS Gospel, she proves to be a strong woman of faith in her direct exchange with her friend Jesus at a painful time in her life. It has been always easier for me to identify with Martha rather than her sister Mary. You know Mary, the one who sits at the feet of Jesus while Martha is in the kitchen making a meal for Jesus and his hungry followers!  I think that this is a genetic preference because my mother once confided in me that she was irritated with Jesus in this scene. “Mary Ann, who was going to make dinner if they were BOTH sitting at the feet of Jesus?  Mary reminds me of your Aunt Pauline who would be socializing with the guests in the living room while your father and I were preparing dinner.” 

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POLITICAL CRISIS IN CAMEROON – UPDATE from Sister Cathy

The on-going political struggle for recognition of the rights of Anglophone Cameroon as stated in the Constitution of 1961 led to the strike of Anglophone lawyers and teachers.  This strike is now in its fourth month.  Given the strike of the teachers, students on every level, nursery to university have been out of school since mid-December.  Efforts on the part of the Cameroonian government to get parents to send their children back to school have failed given the on-going presence of the military in major cities, arrests, and blocking of access to the internet since January 19th.  In addition, “Ghost town" days are held every Monday when all stores are closed and there is no vehicular traffic in the North and South regions.  Opposition leaders have been arrested and/or gone into exile adding to the difficulty of having meaningful dialogue to resolve the crisis.  The five Bishops of the Northwest and Southwest Regions sent a memorandum to President Paul Biya in December 2016 “… with a view to assisting the government to seek a lasting solution to this problem and enable its citizens to live in peace and harmony.” Please continue to pray for all those affected by this crisis and for wisdom for those who can help to facilitate dialogue.

(Sister Cathy Molloy now lives in the USA. She was a missionary in Cameroon for many years).

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Five Birthdays Celebrated!

Standing : Sisters Josephine Nestman, Pat Arsenault; Seated: Sisters Grace Martin, Ruth Penny, Emily Doherty 

 

On St. Patrick’s Day the Kingston CND’s celebrated the March birthdays of five sisters. The afternoon began with the shout “HEAR YE, HEAR YE” of the town crier regaled in Irish greens and calling all Congregation of Notre Dame Sisters in the name of the King of Limerick and rhyme to join in the fun of celebrating the five March birthdays and honouring the dear Saint himself.

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The Greening of Our Schools

Photo: Marie-Claire Dugas

An Outdoor Classroom for Project Based Stem (Science Technology Engineering Math)

LAND:  we are planting a school garden, butterflies for the youngest students, vegetables for P.O.T.S., flowers for Providence Rest, herbs for the kitchen, a berry patch for birds, and a heritage garden for our historical significance. Gardening has many positive impacts on learning, heath and community.

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Earth Hour 2017 – Saturday, March 25, 2017

Earth Hour is an annual event on the last Saturday in March in which people around the world turn their lights off for one hour. Earth Hour began ten years ago in Sydney, Australia. Since then, businesses, government organizations, communities and political leaders have taken part. It’s a small way of giving people everywhere a voice in supporting efforts to maintain a low carbon future for our planet. In previous Earth Hour observances, landmark buildings throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas have stood in darkness for one hour. In Canada, look for Earth Hour to be observed 8:30 - 9:30 pm Saturday evening. (Choose another hour, if it works better for you.) Our actions today will define our tomorrow. See https://www.earthhour.org/ for 2-3 minute video clip.

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Reflection for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

Associate M. Kathy Chadwick lives in Florida. I think the Spirit is challenging us to see as God sees this Lent. I have been very conscious of seeking to truly “see” each person this week.

“Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7

          Lord open  my eyes so that...

                    I may see you in all  I encounter

                    I may be able to look beyond the appearance and see the heart

                    I may see you in the beauty of nature

                    I might seek the truth and look past the falsehoods

                    I might be open to the message, regardless the appearance of the messenger

                    I might not judge by appearance

                    I may appreciate the gifts I have received

                    I may look only for the good in others

                    Seeing the pain of others I will become more compassionate

                    Seeing the suffering of the poor, I will become more generous

                    Seeing the problems in our society, I will work to find solutions

                    I will see areas where I can help others

                    I can bring a little light to those who live in darkness.

Lord, open my eyes and light my path on this Lenten Journey that I may rejoice in Your Easter victory over darkness and death.

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Who is St-Patrick of Ireland?

Patrick of Ireland is revisited every year by Irish Americans in a quasi-nationalistic-religious way in the days leading up to March 17th. The songs of the many revolutions and dreams of the Irish are sung and cried over; the dancers kick up their heels; the marchers parade, and the drink is passed around freely. Aside from the initial greeting of “A Happy St. Patrick’s Day to ye,” few even mention the man for whom we have the holy day/holiday.

 

Sr. Jeanne Bonneau (left)  and Sr. Patricia McCarthy (right) 

 

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Jardin de la Métairie receives the ‘Canada 150 Garden Experience’ designation

Montreal, March 17, 2017 – Maison Saint-Gabriel, museum and historic site, was awarded the ‘Canada 150 Garden Experience’ designation from the Canadian Garden Council in collaboration with the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association.

 

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