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News from Blessed Sacrament Province (USA)

Blessed Sacrament Province (USA)

From Our Leadership Team

The very full days of our November 17-18 meeting in Chicago were punctuated by a birthday celebration for Sister Darleen and a welcome home call to Sister Bea Baker.

Sister Rose Mary Sullivan’s ministry as Peace and Justice Coordinator for the province will come to completion this summer. We are so grateful for all the ways she has invited/nudged/urged us to be faithful to our commitments as a province and as a Congregation, and for the many resources she has put at our disposal. We have no doubt that even without the title Rose Mary will continue to help us move forward in our efforts to build a more just and peaceful world. We continue to envision a team model for the future of this ministry.

One element of the CND celebration of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys’ 400th Birthday is the creation of a quilt representing global the Congregation. Sister Agnes Campbell has asked the province/region leadership teams to offer a representative image to be placed on the quilt and two quotations from Marguerite’s writings. Because time was short, we couldn’t solicit your input, but we hope you are pleased with our choices.

  • When you go on mission, you go to gather up the drops of the blood of Jesus Christ which are being lost.
  • All I have ever desired most deeply and what I still most ardently wish is that the great precept of the love of God above all things and of the neighbor as oneself be written in every heart.

News From Bourbonnais & Kankakee

On Monday evening, Oct. 22nd, graduates of CND schools in the Bourbonnais/Kankakee area were invited for an evening of remembering their years as Congregation de Notre-Dame students. About 30 Alums came and shared many stories, both serious and funny!

Our CND Associates planned the evening and many Alums brought yearbooks and photos of times passed. There were many tributes of gratitude to our Sisters who taught and counseled them.

We are aware that our numbers have declined and our desire is to keep the spirit of St. Marguerite and the Congregation de Notre-Dame alive in this area. Our Associates (8) were introduced and shared their experience of being Associates. We encouraged all to consider the opportunity of association with us.

We were very pleased with the evening of sharing. Kathleen Murphy, CND & Theresa Galvan, CND

Associate News – Sr. Joan Mahoney & Donna Wuhrer

Local Coordinators’ Weekend, Nov. 16-18, 2018

Eighteen Coordinators of local Associate Communities gathered at Wilton, CT to pray, share, discuss issues, and connect with each other. The team for the weekend was members of the Sustainability Committee, Carol Lombardo, two Associates from Visitation province, and the two Province Coordinators. The local coordinators discovered their special spiritual gifts to be used for others and how they might use this and other processes in their local communities. They discussed what they celebrate and what the challenges of their local groups are. Most importantly they experienced renewed energy and enthusiasm for their ministry as local coordinators, declaring that they felt “fed . . . inspired . . . motivated . . . rejuvenated . . . energized . . . empowered!” “I enjoyed getting the ‘big picture’ for Marguerite’s vision.”

Associates living the Congregation de Notre-Dame mission orientation - This past year we have been encouraged to act on one of the three elements of the Congregation de Notre-Dame Orientation 2016-2021. In September we shared how Associates had engaged in the traditional Corporal Works of Mercy. Here are ways Associates have lived the Spiritual Works of Mercy and Catholic Social Teaching as they have GONE TO THE PERIPHERIES… (The following responses often represent the replies of a number of Associates).

Spiritual Works of Mercy

Counseling the doubtful

  • Assisting family members to overcome alcohol and substance abuse issues
  • Volunteering at a residence for women recovering from substance abuse
  • Striving to have healthy relationships with those in my life suffering with mental illness

Instructing the ignorant

  • Affirmed in my teaching in an inner-city high school
  • Educating myself in understanding and caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Catholic Social Teaching

Cal to Family, Community, and Participation

  •  “Adopting” a family of five at Christmas
  • Preparing Christmas gifts for those in need in my parish
  •  Helping people register to be organ donors


  • Joining in rallies e.g. “March for our Lives” against gun violence
  • Responding to action calls from CND’s for justice issues
  • Willingness to push social boundaries of race, color, creed, and class both personally and in ministries

Peace & Justice News – Sr. Rose Mary Sullivan

Blessed Sacrament Justice Plan 2018-19

This Plan focuses on the Call from General Leadership to participate in the UISG Campaign: Sowing Hope for the Planet and is greatly shaped by a Conference given by Elizabeth Johnson “Is God’s Charity Broad Enough for Bears?” (90 minutes).

I. Goals: Our call now is to a conversion of our perception. If God loves all creation, and we love God and seek to be like God, we must change our way of seeing Creation

A.    To change our hierarchical perception of Creation shaped by an understanding of the early chapters of Genesis which has been greatly influenced by Greek Philosophy- dualism [spirit/matter]

B.    If our perception of Creation has been transformed from a Hierarchal view to a Community view, to deepen and expand that belief.

II. Resources

A.    Scripture

1. Psalms

2. Final 4 chapters of Job

3. Other Scriptures, as suggested by individuals

B. Science- Helpful resources (Books, Articles, Videos as suggested by individuals)

Elizabeth Johnson’s lecture would be a great way to begin the journey to pursue our

1. Laudato Si - Encyclical and resources

III. Desired Practices, Habits, Outcomes to Be Cultivated

A.    Contemplation

B.    Asceticism

1. Responsible consumer choices

2.    Continue our campaign to reduce our use of one time use plastic

3.    Monitor our personal and communal use of fossil fuels and our carbon foot print

C.    Acts of Justice especially with an eye to the poor

1.   Go to the peripheries

2. Interculturality

3. Acts and responses we are called to by our International and Province Corporate Stands.


There will be an evaluation of our province efforts to be incorporated into the Congregation de Notre-Dame Community Response to the UISG.

Vocation News – Sr. Ann Marie Strileckis

There was a definite underlying message to all the keynote addresses and workshops at the National Vocation Conference in Buffalo that Sister Eileen Good and I attended. It is that religious life has changed, we have changed, our world has changed, the needs of our world that we respond to in our ministries have changed. Yet, we approach our young people with the idea that they have to conform to what we had to conform to!!

A good barometer for us to remember is what it was like to subject who we are as Irish, Italian, Lithuanian, etc. to a French religious culture. The vast population of Catholics in our world today reflect who we are ministering to in our schools and parishes: Asian, Africans, and Hispanics. In our invitations and encounters, we really do have to look at our expectations! Are we really willing to accept the other or are we expecting the other to conform to our outdated reality?

A Dominican Republic Charity sister who was a professional fashion designer before she followed the Spirit's urging to enter the Charities, was subjected to having her hair cut to look like a boy, told she had to change the type of clothing she wore and stop referring to her country and family in conversations! She went back and reread about the "diversity and interculturality" that first attracted her!!

To remain faithful to our Call, we need to continue putting on the ATTIRE of Christ.

A     Actively engage everyone, allow them to be themselves, allow ourselves to be transformed.

    Trust our own and one another's experience

T     Transparency, letting go to become our true selves, inner healing

I     Inclusivity, radical respect for ourselves and one another: All are welcome!

    Respect, mutual for ourselves and one another

E     Expectation-openness, living in hope, waiting for the Other/other.

In the Winter edition of Horizon, the NRVC publication, all the talks from the Buffalo conference will be included. Almost every house will have someone receiving a copy to share! In the meantime, for Advent reflection, please let these thoughts have some of your prayer time and conversation time.

Ann Marie Strileckis, CND

For several weeks in October and November, a young woman lived at St. Columba’s with the intention of having an experience of Congregation de Notre-Dame lifestyle. She was able to travel conveniently to her job each day, while all at St. Columba’s welcomed her with “goodness, kindness, love and food.” She is very grateful for the experience and hopes to continue to learn more about life in the Congregation de Notre-Dame in the months ahead. She returned to her own New York apartment just before Thanksgiving.

She also enjoyed a week at Quonnie this summer. As kitchen helper, she met and “porched with” the early July vacationers. They, in turn, appreciated her company and were amazed at her “food presentation” skills–masterful with leftovers!

Peggy Doyle, CND



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