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To Live in Hope: A Ripple Effect

A little girl kneels at her window at night and prays to God for her family while she gazes at a cross on a hill in her city. A priest from that city is on the hill blessing the city with holy water. An Archbishop blesses the Easter water in an empty church but then goes to the steps of his cathedral and sprinkles the water over the city. Another priest offers Mass on the balcony of his apartment for his city, while yet another goes up to a high tower and blesses his town with holy water. A mayor stands in the street as a hearse drives by with a deceased victim of COVID-19. Religious communities gather every evening to pray the rosary for the virus-infected world. Every Mass offered for the past two months has included prayers for the pandemic: prayers for healing, for consolation, for patience, for gratitude, for research progress.

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Saint Marguerite

Saint Marguerite, how not remember you today

when we are living a world crisis.

You lived very tough times yourself,

on your first trip to Canada,

you faced and epidemic,

on your second trip the pest,

where, despite your weakened body,

you took care of the sick…

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Comfort in sorrow

Lord Jesus, you are empathy, you are compassion, you are a meaningful presence.

I do not doubt for a moment that you are moved deep inside and your heart cries

With those who today mourn the loss of a loved one to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Yes Lord, there are many families

Who suffer the pain of seeing a family member leave

in an inhumane way, because Covid patients

die alone, abandoned…

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Members of Conversations of the Heart group in PEI met via ZOOM: Many of us grew up -- at least in religious life -- hearing and saying, "The only constant in life is change."

Sunday, I allowed myself to unite with others to participate, at age 83, in a virtual Congregation de Notre-Dame meeting. That is a change for me! I saw and spoke with members of our Conversations of the Heart group as we did our sharing for our General Chapter. We were a ZOOM group!

Some members had experience using this medium. Not me! I accepted some tutoring and then risked it! To be truthful I felt anxious.

Now that I have done it once I know I will be less reticent next time and I also know there will be more times. We are now being called to live in a different world. A new normal will be our daily bread. Our Foundress faced them and so will we, for the fuller and new life of our planet.

Alice Long, CND

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CND Engaging Sisters: Virtual Volunteering Ideas

The advice we are seeing for coping with being homebound include scheduling your days very intentionally, thinking of the things that you enjoy doing, and then adding more of those to your day. Ruth Finkelstein, professor at Hunter College’s School of Urban Public Health and executive director of the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging suggests becoming a “virtual” volunteer, perhaps making phone calls to others who may feel isolated and alone. “Feeling like you’re contributing is a good antidote to the messages that are making you feel like you have a problem,” Finkelstein says.

Below are some options compiled by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (US) province. Please note: some of the information below may be cut and pasted from the organizations’ websites – we gathered it here only to offer many options.

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Greetings from Honduras! 

From across the miles, my heart-thoughts and prayer have been with one and all through this difficult lent and most unusual Easter season. May the gifts of the season help us all as we, as a whole planet, journey to renewed health with a deepened conviction of our inter-connectedness. We are safe and well here in Amarateca, Honduras and being very careful. Please take good care and be well. Unity, solidarity and all good blessings to you and yours.

Lorraine Costello, CND

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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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