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Global Teacher Prize nominations

Maggie MacDonnell, niece of Sr. Margie MacDonnell, CND is one of 10 teachers from around the world to be nominated for the Global Teacher Prize. The prize, established by the education charity Varkey Foundation, highlights the importance of teachers while awarding the top educator with $1 million US. Nominees will attend the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai in March, where the winner will be announced.

Maggie has always been interested in the way sport and recreation can improve many aspects of a person’s life. When she was asked to develop a life-skills program to improve school enrolment for the Kativik School Board in the arctic region of Quebec six years ago, she did much more by establishing fitness programs as well. In a community where the risk of developing diabetes is high and youth suicide is a concern, she wanted to teach kids healthy coping strategies. Maggie worked with the municipality to build a fitness centre that is open to adults and the local schools, and she started a running club to keep kids motivated. The runners are now the faces of the Healthy Choices tour, visiting schools across the region to offer peer-to-peer presentations about issues of mental health, addiction, dropping out of school, and using physical activity to help overcome some of these challenges. The runners are gaining new skills of leadership and public speaking in the process. If Maggie wins, she said she would establish non-profit runs and environmentally-focused programs for northern youth. Visit website www.globalteacherprize.org/top-10-finalist/maggie-macdonnell

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Lenten Reflection

CND Associate Sharon invites us to see the loving God as always searching for ways to reach through to us.  Blessed Lent!

A reading from the Book of Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7.

I have listened to the story of Adam and Eve’s fall from grace from varying perspectives over the years, as a child, a parent, and now a grandparent.


The Parent in me echoes:

Never take candy from a stranger!

Be home by 10.

Don’t text and drive.

Just say no!

Don’t eat the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

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March Article for The RI Catholic

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.

That is unfortunate because Patrick indeed deserves the place he holds in the Church and among the Irish. The many myths surrounding him about shamrocks, snakes and deer pale in comparison to the reality of his life. Patrick was born a citizen of Rome in the area known today as Great Britain. He was the son of a deacon and the grandson of a priest. (The Roman Catholic Church had married priests up to the 11th century.)

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Appreciation evening at St. Mary’s Parish, Montague, PE

One year ago, Saint Mary's Parish in Montague began to look into the possibility of sponsoring a refugee family. Other church communities were invited to join the committee and the Montague Lions Club offered to provide financial support. After several months of meetings and planning, a family of four arrived. It was a very rewarding experience for all who were involved in this venture. The church communities worked together and many commented on how this made a difference in their lives. People shared their gifts … be it for driving family members to appointments, the local dentist providing free service, retired teachers providing language training and others visiting the family and offering support.

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Development and Peace – Caritas Canada - 50th annual Share Lent campaign

Development and Peace – Caritas Canada: On Ash Wednesday Development and Peace – Caritas Canada will launch its 50th annual Share Lent campaign, entitled Women at the Heart of Change. You are invited to make Share Lent a part of your Lenten journey. Supporting women is a priority for Development and Peace – Caritas Canada. For this year's campaign, we invite you to listen to the voices of women who are building the world of tomorrow. Women have always been at the heart of our organization. In parishes all across the country many events are being organized to celebrate this 50th anniversary. The most important of course is the Share Lent collection held on April 2, Solidarity Sunday. 

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Honour and Respect Our Common Home by Taking Concrete Action

Last Tuesday, the sisters and lay employees of the mother house of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame assembled to highlight and celebrate the efforts made thus far to diminish the ecological footprint of the house.

In fact, since 2014, words have been put into action and the mother house has been taking concrete steps to become “green”: evaluating and improving the energy efficiency of the heating system; composting; switching to biodegradable cleaning products and fair trade coffee, etc.

(photo: Sister Fernande Cantin, leader of the international community of the mother house)

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I can’t believe it, I WON … says Sr. Ruth!!!!!!

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Pictured is Sister Ruth Penny, after she won at Wii Bowling, a game played using the computer. Once a month, at Providence Mother House a Wii Bowling tournament takes place. Under the expert tutelage of Christine, one of our Activity organizers, six of us gather for a couple of hours of bowling. Amidst cheers and moans, laughter and applause each one tries her best to knock down all the pins to achieve a strike or at least a spare for her efforts. A specially designed trophy is presented to the winning team along with “Tuck Bucks” worth $1.00 at the in-house Tuck Shop. Who says we seniors can’t have fun?

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Are you planning to give up something for Lent?

Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) has launched a campaign that is asking us to "Give it up for the Earth!" There are postcards to send to the Minister of the Environment, where we check off what we are pledging to give up for Lent that will lower our carbon footprint (driving less & taking greener modes of transport, eating a non-meat meal once a week or more, or a blank 'other' category where you can write in your personal pledge) and urging the Canadian Government to follow this example and take action to reduce our carbon footprint at a national level. Cards can be sent anytime during Lent. This is a great way for us to fulfill the promises we made in our Corporate Stance pledge on Climate Action. You can request a postcard from the JPIC office, or visit the CPJ website to order a bulk amount free of charge to distribute in your house, your parish and other places.

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Trinity Institute 2017

Water Justice – March 22-24, 2017. Every year Trinity Wall Street Episcopal Church in NYC hosts a conference with a theme of national and global interest. This year's theme is about water justice and includes several well-known speakers engaged in this field, one of whom is Maude Barlow. Many churches and other institutions host the event locally. In Ottawa St. Matthew's Anglican Church on Bank Street is hosting it. For more information about the schedule and host sites so far see https://www.trinitywallstreet.org/trinity-institute/2017/home. There are not many Canadian host sites and there is information on the website on how to set one up in your local area if any interest. I participated in one Institute previously and both the input and discussions with the local group gathered were very good.

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Religious in Atlantic Canada (RAC) Conference May 19th – 21st, 2017

The Religious in Atlantic Canada (RAC) Gathering meets annually to explore topics that have greatest bearing on our common future as religious, living and ministering in these most challenging times. Any religious women or men who wish to join this exploration are most welcome to be part of the conversation. Keep your hand on the plow, look ahead, and discover new fields! Anyone who puts their hand to the plow, and keeps looking back is not about the reign of God! Luke 9:62  

  • What does it mean to look ahead, to see with new eyes for the sake of the reign of God? 
  • What is being asked of us at this time? 
  • What are the deeper questions that keep us from dwelling on the past, that we might embrace our emerging future? 

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Pushing for Peace

I am sure we are all feeling deep sadness regarding the recent violence in the Quebec City mosque. Carl Hetu, former Development & Peace animator in Ottawa, and current Director of Canada Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) has written a very helpful op-ed piece. I encourage you to take a look at it here:  http://www.cnewa.ca/default.aspx?ID=2903&pagetypeID=8&sitecode=CA&pageno=1.

Carl is a member of the JPIC Lay Network, which our JPIC (Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation) office helped to found several years ago. This is a network of lay staff working on issues of justice, peace and creation with religious communities and in religious organizations. Through such groups we are able to cross-pollinate ideas and nurture deep reflection, thus cultivating the wisdom and courage to advocate for a just peace that considers root causes. 

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Curious about Associate Relationship?

Congratulations to new Associates!

On January 8 at the Chapel of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in North Providence, four women became Congregation of Notre-Dame Associates. In addition to attending the monthly Rhode Island Associate Gatherings when they could, these four women participated in the Formation blog. Since the theme of the Prayer Service for the Feast of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys was “Go to the peripheries”, we are focusing on how they do that in their lives using their own words.

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Have a Heart Campaign

When the idea for the Have a Heart Campaign began in November, I had no idea of how appropriate it would be. In the face of developing anti-immigrant policies and practices, I think we are called to take a stand on behalf of compassion and love. This Campaign provides a simple, concrete way to do that. I hope you will spread the word and invite as broad participation as possible. Thank you.

Congregation of Notre-Dame – HAVE A HEART” Campaign

February 14- March 17. In the spirit of our latest Congregation of Notre-Dame Orientations we invite you to “be open to the diversity of generations, cultures, attitudes and structures” and to “go to the peripheries” by being part of the “HAVE A HEART Campaign.” Today, our detention centers are certainly part of the peripheries. In this campaign, we will be collaborating with First Friends, an advocacy group in Kearney, NJ for those in detention in the NY Metro area. Between Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day we encourage you to join the Campaign by being involved yourself and by finding others to join with you/us.

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Formation Corner

Can you all believe it is February?

Here, in White Plains, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we have been working diligently and hard to continue to prepare our formation house.

Donna Kelly, CND arrived on January 6th from Kingston, Canada and on Saturday, February 4th, we will welcome Cathy Molloy, CND who arrives from Cameroon!...


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Goodbye Sister Cathy and thank you for all those years of presence!

After many years of missionary service in Cameroon, Sister Catherine Molloy returns to the U.S. where she will join the Formation House community in White Plains, NY. ...


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New Publication: Hostages with God

The night of April 4 to 5, 2014, Sister Gilberte Bussière, CND, was abducted by a group of armed men in the extreme north of Cameroon; a few meters away, members of the same group also captured Father Gianantonio Allegri and Father Gianpaolo Marta. Captive for 57 days, they were freed on May 31, feast day of the Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame...

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Novena in honour of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

On Tuesday, January 3, 2017 the parishioners of St. Mary Parish in Mabou joined with the sisters and associates in praying the Novena in honour of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys. In preparation for the celebration of her feast on January 12 the Novena prayer was recited following Mass each day and those at home were invited to join us. Father Andrew Gillies, Chaplain at St. FX University, was invited to celebrate the Eucharist. Josephine MacNeil, associate, welcomed the congregation. Sisters and associates took part in the Entrance and Offertory processions and fulfilled the roles of Lector and Eucharistic Minister. Following Communion Peter Sargent, associate, presented a short, heartfelt reflection on St. Marguerite and how she strongly influences his life. Following our time of prayer and praise expressed in word and song we all assembled in the Renewal Centre where we enjoyed the traditional “cup of tea” and delicious lunch which was prepared by our associates. May St. Marguerite continue to intercede for all of us as we strive to live the charism designed by her so many years ago.

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School Reunion - St. Mary’s Convent in Miramichi (Newcastle) NB

School Reunion – This year marks the 50th anniversary of the closing of St. Mary’s Convent in Miramichi (Newcastle) NB. Former students are organizing a reunion event for July 8th and 9th to be held at St. Mary’s Parish Centre. All who attended St. Mary’s Convent (ever!) are invited to register (before April 7th) with Susan Butler (susanbutler@xplorneet.com) Meet-and-greet, supper, Mass and closing luncheon included. Total cost $45.

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January 7, 2017, Perpetual vows ceremony

Sister Mariana de Jesús Sagastume Ventura

Some pictures from that very special day

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Let us be about the kingdom of God

February Article for The R.I. Catholic

The Statue of Liberty has been restored and reopened within the past few years. With all the patching and plastering, painting and preening, the pedestal still holds the famous poem by Emma Lazarus “The New Colossus.”

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


(Photo: Sister Patricia McCarthy, CND, pictured here with Sister Ann Broderick, CND (seated) and Sister Patricia Flattery, CND)

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