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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Break the Silence… Stop the Violence

On December 5, Norma Gallant, CND, accompanied by 2 West Kootenay Associates, Tammy Fox and Maureen Wiley, helped to host a vigil at a local coffee shop commemorating the horrific massacre of women in Montreal at the School of Engineering at École Polytechnique in 1989. Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame have been participating in this annual event since it first began locally 14 years ago. The vigil was opened with a welcoming meditation by a First Nations representative and it was closed by a member of the local RCMP. Respectful remembrance was given to each of the young women killed, as well as all victims of violence. Statistics say that a woman is murdered by her partner every 2.5 days in Canada and that, of every 5 homicides, 4 will be women victims.

What can we do? Concrete actions below include something each of us can do:

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Protecting Water in Ontario

December 18th is a big date for protecting the source of sacred water in Ontario. The Province of Ontario currently has a ban on renewing water permits and that ban expires on Dec 18. The government will decide on whether it will renew the ban on all permit renewals again. This decision makes a big difference for the work of the Wellington Water Watchers (WWW) who are working to protect their region from the Nestle water bottling plants that currently take excessive amounts of water for pennies with expansion plans in the works. There is a proposal to the government for a nine month extension on the current ban and on new permits. The Sisters of St. Joseph and other communities are working with the WWW to affirm this ban and they have asked for the support of the CND in Visitation Province. Attached is a social media meme that is posted on the CND website and Facebook page. Please circulate it along with this link for action to all of your contacts and networks in Ontario, All residents of Ontario, please take the time to send a message to your MPP and Premier Doug Ford that you support an extension on the ban. There is a letter ready to go on the action page with a form to fill in your name and address. At the click of a button your letter will automatically be sent.

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Annunciation House, El Paso, TX

Last month I had the opportunity to return to El Paso Texas to serve at Annunciation House, a shelter for migrants coming daily to the U.S. seeking asylum. While working in the laundry room at the shelter, I met a migrant (I’ll call him Juan) who volunteered by collecting the daily dirty laundry. He told me he did well on his ranch in southern Mexico with many cattle and horses. The cartel came and threatened his family if he didn’t pay an enormous amount. He had to sell the ranch and all the animals. They returned and said the money wasn’t enough and that they would return the next day for more, or else. He had nothing left to give them. He packed his family in the car that night and drove for days to the U.S. border. “I lost everything”, he said one day incredulously many times through many tears (both his and mine) and just as many times reminded himself that he still had his wife and 3 children. He added that we were now his new family. How prophetic! We are all the human family, all with the same needs, all parts of the Body of Christ, all God’s creation. There is no “us” and “them”; there is only “us”. I worked with many others from all over the country who lived this ideal. Juan lived it too. He said he helped at the shelter as pay-back for all God had given him....a “glass half full” kind of man.

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