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VISITATION EAST - July 2015 - CND Associate Relationship Newsletter

Winnie Odo and Marjorie Allison-Ross

Winnie’s Heartfelt Thanks to Associates

For most of us, the saying “time flies” is very familiar. As June 30th approaches this saying is all too familiar to me, I’m left to wonder how six years could go by so quickly.

These years have been a blessed gift that began one morning when Sister Maura McGrath phoned and asked me if I was still interested in the co-Coordinator position for Visitation East and of course, my answer was “yes”! I could hardly contain the joy that welled up in my heart as I phoned Sister Theresa Sampson to let her know that her prayers were answered and so a journey of “visitation” began with Sister Phyllis Gallant at my side, guiding me through the first five years. Looking back gives me many reasons to thank God, Mary and Saint Marguerite for accompanying us as we travelled to the hearts and homes of the sisters and associates of New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia who showed us so much love and warmth.

Winnie, I enjoyed working with you during the past year. It’s obvious that you love Marguerite and the Associate Relationship and the associates love you in return. May you be blessed with good health and many new opportunities to share with others your God given gifts and talents. Thank you for your mentorship and friendship. Love, Marjorie

With Gratitude to Winnie

Many messages were sent in to Winnie to be included in this Newsletter.

Gift of Winnie as Coordinator 

"Love and Gratitude" was the theme for the "gift of Winnie as Co-coordinator of Visitation East". A celebration was held in Sydney on May 20th  by the Congregation of Notre Dame Sisters, Associate Relationship Groups from St. Theresa's, Holy Angels, Holy Redeemer, New Victoria, Sydney Mines and residents of Parkland Retirement Living. Many congratulations and best wishes were extended to Winnie for her six years of loving, caring, generous and compassionate service. A gift was presented on behalf of the Congregation of Notre Dame associates and sisters and a lunch was enjoyed. The celebration ended with a closing song, "Magnificat”. The Love and Gratitude program was compiled and organized by Sister Theresa Sampson and Marilyn Clements. May St. Marguerite Bourgeoys continue to bless all the wonderful work that Winnie will continue to do as Spiritual Companion to those who come to her for direction.

We want to thank Winnie for her ministry of dedication to the Congregation of Notre Dame Associate Relationship over the past years. Marguerite's spirit of care, compassion and desire for learning is very much alive and active in Winnie's life and ministry as she toured around to each associate group in Visitation East. Her spirit of enthusiasm, friendliness and welcome has left its personal mark upon each of us. We wish Winnie, her husband and family many blessings in the years ahead.

Eileen McQuaid, CND, and the associates of Riverview, New Brunswick


Dear Winnie,

Thank you for your six years of faithful service to Associate Relationship in Visitation East. From chatting on the phone to associate gatherings and retreats, my time with you has been blessed and grace filled. How delightful that Marguerite has brought us together! I wish you joy in your new endeavours. In the spirit of Marguerite,

Anna Rowley


14th century German Mystic Meister Eckhart said: "If the only prayer you say in your whole life is THANK YOU, that would be enough." The simple word thank you seems so inadequate to thank you Winnie for all you have done and been as Coordinator of the Visitation East Associate

Relationship, but for me it contains the height, length, and depth of a sentiment of deep GRATITUDE. Your commitment and enthusiasm were contagious. A hard act to follow! Be blessed a hundredfold as you redirect your gifts elsewhere. With a grateful heart in Summerside. Marie L Arsenault, CND

The coordinators in the other parts of Canada will also miss working with Winnie, as she re-tires from her position as Co-coordinator for the East. Diane Foley


Hi Winnie, June is quickly passing us by and before you leave us as our coordinator these thoughts are on my mind. It has been a joy to have met you and to have been the recipient of your many gifts. Winnie, you are a remarkable woman: wise, compassionate, respectful, always giving with a generous and attentive heart. I appreciate the time and effort you poured into your work as our associate coordinator. Your commitment to Marguerite Bourgeoys's charism is a grand witness to God's love. Winnie, you surely enabled us all to grow closer to God as Congregation of Notre Dame Associates. Thank you Winnie for so much. The twinkle in your eye warms one's heart and your "joie de vivre" energizes. Your warmth and energy will continue to enrich my spirit. May God bless you and Gerald with his choicest gifts of peace and joy. Take care. Union of prayer, Dorena


Please add my warmest greetings to Winnie and Gerald. Winnie's energy, dedication, compassion and friendship is admired by all. It is always a delight to see her and read her very positive comments in the FAQS generated by her and Sister Phyllis. Many thanks and best wishes.

Cheers, Vernon 

Happy Feast Day!!!

Submitted by Peg Madigan

On May 31st, the feast of Visitation, the sisters and associates gathered at St. Joseph Convent, Mabou, for a time of prayer and reflection. This time was followed with the sisters renewing their vows and the associates renewing their commitment. All who were present then had an opportunity to sign the Climate Change: Taking a stand statement. We then gathered in the community room to share one another’s company with a spot of wine or tea and goodies. A great time was had by all.

Summerside Associates Retreat

Submitted by Donna Clements

A beautiful spring day in Summerside, PE brought the Marguerite Bourgeoys Center alive and inviting to 20 of the 22 Congregation of Notre Dame associate and the resident sisters attending the Associate Retreat. Special guests were Marjorie Allison-Ross, the area co-ordinator and Sr. Della Gaudet who treated everyone to an in depth account of Marguerite Bourgeoys’ life in Troyes prior to her adventures in the “New World”. We have to thank a forward thinking city in France for nurturing a fine woman who helped bring Canada to be an educated country for men and women.

Vows and commitments were renewed and a corporate stance was signed that will hopefully encourage world leaders to take an earnest stand to protect this world from global warming.

Good wishes for a healthy and happy summer were exchanged and prayers and love promised for those with family with health issues. We look forward to meeting again in September. 


North Rustico Associates Celebrate Feast

On May 31, the associates and Sr. Phyllis Gallant met at the home of Gertrude LeClair for a Pot Luck Supper, Prayer, Renewal of Commitment and signing of Congregation of Notre Dame Corporate Stance on Climate Change. Sr. Della Gaudet and Marjorie Allison-Ross, Co-Coordinator, visited with the group. Marjorie expressed her pleasure at being able to be present with the associates for this Feast Celebration. 

Woodstock and Fredericton associates and sisters Visit with Winnie and Gerald on May 24 in Woodstock. Following the Visitation Prayer Service, Renewal of Associate Commitment, Renewal of Sisters Vows, and signing of the Corporate Stance on Climate Change, everyone enjoyed a delicious Potluck Lunch and had an opportunity to say “Thanks” to Winnie. 

Halifax sisters and associates welcomed Winnie and Marjorie on June 4 for their Celebration of the Feast of Visitation, Renewal of Associate Commitment, Renewal of Sisters Vows, and signing of the Corporate Stance on Climate change. A Pizza Supper was enjoyed by all. The Group offered their “Thanks” to Winnie for her 6 years of service as Coordinator. They presented her with a framed picture of Marguerite with the First Nations Children.


The Pictou/New Glasgow associates welcomed Winnie and Marjorie to their year end Barbecue on June 3. We congratulated Cindy Babineau for her 15 years of commitment to the Associate Relationship. “Welcome Springtime” was used for the Gathering Prayer. The Group discussed the 4 questions that had been sent out by the Coordinators seeking information about Associate Relationship that will be used for the August Central Committee Report.

Antigonish associates and Sr. Isabel MacLellan welcomed Winnie and Marjorie to their Feast of Visitation Celebration, Renewal of Associate Commitment and signing of Corporate Stance on Climate Change. The Group provided feedback to the 4 questions about Associate Relationship that will be a part of the Coordinator’s Report to the August Central Committee. 


CND Calendar quote for July 2015: “If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.”

Archbishop Tutu

Reflection: Do I have the courage to speak up for the rights of others?


Visitation Provincial Assembly Toronto, July 6-10, 2015

Three associates will represent Visitation East at this Assembly and bring back information for the Maritime Associates. Bernadette Fegan (Halifax associate) will join the Co-Coordinators (Marjorie Allison-Ross and Anna Rowley) in visiting Associate Groups this Fall to share the ideas that the speaker, Sr. Nancy Sylvester (Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) provided at the Assembly on the topic of Contemplation and Contemplative Prayer. Every Congregation of Notre Dame Sister and associate is encouraged to read the articles as they will help us to understand Contemplation. The titles of the articles so far are: “Contemplation: A Call to All”; “Contemplation: When Words Don’t Work”; “Contemplation and Changing Consciousness”; Stop Staring… Contemplative Practice”; “Exercising Contemplative Power”; “Contemplation: Learning to Trust Again”. For more info on Sr. Nancy Sylvester’s work, please visit her website at


Dining in the Dark…

Submitted by Peg Madigan, Mabou, NS

On June 11,2015 The Canadian Institute for the Blind hosted a fundraising event in Sydney to which I was invited to be the guest speaker. All 130 participants that attended this dinner were asked to wear a blindfold during the dinner to give a little experience of managing without sight.  I began my story explaining that I was a 2nd generation CNIB member. My mother lost her sight to glaucoma but with the help of CNIB was able to function in her everyday life quite well. I had great admiration for my Mom who was able to handle her handicap with seldom a complaint. What I was not aware of at the time was that I was ‘in training’ and that she was the living example for me to follow when my sight would began to fail. My condition is quite different than my Mom’s. I have what is called Macula Dystrophy and have been most fortunate to have been referred to specialists in both Toronto and Boston. At this time there is no cure for this particular eye disease but I am now part of a research group at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston in hopes of discovering a cure in time. Many things have changed since my Mother’s time. One example is, she learned braille plus many other skills introduced to her by CNIB. In today’s world my challenges are a little different, such as learning and keeping up with electronic devices like the ipad and iphone which have the capacity to enlarge the print size and other helpful aids. I concluded my talk and sharing with a special thanks to CNIB for all the support and help they have been to thousands of people across Canada and for all those who attended this special fundraising event. “It is in giving that we receive”

In my own daily life ‘spiritual tool box’, I strive to keep a fresh supply of faith, courage, determination and hope plus try to surround myself with positive life giving people. So far so good. 


Visit to Souris

On May 31, Sr Phyllis Gallant and Marjorie Allison-Ross took a scenic drive and visited associate Mary MacPhee at her home in Souris. We shared some Associate resources with Mary while we had lunch with her. We also got to meet 2 of her children during the visit. 


Welcome Anna Rowley 

We welcome Anna Rowley as the new Associate Co-coordinator. She will begin her work on August 1, 2015. Best Wishes to you!!! 


Prophetic Witness in an Aging Society

Submitted by Dianne MacAskill

A video series on Prophetic Witness in an Aging Society was held at Carmel Centre in New Waterford on Sunday May 31, sponsored by the Sisters of Charity. Several Congregation of Notre Dame sisters and associates attended this seminar co-facilitated by Sister Katie Hamm, New York; Sister Alice Mailman, Halifax; and Sister Margie Gillis, New Waterford. The DVD featured Sister Nuala Kenny, MD, FRCP(C) and is a three part series. We completed two parts and after each series we broke into smaller groups to reflect and discuss the aging process. This DVD is excellent for aging persons. They can look at their own social and health challenges, their values and attitudes towards aging, and to meet challenges. We live in a time when many people view aging as an illness. In North America and Europe the proportion of older persons (over 60) already exceeds that of children (under 15). By 2050, it will be doubled! 34% of the population of developed countries will be over 65. Old age is a grace… both mission and risk … not given to everyone. Therefore growing old is a serious matter. One in five seniors live in poverty in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. To be a prophetic witness, we must be a more compassionate witness for the aging who cannot speak for themselves or cannot express themselves and need help with advanced care planning and

substitute decision making. This will be available for Congregation of Notre Dame associates to view at a later date.


Sister Catherine Mac Phee’s Birthday Celebration

Submitted by Doreen MacDonnell

On Saturday, March 21st, Associates, Clergy, Friends and Family joined with the Congregation of Notre Dame sisters at the CND Health Care Centre to celebrate the 100th birthday of Sister Catherine MacPhee. Sister was her usual self-smiling, upbeat and showing her sparkling personality. Many stories and memories were shared during the Presentations and as the fiddlers played, Sister Catherine was " at her best", dancing away to the delight of all. A delicious lunch was served highlighting the 100th birthday cake. Sister Catherine's Thank You speech was the highlight of this wonderful event. She remembered everyone with love and praise, especially the Fiddlers. Sister Catherine is truly a women of Faith and like St. Marguerite whom she followed, "to be present where love or need required a helping hand".

Thanks to All who made this celebration so "Special", especially the Sisters, Staff and Family.


ARCAN Meeting

Submitted by Marjorie

Winnie and Marjorie with Sisters and Associates from other Atlantic religious congregations met in Halifax on June 5-6. We each provided an update on the work that we are doing with the Associates. We were asked to share some of the resources that we have used. The Agenda consisted of: 1) starting to develop Vision, Mission, Values Statements and a Strategic Plan for ARCAN; 2) Planning for next ARCAN Conference in the spring of 2017; 3) NACAR’s 20th Anniversary in 2016. Sub-committees were formed to work on various parts of the Strategic Plan. Some of the work was done at the meeting and it will continue during the summer and we’ll bring our work to the next meeting in October 2015. Since this was Winnie’s last meeting as a CND representative, Sr. Margie Gillis thanked Winnie for her 6 years of Service and presented her with an ARCAN pen.



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