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Blessed Sacrament Province

100th Anniversary Celebration, St. Sebastian’s Church, Providence, RI  Sr. Deanna Sabetta

On October 17, 2015, Sr. Catherine McDermott, Sr. Dorothy Collins, and I traveled to Providence for the 100th Anniversary of St. Sebastian’s Church. Sr. Patricia Flattery could not attend that day. We had each taught in the school in different years. The committee planning the celebration extended an invitation to the Sisters of the Congregation de Notre Dame to thank us for our work in this parish. The Congregation began its ministry in the parish in 1929.

When we arrived at the Church, the joy and gratitude we felt from the pastor and the people embraced us in a Visitation hospitality. The pastor, Msgr. Carlo Montecalvo, greeted us and led us to our front row seats. He welcomed us warmly, thanked us for coming and made us feel at home. As the people began to realize who we were, they came to us to express their happiness on seeing the sisters who had taught them or their children. Memories of times past were resurrected, and stories and laughter could be heard everywhere. We were surrounded by the love and gratitude they had for the “Mothers” who were a special part of their lives. How humble we felt and how grateful we were for the ministry of the Congregation among these good people of God.

The Liturgy was a joyful celebration of God’s blessings on us all. The celebrants were all former pastors. We were touched by the simplicity and prayerfulness of the experience.

As the liturgy continued, I was reminded of Pope Francis’ homily to religious men and women in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He offered two brief reflections which described so beautifully the Congregation of Notre Dame presence and mission in St. Sebastian. Pope Francis talked about the grace of remembrance-remembrance of our vocation, the roads we traveled, the graces we received. The grace of remembrance surrounded us in what we heard, how we were welcomed, what these students and families shared with us, what we meant to the families and children we taught. Pope Francis continued, “to remember is to grow in the spirit of gratitude.” We who represented the CND Sisters and the parish community of St. Sebastian rejoiced together in remembering and in counting our blessings.

Another area Pope Francis spoke about is the spirit of hard work. “A grateful heart is spontaneously impelled to serve the Lord and to find expression in a life of commitment to our work.” It was a delight to hear the people talk about the different sisters, many of whom are in heaven now, and what they gave them, especially to have the courage to hold on to their faith in a God who cares for them and is with them always. Our foundress St. Marguerite Bourgeoys had to be smiling in heaven as she heard about her daughters.

The dinner that followed was truly a celebration. We were the guests of the parish. Many of our former students came to us to thank us and to share school stories. I could go on and on, but I’d like to end with Pope Francis’ closing message to us: “Let us commend to Our Lady the work we have been entrusted to do; let us join her in thanking God for the great things he has done and for the great things he will continue to do in us and in those whom we have the privilege to serve.”

As we left, we were offering our own Magnificat: “Our souls magnify the Lord, and our spirits rejoice in God, our Savior.”

Associate News  Sr. Joan Mahoney

Back row: Alicia Parkinson, Kankakee, IL, Mary Jo Hoag, IL, Christine McMichael, RI, Donna Wuhrer, Wilton, CT Front row: Sr. Marilyn Hammill, Stamford, CT, Regina Smith, New Rochelle, NY, Barbara McGrattan, Hayesville, NC, Magdalena Centeno, Staten Island, NY, Sr. Joan Brennan, Staten Island, NY. Missing: Sr. Joan Mahoney, photographer, Janet Powell, Pensacola, FL

Province Associate Committee: The members of the Province Associate Committee, pictured above, met October 24 and 25 in Wilton, CT. We welcomed three new associates. We remembered with gratitude those who had served for several years on the Committee. The agenda for much of the meeting was creating the associate letter for Blessed Sacrament Province that was sent to the Central Bureau of Associates in Montreal. Individually and then in three groups, they reviewed and categorized the responses of eighty-two associates to the question “In light of the needs of the world today and our present reality where is God calling Congregation of Notre Dame associates into the future?” The groups each wrote a section of the letter and the entire group reviewed and refined the letter with final editing by three associates and Sr. Joan into Sunday evening. The committee is grateful for the thoughtful responses of so many associates that led to their creation of a cohesive statement for our future. In January, every associate will receive six letters from the four Congregation of Notre Dame provinces and two regions. In addition, the committee evaluated and made recommendations for the process and job description for an associate co-coordinator for September 2016 and reviewed other associate business.

Core Committee of Associates: As was announced in the September newsletter, a Core Committee of Associates has been formed to lead the creation of the Strategic Plan with the continued facilitation of Sr. Barbara Mullen, CSJ.

That Committee will meet November 6-8 at Wilton, CT. The Committee will involve many associates in sub-committee work in the four areas chosen by the Associate Assembly.

Peace & Justice News  Sr. Rose Mary Sullivan

I am including the Congregation of Notre Dame International and Provincial Justice Plans in this Newsletter. This past summer’s International Justice Network Meeting included hearing the final report of the group which assessed the carbon footprint of the mother house and made suggestions for reducing it. We also welcomed back Ms. Bineta Ba as Chairperson of the Social Justice Network. Because of the General Chapter, we will not have a meeting next summer. While the attached International Plan is for two years, our Province Plan is for only one year.

In late November, there will be Global Marches for Climate in preparation for the Paris Meeting in December. In early December, there will be a Gun Violence Sabbath in the United States.

Thank each of you for responding as generously as you do.

Social Justice Network International Plan of Action

Orientation Declaration 2015-2017

Aware that human actions are putting the earth in peril, we pledge to work with others in a spirit of dialogue

  • to safeguard the earth and to promote the equitable sharing of resources;
  • and to ensure quality of life for all humanity and for all creation.

Hence, we plan to take concrete action and remain loyal to our Chapter orientation (2011-2016) pertaining to simplicity for mission.

While pursuing our commitments to various important issues, we are aware that it is urgent that we take action against climate change. For 2015-2017, in continuity with the Laudato Si’ encyclical and the Corporate Stance, we are committed to raising awareness in our regions and to taking action in order to halt climate change. We will organize joint actions as a Network and each province and region will identify concrete actions in its Plan of Action.

We also pledge to develop the spirituality which underlies this orientation in connection with the charism of Marguerite Bourgeoys.

Blessed Sacrament’s Province Social Justice Plan for 2015–2016 to bring to life the Orientation Declaration and the Laudato Si Encyclical

  1. To actually use Green Faith materials/ suggestions which would guide us to take concrete actions to continue to reduce our carbon foot print in solidarity with the Greening of the Mother House.
  2. To spread information about Laudato Si’ and share/create a study guide for this encyclical while making connections with the UN sustainable Development Goals.
  3. To engage with Networks and Groups in advocating that governments follow and respect their commitments regarding the UN Sustainable Development Goals. To publicize the Sustainable Development Goals in the context of the Golden Rule.
  4. To take actions in collaboration with Networks and Groups to bring about a reduced ecological foot print, at all levels of government: local, state and national.
  5. To encourage divestment in fossil fuels and to make connections with other groups promoting this goal.
  6. To develop and disseminate a spirituality of climate action using the perspective of Marguerite Bourgeoys.
  7. To use all of our Corporate Stands as guides and challenges to our efforts in Social Justice. To publicize our 5 Corporate Stands within the community and through community members and resources to our friends, colleagues and the general public.
  8. To utilize materials from the Charter of Compassion and other like sources as another way of responding to the calls for compassion and inclusion of Pope Francis during his visit to the USA.
  9. To actively lobby our nation’s leaders to make specific and concrete proposals for substantial changes which will affect climate change at the December Paris Conference.

Vocation News  – Srs. Peggy Doyle & Mary Ann Rossi

Progress Report for Service Project: Congregation of Notre Dame sisters and associates continue to don their shirts and contribute to simple acts of service for the good of God’s people.

The Rhode Island associates started us off with packing backpacks for the poor.

The Walks to End Alzheimer’s drew a large number of us to Andrus. Under the leadership of Sr. Carolyn Kinnamon, the sisters there and visiting CND’s “walked” with wheel chairs and walkers, raising over $300. Not to be outdone by the indoor walk, four of us braved arctic temperatures in NYC for the Walk in Central Park. Associate Barbara Casmasina organized this event.

On October Saturday, 24th, Connecticut Sisters, Associates, Katherine DiGiulio and CCS Board Members and Staff gathered at Children’s Community School in Waterbury. Associate Ellen Lynch and Principal Roseanne Greaney organized participants in sorting and shredding years of bills, letters, reports, etc. Some painting was also done. Sister Pat Ells acted as a liaison with Congregation of Notre Dame sisters and volunteers. A delicious lunch was provided.



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