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Newcastle, NB_Statue of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys

On October 25, 1869, three sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame arrived in Newcastle, NB, to begin their work of educating young people. Their presence has lasted to this day. To acknowledge appreciation, a statue of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, has been placed in the church foyer. This statue was donated to the Sisters long ago by Mr. and Mrs. John O’Brien, parishioners and local business people. It found an honored place in the last two residences of the sisters. We are pleased it has now found a home in our parish church.


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It has been a diamond studded year!

It has been a diamond studded year for me! Indeed it began in December during a celebration at school in honour of all our benefactors. At that time I was named a MaYaa by the fon (traditional leader) of Ngarum. In other words I am now Queen Noreen of Ngarum!

In January I renewed my vows with the two new finally professed sisters in Yaounde and joined with them in celebrating the event. In February we celebrated my eightieth birthday at Kumbo. In May I joined with you all in spirit as mass was celebrated for the Diamond Jubilarians at Bon Secours.

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Wake Up The World! – 2015 Year of Consecrated Life

In February 2013, Pope Francis promulgated 2015 as the Year of Consecrated Life with these words: “…awaken the world with the passion of your charisms and your mission…”

The Year of Consecrated Life will begin on the First Sunday of Advent, November 29, 2014, and end on February 2, 2016. The year also marks the 50th anniversary of Perfectae Caritas, a decree on religious life, and Lumen Gentium, the second Vatican Council’s constitution on the church. The purpose of this Year is to “make grateful remembrance of the recent past” while embracing “the future with hope.”

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Associate Relationship News

On October 5-7, 2014, the associate area coordinators and Sister Nina Glinski, liaison with the leadership team, met in Montreal for their regular fall meeting. They began with prayer and interesting conversation about the Associate Area Reports. They shared thoughts, questions and gratitude for all that is happening throughout Visitation Province. Two new area coordinators, Marjorie Allison-Ross from Woodstock, NB and Karen Volpe from Toronto, ON were welcomed as they brought their gifts of enthusiasm and newness to the gathering.

The Associate Central Office report was presented by Ann Gotfryd and Adèle Mercier. They brought the group up to date on the Central Committee meeting which took place in Montreal, August 7-10, 2014. The theme of the international gathering was: Uncovering the Face of Associate Relationship and the presenter was Ann Walsh, Redemptorist associate from Newfoundland. The Visitation Province coordinators gave a creative combined report: identifying who associates say they are, what associates want others to know about themselves and how associates organize themselves. It was said that, “The values, talents, and identities of all our associate groups are gifts from God and reflect uniquely the many facets of Marguerite’s charism.”

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November Article for The RI Catholic

This article was forst published in the Rhode Island Catholic

Light and darkness are elusive in early November. It’s not that far from those long summer days when an extravagant sun covered most of our waking hours. Light was everywhere. Our bodies and spirits resist having to adjust to the ever-shortening days leading us to the winter solstice. Although the temperature is often mild at this time of year, we find ourselves going to work in just breaking light and returning in dusk.

A brilliant sun can glitter off the golden and red trees as beautifully as it did off the crashing waves during beach days in August. A tree can look dark and dull until the light hits and then it becomes a mirror of spun gold. With a cloud or a shadow, the colors disappear into dark dead leaves ready to be blown off by the next wind. November teases us with light.

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JPIC core committee meeting - October 23-25

The JPIC core committee met at the Motherhouse October 23-25. Monica Lambton, Coordinator, was joined by Sisters Mary Corbett, Anne Gillis, Eleanor McCloskey, Eileen Roach and Catherine Walker, with Congregation of Notre Dame associates Dorena Hall and Teresa McKerral.

We began Thursday evening with a viewing of the video Do the Math (http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/do-the-math/) This powerful film on the topic of climate change led us to serious considerations in choosing a focus for our Action Plan in the coming months.

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Marguerite Bourgeoys: A Builder?

Marguerite Bourgeoys – To Love is to Serve

In 1652, Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve (native of Neuville-sur-Vanne), founder and governor of Ville-Marie (Montreal), was passing through Troyes in search of a teacher. For Marguerite, it is a call: “I offered to go and he accepted me.”

“About fifteen days after the Feast of All Saints,” following her long journey (two long months at sea) from Troyes to New France and her stay in Québec to care for the convalescing recruits, Marguerite finally arrived in Ville-Marie. She had at last reached the place where she would fulfill her mission, the place for which she had left her family and her native France.

However, in this December 1653, there were no opportunities for her to teach. This was because there were no school age children. What ways did she find to integrate herself into the life of the colony? How did she demonstrate her devotion?

Marguerite’s zeal quickly found means of expression. She responded to the needs of the settlers, comforted the troubled, assisted the foundress of Hôtel-Dieu, Jeanne Mance (also from the region of Champagne, the town of Langres), spread the Good News with humble everyday actions, and counseled all those who sought her advice. Clearly, she was in no way withdrawn or selfish.

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Vocation/Formation Committee Meeting at the mother house

Our committee had a great meeting this past weekend (Oct. 25-26, 2014). Creativity and energy are definitely not lacking in the members of this group, and soon, you will be receiving material from us. In the letter that accompanies the mailing, we will tell you more about the Year of Consecrated Life that Pope Francis has declared for 2015. You will also find a new prayer for vocations and a sample of our new brochure. In the meantime, we invite you to ponder the question of “vocation” and the meaning that a year dedicated to Consecrated Life might have for you.

Congregation of Notre Dame Sisters at the National Religious Vocation Conference

On Tuesday, November 2, Sisters Peggy and Mary Ann are driving to Chicago for the National Religious Vocation Conference. We will be staying with Sisters Darleen, Regina and Janet. While there, we hope to connect with Congregation of Notre Dame Associate Father Patrick Marshall, a College Chaplain who moderates a weekly discernment group with his students. We are eager to learn what Patrick can share with what these young adults are looking for as they discern a vocation to Religious life and priesthood. The workshops look good: effective ways of using media in vocation work, preparing for candidates who are from cultures unlike our own, issues of civil, canon and immigration law, screening for formation and more! We hope to learn to sing the hymn composed for the Year of Consecrated life. “Wake the World with Dawning Joy” is based on the words of Pope Francis. The opening lines: “Wake the world with dawning joy! Wake it with your gladness” have a Visitation ring about them!

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The Contemporary Relevance of Marguerite Bourgeoys’s Message

Certain elements of Marguerite Bourgeoys’s message are as relevant as the Gospel: they were true yesterday, are still true today and will be always. The same applies, for instance, to the emphasis she placed on the great commandment to love. Other elements particularly stand out because of the context in which we live. What follows are some examples:

Human Dignity

Marguerite had an acute sense of human dignity and of equal dignity for all persons: each person is loved by God; for each one Jesus gave his blood.

This certainty led her to help everyone without exception. She spoke of teaching as a mission which must be fulfilled without distinction between the poor and the rich, between relatives and friends and strangers, between the pretty and the ugly, the gentle and the grumblers, looking upon them all as drops of Our Lord's blood.


Respect for Creation, Listening and Dialogue


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OK Clean Water Brunch October 19, 2014

On Sunday, October 19th the OK Clean Water Project held its annual Brunch at the Centurion Conference and Event Centre with 100 great supporters in attendance.

Alana Giustizia spoke compassionately about her trip to Cameroon in February of 2014 and the welcome that she received from the people. She was moved by the dedication of many who work so diligently to bring clean water to their villages. Alana also praised the work of Sister Cathy Molloy, cnd the coordinator and that of Edwin Visi, the consultant who trains the villagers to ensure the water projects are maintained. Sister Cathy and Edwin journey with the people with the emphasis on dialogue to promote sustainability.  Alana’s power point presentation illustrated the progress made over these eleven years with forty-three villages now accessing clean water. This trip also made it possible for Alana to visit with her aunt Sister Cecile Buote, cnd, who has lived in Cameroon for more than forty years.


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October 31: Anniversary of the Canonization of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys

On October 31, 1982, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Marguerite Bourgeoys a saint, something popular devotion had already confirmed in January 1700 in this way: “If the saints were canonized today as they were in the olden times, by the voice of the people and of the clergy, tomorrow we would celebrate the Mass of Saint Marguerite of Canada.” “The Pope of families” recognized in Canada’s first saint his own conviction that the family is the vital unit of society and the first school of life for men and women. In the homily pronounced on the day of the canonization of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, he brought to light “her unique contribution to the promotion of families, children, future spouses, parent.”

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Canonization of Marguerite Bourgeoys - October 31, 1982

Message of His Holiness John Paul II on the occasion of the audience granted to the Pilgrims, Saturday, October 30, 1982, in the Paul VI Auditorium at the Vatican

Dear Pilgrims from France and Canada,

In a sprit of joy and pride you are preparing for the celebration of the canonization of Blessed Marguerite Bourgeoys and Blessed Jeanne Delanoue.

[…] The event of canonization gives rise to a question that may be addressed to your communities, whether on the diocesan or national level. Is it reasonable to assume that men and women can attain holiness in today’s world? Do people aspire to holiness? Do they take the means to become saints?

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NETWORKING! Catholic Network for Women’s Equality – New Brunswick

On Saturday, October 18, CNWE-NB (Catholic Network for Women’s Equality – New Brunswick) had a Fall day of Reflection, featuring a presentation from Mary Hanson, a Congregation of Notre Dame Associate from Woodstock sharing about her summer visit to the Philippines. Mary travelled with 13 other Canadians on a Development and Peace organized trip. David Lewis, a CNWE member from Saint John spoke about D & P and this year’s fall campaign: Sow Much Love (see www.devp.org).

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Book and Movie Recommendations

Book Recommendation: Jesus: A Pilgrimage by James Martin, sj, is an entertaining read. It is intended for a general audience and draws upon scripture studies, his own life experiences and a recent two-week pilgrimage to Israel. His trademark humour is very much a part of the book. It gets 5 stars on amazon.com based on 348 reviews. I picked my copy up at Chapters, available on kindle etc.

Movie Recommendation: The Vatican Museums is a 3D movie playing occasionally at some Cineplex theatres. It is just over an hour long with excellent photography greatly enhanced by the 3D effect. (The 3D glasses can be used over regular glasses and are recycled). Admission is a little pricier than regular movies but cheaper than a trip to Rome!


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Celebrating Sr. Dorothy Maher's more than 28 years of parish service

It was on the occasion of Bishop Tom Dowd's official pastoral visit to the parish, that the Pastor, Father Vittorio Tucci and the parishioners of Holy Cross Parish chose, Sunday, October 19, to honor and celebrate Sister Dorothy Maher's more than 28 years of dedicated service in the parish. Many parishioners, past and present, as well as a good number of Congregation of Notre Dame Sisters attended the celebration. Bishop Dowd, assisted by Fathers Tucci and Joe Cameron celebrated the Eucharist.

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On Sunday, October 19th still filled with the enthusiasm of her participation in the People’s March for Climate Change in New York, Monica Lambton shared her experience of the event at the monthly gathering of the Sisters and Associates. She said she was impressed with the immensity of the march, the intensity of it and the number and variety of people who took part in this now world-wide movement. Monica spoke of Sister Kathleen Deignan, CND who has been researching the relationship between Marguerite Bourgeoys and those who have been involved in the pursuit of remedies for climate change as far back as St. Francis, and as recently as Thomas Berry and Thomas Merton. Kathleen sees Marguerite Bourgeoys’ era as an Age of Destruction as is ours today. In Marguerite’s time the way of life of the aboriginal peoples in the New World was being destroyed and Marguerite set about building up an alternative life.

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On Sunday, October 19, 2014, Father Bill Burke spoke of the need for someone like Marguerite Bourgeoys at a time of great changes in the Church, in our Diocese and in Canada.

Sisters and associates from the Sydney area as well as Mabou, Antigonish, and Prince Edward Island gathered with the parishioners and friends at the former St. Joseph Church in Sydney. Bishop Brian Dunn celebrated Eucharist and dedicated the church to Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys. He blessed the two beautiful statues of Marguerite, one located outside the church and the other in the foyer. The relic of St. Marguerite was carried in procession and placed in the altar. In renaming and officially placing the parish under the patronage of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, Father Bill paid tribute to Marguerite and to all her daughters who contributed to education in Cape Breton and in the rest of Canada. He invited all sisters present to stand and be acknowledged.


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On-line Formation community for the Associate Relationship

I will soon be beginning an on-line Formation community for the Associate Relationship.  Right now, there are seven women who are eager to participate and I have invited others to consider this opportunity. Is there anyone you know whom you would like to invite to Associate Relationship and for whom the on-line formation blog would be a good fit?

Sisters Joan Mahoney and Patricia McCarthy (April 2014)

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JPIC Presentation October 31st - UPEI

The Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Congregation of Notre Dame & UPEI Chaplaincy Centre Invite Students, Staff and Faculty to meet with Monica Lambton, JPIC Coordinator from Montreal, Friday October 31 2014 / UPEI Chaplaincy Centre. Gather @ 11:00 am ~ Presentation 11:30-12:30 ~ Q&A til 1:00.

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