On Saturday, March 14th, I gave a retreat day at Jude’s Parish Hall, South Holland, IL. The focus was Discerning Heart: Noticing God’s Presence and God’s Guidance. There was ample time for prayer and conversation. While eight (8) of the thirteen (13) associates were from the South Holland Community, there were representatives of the Joliet, Kankakee and Chicago Communities. The open sharing of their prayer experiences was a profound Visitation experience. I am grateful to sister Marilyn Medinger and the South Holland Associates for their planning and hospitality.
Front Row L-R: Donna Kirk, Susan Morris, Billie Porte, sister Marilyn Medinger
Back Row L-R: sister Bea Baker, Louise Renz, Alicia Parkinson, Eva Williams, Maria Vazquez, Mary Jo Hoag, Mary Simms, Gerry Radke, Mary Turton
On Friday, March 13th, I was warmly welcomed by the Associates at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Chicago. After attending Liturgy with Sr. Bea Baker and a Joliet Associate on Sunday, March 15th, I travelled to Kankakee to meet with associates and sisters. My days were full and enriched by the Congregation of Notre Dame family in Illinois.
When recently asked to share an article on the founding of ARCAN (Atlantic Religious Congregation Associate Networking) I was flooded with memories of our very simple beginning. As Sr. Alma MacLellan, CND, and I were working as co-coordinators in Associate Relationship we had often wondered how other congregations were making out in this relatively new venture. After a time of discernment, letters were sent off to our Maritime communities to invite those who were involved in associate leadership to gather together for a two-day sharing session with us in Pictou. We began our meeting with prayer followed by a very open agenda, which offered lots of opportunity to share thoughts, ideas and ended with plans to gather again. From these simple beginnings ARCAN has grown into a vibrant network for all religious and associates in Atlantic Canada.
On Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 fourteen Congregation of Notre Dame associates joined together in fellowship and love for their monthly gathering. We are feeling very blessed to have the presence of Sr. Marie St. Coeur, CND in our midst to help us plan and to participate at our meetings. We opened with our prayer to St. Marguerite Bourgeoys followed by the hymn “Peace is Flowing like a River” which contains the line – “setting all our captives free”. This was a precursor to the theme for our meeting about St. Josephine Bakhita. We also spoke about our own Sister Gilberte, CND and all she must have had to experience when she was in captivity.