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Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, Foundress

In 1640, Marguerite was 20 years old. Following a spiritual experience, she decided to “give (herself) to the service of God.” At that time, her spiritual guide was Monsieur Gendret, priest in St-Nizier Parish (Troyes). She wrote that the good Father spoke to her about religious life. “But the Carmelites refused me even though I was strongly drawn to them. I went to others, but this did not succeed either.”

Monsieur Gendret was aware of Marguerite’s efforts. He studied the quality of the young woman who was under his guidance, her spiritual aspirations and her ability to attract others to her. He spoke to her about planning to found a community which would honour the life of the Blessed Virgin. An unsuccessful attempt was made in Troyes: of the initial group of three, one of these young women died, the other married and Marguerite was left alone. What was God’s will for her? For a while, she continued to commit herself to teaching in the outskirts of her home city. In 1643, she made a vow of chastity and a little later a vow of poverty.

In 1653, she travelled to New France to become a teacher in Ville-Marie (Montreal). Did this mean that she no longer aspired to religious life?

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NB Area Day

NB Sisters and Associates gathered at St Anthony’s Parish Hall in Fredericton on November 1. It had been 4 years since we had this opportunity to visit with one another. Sr, Eleanor McCloskey, CND, led us in prayer with a theme of “All Saints Day”. She said, “All Saints Day beckons us to some-thing beautiful. It reminds us of our great potential – the promise that lies within each of us; the promise of holiness”. As part of the prayer, we remembered the six NB Associates who had died since we last met in November 2010. Our guest speaker for the day, Sr Della Gaudet, CND from Charlottetown provided us with an enlightening history of the life and charism of our Foundress, Marguerite Bourgeoys. Winnie and Marjorie provided an update of their Coordinator work. There were photo and book resource exhibits. During Lunch, everyone had time to visit and share with one another what was happening in their groups. The participants were asked to provide feedback in an Evaluation to assist with planning for future Area Days. The participants said that they were thankful to be able to gather, learn, share and visit with one another. We did learn that the first Saturday in November is not a great time for NB Associates to meet so in 2015, we’ll find a date in later October. We plan to share the feed-back summary with the Maritime Group Contacts as it may be of assistance to other groups. A Special Thank You to Edy, Sisters Eleanor and Charlotte for their assistance with the planning!! 

Third Sunday in Advent - What will it take to lead us to the wilderness?

I noticed on the social networking site ‘Tumblr’ that Advent was a trending topic. When I clicked on it there were various images and quotes from hundreds of blogs about Advent. They ranged from quirky Advent calendars and mystical poems to stick figures of reindeer and cookie recipes. When I converted to Catholicism in 1980 and experienced my first season of Advent… I was told this Sunday was known as the ‘joyful’ Sunday.

None of them featured a wilderness! Yet, that is where John beckons us on this third Sunday of Advent. He is a voice of one crying out in the wilderness and what is amazing is that people follow him out there. Some of them wanted to question his identity - “Are you Elijah? The Messiah? The prophet?” Others were drawn to his message of repentance and preparation for ‘the coming.’ One could also say that Advent was a trending topic in John’s days.

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