Your browser is not Javascript enable or you have turn it off. We recommend you to activate for better security reasonNews from Visitation Province (Canada)

Home > News > Story

News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Visitation Province

“Word on Fire” Retreat Held at Our Lady of Hope Centre

Twenty-four Sisters, Associates and Friends of the Congregation de Notre-Dame attended the Associate Retreat held at the Our Lady of Hope Retreat Centre in Breadalbane, PEI from October 29-31. The Retreat Facilitator was Fr. Bill Brennan, Parish Priest at St Dunstan’s, Fredericton, NB. The theme was “Word On Fire”. Our time during the Retreat included educational sessions, quiet time for reflection and prayer, communal prayer, social time and networking with those attending the retreat, walking on the grounds, enjoying the facility and scenery and eating great food. While there, we celebrated 2 birthdays – Sr. Phyllis Gallant and Anna Rowley. We enjoyed the “extravagance” of God’s love during our 3-day Retreat experience. We heard many positive comments from the participants saying that they learned so much and thought the Retreat Centre was a very restful place.

Marjorie Allison-Ross, associate

Reflections on the Retreat

Through seven sessions interspersed with prayer, reflection, music, quiet time and social events were explorations in new ways to pray and worship. Ignatian imaginative prayer or contemplative exercises were practiced. The focus on Gospels highlighted imagining scenes from the life of Jesus, paying specific attention to sights, sounds, tastes and feelings of the events. Speaking to Jesus in a boat following the death of John the Baptist is one example. Experiencing spiritual conversation in the "talking circle", faith sharing with each other in an open, trusting, faithful manner was also taught by Fr. Bill. As well, he introduced a number of written works by spiritual teachers such as Fr. Henri Nouwen, Sr. Helen Pejean, CSJ, Cynthia Bourgeault, PHD, William J Bausch, Anthony de Mello and Joyce Rupp.

Overall, the retreat was joyful. Fr. Bill with his easy going manner personalized his talks bringing insight and depth to the theme of “Word On Fire”. He provided the match to light the fire. Coordinators Anna and Marjorie conducted a very well organized program. They, coupled with Marty and Earla Avery, Managers of the retreat center, ensured everyone was well fed physically and spiritually.

The retreat time passed very quickly and everyone is looking forward to the next opportunity to enjoy community and each other.

Vernon Buote, Associate

We came from Charlottetown, Summerside, Rustico, Truro, Woodstock, Miramichi, Fredericton and Mabou. Our facilitator, Fr. Bill Brennan, traveled from Fredericton to help us unravel the focus of our retreat, “Word on Fire.”

Using the imagery of fishermen huddled on the shore, Fr. Bill invited us to go into the deeps and cast our nets. When we clear away impediments that we allow to block us, we will find healing in the deeps.

On Tuesday, Fr. Bill set the stage for more reflection, journaling, sharing, and prayer. A gospel passage he used was from the wedding at Cana where Mary told Jesus, “They have no wine”. Using this as a back drop, he asked us to give “good” wine to ourselves and to others. On the cross, Jesus said, “I thirst”. Jesus thirsted and we thirst. There is healing in the good wine we share. Good wine is created from love, compassion, and forgiveness.

Fr. Bill drew on his story telling skills as he moved us through Scripture passages, helping us to resonate with their messages. He spoke of the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt and how that plays out in today’s world with the poor and homeless who are searching for protection and the necessities of life. Abraham, a pilgrim also, searched for a place he could call home. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus shows us the importance of moving away from the crowds to find time alone with God. These scripture passages, along with many others, point to fullness of life in God.

We concluded our retreat on Wednesday with the message of God’s unconditional love for the universe. We celebrated Eucharist and retired to the dining room for a delicious meal.

This whole experience was total gift, thanks to those who worked long hours to make it happen. We offer deep gratitude to all who helped create a welcome and warm environment. The facilities were great and the food was “divine”. When can we do it again???

Shirley Gormley, Associate

I want to thank the Coordinators for your part in that "Word on Fire" awesome retreat that we had. I must say I enjoyed every minute of the Retreat. Love how Fr. Brennan used scripture passages to bring his message to us. I liked how he explained about the good wine Jesus offered at the wedding feast in Cana. This has inspired me to always try to give good wine to others by my attitude towards those I encounter. By using a crumpled $20.00 bill, Fr. Brennan showed me that God loves us the same even when we are not on our best behaviour. Bill also invited us to give and receive extravagant love. I am grateful for the Quotes he shared from his Parish Bulletin. These I intend to make good use of from time to time. I plan to purchase the book “Sabbath”. Could say lots more like being in the boat with Jesus. Will make better use of my Bible!!! So glad I was able to go. Best retreat I have been on in a while. As Associates we are indeed Blessed to have such great leaders!! See you at end of November. Much love!

Louise Doiron, Associate

Assembly Presentation for Mabou Associates

Feeling blessed to have Anna Rowley facilitate our October meeting as Congregation de Notre Dame Sisters and Associates gathered for one last time at St Joseph’s Renewal Centre Mabou. On October 18th, Anna shared with us a prayerful account of the First Visitation Provincial Associates Assembly that was held in Montreal this past Spring along with the process that was followed to reach our Core Values. The presentation was both powerful and inspiring. Two of the core values profoundly motivate us as we go forward. Our commitment to act with courage and boldness as we embark on our new phase as Associates without the leadership of CND Sisters and to be open and flexible to where this may lead us.

Rita MacDonald, Associate


By Sr. Della Gaudet, CND


If one were to ask any Sister or Associate of the CND “Who is your foundress?”, each would spontaneously respond: “Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys”. No one would give that title to the Blessed Virgin. Marguerite did not claim that role for herself. She believed it was Mary who was foundress of her “small community”. Marguerite was proposing an uncloistered community, something unorthodox and not accepted by the Church. She needed an authoritative figure to support her. What greater authority than the Mother of God? In the Writings, we do not discover teachings on Mary as foundress. Rather, we savour Marguerite’s intimate conversations with her Mother and Foundress, a total dependence and trust that Mary will see to all the needs of the community she has founded. (WMB: p 2 - 3; p 52 - 53; p 88 - 89; p 182; p 209 par 2).

For Marguerite, this relationship was of utmost importance. Mary was her mother, her unfailing guide, the one who assisted her in all her undertakings. This mother-daughter relationship had begun in the unforgettable encounter of Rosary Sunday, October 7, 1640 when Marguerite was twenty years of age. More than fifty years later we read the story in a style so fresh and vivid that we might believe it had just occurred. (Autobiography…p 162 -167). It is the familiar and beloved story of every CND. This account pf Marguerite’s “conversion” is an excerpt from the Retreat of 1698 when she is 78 years of age. It is Marguerite’s last message and takes the form of a last testament.

We are challenged to review our own story so as discover our newness in God: “Can we not take our birth from that time when God inspires us to give ourselves to Him knowingly and of our own free will?” (p 65 par 1)

Visitation with Antigonish Associates

On October 3, Sr. Eleanor McCloskey and I visited with some of the Antigonish Associates on our drive home from Sydney. Associate Miriam Gillis welcomed us into her home and hosted us for lunch and a meeting. We discussed ideas for group sharing and I provided them with an update from the Congregation de Notre Dame Visitation Province Associate Assembly that was held in Montreal in May 2018. The new Visitation Province Associate Cord Values Cards were given to the group and photos were taken. Photo above - Miriam had a beautiful burning bush on her front lawn. The group humored me and posed for a picture in the rain. The group enjoyed a delicious lunch and a great visitation.

Marjorie Allison-Ross, Associate

On October 3, Sr. Eleanor McCloskey and Marjorie visited Joan Fraser on their way home from Sydney. A cup of tea was enjoyed.

While in Sydney, Marjorie visited Associate Gloria MacDougall at her residence. Marjorie provided her with information about the Associate Assembly and the Associate Core Values.

Anna Rowley, Associate

Reflection: “ What we take in by Contemplation, we pour out in love.” Meister Eckhart

How far reaching is my love?

Celebrating a Low Carbon Holiday

I recently read an article on the Interfaith Power & Light: A Religious Response to Global Warming website about celebrating a low carbon Thanksgiving. With Christmas approaching, I thought the information would be helpful for Christmas and anytime of the year. Almost one-fifth of greenhouse gas emissions come from the food industry and our food choices. It suggested 3 ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint: change the foods we eat, choose organic and reduce our food waste. The average weight of a turkey is 15 pounds. This equals 74 kilos of greenhouse gasses created in producing and transporting the turkey and this equals driving a car 170 miles. Beef, pork, lamb and cheese have high carbon footprints. We can all make a difference by eating more vegetarian and other low carbon footprint foods i.e. lentils, beans, tomatoes, broccoli, 2% milk, tofu, nuts, yogurt, rice, potatoes. About 30% of food is wasted at home. Food waste that goes to the landfill produces methane which is 21 times more potent that carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Some ways to reduce food waste are: look in your refrigerator and pantry to see what you have available before going to the grocery store; turn leftovers into new and different dishes; compost food that you can’t use; only put on your plate what you think you can eat; set timers when cooking so you don’t forget and burn the food; freeze vegetables and meat scraps to make soup later. Choosing to eat organic also helps to reduce our carbon footprint. Here are some reasons to eat organic: reduce the amount of chemicals that are consumed; have more nutrients; avoid hormones, antibiotics and drugs in animal products; help preserve our ecosystems; reduce pollution and protect water and soil; food tastes better.


Back to the news index All the news
© Tous droits réservés Congrégation de Notre-Dame, Montréal, Québec, Canada