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Visitation Province

Visit with Congregation Leadership Team

The Truro, NS associates on October 4th hosted the Congregation Leadership Team: Sisters Agnes (Cape Breton), Ercilia (Central America), Ona (USA), Danielle (Quebec) and Sophie (Cameroon) accompanied by Sister Catherine (Bedford).

Together we all listened and learned about one another as we were invited to share about ourselves. Sister Ona then shared a reflective visual history starting with Jesus, moving to Marguerite Bourgeoys’s journey, and photos of the first convents in areas of the world as the congrgation expanded internationally as well as photos of more recent ministries. This was followed by sharing our reflections, discussion and Q&A’s.

Our visit was a living experience of interculturality and a witness of the Charism of St. Marguerite being lived out today. As a group we felt very blessed and grateful to have Sisters Agnes, Ercilia, Ona, Danielle and Sophie with us enhancing our relationship as associates in the Congregation de Notre-Dame Community.

Alexa Smith, Halifax associate with the group gathered

400th Anniversary Speaking Engagement: As we continue to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, Sister Norma Gallant [Trail, BC] has been invited to share about the Life of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys with CND associates and parishioners of Cranbrook, BC, October 16, 2019.

...and so, our 400th celebrations continue in Nova Scotia

On October 8, 2019, approximately one hundred people gathered at Route 19* Brewery and Restaurant to hear Sr. Agnes Campbell speak. Agnes was welcomed “home” by former students, teachers and people from eight different communities along Route 19. We were joined by Betty Ann MacQuarrie, Warden for Municipality of Inverness County, Keith MacDonald, Chief Executive Officer of the Municipality of Inverness, four priests from the county and the other members of our Congregational Leadership Team. The atmosphere was one of reunion as many people enjoyed seeing one another again.

Agnes shared that she had worked with the youth along Route 19 in Creignish, Judique, Port Hood, Mabou and Inverness, both within the school system and in Youth Groups. She told Mrs. Mary Morris, who introduced her, that she always appreciated the openness and sense of humour of the students in the area.

Agnes took us on a journey starting with Marguerite Bourgeoys and our Congregation de Notre-Dame beginnings. Everyone became more aware of the importance of living out the spirit of Marguerite in today’s world. A brief overview of where we are around the world and the many issues that affect our mission convinced those present that although we are not in many schools, we are where there are needs, where people are struggling and that the cries of the people are our cries also. When she spoke about our sisters and how some world issues are affecting our mission, you could have heard a pin drop in the room.

Everyone was so appreciative for Agnes’ presence among us.... many looking for photo ops for themselves or someone who couldn’t be there but wanted to have a memento.

A delicious but simple meal of soup, bread, and dessert was served by the very welcoming and gracious staff of Route 19.

 * Route 19 (Inverness County) is the name of the Highway that runs from Port Hastings to Margaree Forks (approx. 100 km); Inverness County “brewed” around one hundred CND vocations.

Thank you to Ercilia, Ona, Danielle and Sophie who were also part of this wonderful day.

Connie MacIsaac and Mary Morris

The Pilgrims Have Returned!

To commemorate St. Marguerite Bourgeoys’ 400th Anniversary, twenty-two Congregation de Notre-Dame sisters and associates from across Visitation and Blessed Sacrament Provinces travelled on a pilgrimage to Troyes, France from September 17 to 23, 2019. It was a spiritually, socially and emotionally rewarding pilgrimage under the guidance and direction of Sister Marijke Gerretsen, CND.

We had the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Marguerite and gained a firsthand experience of Troyes, the place of her birth, and we learned more about the events that led Marguerite to respond to God’s call and become a missionary in New France. We visited the many places in Troyes which played a significant role in Marguerite’s life, including St. Jean, the church of her baptism, the church of St. Madeleine, and the homes and streets in the neighbourhood where Marguerite spent her childhood and early adult life. What a joy it was to walk the streets of Troyes!

Troyes is located in the Champagne region of France. We visited one of the regions famous wineries and abbeys such as the Abbey de Clairvaux, as well as Provins, one of the oldest Medieval cities in France.

Paris was also an important part of our itinerary, with visits to churches, museums and a boat tour along the Seine river. We enjoyed many delicious meals together and had a good taste of the French “joie de vivre.”

It was a joyful week together. We truly felt the presence of Marguerite and we bonded as a community of Congregation de Notre-Dame sisters and associates. Now we are renewed and ready to continue Marguerite’s work in the cities and communities in which we live.

After the pilgrimage, some of us returned home and others journeyed to other countries in Europe and beyond. The pilgrimage to Troyes will always be a milestone in our understanding of Visitation Spirituality, as Marguerite modelled throughout her entire life. Special thanks to sister Marijke, and to everyone for helping make our pilgrimage such a memorable experience.

Tony DeCiantis and Karen Volpe, Toronto associates

Halifax associates: On Sunday September 29th Sisters Connie and Mary hosted our meeting at their home. We all appreciated Mary’s prayer and sharing on St. Marguerite’s Gift of Compassion. As we celebrate the 400th Anniversary, our time together was a source of new energy for us as we had a lively discussion which continued over tea and coffee. We each received a copy of the booklet “A Spirituality of Compassion” by Sr. Eileen Scott, CND and chose to continue on the topic at our next meeting. 

Alexa Smith, Halifax Associate with the group gathered



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