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Visitation Province Associates' Report at Central Committee

Associates from Visitation Province

After we presented our report, others were asked to share what impacted them in what they heard. Here are their responses:

  • A community that radiates the charism of Marguerite Bourgeoys from sea to sea
  • Great concern for little ones and our planet
  • That prayer is most important to our Associates
  • A very great awareness of over-consumerism and also the importance of buying locally
  • The values of Marguerite like justice and peace and held dearly in each heart
  • Global awareness and involvement
  • A community that is proud to bring Marguerite’s light to the next generation
  • Solidarity in commitment to CND Heritage and justice issues
  • A very much alive group, prayerful in solidarity with everyone, being detached from consumerism and at the service of others
  • A community with deep trust as they embrace the future
  • Very open to internationally living simplicity of life
  • Dynamic and connected to one another and the world.


Central Committee Meeting CND Mother House, August 7, 8, 9 and 10

Last week, Diane Foley and I represented each of you at the Central Committee Meeting in Montreal.

The six co-Coordinator’s of Visitation Province presented the collated sharing sent in response to the 7 questions that dealt with “Telling Our Stories, Who Do We Say We Are?”

Thank you to those who took the time to share your reflections.

Responses from ALL across Visitation Province was gathered and collated. Please see below for the combined sharing of Visitation East, Central Canada and the West and North.

Moreover, to the right, we have included the response/feedback of the other co-Coordinators who were present representing the International Body of the CND Community at the Central Committee Meeting. The gathered body were asked to consider all that had been presented in our report and then feedback to us what impacted them in what they heard.

Visitation Province Associates' Report

If the Associates from our province were here they would tell you that we are most proud of  “visitation” as it offers fellowship, support and confidentiality while creating quiet time apart to reflect, pray and nurture our personal growth and spiritual life. We have a special, loving bond which is evident when we meet at outside functions; examples would be the annual Naramata Weekend in the West/North, the Howe Island gathering in Central and the five retreats offered annually in the East. We are also proud of bringing the light of Marguerite’s charism of love and devotion to the next generation and by the way we gather, pray and care for one another in a sharing circle which frees us to go forward in our own particular ministry allowing us to be the unique persons God created us to be. We are pleased that we are connected to sisters and associates of many diverse nationalities and cultures. This gives us a sense of global and spiritual connectedness to ourbrothers and sisters everywhere the CND family is found, that has broadened through modern communication systems. With pride for mission, recognizing that we are a vital part of the CND community in Associate Relationship, we do our best to carry the torch forward by keeping Marguerite’s spirit alive in the community. Many of us were nurtured by CND’s as young women and men. We dare to live the CND mission, courageously and meaningfully, guided by the Chapter directives. Our leaders continue to keep the Associates informed through correspondence, e-mails, intranet, JPIC and changes within government policies in areas of social justice, education, and their giving through their response to the needy. Simply put, we are proud to be Associates who share a common solidarity with Associates around the world.

Sisters and Associates from around the world at Bon-Secours Chapel

If the Associates from our Province were here they would tell you that we are living simplicity when we learn to place our time, energy and care in the hands of God who guides us, freeing us to show love and respect for all through prayer, celebration, meetings, and working together within our Church and communities. Each action is preceded by an active concern for our planet showing we are consciously aware of environmental issues and revere nature. There are many ways we can follow a simpler lifestyle in our world of consumerism and waste. The CND community has great concern for the dangers inflicted on our environment. We live simplicity when we are not owned by our possessions, detach from secular thinking and have no requirements for special clothing. We live simplicity when we follow the dictates of Mother Bourgeoys to be little, humble and poor, make choices to support fair trade coffee, food security, buy locally, buy made in Canada, and avoid big name brands or stores, knowing that “cheap” costs. We live simplicity when we value each person without a barrier as to culture, colour, race, age or educational back-ground. We teach simplicity to our families who can then accept others without judgment. Going forward we need to prioritize our treasures, conserve water, and become aware of the waste in the Western world, adopting the motto “Live simply so that others might simply live”.

If the Associates from our Province were here...

If the Associates from our Province were here they would tell you that we are encouraging new candidates by recognizing that possible candidates can be attracted by prayer, word of mouth and our association with folks around us. We can raise the names of potential candidates in our group and discern when and how to invite them to “come and see”. We are truly seeking when we hold 'come and see' information sessions and offer to visit, journey, study and pray with candidates and provide working material to encourage potential Associates to explore. Personal invitations and celebration of Feast days help to make candidates feel comfortable and welcomed as part of our family. We invite and encourage by telling our children and grandchildren how important it is to us to belong to the Congregation of Notre Dame community as Associates. We can enter into dialogue by calling alumnae and former high school friends who were taught by our CNDs. We can also use our brochures to advertise that Associate Relationship exists. We witness in our Parishes and communities by setting an example in our daily interactions and fan the flame as we share the life of St. Marguerite and the CNDs, explaining to other Christians our commitment to Associate Relationship and the mission.


If the Associates from our Province were here they would tell you that we are living in Mutuality through the ever deepening friendships that have blossomed over time, living Marguerite’s spirit and values. Our shared vision and hope for the future strengthens this special bond between us. We are proud that in a spirit of openness and mutuality with the sisters, we share the charism of Marguerite Bourgeoys and the mission of the Congregation de Notre-Dame. We honoured mutuality when we journeyed to become Associates through faith sharing, through commitment to the charism of Marguerite and then, as Associates, by our commitment to Chapter Directives and through the whole area of JPIC and CND Social Justice. We live mutuality through the celebration of community feast days, working with the sisters in parish ministries, visiting the sick and shut-ins and our participation in congregational meetings like Chapters and Assemblies. We experienced the blessing of mutuality as we helped our Sisters relocate after convents closed in our areas. Many of us read and share documents from leadership, prayer services and various other documents the sisters have written. Through advancements in communications we are able to follow their journeys through the internet. Our lived mutuality has helped us understand that our Sisters experience the joys and sorrows of life just as we do.


If the Associates from our Province were here they would tell you that we are Preparing Leaders for Mission by offering opportunities for smaller roles before expecting them to take on more responsible roles. We encourage all to use their giftedness by participating in public functions and also at our monthly meetings by the rotation of leadership tasks. We encourage Associates to take part in various missions such as volunteering at food banks and by being supportive to the ministries of associates especially in the area of social justice. We mentor new leaders by encouraging Associates who have time to exchange information with other groups in the province. We mentor leaders by our example and by taking time to ease them into leadership roles in the local group. Discernment needs to take place before anyone is asked to take on a leadership role. Closures of convents had a huge impact on communities but created reasons for Associates to take on leadership roles right within their own groups.


If the Associates from our Province were here they would tell you that we are Deepening our Spirituality when we, like Marguerite, welcome visitors – well or sick, rich or poor. Some groups have established a “theme” and linked the theme back to Marguerite – this helped see the connection between Marguerite’s experiences and our present day lived experience. If we have Marguerite's charism, we can't help but include her in all that we do – this deepens our spirituality. We deepen our spirituality through workshops, by reading everything we can about Marguerite, often revisiting the Writings and by our faith sharing as we gather each month to live “visitation” through the charism of CND Visitation and Pentecost spirituality. We participate in the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, something we realize Saint Marguerite loved to do. We are attentive to our spiritual needs... attending daily Mass whenever possible, doing spiritual reading, participating in and facilitating retreats annually especially in Advent or Lent. Welcoming our regional leaders and reflecting together on the work, letters and emails from Central and Regional offices also deepen our spirituality.


If the Associates from our Province were here they would tell you that we are Using Unique Ways to celebrate by defining what we want as a group and creating a frame work around it. We celebrate being together with coffee, tea and lunch at each meeting, hold pot-lucks at summer cottages where we relax and share our stories and special moments. We invite journeying Associates to our celebrations and enjoy travelling together to meet Associates who are distanced from the larger group. We celebrate by supporting each other in projects beyond our CND family i.e. when an associate was in a community play other members attended the production. We treasure gathering in places filled with Marguerite’s spirit. Some live close to Louisbourg, a town in Cape Breton steeped in CND Heritage – for a special event we travelled there to enjoy the Spirit of Marguerite that is present. In the East, we are blessed to have five Associate Groups and for years we were present at Marguerite’s Museum in Sydney to greet the visitors from cruise ships all over the world. Associates in Kingston have partnered with other groups in Peace Quest to bring awareness of peace for Canada. In Salmon Arm, B.C. an Associate helped her Grade7 Catechism class raise enough money to erect two peace poles with messages of peace in English, French, Japanese and MicMaw. As one associate remarked “just to be an Associate is truly a gift”. We bring a sense of humour to all that we do. We are a source of wisdom for each other when we count on the friendship of each other – this is not only a unique way to celebrate but a reason to celebrate.


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