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Visitations at Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel

Asking if this was their first visit to Bon Secours, I zeroed in on the Anglophone tourists as they entered the church. Their names escape me, as do most of their faces, but they came from every continent, spoke English with every accent. Most were open to hearing the “five-minute version” of Marguerite’s life. The young woman from Taiwan listened thoughtfully, murmuring “Cool!” at each of my pauses. The tall blonde German girl was wide-eyed, completely surprised at nearly everything she heard. The confident young woman from Vancouver, backpacking across Canada, exuded deep appreciation of Marguerite’s courage.

Most of their questions I could answer; a few I had to pass on to the attractive and quite knowledgeable young guides in 17th-century attire. If necessary, I asked Sr. Joyce Roberts for her help, which she gladly gave: “Yes, Jeanne Le Ber’s bones are buried in the east wall of the chapel. They were brought here from the Westmount Avenue mother house in 2005. Before the process was begun, the doctors and canon lawyers had examined the bones: definitely female, knees very worn from kneeling, front teeth worn from cutting threads.” 

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Nun's Island through the ages

 Nun's Island through the ages

Firs published in Le Magazine Île-des-Soeurs, Tour de l'île 2016-2017.

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End of the year activity of le Comité vert!

True to our mandate, on Wednesday, June 29th, the members of Comité vert enjoyed un vrai pique-nique écologique to mark the end of the year.

Nourished by delicious tamales made by Carmen, one of the members of the Committee, we then walked over to Dawson College where Chris Adam welcomed us. Chris, who is the heart and soul of the Living Campus Project at Dawson, facilitated the next part of our activity. With passion and energy he spoke of education at Dawson, care for the students and all creation. We then spent a few moments in the Peace Garden which made our hour together very special. 

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JPIC Update & Summer Projects

We are half through our programming year and we are off to a good start. Our main focus being action as follow-up to our Corporate Stance commitment for climate action around the Paris talks, we have been participating as a Province in the CRC Post-Paris Conference cross Canada event. Sessions have already been held in Ottawa and Toronto and dates for Montreal, Kingston, Halifax and Vancouver are soon to be announced. We are also continuing to work on dates for Charlottetown, Kamloops and other Congregation of Notre Dame connected locations. We are waiting for the video version to be ready, so that it can be distributed to those who were not able to attend the ‘live’ version and then planning can begin for the Congregation of Notre Dame reflection day connected to the conference. In addition, we have been engaging in advocacy with the federal government as they consult on the content for the national plan on climate action that will be released at the end of this year. Many of us used the on line form to contribute our opinions electronically and requested, attended and spoke at Town Halls hosted by MP’s and community groups. 

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Summer Movie: Finding Dory

Finding Dory, with Ellen DeGeneres speaking for Dory, is fun. I was not fortunate enough to have a child to take with me to enjoy the story but I went with two adults who allowed their inner child to join mine. Dory suffers from short-term memory loss – every 10 seconds or so – but she never forgets home and what she learned there. Some catchy one-liners along the way. Brilliant color photography and 3D glasses provided! Imagination required! 

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Vocation Ministry

Over the last twenty (20) to forty (40) years we have become acutely aware of our growing diminishment. Downsizing our infrastructure in recent years is one visible sign of diminishment. The average age of our sisters continues to rise. There has been a major decline in the number of Sisters in active ministry. We see an increase in the number of Sisters moving into assisted living and long term care, not to mention the number that die each year. During these years, we have witnessed a huge decline in new vocations. This familiar landscape, common to all Religious Congregations, is explored by Sister Amy Hereford, CSJ in an article entitled “Vocation Ministry on the Precipice”. 

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Status of Women website

The Status of Women website provides information about a number of initiatives in support of gender equality and the development of a Federal Strategy against Gender-based Violence. There is a good section on gender-based analysis i.e. measuring gender equality. There is information about funding possibilities and links to publications. You can view at http://swc-cfc.gc.ca/index-en.html 



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Sally Armstrong and Local History

On Saturday, June 25th the Miramichi Branch of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society welcomed author and journalist Sally Armstrong. Sally spoke mainly about her books: The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor, the story of her great-great-great grandmother; and Ascent of Women, with stories of her work in Afghanistan. Charlotte Taylor was a courageous early settler in the Miramichi area. Archival research shows she made the journey on foot (snowshoes, mostly) from Miramichi to Fredericton to lay claim to her late husband’s property. The book (Vintage Press: 2007) is a fascinating story of a strong woman who survived and thrived in hard times; she lived from 1755 to 1841. Her extended family continues to hold a reunion every five years. 

Sally’s presentation was at the Friendly Neighbor Senior Citizens Centre in Nelson-Miramichi, N.B. The building used to be what we called “the little white school,” a small elementary school where many of our CND sisters taught in decades past! 

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PEI Town Hall Consultations Regarding Climate Change

Environment Minister McKenna has invited Canadians to participate in crafting the principles of Canada's Climate Action Plan. It has been suggested by Government that Members of Parliament host Town Hall meetings in their ridings. On PEI we have four MPs and I am pleased to share the good news that they will be co-hosting Town Hall consultations on Climate Change with ECOPEI. This is scheduled for August 10 at Confederation Landing, Charlottetown from 5pm to 7pm. As well, each of the MPs will be hosting their own within their constituency. To date Wayne Easter announced that his Town Hall will be held in Hunter River on July 13. For further information there will be an ad in both the July and August editions of the Buzz paper. 

Hopefully, those of us living near will make every effort to participate and to encourage others, family and friends to come out and to show support to those more involved. Presently, I don't know what the format will be, however it would be easy to get this information. 

Let us pray that there will be many Town Hall consultations across the country and that our government will move forward in the right direction. 

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Save the Date

ARCAN Conference 

June 2 & 3, 2017 

Theme: Greening Our Hearts: Creation Spirituality Today 

Facilitator: Dolores Hall 

Mount Saint Vincent University 

Halifax, Nova Scotia 

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Thomas Berry: Prophet and Mystic of the Earth

By Kathleen Deignan and Kevin Cawley

An e-course is being offered by Spirituality and Practice

July 4 – 29, 2016 at a cost of $59.95 [US funds]

Try something new... it’s easy. You can do it!

An exploration of the contemplative depth and call to practice in Thomas Berry's works.

Kathleen and Kevin share a mission to bring ecological wisdom to faith and education communities, particularly the legacy of Thomas Berry and also the challenges of Pope Francis, whose recent letter to the world — Laudato Si — is a global summons to care for our common home. In this way they hope to contribute to The Great Work of our time: healing the human soul that we might heal the Earth.

In this exclusive e-course developed for Spirituality & Practice, Kathleen and Kevin will draw out the contemplative depth and call to practice in Berry's works. They will focus on foundational themes from his life -- like Storyteller of the Universe, Mystic of the Meadow, and Master of Creation Spirituality -- drawn from Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community, published by Orbis in 2014.

You can register for this e-course at: http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/ecourses

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Progress of Syrian family sponsored by St. Basil's Parish, Ottawa: Nabil and Manal and their four children arrived last August. Since then they have worked hard improving their English, transitioning to school and work and adjusting to life in Canada. The neighbouring Dovercourt Recreation Centre provided the family with free passes to all programs for a year and 9 weeks of summer camp for the children. Nabil is a skilled body shop technician and has been helped using means other than written ones to receive his apprenticeship papers. He noticed the many discarded bicycles and retrieves, repairs and sells them. Manal is participating with others in the community garden at St. Basil's that will provide the family and others with fresh produce. The parish is in the process of discerning whether to undertake the sponsorship of another family. 

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Celebrating our Jubilarians

The Activity Room at Andrews of Charlottetown was bursting with life and activity from 2 to 4 PM on Sunday, June 19. We celebrated the jubilees of Sisters Sally MacPherson, Marie Fernande Arsenault and the Florence O'Keefe. (Although Sally's name is not on the Jubilee list, she entered with this group, then became part of the January ceremony. She wanted to celebrate with them.) Several of their family members were present as well as the PEI sisters. Other residents dropped in to offer their congratulations. They received flowers and other gifts and many cards containing glorious tributes to their life as CND's. A beautifully decorated Jubilee cake contributed to the festive atmosphere and refreshments were enjoyed by all. We are grateful to all who attended. Informal celebrations continued with our local community in the evening.

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St. Mary Magdalen

This month we learned that the July 22 memorial observance of St. Mary Magdalene is now a major feast in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar. In recent years, the feast day has been promoted and celebrated as a significant way to help us learn about women leaders in our church history and to promote gender balance in scripture proclamation. According to Future Church (http://ncronline.org) every year 200 – 300 Magdala Day celebrations are organized around the world. We are fortunate in our area to have experienced this for several summers, on or close to July 22 in different churches close by. Rosemary Radford Ruether wrote in a 2001 article in NCR that “for the first five centuries no writer misinterpreted Mary Magdalene as a prostitute. Rather she was seen as a leading disciple and image of the church.” Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director of Future Church writes: “It is gratifying and heartening to learn that this message is now echoing from the Vatican and that they now recognize her for her role as the primary witness to the Resurrection and a key figure in our salvation history with equal standing to her male counterparts.”

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Truth, Reconciliation and Hope: A Vision for a new Canada

A one-day conference guided by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action, #62, was co-hosted by St. Michael’s University, Toronto, and the Jesuits in English Canada on Wednesday, June 22. The day began with a smudging ceremony followed by a number of presentations and talks by speakers; such as, Knowledge Keeper Noel Starblanket, Charlie Angus, the Honourable Paul Martin, and a number of aboriginal leaders and youth. The focus of the day was to acknowledge the systemic injustices visited upon our native peoples, which was lead by Fr. Peter Bisson, President of the Jesuits in English Canada, who presented the Jesuit apology and Statement of Reconciliation from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission delivered in 2013, and to begin the process of moving to take concrete steps toward creating a Canada characterized by mutual reverence and partnership. This gathering was a beginning step toward education, awareness, and the call to action that will hopefully be followed by more such opportunities in the future.

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Retreat and e-course with sister Kathleen Deignan, CND

Sister Kathleen Deignan, CND, invites you to an on-line retreat and e-course:

Thomas Berry: Prophet and Mystic of the Earth

July 4-29, 2016

Find out more here

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Canada History Week - July 1–7

Congrégation de Notre-Dame

The year 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the first women's suffrage in Canada. For this reason Canada History Week has chosen to make it this year’s theme.

In this spirit, the Congrégation de Notre-Dame wishes to participate in this event by providing information on the history of the struggle for women’s right to vote in Canada and particularly in Quebec.

You will find below the names and photos of three former Congrégation de Notre-Dame students who campaigned for women’s rights.

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News from Visitation Province

Prize-winning videoThis week our local newspaper carried a good news announcement of a prize-winning video produced by students at Leo Hayes High School where Sister Karen Kelly, CND, is a teacher and also the Safe-Grad program coordinator. The contest focused on the topic of responsible use of alcohol and was open to all high schools in the province. The prize was worth $1300 in money but worth much more in the value of its message. The students recounted the difficult story of a young man from their school who lost his life this past year; his younger brother speaks candidly about the dangers of binge drinking and drinking games. Sister Karen’s constant work and presence with these young people is widely recognized and noted here in our city. Congratulations to all! The video may be viewed on the following site: https://vimeo.com/164613268

Eleanor McCloskey, CND


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Rooted in Jesus Christ, Let Us Cultivate Love and Compassion

Press Release

Montreal, 15 June, 2016

Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame de Montréal coming from eight countries will gather in General Chapter this summer in Cornwall, Ontario, from August 11 to 29, 2016. In the course of this meeting, they will discuss major orientations that will set the direction of the Congregation for the next five years, and they will elect a new leadership team.

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June Article for The Rhode Island Catholic

“No family drops from heaven perfectly formed; families need constantly to grow and mature in the ability to love.” Pope Francis writes these words near the end of his document on family. Francis has a keen sense of the ordinary way of God in each of us and in our lives together. He knows we live in a world where we often do less than the perfect and seem to make more bad choices than good ones. Yet we continue to stay the course and try to keep on being hopeful people, loving parents and faithful spouses.

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