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Feast of the Visitation from coast to coast

Visitation Province


It was May 31, the Feast of the Visitation. It was the day for the renewal of our vows. It was the occasion on which we celebrated our jubilarians. The PEI Sisters were all together. We began with Mass in our community room, presided by our chaplain, Father Bob Coady. After the homily, we renewed our vows in English and French. We then enjoyed a delicious lobster dinner in Andrews’ dining room. After dinner, we returned to our community room, where we expressed our appreciation for our three jubilarians, Sisters Catherine Smith (70), Marie Gaudet (70) and Anne T. Gillis (60). We did this through song, cards and spoken words. These sisters were invited to tell stories about their life as sisters of the Congregation de Notre-Dame, and we very much enjoyed their anecdotes. The celebration continued in the evening with the sisters living at Andrews. We had a prayer service, our Jubilarians received gifts and we enjoyed refreshments. Many reasons to celebrate, and celebrate we did!

Réjeanne Bourque, CND with Notre Dame Community at Andrews

Sydney, NS

On May 31st, in honour of the Feast of the Visitation, sisters at the Congregation de Notre-Dame Health Care Center in Sydney gathered together to renew their vows and celebrate the feast with prayer, a champagne toast and a lobster fest. The celebration was appreciated and enjoyed by all.

Arlene Rutledge, coordinator

Fredericton, NB

Sisters and associates met at Windsor Court for prayer and renewal of vows and promises on May 31st. Carole Dilworth prepared a prayer service with a variety of Visitation images; Merla Spires brought goodies; and Windsor Court provided tea and coffee. We had a lively conversation and shared plans for celebrating the 400th anniversary this summer and autumn in New Brunswick.

Eleanor McCloskey, CND

Woodstock, NB

In celebration of the 400th Birthday of Saint Marguerite, associates in Woodstock prepared a special liturgy, followed by a reception in the parish hall – parishioners were invited to come and celebrate with us. The tables were festive with white tablecloths, and bouquets of daisies and baby’s breath, plus statues of Marguerite and/or Visitation. Photos were mounted around the room and a slideshow shared moments from the years the Sisters of the Congregation de Notre-Dame lived in Woodstock. Brief bios were read outlining the ministries here of Sisters Anne Gillis, Thérèse Arsenault, Sylvina Gaudet, Maureen Baldwin, Cécile Buote, Marguerite Mossey, Joan MacKenzie, Anne Marie MacDougall and Esther Clarkin. The Congregation de Notre-Dame has many long-standing friends in Woodstock; they continue to express their gratitude for the life and work of the Sisters.

Eleanor McCloskey, CND

Kingston, ON 

Over 200 people gathered on May 31st in St. Joseph’s Church in Kinston for a wonderful Eucharist presided by our new Archbishop Michael Mulhall. The congregation consisted of many parishioners, people from neighbouring towns and cities, former Sisters of the Congregation de Notre-Dame, the children’s choir from St. Marguerite Bourgeoys School and several students from Regiopolis Notre Dame Secondary School, Sisters of Congregation de Notre-Dame as well as our associates. During the Mass, the sisters renewed their vows and the associates renewed their commitment. In his homily, the Archbishop spoke of the mystery of the Visitation and related it to the call of Marguerite and the ministry of the sisters in the Archdiocese and elsewhere through the years.

Music for the Liturgy was provided by the St. Joseph Parish choir, with hymns very well suited to the occasion. The cantor for the psalm was one of the secondary school students. After communion one of the students played a beautiful rendition of Schubert’s Ave Maria on his guitar.

In the Offertory Procession, children carried beautifully crafted symbols of Marguerites on which they had written little reflections expressing their love of Marguerite, their patron Saint. During the Offertory, the children sang their School Song, “St. Marguerite We Love You”, composed by Eleanor Monahan, CND. The celebration concluded with the joyous praise of Marguerite as all sang “Sing Out Her Glory” accompanied by students playing the horn and tuba. Following the Mass all gathered outdoors for a delicious lunch provided by the St. Joseph’s Parish Council. Kudos to our 400th Anniversary Committee for organizing such a memorable celebration.

Eleanor Monahan, CND

Fanning the Flame of Transformation Workshop, Trail, BC

West Kootenay associates hosted Monica Lambton from our Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Office last week in a public presentation held at Holy Trinity Parish in Trail. Monica incorporated aspects of her Kelowna workshop, "Fanning the Flame of Transformation" together with the crisis surrounding the use of plastics and its impact on our earth and its waters. She offered practical ideas about how to decide what actions will have the biggest impact and what resources fit best. It was encouraging to see 50+ people who attended from the West Kootenays.

Maureen Wiley, Associate

Kelowna, BC 

May 24th - 27th at the Seton House of Prayer in Kelowna British Columbia, twenty-seven sisters and associates spent four faith-filled days with presenters Sister Eleanor McCloskey and JPIC Coordinator Monica Lambton.

Our 400th Marguerite Bourgeoys Celebration, “Life of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys - the Woman” was well received by all. Eleanor McCloskey, in her special engaging way, shared information about Saint Marguerite, with golden nuggets from the writings of Patricia Simpson and the Musings of a Daisy Admirer by Sister Della Gaudet. Eleanor invited us to relate our own journey to Marguerite’s, living in faith and open to surprise. Sunday afternoon Monica spoke about Fanning the Flame on Mission.”

After this special weekend, Monica, Pat Weicker and I made visitations and presentations to associates in Salmon Arm, Trail and Cranbrook. Many non-associates were also in attendance at the gatherings. We shared in many special moments and I must say, the friendship, hospitality and great cooks and love for Marguerite are alive and well in the West. May the blessings of Marguerite continue to fill our days!

Pat Weicker, associate coordinator for West/North has retired. We wish Pat the rest and relaxation she well deserves.

Dolores MacGillivary, associate coordinator


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