On January 16, students and teachers from Holy Cross Secondary School in Kingston, shared with the Sisters at Providence Mother House, their experiences of Mission in Jamaica and with the homeless people in Toronto. They spoke with warmth and enthusiasm of the time they spent with the poorest people in small villages near Kingston, Jamaica. They were impressed with the children’s joy and eagerness toward going to school. These children appreciate the privilege they have in getting an education and are so grateful for everything that is done for them. The students remarked how they often resist going to school themselves for some reason or another. This experience in so many ways has enabled them to not take so many things they have for granted. One activity that really engaged their energy and gave them a sense of accomplishment was helping to build a house.
The day of celebration began at the community Mass with the Sisters of Providence, RHSJ’s and CND’s united in praising St. Marguerite. We “sang out her glory” and listened as Sisters Emily Doherty and Eleanor Monahan shared some anecdotes from Marguerite’s life which typified her compassion and mercy as she responded to the needs of the young colonists and their families. In the afternoon the CND Sisters and associates of the city with the Sisters of the other two communities enjoyed a delightful harp concert given by Pat Marshall, someone many sisters will remember as a former CND, who has remained a friend of the community, especially of Sr. Mary Meagher. Pat travelled from Ottawa to entertain us in honour of St. Marguerite. The music included a variety of familiar Christmas Carols, including a French one for Marguerite, Irish songs and some classical renditions.
Little did the parish and Pastor of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish realize when they served bread and soup at the luncheon on the feast of their Patron Saint, that they were carrying on a legacy of our Saint. Sunday, January 15, they were honouring Saint Marguerite and her daughters in a beautiful celebration of commemoration and gratitude. The soup and chowder were prepared by the pastor who was actually unaware of the significance of the bread and soup offered to us as they recreated the spirit of Marguerite. Father Bill Burke is to be commended for his efforts in promoting the knowledge and respect for Mother Bourgeoys. He himself, like Marguerite, is faced with rebuilding the church after the disastrous flooding as well rebuilding parish community after the closure of the three parishes which form the new St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish. He commented that this coming together to honour Marguerite and her daughters has proven a community builder. In coming together to honour us they honour their own efforts to become a new parish. People were meeting and speaking to other parishioners for the first time. Bread and soup proved to be another catalyst in the process.