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Movie: The Shack

The book came out in 2007 and proved a very popular read; now comes the film. People who see it will likely be moved by its passionate take on themes like grief and forgiveness. We feel, with Mack, his awful loss and sadness, as well as guilt. God seeks him out and at one point tells him, “You can get so lost in the pain, you don’t see me.” There’s a homey common sense way of presenting God as always present, always with us, and always loving us. Mack is open to hearing, learning, exploring. It’s a story. Stories get us thinking, and sharing. Stories can bring about change. 

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Montreal Sisters and Associates March meeting

Carl Madigan, long-time associate, presented a Lenten reflection to the Montreal sisters and associates on March 8th. The journey began with a story of the beggar and his box, and the stranger, followed by awe inspiring photos. These led to a time of silent contemplation before Carl elaborated on the Divine Now/Eternal Presence. Drawing us to recognize the Divine Presence in ourselves, in others and all creation, Carl then encouraged us to make a habit of pausing at all thresholds to acknowledge the Eternal Presence. The evening became animated as participants joined in with comments and questions, leading Carl into further development of his points. This enthusiasm continued during refreshments, a bit beyond our usual stay with the de Sève sisters! Thanks Carl for a meaty Lenten reflection. 

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Catholic Women Preach

If you haven’t yet been to this site, it has 10-minute homilies by women, starting with Ash Wednesday and continuing through the Sundays of Lent. It is refreshing to hear these women speak and share their reflection on the gospel stories. Simone Campbell (of Nuns on the Bus) has the Ash Wednesday reflection. http://www.catholicwomenpreach.org

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Book Review

A new Book: The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief by Francis Weller (order from Amazon). Weller highlights the intimate bond between grief, gratitude, sorrow and intimacy. He shows us that the greatest gifts are often hidden in the things we avoid. And offers powerful tools and rituals to help us transform grief into a force that allows us to live and love more fully. 

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CBC "The Current" - a CND Connection

On the March 14th program there was a 42-minute interview of two people affected by the 1978 shooting in Toronto of a Brinks guard. One was the perpetrator and the other was a daughter of the victim. They talk about their own long journeys to forgiveness. The woman, Margot van Sluytman, was a student at Notre Dame High School in Toronto at the time. In trying to deal with its effects she left home and was about to drop out of school. She credits Sister Lucille Corrigan with helping her which she described as a lifesaving act for her at the time. You can hear the interview at http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-march-14-2017-1.4022956/how-one-woman-came-to-forgive-the-man-who-murdered-her-father-1.4023042

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Food Sovereignty And Climate Change: Nurturing Human And Ecological Communities In Stormy Times

This was the title of the third annual Social Justice Symposium sponsored by the Cooper Institute on Saturday, March 11. The afternoon began with “environmental” entertainment featuring a popular PEI singer-songwriter Teresa Doyle who sang a couple of her compositions regarding climate change including “The World Is In A Pickle” and “The New Titanic” which, among other things, suggests that: “A Ship Of Fools We Are, sitting on our deck chairs, we push the climate to the brink… and think the boat will never sink…” 

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Third Sunday in Lent: “The Woman at the Well” (John, 4:5-42)

In this Gospel passage, we discover Jesus in one of the unique encounters recorded in the Gospels. We find him in conversation with a woman, the longest conversation with either man or woman of which we have a record. He was on his way to Galilee from Jerusalem. Jews and Samaritans were divided by religious differences, and Jews usually avoided going through Samaria, a country lying between Judea and Galilee. Rather, they made a detour. Jesus was audacious in transgressing the current customs and daring to speak in public to a woman, a Samaritan at that, and one who was looked upon as being a sinner. 

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Third Sunday of Lent

Associate Danielle Lizotte lives in Massachussetts with her husband and daughter.

There have been a series of synchronistic events in my life where I’ve heard or read that the Zulu people of South Africa have a traditional greeting that goes something like this.  One person says “Sikhona”, which means “I am here to be seen”, while the reply is “Sawubona”, meaning “I see you”.  We did this recently at a church service and it felt like a lot more work than a nod, or hello, or even “Peace be with you”, also more intimate.  How often do we greet one another without really “seeing” them?  While reading this Sunday’s readings, this experience came to me again as I read the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:5-42).  This is among my favorite New Testament stories, Jesus breaking all conventions and offering some previously reviled person recognition and hope.  She is female, a member of a tribe in a long-standing feud with the Jews.  I’ve heard it surmised that because she is fetching water at the hottest time of the day, instead of the morning or dusk, that she may have been an outcast even among the Samaritans.  She is NOT someone a good male Jew should be asking for water, but Jesus says, “I see you.”  Not only that, but he offers her healing and hope.

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Evolution to Wholeness: Questioning with Ilia Delio, Teilhard de Chardin and Other Scientists

Theology on Tap: A monthly event sponsored by the SDU Institute for Christianity and Culture, on February 27th, featured Dr. Libby Osgood, whose topic was “Evolution to Wholeness: Questioning with Ilia Delio, Teilhard de Chardin and Other Scientists.” Dr. Osgood presented an in-depth look at four major aspects of the theme which included: the cohesion between science and religion, catholicity and working toward wholeness, the need to sit with the questions and encouragement to read the great authors she used as sources. It was amazing to experience the depth of her knowledge and her enthusiasm about what we might feel is such a complicated topic. It helped that we were familiar with the writings of Ilia and Teilhard de Chardin and could relate to other perennial questions such as the nature of allegory in Genesis, the intersection of science, theology and philosophy and the nature of the noosphere. What does one take away from such a deep, forward – looking exposition of our journey toward wholeness? For me it was to “sit with the questions” which fits with our efforts to engage in a contemplative stance as we journey forward and to be in relationship with profound mystery.

You can watch Evolution to Wholeness (Presented by Dr. Libby Osgood) here:


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New Blessed Sacrament Leadership Team

Provincial Leader

Sister Mary Anne Powers


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The World Day of Prayer Service in Charlottetown

The World Day of Prayer Service on the first Friday of March has become an annual event at Andrews of Charlottetown. This year, the service was prepared by the women of the Philippines. We are very fortunate in having a number of Filipino young women on our staff. Their involvement and participation added a very special flavor to this occasion. Some of them wore their native costumes. They brought flags and memorabilia which were artistically displayed. They even brought their traditional food. During the service, they sang their National Anthem. They were featured in the Entrance Procession carrying symbols as each was explained. Residents, staff and volunteers collaborated to provide a prayerful and memorable experience.  

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Book Recommendations

Kathleen Dowling Singh who is a psychotherapist and dharma practitioner has 3 recent books which encourage a non-dualistic appreciation and awareness of the graces within the stages of our lives. Both Richard Rohr and Ron Rolheiser frequently refer to her work. The books can be read in any order and the titles give some clue as to the particular focus. They are: The Grace in Aging: Awaken as You Grow Older, The Grace in Dying: How We are Transformed Spiritually as We Die, and The Grace in Living: Recognize It, Trust It, Abide in It.


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Book Review

The Circle Way: A Leader in Every Chair by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea (Foreword by Margaret J. Wheatley. 2010: Berrett-Koehler Pub. CA)

The authors of the book maintain: "Circle gives us space to sit down in our not knowing, to hear each other out, and to hold on to the story while taking the next step forward." This book is about a way to meet in groups and have every voice heard. It requires some preparation and an invitation. The authors use the term “host” instead of ‘the usual “facilitator.” A facilitator, they say, is expected to stay outside the process, and a host enters into it. The book has success stories from business, health care, education, and non-profit organizations to help readers understand how it can work.  

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Peace & Justice News

We have taken a Corporate Stand Against labor and sex trafficking. Here is an invitation to take concrete action against labor trafficking from CCOAHT. The survey will take no more than 10 minutes even if you are a slow typist!

End Human Trafficking in Seafood Industry: The Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking (CCOAHT) is engaged in an effort to end human trafficking in the seafood industry by encouraging producers to share information about their supply chains on their labels.

Human trafficking is a global phenomenon that enslaves women, men, and children into situations of forced labor, debt bondage, and sexual servitude. Human trafficking is wide spread in many products’ supply chains, including products sold in the United States. For example, the United States imports 80-90% of its seafood, and tens of thousands of people are exploited at every link in the seafood harvesting and production chain. This exploitation occurs through abusive recruitment practices, as well as slavery at sea and in seafood processing plants. 

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Associate News

New Candidates for Associate Relationship

The Associates from Holy Cross-IHM, Chicago recently joined Sr. Mary MacIsaac in Kankakee to share with the Associate Formation Community that Sr. Mary has been nurturing.

We rejoice in and are grateful for this growth in the Associate Relationship. Let us keep these Associate Candidates in our prayer these last months of their formation.

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Celebrating Diversity: Young Women & Leadership

Five alumnae joined Notre Dame Academy Elementary School in a panel, “Celebrating Diversity: Young Women & Leadership”

Notre Dame Academy Elementary School celebrated the culmination of Black History Month by hosting a panel entitled: “Celebrating Diversity: Young Women & Leadership.” Created and planned by current parent, Ms. Colette Cesar, Notre Dame Academy Elementary School welcomed five African American alumnae to celebrate and share their stories, highlighting the importance of our differences. Girls from grades 3-8 witnessed a PowerPoint presentation on historically important African-American women, sang gospel songs and engaged in Q & A about diversity.

Each panelist, an alumna of Notre Dame Academy, spoke briefly about herself and her career; each emphasized what she had learned at Notre Dame that armed her for success.

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Second Sunday of Lent, 2017

Inspired by Sharon’s reflection last week of seeing the gospel from different points of view, I find myself jumping in – as a participant – in each of this week’s readings.  I’m ready to be a part of the action!  But, I am quickly humbled.  When God tells Abram to “go forth,” I feel like I am being asked to leave my own home.  In the second reading from Paul to Timothy, I feel like I am being told to “bear my share of hardship.”  And, in the gospel, I quake thinking about Jesus being transfigured right in front of me on a high mountain.  Why is my first reaction, “I can’t do this.  It’s too much?”  Each of these experiences seems like so much to ask of anyone.  Each seems so overwhelming. 

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NYC Rallye in support of Cameroon

Sisters Donna Kelly, Cathy Molloy, Peggy Doyle, and Maco Cassetta attended a rally of 600 Cameroonians living in the United States.

In their concern for the violation of human rights in the Anglophone region (North and Southwest regions), the participants highlighted the shutdown of the Internet in these two regions since mid-January, wide-spread arrests including a Supreme Court judge, two leaders of the coalition who represent the Anglophone community, and school children.

Those gathered at the rally are pursuing avenues for non-violent ways to stop the violence through international organizations, such as:

•                the United Nations,

•                Human Rights Watch,

•                and Amnesty International.

United in prayers,

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World Day of Prayer

The World Day of Prayer is a global ecumenical movement led by women desiring to be united for peace and justice. Friday, March 3, is the date, but many places choose another day/date in March. This year the overall theme is Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action. Resource materials have been prepared this year by the women of the Philippines. 

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ARCAN – Atlantic Religious Congregations Associate Network

Atlantic Religious Congregations Associate Network consists of associates and sisters. It began in 2002 “to support the relationship between associates and sisters.” The 2017 ARCAN Conference will take place June 2 & 3 at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. Presenter will be Dolores Hall. Theme is “Greening Our Hearts: Christian spirituality today.”

Registration required by May 1st, 2017.

This is a wonderful opportunity to meet and share with associates and sisters from other congregations in Atlantic Canada. We hope to see the Congrégation de Notre-Dame community well represented at the conference. 

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