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A Journey to Remember

On Thursday, September 7th, the sisters of Providence Mother House, associates and friends were treated to a presentation by Sister Marijke Gerretsen in which she took us on a PowerPoint journey on the El Camino. Marijke, her brother John and a friend made the pilgrimage in May of this year. With enthusiasm and wonderfully well documented information, Marijke described the details of making such a journey. Her experience was really one of “Visitation” as she recounted the many beautiful and warm hearted encounters they experienced on the way. A truly contemplative experience, her pictures spoke more than a thousand words as we delighted in the beauty of the landscape, the ancient buildings that still displayed the scars of wars fought long ago. The lodgings, rugged and primitive showed the full meaning of sharing, as Marijke described the sleeping quarters shared in a dormitory style. The whole impressive presentation was truly a gift to all who had the privilege of being there. 

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Completion of the Small Plot Mission

In May 2011, two CND sisters (Eileen Roach and Becky McKenna) opened a mission in Three Brooks with a four-fold mission of Contemplation: Care for the Earth: Working the land, and Collaboration. After six years of living these commitments, we have indeed reaped a bountiful harvest, a testimony to the work of collaboration. Margaret Mead’s words are true, that a small group of people who act upon their commitments truly can make changes in the world. Our Wednesday morning contemplative group was a place of deep sharing and heartfelt presence. Among our several collaborations, the two most significant were: The Seeds of Hope Community Garden, an ecumenical project of the five Christian churches in Pictou, and the CAiRN group which brought two Syrian families to Pictou. 

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This is the America most of us long for

There is a true story in the book ”Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed” which relates the efforts of Le Chambon, a small village in occupied France during World War II. Unlike most of Catholic France at the time, it was primarily Huguenots, a Protestant sect. They had a pastor, Andre Trocme, who faithfully preached Jesus’ teaching of love of enemies. So when the SS guard of the Nazi regime set up headquarters in their town, the teaching took on a new challenge. Under the spiritual and practical leadership of Pastor Trocme and his wife Magda, the entire town resisted them nonviolently in hundreds of creative ways. They never raised the Nazi flag in the town. In the same building as the SS guard there was a printing press for forged documents to rescue Jewish people. Over 2,500 Jewish adults and children passed through the town to Sweden. They were housed in the homes of all the people of Le Chambon under the eyes of the Vichy government. One example of resistance was the town’s response to a parade put on by the Germans to honor one of the visiting commandants. No one in the town showed up for the parade. There was a response of silence. This silence had nothing to do with passivity in the face of evil. The people constantly refused to cooperate with their occupiers while doing them no harm. After the war one soldier commented that the conspiracy of goodness in that town paralyzed the Nazis.

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