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From The Formation Corner

Immacolata Cassetta , CND

The home stretch is upon Libby as she begins to make her way back to Visitation Province. These weeks of grounding have been hopefully helpful to her personal integration in religious life as a Sister of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. The month of June has been and July will continue to be filled with significant preparation opportunities.

For the first two weeks of June, Libby was part of an Upper Room experience in White Plains. We were graced with the presence of Sister Catherine Walker from Visitation Province and Sister Maryann Calabrese from Norwalk who held this sacred space of the Upper Room. Together we formed an Upper Room community, holding the space for Spirit to nurture and guide Libby into the future. The discerning questions for us were “How have we integrated our lives as a CND, given who we are? And, what has nurtured and continues to nurture our lives as we move into the future?”

Gratefully, we had several CND sisters who took on the task to share their stories of integration and shared with us in the Upper Room how Spirit has guided them throughout their lives. We began with an opening prayer prepared by Catherine Walker. Following were the topics we discussed during the two weeks: “CNDs, Better Together”, with Sisters Joan Mahoney and Maryann Rossi; “Covenant Biblical Spirituality”, with Sister Ann Marie Strileckis; “Daughters of the Parish”, with Sister Jane Scanlon; “Art Integration”, with Sister Ann Perrin; “The Role of the Spirit in Our Lives”, with Sister Eileen Good; “How do we Shape Community and how does Community Shape Us?”, with Sister Nancy McDermott; “Everyone Needs a Spiritual Mentor: Thomas Merton”, with Sister Kathleen Deignan; “Rebirthing and the Pascal Mystery”; with Sister Kathleen Dorney and “Signs of the Times and Seeds of Hope”; with Sister Cathy Molloy. On one of the evenings, we had s surprise visit from and conversation with “Jeanne LeBer” and “Marguerite”, brought forth to us by Sister Stacy Hanrahan and Annie Deignan. Lastly, Sister Maryann Calabrese facilitated our closing prayer. The title of the prayer was “Send off into the World with the Holy Spirit”. It was during this time that we displayed Libby’s new cross in the chapel, symbolizing the visible mark of our CND identity for the world. It will be held there until she makes her first vows. I am so very grateful to all the sisters who participated in the Upper Room experience and have shared from their depths their stories and lives.

Following the Upper Room experience, Libby and I went to Quonnie to help with retreat given by Sister Josephine Badali. The topic for the retreat, “Clothe yourself with Heartfelt Compassion” was an awesome opportunity for Libby’s continued prep before vows. Along with being a “helper” at Quonnie, she engaged in the daily presentations with other retreatants and was of techno service to Sister Josephine. On the last day of retreat, we had a special prayer for Libby: “Wrapped in Compassion for the Journey, A Blessing Prayer for Libby’s Leave-taking from Blessed Sacrament Province”. She was literally clothed with compassion as we all laid our hands on her and sent her off on behalf of the Province with a blessing and the song of “Magnificat”.

On the following day, Libby left for her personal retreat and made her way to St. Joseph Dwelling Place in Vermont. She then will drive to Toronto after retreat to participate in Visitation Province Assembly. Upon her short return to White Plains, we will participate in Maryknoll’s Mission Institute, “Teilhard and Struggle: Drawn to the Road of Fire”. Then, on July 23rd, 2019 we will begin to make our drive north to PEI for Libby’s vows.

The Visitation Province Leadership Team put out a beautiful invitation for Libby’s first vows in their Visitation Province News. And, it is fitting to add it here. It reads:

“The University of Prince Edward Island chapel is a fitting setting for this ceremony, as it literally grounds Libby's commitment to religious life and CND within the place where she will be living her commitment to liberating education. Local sisters, family and friends will gather in this intimate setting to witness this important event and to prayerfully support Libby's deepening commitment. We ask those at home to keep Libby in your thoughts and prayers.”

NOTE: Libby’s Eucharistic Celebration of her First Vows will broadcast live on Facebook (Sunday, July 28, 2019, 2:00 pm).

It has been quite the journey during these last few weeks and we are at the home stretch. I am grateful to each of you for your support and for all your prayers. I am grateful to the Novitiate Community in White Plains and to Visitation, Blessed Sacrament and the General Leadership teams for their ongoing support. Importantly, I am grateful to Libby for trusting the “novitiate process of becoming”. Please continue to pray for greater freedom as Libby takes her step towards first profession and into the next stages of her formation. Libby’s involvement in the lives of the sisters in Blessed Sacrament has been gift and she will be dearly missed.

And onward we move with Marguerite and Mary!

In service gratitude: Maco Cassetta, CND


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