On November 11-13, Sr. Maureen Baldwin took part in a retreat with 11 women who experience homelessness in the greater Toronto area. The retreat is part of the Ignatian Spirituality Project at Regis College which is partnering with the Seeds of Hope Foundation. The group gathered at St. Joseph's Retreat Center in Cobourg, ON, amidst the beauty along Lake Ontario. It was a beautiful experience for all involved.
It is difficult to find words to adequately describe the moving candle-lighting ceremony held at the Confederation Center organized by the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women. The ceremony opened with an Aboriginal prayer and the Honour Song. Various officials lit the individual candles in memory of the women murdered in the Montreal Massacre, as well as ten candles honouring the women who have been murdered on PEI by their partners or significant others since 1989. All was silent except for the reading of names and some reflective music playing in the background. The theme of the day was really about honouring survivors, in keeping with that, a young Syrian Refugee woman, Dima Mreesh, was the guest speaker, telling her story of survival. The ceremony ended with a powerful song of survival composed and sung by a young woman who is a survivor. Everyone was then invited to depart in silence. I have attended these memorials for a number of years and never cease to be moved by the reverence and respect surrounding the event and the emotional toll experienced by many participants. I was happy that Sister Marie Hagen could accompany me.
Area Gathering in Victoria, BC
On the second Sunday of Advent East met West, as we gathered in Victoria for reflections from the General Chapter. With the sun shining, the birds singing and the grass being mowed, one could hardly realize we had entered the month of December.
Though our numbers were small, we did not lack energy or enthusiasm. We found the process designed for these gatherings very good. With Donna Kelly and Josephine Badali bringing us their personal experiences and insights we felt connected to the whole Congrégation de Notre-Dame community.
As we contemplated, sang, shared and danced we reflected on our past, were attentive to our present reality, and move hopefully into our future.
We were delighted that associate Maria MacDonald was with us adding so much with her insights. Sister Mary Jane Wilson, our hostess, graciously welcomed us to her home, treating us to a delightful meal.
The day was indeed a graced encounter for each of us.
Mildred Chabassol, CND