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400th Anniversary Retreat

The COVID-19 pandemic has upturned our lives and the celebrations planned throughout 2020 for the 400th anniversary of Marguerite Bourgeoys’s birth.

Yet, is this not the ideal time to stop and think about the future of the planet and of all living beings?

Take part in our new online retreat In the Garden of our Common Home with Marguerite and let us journey together…

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On Your Special Day - To Marguerite

In darkness and light, a true mother,

          you walk with us.

Amid crashing waves and on dancing beaches,

you hold us up.

Through fearsome forests and meadows blessed

          with bird-song, you guide our steps.

With frail health or robust energy, you climb

          the hills of our memories,

Never too busy to listen, or sit beside us in

          comfortable quiet,

All the while, leading us to Mary’s open,

waiting arms,

All the while, showing us her Son living

          within us, transforming us with his

          Presence.

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Palm Sunday Reflection 2020 “Keep Your Eye on the Donkey”

Honestly, how many of us would be eager to give allegiance to a leader who rode alone on a donkey down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day? What message would that leader wish to send the electorate about the next four years?

As Jesus entered Jerusalem in what seems to be a triumph, the people are ecstatic as they cry “Hosanna to the Son of David;/Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; /Hosanna in the highest.” Jesus lived his life among us with great determination and intentionality. As THE prophet and the herald of the reign of God, he chooses to enter on a donkey! AH! But even as a child I realized that a donkey would never have been my choice for a king to come to my Jerusalem.

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Revisiting Marguerite Bourgeoys

The 400th anniversary of the birth of Marguerite Bourgeoys on April 17th affords us a wonderful opportunity, with the help of the archives, to revisit the contribution of one of this country's founders. Upon closer inspection, it is clear that her values remain firmly anchored in the collective consciousness and that her educational mission continues to this day.

Like Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance, who preceded her by a decade, Marguerite Bourgeoys arrived in Ville-Marie in 1653 as a lay person inspired by the ideas of the France’ Great Century. The colony that welcomed her was very modest, but its inhabitants’ vision was ambitious and inspired by the Catholic Revival movement. That powerful movement proposed a social and religious life based on the principles of humanism, respect for others and self-improvement, all values that the first teacher in Montreal would use to establish a new society in the Americas.

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Knowing how deeply our lives intertwine

Knowing how deeply our lives intertwine

We hold each other in love.

Knowing how deeply our lives intertwine,

We look on each other with respect and work for unity.

Knowing how deeply our lives intertwine,

We keep our promise to be there for each other.

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A wee spark of hope in these struggling days

What are you doing to send out hope to people around you in the difficult time?

Sister Mildred Chabassol. CND, lives, in Kingston On, in an apartment on the seventh floor. As a sign of hope she placed a nineteen inch fiber optic Christmas tree in her window. It sends forth the most amazing colours and is constantly changing.

'My thought is that when people walk by, or drive home, or those from the surrounding apartments look out in the evening, they may smile and get a wee spark of hope in these struggling days."

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Easter in the Time of COVID-19

There are many editorials and commentaries on these times of COVID-19. In addition to the actual news from the medical and congressional fields and the number of cases and deaths in states, there are stories of selfless acts of courage and compassion from ordinary people. The social and TV media is getting very philosophical about the massive cultural shift going on in everyone’s life. For some the greatest stress is financial, for others it is the isolation; for some, it is the loss of a loved one.

Medically, children do not seem to be the target of this Corona virus. However, attention needs to be paid to the toll it is having on our children. They are out of school and off their normal routine, which is extremely difficult for children. Routine helps them; it can be a security blanket for them. They are also picking up the stress of their parents. They hear what adults hear. They absorb the news and the fears.

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Life according to COVID-19

We’re now beginning our third week. Correction. We began long before but we didn’t realize. With all my heart I feel for all of us and especially those who are ill, dying and suffering economic loss and in a particular way for those whom we call refugees.

Scientists were alerting us much earlier but we paid no heed. We, human beings, made in the image of the Holy One, especially those of us who live in the Northern and Western hemispheres, are being forced to live differently.

Will we continue to live a simpler life so others may simply live? The Earth, indigenous communities, animals and 

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Loving our neighbour during the Covid-19 crisis

What can we do to love our neighbour in this situation, to offer hope and kindness in this very uncertain and fearful reality? 

• We can pray for those who are most vulnerable at this time, those lacking adequate employment or finances, people suffering great physical pain or loneliness. 
• We can show our appreciation for health care workers whose load is now significantly heavier. 
• We can sit with the contemplative invitation to consider how to “be” human, loving, Christ-like in this time of great uncertainty, vulnerability and fear. 
• We can further expand our experience of communion through alternative spiritual practices, as the liturgy of the Eucharist is less available. 
• We can observe the recommended protocols of our Government Health Authorities. The gesture of withdrawing from regular social contact (i.e. “social distancing”) reveals in a concrete way the depth of our care for the entire, interrelated community of life. For most of us, this way of being feels contrary to our identity as Visitation women. Could this restriction offer us opportunities to expand our understanding and practices of encounter? 

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Birthday Celebration

On March 20th, Sr. Catherine MacPhee celebrated her 105th birthday with residents and staff at the Health Care Centre. Sr. Catherine is very grateful for all the cards, calls and best wishes she received. – Arlene Rutledge, coordinator CND Health Care Centre

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Earth Hour – Saturday, March 28, 2020

Literally millions of people are faithful to this yearly way of joining in an environmental movement to show we care about the Earth. We shut off our lights for one hour – at 8:30 pm – or other time, if necessary, on Saturday, March 28. This is an opportunity for us to collectively speak up for the preservation of a natural healthy world. It’s also a time to reflect, with gratitude, on our “place and space.” We have abundance of water, clean air, good food, essential services and we enjoy natural beauty around us.  Earth Hour is a good time to join with the entire world to appreciate the universal effort to care for Mother Earth.

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Stations of the Cross with Mary

-1-

 

Jesus Is Condemned to Death

 

Sentenced to death!

Oh no! My dear son.

My beautiful, loving boy. He’s been scourged

and whipped.

He’s bleeding and beaten—just to satisfy

this bloodthirsty mob.

Pilate knows that Jesus is innocent,

but he caves in

to their screams.

Led by the chief priests, they’re yelling, shouting:

Crucify him! Crucify him!

Dear God, the most painful, shameful death

of all.

Be with him, my God, and with me.

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Atlantic Voice this Sunday 

PE Islanders listening to our local CBC Radio broadcast this morning heard a clip advertising, “Atlantic Voice this Sunday, March 15.” Reporter, Isabella Zavarise produced a documentary called, "Visitation Place." Last fall, Isabella visited and interviewed the three women who form community at 32 Wendy Drive. It is privilege to connect in a meaningful way with these young women on a regular basis. Tune in Sunday, March 15 at 8:30 a.m.

Susan Kidd, CND

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LIVING NARRATIVE

Marguerite Bourgeoys’ forward-thinking educational vision continues to define us today, thanks to generations of women who have been carrying it forward since 1653. In this dynamic conversation, punctuated by music and song, and illustrated with animation and archival material, we will retrace the challenges and legacy of one of our visionary founders...

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Riverview Associates Celebrate

Submitted by Associate Al Kavanaugh

Riverview Associates gathered on February 9 to celebrate Feast of Marguerite and to distribute the candles and books which are gifts for the 400th Anniversary of the birth of St Marguerite. Fr. Charlie Broderick led the program and we distributed the candles and all handouts.

 

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The Work of Lent

When space ships began viewing our planet earth from space, a change happened within those who were the space travelers and star gazers. They said at first that they tried to find their own countries and continents. Then as they gazed at earth, they just basked in the beauty of the one planet, the one home of all peoples. I wonder if that is how God views us. I wonder if we, as God does, can ever move to the day when all of us will see each other as brother and sister pilgrims on this planet.

Such philosophical musings seem a good place to roam as the season of Lent begins. The ashes have been blessed and our foreheads crossed with them. We have been signed one more time as people on the move to change, people ready and willing to accept the reality of our own mistakes, people conscious of the graciousness of a God who laid down his life for us two thousand years ago.

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Presentation on the life and spirit of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

St. Joseph’s Parish – Kingston: As part of our St. Marguerite Bourgeoys 400th celebrations in Kingston, Sisters Marijke Gerretsen and Mildred Chabassol have developed a very engaging PowerPoint presentation on the life and spirit of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys for various parish groups. I had the occasion to participate in their presentation to the St. Joseph's Parish CWL on Monday, February 10 which evoked many comments, questions about St. Marguerite, and memories of when many of them were students of the Congregation de Notre-Dame Sisters. The women felt it was an informative evening and that the CWL had much in common with the spirit of St. Marguerite.

 

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

World Day of Prayer for the Sick

February 11th was the celebration of the World Day of Prayer for the Sick. The Congregation de Notre-Dame sisters of Mary of Peace as well as the sisters who are residents of Bon Secours Residence received the anointing of the sick during the daily Mass. Bishop James Wingle and the other two chaplains concelebrated the Mass and anointed the sisters present in the Chapel and also those in their rooms. The Mass was moving and the care with which the sacrament was administered to the sisters was a witness of the deep faith of each sister. The Mass was followed by lunch in the dining rooms on each floor. A prayerful atmosphere was evident as the head and hands of each sister was anointed with the oil of the sick.

Donna Kelly, CND

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Marguerite Bourgeoys 400th Birthday Celebrations in Japan

Marguerite Bourgeoys 400th Birthday Celebrations

The celebrations occurred at the Provincial level and in all the communities, Chofu, Hanazono cho, and Sensui cho. We welcomed between 120 to 200 Christians, and graduates. We could be so grateful to see the fruit of 88 years of missionary activities. And there are still more celebrations to come that we keep in our prayers. 

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Marguerite: A Woman Who Compassionately Lived Life on The Peripheries

A Canadian Saint Celebrates 400th Anniversary

Marguerite Bourgeoys was born in Troyes, France on April 17, 1620, the seventh of 13 children in the family. She was raised in a loving and nurturing family. At the age of 20, Marguerite’s young life changed forever. In her most complete account, Marguerite Bourgeoys wrote, “On Rosary Sunday, I went to the procession at the Dominican Church where there was so great a number of people that the cloister was not large enough. So, we crossed the street and passed in front of the portal of Notre Dame where there was a statue in stone above the door. And glancing up to look at it, I found it very beautiful. At the same time, I found myself so moved and changed that I no longer recognized myself. When I returned home, this was apparent to everyone.” It was then she decided to give herself to the service of God with little idea of what her gift would imply.

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