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Ash Wednesday

Hi my name is Teresa Mckerral   I live in Salmon Arm BC.   I am a CND Associate with the Kamloops CND group.  As well, I have the great honour of being the Western Associate Representative on Visitation Province’s JPIC committee.  This year for Lent, as well as doing our usual Development and Peace Share Lent collection, our parish in Salmon Arm is also involved with Give it up for the Earth.   This is a two part program from the Citizens for Public Justice.  One part is a Call for Action! For example, ● walk, bike, or bus ● buy less, buy local, buy used ● eliminate air travel ● eat less meat; eat local & in season ● reduce electricity use ● support eco-friendly businesses ● divest from fossil fuels ● upgrade windows, doors & insulation ● buy fair trade ● cut waste ● refuse one-use / over packaged items.  The second part is to send a prepaid postage postcard to The Honourable Minister Catherine McKenna telling her what we are committed to giving up and ask that emissions be reduced as promised.  These postcards will be passed out after Mass on the 11th and 18 of February.   I spoke about Give it up for the Earth at Mass  on the 28th of January.   This is the second year our parish is participating.  Last year I ordered 50 postcards and they were gone in about 10 minutes.  This year I ordered 200 and I hope that they all are used.  The third way we are bringing a social justice theme to Lent is we are using the Jesuit Forum guide, On care for our common Home to study Laudato Si.  

I am looking forward to Lent this year.

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National Housing Strategy

A new collaborative, made up of Women and Men Religious, has been formed to explore ways to help people attain affordable housing in Toronto.

During their last meeting, it was agreed to send a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau in response to the new National Housing Strategy which was announced November 22, 2017. This group then reached out for support to other religious communities. Sister Rebecca McKenna, with the support of the team, has endorsed this letter in the name of Visitation Province. 

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A Visit to the Noviciate in White Plains, NY

Some people go south in February. February 1– 4, I went as far as White Plains to visit the interprovincial noviciate (Blessed Sacrament and Visitation provinces). It was a real pleasure to meet the formation community (Sisters Cathy Molloy, Peggy Doyle, Donna Kelly, Maco Cassetta and Libby Osgood) and to experience their hospitality of food, conversation and shared prayer. I was fortunate to be there for Friday morning “class” a thought provoking webinar entitled “Living Mission Inter-culturally,” led by theology and culture professor Anthony Gittins. After the presentation we left for Fordham University where we gathered with a small group for Mass. Libby Osgood (Novice of Visitation Province) went on to her class in Ecological Theology with the well-known theologian Elizabeth Johnson. Maco (Director of Novices) and I had lunch and time to wander through the botanical gardens that border the university. We especially enjoyed the stunning orchid display in the rotunda of the Mertz Botanical Library.

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Charlottetown Area Gathering

On January 31st Sister Réjeanne Bourque welcomed the sisters and associates of Prince Edward Island to Andrews of Charlottetown. Together, we experienced the process and spirit of our Provincial Chapter accompanied by Sisters Catherine Walker and Maureen MacIsaac as facilitators. Associate Donna MacIntyre and Sister Regina McQuaid shared their experience of Chapter 2017. Donna spoke especially of the sense of peace and companionship that prevailed throughout the days. Regina continued in the same strain saying how each activity was entered into with reverence and joy.

 

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Feast of St Marguerite Gatherings in Visitation East

Riverview Associates

Submitted by Rita Arsenault

On the feast of St Marguerite Bourgeoys the Riverview Associates met at the home of Roger & Rita where Fr. Charlie Broderick celebrated Mass. Following the celebration of Mass the group spent a time of fellowship and sharing of food together. It was a special time in honour of St. Marguerite. 

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“Give it up for the Earth” Campaign for Lent

This Lent, February 14th to March 29th, Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) invites our participation in their faith-in-action campaign to increase climate justice in Canada. “Give it up for the earth”, a postcard campaign, includes a pledge to individual climate action and a call for the Government of Canada to immediately end all subsides to the fossil fuel sector. Completed postcards returned to CPJ will be delivered to Minister Catherine McKenna at the conclusion of the campaign. Although the postcards include postage, if you add a stamp it will help CPJ offset the cost of all the free materials they send to groups like ours. This Lent let’s Give it up for the earth! Don’t forget to take a picture of your group with your individual pledges and post-cards for the newsletter. 

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Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys School – Kingston, ON

As January 12 was a “snow day” Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys Elementary School in Kingston celebrated their patron saint on January 26. The celebration prepared by one of the teachers who is preparing to become a Congregation de Notre-Dame associate was composed of a time of prayer, a presentation of Sakura no Seibo Elementary school in Japan given by Sister Marijke Gerretsen and the singing of “St. Marguerite, We Love You” which Sister Eleanor Monahan composed some years ago. I was very impressed and delighted to see the enthusiasm as the whole student body from kindergarten to grade eight sang the chorus,

“Saint Marguerite we love you, our sister and our friend.

Protect our families, bless our school. Be with us to the end.” 

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Sister Marilyn Brennan

Sisters visiting from Japan to attend the General Conference at the mother house earlier in January made sure to also visit Sr. Marilyn Brennan, who now lives in Kingston. Sister Marilyn was a missionary in Japan for some 60 years before she came back to Canada last year. It was a happy reunion!

Photo: Sister Yasue Tonari and Sister Madelyn Brennan

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World day for Consecrated Life

A prayer service from "Becoming Neighbours" a ministry supported in part by the Congrégation de Notre-Dame and other partners.

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The insidious nature of violence

The insidious nature of violence on a daily basis is that we get used to it. We often don’t even notice it. Domestic violence, child abuse, violence in sports and language, the violence of poverty, street crime, racism and even war become background to our daily existence. Until someone we love or know is immediately involved we live with the violence as the natural way of life. Violence is neither natural nor necessary. Our tolerance of violence has been highly developed through intense exposure to it. The start of changing our reality to a more peaceful one is to stop tolerating violence, to stop accepting it as a necessary reality in our lives.

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Movie Recommendations: The Post

The Post, a most timely film reinforcing the need for a free press in a democracy. Meryl Streep, as always, is awesome; she portrays a strong woman, the first female publisher of a major newspaper, make a difficult decision. Tom Hanks is first-rate also. Especially appealing to people who like real stories of real happenings. 

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Montreal Area Gatherings

On Tuesday, January 16th sisters and associates of the Montreal area gathered at the mother house for what proved to be a ‘lived’ experience of the process and the spirit of our provincial Chapter 2017. At this first Area Gathering, Sisters Becky McKenna and Maureen MacIsaac, with the help of Sister Maura McGrath, associate Carl Madigan and JPIC coordinator Monica Lambton, led the group through an experience of the Chapter process, its spirit and ensuing orientations. Maura and Carl shared their personal experiences of being a part of Chapter and being caught by its incredibly positive spirit. 

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Magnificat!

I offer back massage at Martha’s Table, a hospitality centre here in Kingston. I have learned a lot about community, acceptance, vulnerability and so much more from the guests who come. Doug and Deanna come regularly each wanting a massage. Recently when Doug’s massage is over, he puts 4 month old baby Charles on the pillow and gestures for me to give the baby a massage. I am so delighted and those around comment ‘he really loves it’! Today, a staff person took this photo.

I connected with Charles some time ago for the first time. It was May 31st. Deanna, 6 months pregnant, came for a massage and while I was giving it, I heard her say ‘the baby leapt in my womb.’ OK, her words were ‘the baby kicked me’ but being the feast of the Visitation…

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Feast Day Celebrations

Innisfail, AB: The Congrégation de Notre-Dame associates and sisters, of Our Lady of Peace parish celebrated the feast of Saint Marguerite on January 14th in the parish hall. We prayed the prayer service prepared by our American Associate coordinators. Because the prayer service is so rich, we decided to pray it at our next meeting to further mine its riches. We enjoyed our evening of sharing followed by pizza and special treats.
Millie Hoffos, CND Associate 

 

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Press Release: St. Joseph Convent and Renewal Centre, Mabou, NS

The Administration Team of Visitation Province of the Congregation of Notre Dame wish to inform you that as of October 31st 2018, St. Joseph Convent and Renewal Centre will be officially closed.

For the past 131 years (1887 – 2018) this CND mission has met the needs of the local area and many surrounding communities, through the work of liberating education (K to 12 school for students) along with a residence for boarders. This was followed by a new venture, the development of the family life program to meet the needs of a changing society, and more recently, St. Joseph Renewal Centre came into being to provide space for retreat and spiritual renewal. 

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Fourth Day of the General Conference

The members of the leadership teams from the provinces and regions were with us on Friday and Saturday for the presentation given by Sister Carol Zinn, SSJ. The information she shared gave us call for much reflection and contemplation. She left us with two questions:

  • Who are you called to be as carriers of Marguerite’s heart, mission and vision?
  • How do you want to live this life fully and well?

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Kathy Reichs mentions Marguerite Bourgeoys and Maison Saint-Gabriel!

One of Kathy Reichs’ Temperance Brennan novel, Monday Mourning, is set in Montreal. On page 189 we read:

"As Ryan turned onto Dublin, I noticed a historic marker out my window.

“What’s Parc Marguerite-Bourgeoys ?”

Mon Dieu, Madame la docteure, you’re referring to one of Quebec’s best-loved ladies. Sister Maggie set up schools for little girls back in the seventheen century. Pretty rad idea for Quebec at the time. She also founded the Soeurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame. A few years ago the Church upped her pay grade to saint.”

“Why the sign?” I asked.

“In the mid-sixteen hundreds Bourgeoys was given a hefty hunk of this little peninsula. Bit by bit, the nuns sold the land off, and Pointe-St-Charles now covers most the acreage, but Bourgeoys’s original school and parts of the farm are up ahead. Site’s now a museum.”

“Maison St-Gabriel?”

Ryan nodded."

One of Quebec’s best-loved ladies, no less! 

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Canada has an Ombudsperson!

One of the first campaigns that I was involved in when I came on board as JPIC Coordinator, was for an independent ombudsperson to oversee Canadian mining, oil and gas operations around the world. As Congregation de Notre-Dame in Visitation Province and internationally we have tried several times, with three different governments to see this happen. And now, after ten years of campaigning, we are celebrating the news that Prime Minister Trudeau has stayed true to his election promise and established the ombudsperson office. 

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Feast Day Was Celebrated Throughout Visitation Province in Various Ways

Mabou, NS

On Friday, January 12th the Sisters and Associates of St. Joseph Convent, Mabou and parishioners of St. Mary’s Parish, Mabou assembled in our Chapel to celebrate the feast of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys with a warm welcome by Josephine MacNeil, Associate. Father Bernie MacDonald, our pastor, led us in comparing the Scripture readings to the life of St. Marguerite while challenging us to continue in living out the charism that she designed for all of us by her life of compassion, and giving of herself for people of all ages, all for the glory of God. Besides taking part in the various ministries, members of the group, following the Prayers of the Faithful, presented the following items and placed them on a display table: a statue of St. Marguerite, a bouquet of flowers, the Writings of St. Marguerite, and a box containing the intentions which we prayed for during the Novena of the past nine days. 

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Marguerite Bourgeoys’s Feast Day

Sisters and associates used of the Christmas circular to celebrate Marguerite's feast. They answered the question:

What are we doing to respond to this call?

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