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Sister Louise Dunn CND receive Recovery Award

I was privileged to be able to attend the afternoon of Recovery Day in Ottawa on Friday, September 22, 2016. The day was all about those who are in recovery, their families and supporters. It was wonderful to feel the energy, unity and hope that permeated throughout the crowd.

A young America woman, Brooke, addressed the group and challenged all who are living in recovery to be proud of their journey and share it openly so that those who are still “using” will see that there is help, hope and happiness available to them.

Then Sr. Louise Dunn was called to the stage and the crowd was spontaneously on its feet. David McGinty, MP for Ottawa South, presented her with the statement which he had read in the House of Commons earlier that week. This was followed by the Recovery Award being presented to Sister Louise by Gord Garner, chair of Recovery Day Ottawa.


Sister Louise humbly accepted the award on behalf of all involved in Serenity Renewal for Families, acknowledging that she and Alexa Smith co-founded Serenity Renewal. The Award was a tribute to Sister Louise and Alexa as well as the past and present staff.

As the day ended Sister Louise and Alexa had been receiving lines of people who came to re-acquaint themselves, give gratitude and some to set-up appointments to visit the staff at Serenity Renewal and begin a road to healing.

It was a day celebrating the mission of the Congregation of Notre Dame and we congratulate and thank Sister Louise and Alexa for what Serenity Renewal has done for the over one hundred thousand men, women and children who have found a path to recovery over the past thirty-three years. 

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Graced Aging… Keeping the Energy Alive

Twenty-two (22) Congregation of Notre Dame Sisters gathered at the mother house for the weekend of September 23-25, 2016. This gathering was an opportunity to pray, reflect on input and share in small and large groups on the topic of graced aging. Using her well-honed skills and broad experience, Sister Nancy Sylvester, IHM, gently led us through an unfolding and rewarding process.

Friday evening began with the sharing of symbols. Each sister had been asked to bring a symbol that describes how they want to live into their graced aging years.

There were many opportunities for reflection and sharing as Sister Nancy introduced us to “The Five Why Process” and the Powers of the Universe … Energy for Aging. “The Five Why Process” helped us to identify what we feel when we reflect on getting older. We were asked to consider what the four (4) Powers of the Universe – Cataclysm, Transmutation, Transformation and Radiance tell us about how we understand and approach aging and what do they offer to us to approach aging in new ways?

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General Chapter 2016 Environment and Social Committee

During General Chapter 2016 the Environment and Social Committee (chaired by Sisters Marie L. Arsenault and Mary Jane Leonard) placed a glass pot with some bean plants on each of the nine tables. These living organisms reminded us of our Chapter theme “Rooted in Jesus Christ: Let us Cultivate Love and Compassion.” The sisters and associates at each table watched daily, noticing how the roots snaked their way under the earth, the long lanky stems stretched upward, leaves unfurled and how some plants mysteriously returned to compost. The living cycle of life was present in all its wonder, beauty and vulnerability. Towards the end of Chapter there was a ritual where someone from each table brought the plants and soil to one central container and we were told that this soil would continue to support life in another setting. I took this soil home to The Small Plot and a week ago Sr. Ann Broderick and I mixed the rich black earth with some soft peat, and a little bone meal before we forked it into the raised beds. The life of these plants and soil continues as does the life of Chapter as we take it from Cornwall into many other life venues. 

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