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Sisters and associates celebrate Christmas at Parkland Cape Breton

Wednesday, Dec. 8th, 2021, sisters and associates, along with residents of Parkland Cape Breton, Sydney, NS, came together for Rosary, Christmas Carols, Skits and Christmas Poems. The atmosphere was filled with excitement as Sister Simone Abbass, New Associate Lorette and Sister Mary Corbett sang Christmas Carols, while the rest joined in. New Victoria Associate group performed a skit called, “The True Meaning of the Candy Cane,” while Dianne and Theresa Ann read Christmas poems. It was wonderful to come together for such a joyous Christmas celebration. A festive lunch was served afterwards.

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Carty House

Carty House in Ottawa has a long-shared history with the Congregation de Notre-Dame. It provides transitional housing and support for female refugee claimants and convention refugees as they move through the refugee system and build the resources necessary to live integrated and independent lives in Canadian society. You can read more about its operations including the stories of some residents at https://cartyhouse.org

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Ten Years Later

It was quite a move when 44 Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame made the journey from our beloved convents to a new Retirement Living complex in November of 2011. By December 1, 2011 the new building, Parkland Cape Breton, was now occupied by sisters of the Congregation from Holy Angels Convent, Holy Redeemer Convent, Sydney Mines, Antigonish, Prince Edward Island, etc. Some of us were present when Sister Catherine MacNeil, cut the ribbon to officially open the new building.

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Companions On The Journey

Have you ever had a long walk
with a group of friends with similar desires?
The Canadian C.N.D. Vocation Committee is
walking such a path.
It is a journey of joy, support and sharing
WILL YOU WALK WITH US?

 

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“I am here to see your faces and look into your eyes.”

On the Second Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis visited the Island of Lesbos in Greece, a place of large numbers of refugees fleeing wars and persecution in their native lands, primarily western Africa and the mid-East. He went among the refugees in their camp, touching the children, blessing them and listening to them. Then he went to a tent right in the midst of the settlement. With an audience of about 100 people, many of them residents of the camp, he spoke briefly and warmly to those assembled.

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Toronto Jubilarians

Toronto Jubilarians: ‘May the God who touched your heart in your youth lovingly look upon your generous years of dedication and service in the Congregation of Notre Dame and say: ’It is good.’

So began the blessing offered by Maureen Baldwin, CND to Congregation de Notre-Dame Jubilarians: Sisters Denise Burns (70), Virginia Sullivan (61—not celebrated last year due to Covid restrictions), Mary Jane Leonard (60), Colleen O’Leary (60) on Saturday, November 27, 2021 at St. Ann Parish Hall in Toronto. Wearing their wrist-corsages, the celebrants cut two delicious cakes and all enjoyed celebrating their combined 251 years of commitment as Congregation de Notre-Dame Sisters with refreshments, conversation and most of all, the rare opportunity to see each other face-to-face!

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Serenity Renewal for Families

Serenity Renewal for Families founded by Sister Louise Dunn and associate Alexa Smith continues its good work of assisting individuals and families with addiction issues. Wally who has been involved since the beginning has recently shared his own story. He is still involved in offering virtual workshops which have enabled a continued outreach during these pandemic times. You can read more about Wally's story over the years and see what the current offerings are here.

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All smiles in Montreal

All smiles in Montreal... as the much anticipated Christmas Exhibition returned from its long-standing hiatus at Résidence Bon-Secours, November 30th , 2021. The Mary of Peace Sisters shopped in a relaxed, mellow ambiance until their hearts’ content. (As the choir sang with piano accompaniment). Decorations, nativity scenes, treasured tricots, crocheted items handmade by the Congregation de Notre Dame Sisters sold like hot cakes! Miniature poinsettias and Christmas cacti were also in high demand. The Mary of Peace Sisters participated in a candy - guessing contest and a draw. As they exited the fourth floor, spacious hall, each were gifted a bonbonnière containing homemade chocolate fudge, cake pops prepared by the hardworking cafeteria staff and delivered lovingly. Afterwards, a Bistro was set-up in another reception hall whereby Martine (the newest member of the community workers) served piping hot coffee, Porto and Moritz icy chocolate squares. The Mary of Peace mingled with Sister Claire Bouchard and other sisters from the first floor.

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Sister Marie-Norma Gallant ministry with the Evangeline Community Consultative Group (ECCG

Sister Marie-Norma Gallant continues her ministry with the Evangeline Community Consultative Group (ECCG). She travels across PEI working with numerous groups and individuals. Her valuable service includes training for seniors and families on how to stay safe in the home, secure ways to participate in social media, and how to maintain mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Sr. Eileen Roach present her third session on Laudato Si’

Thursday, November 25th, 2021, Associates and Sisters gathered at the Pastoral Centre in River Ryan, NS, to hear Sr. Eileen Roach present her third session on Laudato Si’. We were all very excited to hear how Sr. Eileen brought into context the Spirituality of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys and the teachings of the Pope’s encyclical. Pope Francis calls for an ecological conversion, a conversion that brings blessings to our wonderful world, a world created by God for all His creation to live in harmony. The teachings of Laudato Si’ and the General and Provincial Chapters inspire us to be committed to the ongoing care for our Common Home.

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News from Visitation Province

A meeting of Holy Angels and St. Theresa’s group was held at Dianne’s home on November 21, 2021. Opening Prayer, “Lord, Give me a Big Heart Today” was read by Lorrette. The Prayer Service “Congregation de Notre-Dame – Celebrating Our Internationality Together for the Life of the World” was presented by Doreen, Genevieve and Patrick. The Closing video Prayer was to St. Francis Assisi ending our meeting.

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Waiting, Hoping, Desiring

Mi nombre es: (My name is) Maria, Jose, Jesus I stand at the water's edge, of Mexico.

WAITING, WAITING, WAITING.

Looking on the other side of the river I dream of freedom. Cameras are watching my every move, like monsters ready to attack if I dip my foot into the waters.

The vast country of the North is before me. I WAIT, I WAIT, I WAIT

I ask myself: “Is there room for me in this expansive land?” 

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Reflection on the Readings for the 2nd Sunday of Advent 2021

I doubt there ever was an easy time to live. But as I am buffeted by many present threats to life such as COVID-19 that many try to wish away, climate change that has been downplayed for forty years or more, and ever more violent backlash against attempts to begin to dismantle the caste system in North America, I find it difficult not to despair. Nonetheless, the readings for the second Sunday of Advent give me cause for hope.

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1st Sunday of Advent Reflection 2021

This Sunday, November 28th, 2021, is the First Sunday of Advent. Associate, Joan Fraser, of Truro, Nova Scotia, graciously volunteered to share her Advent Reflection as we wait in joyful anticipation for the birth of Jesus Christ.

Please take some quiet time to reflect on Joan's Advent sharing.

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November 25th: Commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination Of Violence Against Women

This commemoration was initiated by the UN Women’s Official Committee for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It began their sixteen days of action, November 25 to December 10, initiated 30 years ago, to eliminate gender-based violence. 

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A Reflection from new associate Cecilia Skwarok

I have always felt a closeness to trees. At times, I would pause and gently touch a tree as I walked through the forest. Somehow, I sensed a connection to it. However, this inspiring retreat has filled my heart with renewed wonderment regarding trees! As our group reflected, I realized more than ever how sacred and life-giving trees are! Now I yearn to go for a quiet walk in the amazing forest and breath in deeply God's love for me. Trees and plants of the forest, bless the Lord. Praise and exalt Him forever!

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ROOTS and FRUITS: Growing Together for the Life of the World

At the generous invitation of our Western Associate Coordinator Teresa McKerral, Associates from the East, Central and Western regions of Canada were privileged to participate in a thought provoking and challenging virtual gathering on Nov. 19 and 20. Through the use of videos, quiet times of reflection and focused conversations we explored the theme of Roots and Fruits: Growing Together for the life of the World.

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A Message from Kay Duffin, CND

Three weeks ago, I became part of the Notre Dame Community in Résidence Bon-Secours. I am not part of the infirmary community, but it is great to have them all around me. The Francophone sisters here have welcomed me warmly and I am beginning to feel more at home each day. This move was not a sudden one. It came together for me during my retreat in June and the rest is a story of sorting and pitching and packing and finally landing. My room is on the third floor. Each morning I can see daylight getting ready to open up and when the sun decides to shine, it is a breathtaking view. I can see the St. Lawrence River from my window. And so, a new venture for me. What God has planned for the future is gradually being revealed. I will meet with the pastor of St. Augustine's parish in the morning to do some planning for the season of Advent which is upon us. So many good memories of my participation in that parish so many years ago. A couple of our Associates are active there and have taken me in. The Spirit is a 'movin' and the Synod is offering new life. I hope to be part of it. Wish me well for the sake of our Church, of Marguerite's community, of our world. Have a joyous Advent!

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Happy 90th Birthday Clare O’ Neill, CND

Celebrating a 90th birthday is truly a blessing and a joyous occasion. On Sunday, November 14, 2021 the Mary of Peace Community at Résidence Bon-Secours came together to celebrate Clare O’Neill’s 90th birthday. The group truly had a wonderful time with games and treats to mark this wonderful occasion. Bishop Wingle was our one special invited guest as COVID guidelines restricted the invitation list.

This celebration highlighted the wonderful and successful person Clare O’Neill truly is. After all, her given name does rhymes with care, share, fair, flair and rare. Her caring, generous, and spirited personality is much to be celebrated and loved. Wishing Clare, a wonderful 90th year filled with love, health, and companionship.

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News from Blessed Sacrament Province

First Commitment to Associate Relationship 

Donna, Yvrose, and Shelli from the Wilton, CT group made their First Commitment during a September weekend retreat at Quonnie. The theme for the retreat was Quonnie’s Gift: Rest, Renewal, Relaxation and Visitation. Unfortunately, due to the limited use of single bedrooms on the second floor of Villa Margarita, a larger Associate retreat was not possible this year. After attending their first Quonnie retreat in 2019, all three women asked if they could make their First Commitment at Quonnie. Their request was honored during a beautiful liturgy celebrated by Fr. Gene McKenna during the retreat. Everyone enjoyed a celebration dinner afterwards with lots of food, joy and laughter!

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