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Visitation Province

A New Global Jubilee Has Begun, The Holy Year Of Mercy....

“God's mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones (cf. Ez 37:1-14). ... Let us be renewed by God's mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of God’s love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.”

- Pope Francis


2016 General Chapter

Early in January, Stage II of the preparation for General Chapter will begin with the receiving of all the letters from the provinces/regions. The process is outlined in the booklet which each of you has received, “Rooted in Jesus Christ, Let Us Cultivate Love and Compassion.”

Upon the completion of Stage II – Part II, the delegates/alternates will be involved in creating a presentation for General Chapter.

Let us continue to pray for all those involved in the preparation for the August 2016 General Chapter.

2017 Province Chapter

Preparation has begun for the 2017 Province Chapter which will, “represent the entire province and invigorate the mission of the province.” (Constitutions R137a)

The tentative date for Chapter is July 4-10, 2017 with the venue/location yet to been determined.

We are very grateful to the following sisters for having accepted to be on the planning committee: Maureen Baldwin, Donna Egan, Shelley Grant, Colleen O’Leary and Debbie Warner.

Pat Kozak, CSJ will be the facilitator. Pat is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. She entered the Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph in 1964 and holds a Masters in Religious Studies from Saint Louis University and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Pacific School of Religion of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.

Pat has served two terms in leadership for her Congregation. She has co-authored “More Than Words: Prayer and Ritual for Inclusive Communities” and more recently was a contributor to the book, “Crucible for Change: Engaging Impasse through Communal Contemplation and Dialogue.”

The committee will have their first meeting early in the new year.

2016 Winter Occasional Papers

The upcoming issue of the LCWR Occasional Papers will explore this period in religious life as one rich with potential for deep transformation.

This issue will offer articles that explore the need for personal and communal grieving and the essential role healthy grieving plays to free us for the creative work of moving religious life forward with hope and imagination. Sisters will be receiving a copy of the Winter Occasional Papers in late February.

Associate Relationship

The associate assembly participants, all 9, have been letting themselves be seen as they bring the assembly content and spirit to every corner of Visitation Province. We give thanks for the strong leadership they have been exercising.

Planning has begun for special events that will highlight the 35th anniversary of Congregation of Notre Dame Associate Relationship:

  • “Empowering Associate Leadership,” is the theme of NACAR’s anniversary workshop which will take place at Villa Consolata, Howe Island, ON, September 16-18, 2016. This is a first time for such a NACAR workshop offering in Canada.
  • An invitation has gone out to associates throughout the province to take part in a summer pilgrimage to Montreal, following in the footsteps of Marguerite. It will be organized by Visitation East associates as one of the events to celebrate the 35th anniversary.

The Congregation of Notre Dame Corporate Stance on Climate Change has helped associates gain a better grasp of the bigger picture and spirit of internationality: allowing the interconnectedness of the Congregation of Notre Dame Corporate Stance with the making of our direction statement come alive by joining our energy with global movements of climate action. They see the deep value of contemplative practice and are encouraging this practice wherever associates gather.

The associate coordinators developed a meaningful discernment process to choose one associate delegate and 2 alternates to our 2016 General Chapter. These associates will be selected from one of the 9 participants who attended the summer assembly in Toronto. This discernment is presently on-going. The coordinators worked together to synthesize the many contributions they received from Stage I of the General Chapter process. The completed Visitation Province Associate letter has been sent to Ann Gotfryd at the Central Office.

The next coordinators’ meeting in Montreal will be held April 3-6, 2016. There will also be an interprovincial gathering with coordinators to share ideas and plans for continuing future leadership development among the associates.

Governance Committee

The Governance Committee continues to receive your wisdom, experience, imagination and questions. Members of the committee have been meeting with local groups to discuss governance for the future of Visitation Province. Every voice is needed, so we encourage you to meet with one, two or more sisters in your area and call, write or e-mail the committee members with your reflections. Committee members are: Sisters Eleanor McCloskey, Noreen Hickey and Bernie O’Neill.

Justice Peace Integrity Creation Committee

The JPIC Core Committee met in Montreal at the Motherhouse October 22–24, 2015. Committee members included sisters Mary Corbett, Anne T. Gillis, Eleanor McCloskey, Eileen Roach, associates Teresa McKerral, Salmon Arm, BC and Dorena Hall, Charlottetown, PE, Sr. Catherine Walker, Leadership Team Representative and JPIC Coordinator Monica Lambton.

Committee members agreed to continue with climate action as a central piece of the JPIC work for these reasons:

  • it is a long-term project and good continuity from previous work;
  • there is a commitment to climate action in the Corporate Stance and from the Province Assembly;
  • it is part of the Congregation of Notre Dame Social Justice Network commitment for 2015-2017;
  • it is a major focus of one of our partner organizations: Development & Peace.

Climate Action:

1. Build Awareness: Climate Action Challenge

2. Action: Corporate Stance

3. Advocacy: Presence & Letters

Report from the Province Assembly:

Sister Anne T. Gillis presented a summary of the process and outcomes from the Province Assembly, particularly how it connected to JPIC. This was followed by a discussion with all. One of the main themes was how we can integrate a contemplative stance into our mission. There was also some linkage to the JPIC exploration of collective action. One of the four action areas coming from our work at the Assembly was centered on joining our energy with the global climate action movement. This is an important connection point for JPIC.

Spirituality Resource Group

The Spirituality Resource Group (Sisters Pauline Dalton, Kay Duffin, Della Gaudet, Dolores Kennedy, Joan Lewis and Nina Glinski, liaison with the leadership team) felt energized by the summer Assembly and its market place connections and conversations. Participants were gently invited into a further awakening and deepening of their spirituality. Those days together heightened awareness that all of who we are and what we do is truly spirituality. We were encouraged by Nancy Sylvester’s challenge to commit to daily contemplative practice and dialogue uniting with the entire congregation, the world and all creation to bring about change for Planet Earth, especially by climate change action and contemplative prayer.

Planning continues for:

  • The Gathering with Nancy Sylvester, IHM: Graced Aging – Keeping the Energy Alive is to be held at the Motherhouse, September 23-25, 2016. The coordinating committee, Sisters Kay Duffin, Clara Nasello and Joan Lewis will be sending out registration forms through the Bedford office in late January. Thank you to those who have already indicated their interest.
  • The Visitation Spirituality Retreat will be offered together by Mary Anne Foley, CND and Ann Perrin, CND at Marguerite Bourgeoys Centre, Summerside, PE, July 31 – August 5, 2016. This will be opened to CND sisters only. Bookings will be taken by the MB Centre.
  • Another resource person that the group has connected with is Donna Brady, CSM who is willing to offer sessions on Spirituality, New Consciousness and Cosmology….

Feedback received by the Spirituality Resource Group indicated a desire to receive information on updated resources/workshops and to make these known. You are encouraged to share suggested spirituality resources and workshop possibilities so as to keep information flowing.

Members of Wellness and Health Resource Team (WHRT) Sisters Patricia Arsenault, Lorraine Costello, Donna Egan, Mary Jane Leonard, Florence MacKenzie and Catherine Walker, Provincial Liaison for the committee met at the Motherhouse October 27 - 28, 2015.

The evolving health needs of our sisters were reviewed along with various housing options for the future.

The team recommends reviewing and making any necessary changes to your Advanced Health Care Directives. It is strongly encouraged that a CND sister be named as first proxy. Updating your Personal Information Sheet is highly recommended as well. This form is posted on First Class under the WHRT icon.

Educational sessions on Alzheimer’s took place at Andrews of Charlottetown, Sisters of Providence, Kingston and Notre Dame de Bon Secours Infirmary in Montreal.

Team members are responsible for the following geographical areas:

PEI, NB, NFLD - Donna Egan

NS - Florence MacKenzie

Kingston - Patricia Arsenault

QC, AB and BC - Lorraine Costello

Toronto & Ottawa - Mary Jane Leonard

Their responsibilities include:

  • Assisting sisters of Visitation Province in assessing and meeting health care needs.
  • Assisting in assessing the level of health care needed and making decisions for transition.
  • Be a link between the Province Leadership Team, local communities and the individual sister.
  • Be available for consultation regarding decisions and options for organizing care.
  • Be available for on-going contact.

Health Care Coordinators are scheduled to meet May 2016 in Sydney, NS.

CND Health Care Centre

Realizing that we do not come from a health care background, Ellen Stoddard has been hired as a consultant to help us in our future planning with regard to the CND Health Care Centre.

She will guide us as we work with the Department of Health regarding the use of vacant beds.

St. FX Alumni Class of ‘56

The St. FX Alumni Class of 1956 created a fund to facilitate participation in Chaplaincy Programs and to honor the priests, Sisters of St. Martha and Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame who served St. Francis Xavier University so faithfully. We thank Sr. Margaret MacDonell who accepted to write a letter of gratitude to the alumni on our behalf.

Thanks and Appreciation

You have received the inspiring 2016 calendar Save the World. Grateful thanks to Sr. Phyllis Gallant for her dedicated work to ensure each of us has before us a reminder of the birthday of each sister and associate of Visitation Province. Also the timely quotes, questions and images provide both inspiration and challenge. Congratulations on a job well done Phyllis!

Wishing each of you joy, peace and love during the Wishing each of you joy, peace and love during the Christmas season and throughout the New Year. Christmas season and throughout the New Year. 


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