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Pain Potage, A Tribute to Marguerite Bourgeoys

Stéphanie Manseau

The Congregation Leadership Team with guests from Carrefour Marguerite-Bourgeoys

To celebrate Montreal’s 375th anniversary, Carrefour Marguerite-Bourgeoys organized a meal of bread and soup in honor of Marguerite Bourgeoys. This event took place at the mother house of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame on Wednesday, October 11.

In the presence of the Carrefour’s Board of Directors, the Congregation Leader and General Council, the representatives of Marguerite-Bourgeoys Province, and Archbishop Lépine of Montreal, Ms. Mylène Archambault, Director of the Carrefour, welcomed everyone. She then introduced one of the organization’s founders, Sister Lise Perras, who recalled the group’s beginnings. She stated that when she first arrived in Montreal’s Centre-Sud area in the 1980s and started speaking with the residents, she was struck by a question upon which she and her companions needed to reflect. The question was: "What is God doing about our problems?" In response to this question, and particularly to the need it revealed, Sister Lise with Sister Danielle Mineau, Sister Louise Gélinas and the late Sister Cécile Poissant established Carrefour Marguerite Bourgeoys. The institution’s purpose is to break people’s isolation and offering them various courses which are given by volunteer teachers. Time has passed, the Carrefour has moved, but the mission continues!

Sister Lise Perras

After the meal, Sister Denise Brunelle spoke to the guests about Marguerite Bourgeoys. She paid particular attention to the historical context in which Marguerite lived. Sister Denise emphasized that the woman known as the "Mother of the Colony" possessed the ability to adapt. The education which Marguerite provided to both adults and children centered on making them "able" and on preparing them to face their life’s realities in the New World. She ceaselessly stressed that her daughters needed to be "able to perform all types of tasks."

Sister Denise Brunelle

Catherine Crolo, one of Marguerite’s recruits and first sharecropper of Saint-Gabriel farm, was also involved in feeding and helping the settlers become "able." Sister Denise quoted an old (French) version of the Our Father which refers to the idea of labour: Notre pain pour tenir jusqu’à demain, donne-le nous aujourd’hui (Give us today the bread that will sustain us until tomorrow). When the body and soul are nourished it is possible to continue and go further.

The bread and soup that Marguerite promised her daughters were simple yet nourishing. They reflected the pragmatism and faith of Saint Marguerite. The CND sisters who established Carrefour Marguerite Bourgeoys had the same objective: support and help make the residents of their neighbourhood "able." The work continues today and provides those who benefit from it the strength to continue another day.

Sister Nicole Bernier in very pleasant company!

Carrefour Marguerite-Bourgeoys

Facebook page of the Carrefour Marguerite-Bourgeoys

Photo credit: Marie-Claire Dugas

 

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