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Peace in the New Year

The beginning of a new year is often a time for renewed prayers for peace. We will need them more than ever in 2018, but as we turn the page from 2017, I invite you to rejoice in all of the peacemaking that we have been part of. The Campaign to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons was the recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize and we have a CND connection to that. Take a look at this article – Sisters from Marguerite Bourgeoys Province are also founding, and continuing, members of Antennes de paix.


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Sister Catherine MacDonald, CND, Receives CWL of Canada Maple Leaf Service Award

Sister Catherine is shown receiving her Catholic Women’s League (CWL) of Canada Maple Leaf Service award from: Left: Doreen MacDonnell; Barbara Burke; and President of the CWL Mary Myers. 

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Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

2 Samuel 7.1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16 / Romans 

HOW THEN SHALL WE LIVE TODAY? (Orientation, 2016-2021)

How then shall we live this week?  Let us use our Orientation and Mission Vision Statements as our lens. These statements so beautifully reflect the essence of the Beatitudes and our contemplative stance to live with deeper awareness and intentionality. 

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Interfaith pot-luck supper

One of "Canada 150" celebrations held at Kingston's City Hall, was an interfaith pot-luck supper. It was a celebration of hospitality, growing understanding and spiritual sharing of the many faith groups in the city, including the indigenous people and a choir from Providence Mother House. A delicious moose stew was served by the ladies from Tyendanaga and a plethora of desserts and salads were provided by the attendees. After the sharing of food, each group shared a short presentation on their specific beliefs, followed by a prayer or song for peace.  A group from the Providence Mother House choir, to which Eleanor Monahan, CND, and Emily Doherty, CND, belong, presented two selections; Dona Nobis Pacem and the Celtic Alleluia. The evening ended with everyone looking forward to a further meeting in two weeks.

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Reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 61.1-2a, 10-11 / 1 Thessalonians 5.16-24 / John 1.6-8, 19-28 

Blessed are those who are flexible, for they don’t get bent out of shape.

And my, oh my, this is a season where so many times we can get bent out of shape.

As Catholics we have heard many times that this is a season of preparation for the comings of Jesus.

First, the coming of Jesus. In Isaiah we see the phrase: “wrapped me in a mantle of justice, like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem, like a bride bedecked with her jewels” it might make us think of something much more splendid than being born in a stable surrounded by shepherds and sheep. This was not how many thought the Savior would announce himself to the world. Yet, as Catholics, following the life of Jesus we are called to be living Christmas; to live a life of simplicity, a life of generosity, a life of service and a life of welcome and hospitality to others (Father Kevin Obrien). We are called to welcome Jesus, and to encounter His love for us. Since Jesus became man, became one of us, we can be assured that we are loved in all our humanity, in all of us there is the Light of Christ. 

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Marguerite Bourgeoys Relic

In early November, we received a package from the Office of Worship of the Diocese of Providence. A First Class relic of Marguerite was included with a note indicating it had been given to Father Frederick Halloran. Father Frederick’s nephew Monsignor John Halloran had saved it when going through his uncle’s things after his death. Neither Father Jeremy of the Diocese nor Monsignor John were aware of how the relic came to Father Frederick. If anyone knows anything about the history of the relic and/or knew Father Frederick, please let us know at the Province Office. I have assured Monsignor John that his uncle will continue to be remembered in our prayers. 

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Peace & Justice News

I thought I would approach my ministry in a different way this year. So, I am in the midst of setting up an “evolutionary” Social Justice Committee. Currently, Sisters Bea Baker, Marilyn Medinger and Anne Seeley are working with me. I am seeking Associates who have a passion for justice and might have skills in technology to join the committee.

Description Of Province Plan Related To Our Orientation:

Leadership Team’s Goal #1: We will engage the CND family of Blessed Sacrament Province in the implementation of the General Chapter 2016-2021 orientation.

Jesus Christ calls us to humanize all our relationships. How then shall we live?

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Associate News

During this holiday season, many Associate Communities have been coming together to bring glad tidings to those in need and to our Senior Sisters.

The Congregation de Notre-Dame Associates and friends of Rhode Island held our annual Advent Retreat on December 3rd at the home of Kristen. The warmth of her home facilitated the warmth of our coming together to prayerfully share our personal Advent symbols and stories. In keeping with the spirit of "going to the peripheries", we adopted a homeless family from Holy Family Home for Mothers and Children run by a local parish in Providence, fulfilled their Christmas "wish lists", wrapped all the presents and readied them for Santa's sleigh. We also enjoyed all of the home made delicacies prepared by everyone for the occasion.

Judy Laffey, Associate

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News From Congregation De Notre-Dame In Wilton

On Thanksgiving Day, 26 Sisters of the Congregation de Notre-Dame, including six from Lourdes gathered for the holiday celebration. Our “traditional” getting together had some new elements. The new venue allowed us to sit closer together in smaller groups, provided ready-to-go table settings, and most importantly allowed easy access for the Lourdes healthcare centre Sisters. In other years, we had to transport them by car! The traditional turkey and all the trimmings were cooked by our local Stop and Shop and were quite delicious! As someone from Lourdes said: It is the getting together that matters!!

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Vocation Ministry

Sisters, I am grateful for having been invited to coordinate the Vocation Ministry in the province. In accepting this role, I discerned that I needed to stay grounded in the Cathedral parish ministry, as well. In that discernment, it has been clear to me that we are all in this together. I depend on you, and we are interdependent on one another to use our gifts and "lights" to see how God is leading us individually and communally. I’m hoping to visit you—in person or virtually—to reflect on this with you.

In true Visitation style, I ask you to consider doing several — or all! — of the following:

contemplate the events and people surrounding your initial calling! (How did it unfold?)

be willing to openly share the story of that initial calling with each other—and later, possibly with others.

translate your initial calling into a small poster form that could be used to promote vocations.

compose a Marguerite Bourgeoys-inspired prayer for vocations.

United with you as we continuously follow the path our Advent reflections lead us to!  Peace!

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News from Blessed Sacrament Province

Marguerite Bourgeoys Relic 

In early November, we received a package from the Office of Worship of the Diocese of Providence. A First Class relic of Marguerite was included with a note indicating it had been given to Father Frederick Halloran. Father Frederick’s nephew Monsignor John Halloran had saved it when going through his uncle’s things after his death. Neither Father Jeremy of the Diocese nor Monsignor John were aware of how the relic came to Father Frederick. If anyone knows anything about the history of the relic and/or knew Father Frederick, please let us know at the Province Office. I have assured Monsignor John that his uncle will continue to be remembered in our prayers.

Mary Anne Powers, CND

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What is our Status Regarding the Cause to Name Jeanne Le Ber Venerable?

Let us begin by stating that on November 23, Sister Annette Boisvert, CND, and Ms. Lise Jacques delivered four sets of documents, each totalling 856 pages, to Father François Sarrazin, the diocesan chancellor, after which they were to be sent to Rome by the archbishop of Montreal. Both these women, who work at Œuvre des Tabernacles, were given the responsibility of formatting what is known as a positio. The four sets of documents were duly stamped with the seal of the archdiocese.

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Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent

Meditation helps me practice watchful waiting or being “present to the present.” It’s not easy and doesn’t come naturally to me. I don’t think I’m alone in experiencing this challenge. A friend once described her experience of meditation as feeling as though she wanted to “jump out of her skin”

I find that when I surrender to the challenge of being quiet and attentive, I do witness God’s presence. Driving back from CSH yesterday morning, I decided to be quiet, not turn on the radio, and just be present. I knew I would have 1/2 hour to sit and be. Hmmm... Should I fill the time by going to get a 2nd cup of tea? As I came to a traffic light and pulled up behind a salesperson’s car, I saw a decal that said, “Discover what you love”. I knew I needed to sit still. I opted against the tea and was delighted to find my email Advent reflections. Inspired, I want to share my gratitude in knowing Who I love and Who loves me...


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Mary, Woman For Today

Suddenly, I don’t want an image of blue veils,

lowered eyes and folded hands anymore !

I want an image of Mary that is alive and dynamic…

I want an image of the woman going to the village well

with the other women, a water-jar on her head,

attentive to each one who needed someone to talk to.

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Movie “The Man Who Invented Christmas”

If you are looking for a good Christmas movie, go to see “The Man Who Invented Christmas.” This is a new way of approaching that great Christmas classic “A Christmas Carol.” Dan Stevens (Matthew in “Downton Abbey) plays a Charles Dickens coping with writer's block, a growing family and mounting expenses. The film focuses on the working of the novelist's creative imagination as his characters come to life and move the story (and its author) toward kindness, forgiveness and reconciliation. Christopher Plummer is certainly the best Scrooge since the wonderful 1951 performance by Alistair Sim. 

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Youth Survey for Synod

I was at our TAVDA (Toronto Archdiocese Vocation Directors Association) meeting here in Toronto. A questionnaire directed to young people is being widely circulated. Pope Francis is asking to hear from Catholic youth. It takes about 40 minutes to respond – some students do it online, right on their phone. Here is the link http://survey-synod2018.glauco.it/limesurvey/index.php/147718 Click on language to get to English. We heard that students approached seem generally positive and willing to participate. For any of us who have student contacts, this is an invitation to encourage involvement. 

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Sabbath time at Springbank

As my day for returning to Kingston has come I wish to express my deep gratitude for the three months of Sabbath time I had here at Springbank. It was a time of enrichment, relaxation and creativity. All the input and activities were centered around deepening my awareness of how “Everything is Sacred” and “All is Holy.” I have learned so much and have come to appreciate the concept of “Eco-Spirituality,” how we are all connected and that we are co-creators with God living in harmony and with a deep sense of gratitude with all beings, respecting and honoring all of God’s Creation. My new insights and awareness have touched my heart deeply. 

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Visit to Sainte-Marguerite-Bourgeoys School

This is the name of one school in two locations, Merrickville and Kemptville, ON. No CND has ever lived or taught in either of these towns. The name surprised us enough to ask to be invited to visit. Denise Bérubé and I went to the Merrickville location on Friday, Dec. 1. We brought along some treasures we hoped would help staff and students get to know Marguerite better. 

What an unexpected treat for us! We were welcomed so warmly. The ‘directrice’ looked over the material which included a statue of Marguerite that Denise was offering. She enthusiastically and gratefully accepted the whole package… both French and English material. 

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The Crib of Peace – Part One

Christmas cards, pageants, songs and decorations usually portray the same mix of people, angels and animals in an attempt to create visual images of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. The story never gets old. The familiar sounds and sights of the feast stir up deep memories. We need to see it and hear it again every year. The Nativity set gets taken down from the attic, dusted off, carefully unwrapped and arranged often in the same way year after year.

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News from our Sisters in Japan

Notre Dame de Bon Secours, Pray for us.

CND School Education Administrators Workshop: November 11~12

The meeting was held at Sakura no Seibo Junior College, Marguerite Building, and was attended by 31 administrators from Sakura no Seibo Gakuin, Meiji Gakuen, Margarita Kindergarten and Provincial Leader, Sister Shizuko Endo. The keynote lecture, “The Educator—Sign of and Agent of Hope” was given by Sister Patricia Simpson, CND. She painted a picture of Marguerite’s life from being a sign and then an agent of hope. After the lecture there were meetings in groups designated by duties, and then a general meeting where further discussions were held with input from the various schools. These discussions were significant in that they exceeded individual schools and created a spirit of collaboration. It has been 5 years since the three schools met together and it was an opportunity to see how we are united through our mission statement. The workshop meeting came to a close with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Martin Tetsuo Hiraga, Sendai diocese, and his homily which encouraged us all in our educational mission

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