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Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 40.1-5, 9-11/2 Peter 3.8-14/ Mark 1.1-8

In this season, we are preparing. Traditionally, we may be decorating our homes, baking special foods, planning celebrations, enjoying seasonal music, buying or making gifts, and taking part in special events that benefit groups and persons in need.  Maybe we still send Christmas cards to stay connected. We tend to do things we always did. We slide into our comfort zone. We ask one another, “Are you ready for Christmas?”  

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News from West Associates

Visitation sculpture from the prayer centre at the 2017 Provincial Chapter 

News and Views From the West

“Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son; and His Name will be called Emmanuel.” Isaiah 7;14

Advent Invites Us -What might we do to make our hearts ever more ready for the in -breaking of Love?

“The spaciousness of deep prayer readies our hearts for the inbreaking of the reign of Love which is, in fact, an evolving consciousness …” Pat Farrell, OSF

May each of us experience this season as a time of deepening love and Joy … a blessed time of care and hope for our world! 

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News from Visitation East Associates

Prayers for Lighting the Advent Wreath Candles

by William G. Storey

https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/advent

First Week

All-powerful God, increase our strength of will for doing good that Christ may find an ea-ger welcome at his coming and call us to his side in the kingdom of heaven, where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. ~AMEN.

Second Week

God of power and mercy open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him when he comes in glory, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. ~AMEN.

Third Week

Lord God, may we, your people, who look forward to the birthday of Christ experience the joy of salvation and celebrate that feast with love and thanksgiving. We ask this through Christ our Lord. ~AMEN.

Fourth Week

Father, all-powerful God, your eternal Word took flesh on our earth when the Virgin Mary placed her life at the service of your plan. Lift our minds in watchful hope to hear the voice which announces his glory and open our minds to receive the Spirit who prepares us for his coming. We ask this through Christ our Lord. ~AMEN.

Excerpted from A Prayer Book of Catholic Devotions

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STATEMENT REGARDING THE 2017 GENERAL ELECTION IN HONDURAS

The Congrégation de Notre-Dame sisters in Honduras with the Episcopal Conference, the Franciscan Brothers, other organizations and institutions, and the Honduran people all share concerns about the current situation in that country.

Our Christian conscience and our faith in Jesus Christ encourage us to speak and, like Mary in the Magnificat, proclaim the greatness of the Lord to ordinary people. At the same time, we need to challenge the oppressive structures that do not take into account the most vulnerable and the defenseless. Therefore:  

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Sr. Beth Davies, CND, honorary Christmas Tree Lighter at Pennington Gap’ Christmas Parade

Sr. Beth Davies, CND, was the honorary Christmas Tree Lighter this year at Pennington Gap’ Christmas Parade. Below is Sister Beth’s introduction, given by the Town Administrator.

Sister Beth Davies lives up Puckett’s Creek, St. Charles, VA. Originally from Staten Island New York, she is a lifelong friend of Santa, who has spent half her life here in Lee County (that’s a lot of Christmas parades!)

Sr. Beth directs the work of the Addiction Education Center here in Pennington Gap, and is an addiction counsellor. She works very closely with the recovery community and with Dr. Art VanZee. 

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Open House at the Former Notre Dame Convent, Charlottetown

Sydney Inn and Suites, Charlottetown: Last Saturday and Sunday afternoon, sisters and former students were invited to visit our former Notre Dame Convent, now known as Sydney Inn and Suites. This invitation was indeed a gesture of solidarity on the part of the new ownership with all those who have had affiliation with it over the years, and was much appreciated by all who attended. 

 

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Recommended YouTube Video

John Philip Newell gave a very fine lecture this past summer at Boston College entitled "The Meeting Between East and West: Spirituality Beyond Boundaries.” It is 1 hr and 41 min in length and you can pause and restart if needed. You can access it at https://youtu.be/WgPRRya9MuY.

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CRC JPIC Ontario Gathering focuses on First Nations Reconciliation

Last week, six of us participated in the annual CRC JPIC Ontario Network workshop. With the closing of Scarboro Missions, the event was moved to Kingston with great success. I came from Montreal, Rosemary Shannon, Rosemary Brosseau, Mildred Chabassol and Emily Doherty were there from Kingston and Nina Glinski travelled from Ottawa. Exploring the theme of the role of the Catholic Church and theology in relations with First Nations from colonization to the present, we worked with emotionally challenging history, along with examples and stories of hope that a different type of relationship is possible. The guest speaker was the Honourable Graydon Nicholas, Maliseet, former Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick and member of the Guadalupe Circle (Catholic healing circle for First Nations relationships). He presented little known gems of solidarity from history, while group participants shared stories of change from today and their plans for moving forward in a better way. As CND, we found the variety of resources, information and experiences to be very helpful as we consider an increased Community response to the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

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Reflection for the First Sunday of Advent

Each of the three readings this First Sunday of Advent invites us into the Season. In the first reading Isaiah says “we are the clay and You the potter”. Paul writes in his letter “God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son.”  Mark’s gospel in particular touches my past and present in a special way:

Jesus said to his disciples:

"Be watchful! Be alert! …

you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,

whether in the evening, or at midnight,

or at cockcrow, or in the morning [on the E-train].

May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.

What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!'" 

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First Sunday Advent

Isaiah 63.16b-17; 64.1, 3-8 / 1Corinthians 1.3-9 / Mark 13.33-37 

Mark tells us to: “Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.” 

Today we celebrate the 1st Sunday of Advent, the beginning of our Advent Journey. A time of waiting and hope as we await the celebration of Jesus` birth. A time of preparation for the arrival of someone special who is not a stranger to us. A time to deepen our relationships with all creation.

One evening last week I noticed I missed a facetime call on my iPad. Disappointed I missed the call I quickly clicked the call button hoping someone would be there to answer. When the connection was made I could see Sammy, who calls me Gramma, playing on the floor with his brother Alex. When he saw me on the screen he shouted, “Gramma, why didn`t you answer whencalled?” My only response was “Honey, I`m sorry, the volume was down.”

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Charity, Justice and the Founding of Ville Marie

It began as a dream that inspired an extraordinary group of men and women “to go forth” to the peripheries of their known world to establish a missionary settlement that would not only teach the good news of the Gospel but would also receive in abundance from the persons that they served. Ville Marie, the “mustard seed” from which the city of Montreal grew, was planted in response to this Gospel invitation. Its detractors called it the “folle entreprise,” the “crazy business.” Wednesday, November 22nd brought together sisters, associates, parish social action representatives as Sr. Pat Simpson masterfully walked us through that first idea, the early days with its challenges and choices and fidelity to mission. Truly a jewel of a presentation! Thank you Pat!! Thank you Paul Chomedy de Maisonneuve, Jeanne Mance, Marguerite Bourgeoys and so many others for holding the dream!! 

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Movie – Wonder

This movie is truly a family movie – it’s about a family and it could probably help families see ways they could improve their honest communication with each other. It might help all of us understand more about other persons and their stories – the stories we may never know. Viewers get to walk with Auggie, a little boy in Grade 5, as he experiences home, school and social interactions. You may want to bring along some tissue. The story is not sad; it just feels so real. 

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Celebrating Internationality Day

Photo by Noreen MacDonald, CND

Gathered in our Community Room, we prayed the Prayer Service prepared by Visitation Province. As each country in which our sisters live was named, someone placed the flag of that country in a glass on our prayer table. We prayed in solidarity with our staff which represents not only Canada, but also India, Philippines, Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka and Nigeria. We are really living in an international atmosphere. Several significant points in the prayer were highlighted as we shared what touched us in a special way. We extend our gratitude to those who prepared this service. 

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Advent Prayer Service: Longing For Light In The Darkness

Photo Credit: Marie-Claire Dugas

Introduction

Leader:  During Advent, we are called to seek the light of Christ,

                even in the midst of darkness.  The prophets assure us

                that the darkness will not overcome us.  They call us to

                watch for the light.  We are called to wait, to hope, to

                trust in God.

               As we make this Advent journey in faith, we invite God’s

               light to dispel the darkness.  We ask for the grace to let go

               of any burdens or barriers that we may carry in our hearts

               as we search for the light.  We ask for the gift of

               attentiveness that we may truly see God’s loving presence within and among us.

              May our faith we renewed so that we might be light for others.

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News from Visitation Province

Celebration!

Sister Melba Vásquez, a CND from Honduras, has been our guest since October 8 and will remain with us until November 30. She will then return to Montreal from where she will prepare to go on mission in New York. 

It was amidst much joy coupled with surprises that we celebrated her Silver Jubilee in Summerside, PEI on Friday, November 10. She was aware we were celebrating her but had no idea that sisters from other areas were invited. Surprise… surprise… when we gathered to pray to have twelve additional sisters present to celebrate with us including Sisters Eileen McQuaid and Ann Broderick. Thanks everyone for the beautiful CND intercultural support! 

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CND Celebration of Internationality, November 16, 2017

 “How then shall we live today?”

(CND Orientation 2016-2021)

Leader: We are gathered in the Spirit deep within us and all around us. 

Opening Prayer: (All) Loving Creating Spirit, we thank you for your abundant blessings as we, sisters and associates, gather  in Cameroon, Canada, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, United States to celebrate our international identity.   

 

*Silent Contemplation [5 minutes] (Singing bowl to begin and end time of contemplation)

One Voice

…..Perhaps it is a time to become more deeply rooted in who we really are, to become so entrenched in the love of God which allows us to do love’s work and energizes us to go out of ourselves to where the needs are, to the peripheries…

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Learn to act in the face of human misery

Even with the long warm fall New England has enjoyed this year, there will be a winter and it will be cold. People living on the streets or moving from shelter to shelter will become more obvious, as most of the rest of us do less outside activities and stay inside on the cold days. As we enter a coffee shop or a fast food restaurant we are liable to meet the homeless. Some will be standing looking desperate; others will beg for a handout. Sometimes the homeless knock on car windows or mutely stand there at intersections holding placards begging for work or money.

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Peace & Justice News From Blessed Sacrament Province

I invite those who are attracted to the third aspect of our orientation to consider the following invitation which came from The Green Faith Network. There is a new multi-faith initiative which you can join. It calls us, “to walk our talk, to align our behaviors with our values… to change our consumption habits… to join a journey towards lifestyles of compassionate simplicity, for the sake of the human family and our precious planet.” To give concrete expression to your response sign the multi-faith statement, Walk on Earth Gently.

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From Blessed Sacrament Province Leadership Team

Photo: Ann Marie Strileckis 

After consultation with Peggy Doyle, who has served as Director of Vocation Promotion for the last 10 years, we have appointed Ann Marie Strileckis as Coordinator of Vocation Ministry. Ann Marie will be working on forming a team to work with her, and one of her main tasks will be to encourage all of us to participate in various ways. We are very grateful for her willingness to assume this critical ministry in addition to her work as pastoral associate at St. Joseph’s Cathedral, and we thank Peggy for her many years of service and her willingness to continue this ministry in another capacity.

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Women Of Excellence Awards

The Progress Women of Excellence Awards takes place each November. Hosted by the Canadian Progress Club Halifax Cornwallis, it honors 7 inspirational women who play an important role in our community. This year, Progress Women of Excellence is honoring Libby Osgood, recognizing her as a passionate educator and innovative researcher.

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