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Lenten Reflection for March 18, 2018

I am Alicia, an Associate from the Kankakee, Illinois area, which is about 60 miles south of Chicago. This area is rich in Congregation de Notre-Dame history, beginning with the first CND mission outside of Canada in 1860. I first met the CND sisters at Bishop McNamara High School, where I graduated in 1970. On May 5th, I will celebrate my 5-year anniversary as an Associate.

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Closing the Villa Maria College Music School

Villa Maria College recently announced that its private music school will close at the end of this school year. Les Sœurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame, founders of the high school, acknowledge the quality of the analysis performed by Villa Maria’s administration for the purposes of decision-making leading up to this announcement. They support the decision and have every confidence in the school’s director, Ms. Marie-Anna Bacchi, who also has the support of the college’s board of directors for the sound management of the school. The field of education is constantly evolving in order to better meet society’s changing realities. Since the 19th century, Villa Maria’s academic curriculum has always known how to adapt in order to fulfill the needs of the students, their parents and the teaching staff. Some decisions are difficult to make: change always involves taking a step into the unknown. Villa Maria continues to advance with confidence and to believe in the potential of its young students. It is for them that we must innovate and explore new avenues.

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Area Gathering – CND Health Care Centre

It was a refreshing site at our CND Health Care Centre on the morning of March 2nd to experience the sisters enthusiasm at “their” meeting with Sisters Eileen McQuaid and Catherine Walker as they helped to bring the Chapter process home.

I also had the privilege of being there to witness their joy on receiving the “Good News.” It was as if they savoured every moment as they sat in the prayer room and listened attentively. What surprised me most was their prompt response to the question of how they too have gone, and still go to the “peripheries” along with their pain, suffering, loneliness and visible diminishment. Sr. Frances Beaton told us the story of her going to the Correctional Center on a regular basis after her retirement to teach several young men in preparation for their High School Equivalency Certificates. How proud she was of “my dear boys.” Sr. Catherine MacPhee (presently making plans for the celebration of her 103rd Birthday) spoke of her dominant gift to her pupils… loving each one and attempting to follow many of them throughout a lifetime. In her absolute stark blindness, she continues to help us to see. Those sisters who cannot speak, continue to be powerful examples of “How Then Shall We Live…”

We left the meeting feeling that their pain is surely our greatest source of strength as we journey together.

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