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Advent Is Coming Soon: Arts And Faith

Enjoy a video commentary about works of art inspired by the Sunday Scriptures of Advent. Use these videos to take a new look at this season of preparation through the lens of sacred art. There are also further reflections which can be used as a means of praying with your imagination. Take a look at: www.ignatianspirituality.com/advent

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Taizé Gathering in Japan

Sisters of Maria Province (Japan) held their biannual Taize gathering at the convent in November. This event is organized by a small parish group, "Izumi/Budonokai", an oecumenical group that has continued for at least 30 years. Sister Maureen Lamarche has been a member since the beginning. They meet once a month, Saturday evening and read one chapter from whichever book of the Bible they have chosen to read. So it takes a year or more to cover one book. 

A Catholic teacher at the Congregation of Notre Dame elementary school is the leader of the group.

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December Article for The RI Catholic

Usually articles in the Catholic Press during Advent start with quotes from the prophets Isaiah who promised a light will shine in the darkness or Amos who foretold that Bethlehem would be the birth city of the Messiah.

This short reflection begins on the seaside in Ireland, a strand as it is called there. James Joyce, one of Ireland’s best and most challenging authors, eloquently writes of the innate longing in every human heart for the absolute, the unknowable, the eternal, the ultimate.

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Ottawa resident to be inducted into the Order of Ottawa

Mayor Jim Watson of Ottawa announced the 15 residents who will be inducted into the Order of Ottawa this year.

 “The Order of Ottawa honours remarkable residents for their service in both professional and civic-oriented endeavours,” said Mayor Watson. “It is a privilege to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of these influential people who enrich our city and have made a difference in the lives of others in our community.”

Our congratulations to Sister Louise Dunn, CND, who “co-founded Serenity Renewal for Families, a charitable organization opened in 1983 providing a wide range of educational and counselling services. She has accompanied countless individuals on their recovery journey and has helped thousands of individuals and families to live in a spirit of health, hope and self-awareness.”

This year’s Order of Ottawa ceremony took place at City Hall on November 17. 

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Closing of the Year of Mercy

The closing of the Year of Mercy and the 175th Anniversary of the arrival of the Congregation of Notre Dame sisters in Kingston did not go unnoticed by the associates and sisters in Kingston. Through a process of prayer, reflection and contemplative dialogue, Mary Cockburn helped us to stir up and renew our resolve to keep the fruits of the Holy Year alive within us. Following this, we were entertained and inspired by a small group of Sisters who mimed the story of SS Edward and SS Alexander, who came from Montreal to Kingston, as Rosemary Shannon read from a script she had prepared. In a humourous way this tremendous story of courage and resolve was recalled. Cake and beverages followed, and by the way, the two Sisters and the stagecoach in which they rode, stood bravely atop the beautifully decorated cake. 

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Congratulations to Sister Alice Long

Congratulations to Sister Alice Long (shown here with her teacher, Anne- Marie Rolfe) on becoming a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher! Sheri Green and Melissa Wilson of Fredericton, NB were also in the program; they work here at Windsor Court and are happy to share their enthusiasm with me. 

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The Daniel O’Hanley Memorial Lecture

The Daniel O’Hanley Memorial Lecture – November 20 – sponsored by LAMP (The Latin American Mission Program, Charlottetown)

Daniel O’Hanley was a missionary in Nicaraqua from 1984-1991, working in solidarity with the Nicaraguan people in a time of great upheaval. He was killed on July 3,1991, in Managua as a result of a botched robbery. Each year his life is commemorated by a lecture whose topics and presenters reflect current times and conditions both in the south and in the north. This year we were privileged to hear Stephen J. Augustine, Hereditary Chief Mi’kmaq Grand Council and Dean Unama’ki College and Aboriginal Learning at Cape Breton University. This remarkable, gifted, gentle man, starting in the present, took us on a journey back into the history of his people to their origins in the Maritimes. His insights, regarding their deep faith in the “ONE ENTITY” who is good and is the source of all life and their sense of belonging to Mother Earth were very powerful. Theirs, he said, is an Earth Religion. He quoted one of the missionaries who came in the early days to “bring the faith” as saying: “These people are living the catechism.” We felt at home when he made connections to Lennox Island, to Eskasoni, to places in NB, like Big Cove, and in particular when he made the connections with the Acadian people. It was a stimulating, thought -provoking lecture. 

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Why Women’s Rights Are Your Business: The Dollars and Sense of Investing in Women and Girls.

Sally Armstrong, human rights activist, journalist, author, presented to a packed house at St. Thomas University, Fredericton, NB this week. Her dynamic true stories – from her work in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Somalia, Kenya, Congo and elsewhere show how women can change the face of poverty and effect change. Sally says the use of the internet has brought women together from all over the world, and when women communicate and share stories, things happen. I have heard her tell these stories before but the passion and strength she gives them is always worth a revisit. Ascent of Women (2013) and Uprising: A New Age is Dawning for Every Mother’s Daughter (2014) tell Sally’s direct experience of the courage, tenacity and wit of women around the world who are shaking established ways – cultural and religious – of holding women back from education and progress. 

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Spirituality and Practice offers E-Courses

  1. Wisdom for Advent and Christmas – seasonal themes of waiting. hope, patience and joy; a reflective reading practice and vibrant Practice Circle November 27-January 6. Cost: $25.00
  2. Lumen Divina – a Retreat for Advent. Wisdom, light, unity, beauty, incarnation - a search in the depths of the Advent Season. November 25-December 23. Cost: $59.95 See the following websites:



Bernie O’Neill, CND 

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General Chapter Musings

The reflections that have been presented each week from those of us who participated in the General Chapter have been as varied as each of us. What seemed to be a common thread, however, and what struck me during the chapter was something that the sisters of Maria Province (Japan) expressed in their creative presentation. They described a Japanese word, YUI, and in so doing, brought a deep richness to our understanding of relationships. 

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International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women November 25

From this date to December 10, Human Rights Day, the UN is promoting 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. The aim is to help people become more aware, inspire us to speak and work to bring about change See http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/end-violence-against-women.


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Renewal Program

If anyone is interested in an enriching three-week renewal program, we were fortunate to have found one in September. It takes place in Ocean Grove, New Jersey at Emmaus House and is called WOW (Women of Wisdom). We were 23 sisters coming from Canada, US and some of the foreign missions. Each day was a day of enrichment and delightful surprises. If anyone is interested, this program is held in September and April each year.


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Provincial Area Gathering–Kamloops

Visualize the statue of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys where she’s standing with one arm reaching behind her and another reaching forward. That image reflects the gathering of Congregation of Notre Dame sisters and associates which took place in Kamloops on November 10, 2016. The morning session was facilitated by Sr. Catherine Walker who took us back to the General Chapter of summer 2016 and engaged us in a process of hearing and responding to Congregation of Notre Dame Chapter orientations 2016 – 2021. After a wonderful potluck lunch (feast!), Sr. Shelley Grant moved us forward in a process to begin our preparation for Visitation Province Chapter, July 2017. The 15 of us who were present representing the Thompson Nicola and Okanagan areas were thoroughly engrossed in this first of several such gatherings to take place throughout the Province. We came away enriched by the experience, looking forward to carrying out our mission statement as it evolves for Visitation Province in the coming year, and embracing the challenge of being who Christ calls us to be as Congregation, ever hopeful, ever joyful in our wounded yet beautiful world. 

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Visit to the Maritimes

From November 7 to 11, 2016, a team from the Communication Services of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame visited the sisters who live in the Maritime Provinces. During this all too short visit, we recorded a certain number of video interviews (in English and in French) that you will soon find on our social media. Meanwhile, we would like to share with you some of our travel impressions and fond memories of the visits that filled our days. When one visits the sisters, one enjoys generous hospitality, lively conversations and the opportunity to grow a little through contact with these devoted teachers. To all of you who offered us such a warm welcome, Thank You!

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Advent 2016

Advent 2016                    Entrance Antiphon    Psalm 24: 1-3

To you, I lift up my soul, O my God.  In you, I have trusted; let me not be put to shame.  Nor let my enemies exult over me; and let none who hope in you be put to shame.

Today my Advent journey begins - a spiritual journey with our precious Trinity in search of the Star in the East.  I ponder the words “my enemies” with little awareness of where my journey will take me, but somehow, I know I need to begin.


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Post Chapter Reflection: Communion of Minds and Hearts

General Chapter 2016 was marked with deep communion of minds and hearts. This spirit of unity was brought about through the implementation of the following elements:

  • The preparation process which involved all sisters and associates
  • The table format which was made up of two cultures
  • The multicultural evening
  • Personal and communal Contemplative prayer
  • Contemplative dialogue where each spoke her truth while others listened with open minds. It is through this way of dialogue that one reaches into the center of ones being where the Divine is found and transformation begins. 

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You said: Internationality?

You said:






Yes, it was in all these languages that we celebrated Wednesday evening at the mother house.

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THE FOREST FIRES IN SOUTHWESTERN NORTH CAROLINA has been raging for two weeks.  Many people have had to evacuate their homes.  The air is filled with a dense smoke and the lake is being drained of its water as firefighters from all over the USA including Alaska and Puerto Rico try to contain the blaze which has spread through thousands of acres of land.  At present, the fire is somewhat contained but the drought continues to have everyone praying for rain.  North Georgia is also affected by these fires.  The Clay County fire department distributed masks to all residents to filter the smoky air.  Anyone with asthma or other breathing difficulties is encouraged to stay indoors.  Sisters Terry Martin and Margarita Castaneda are safe so far from the blaze.  We ask you to join us in prayer for the safety of the firefighters who are still here after two weeks of fighting the fires.  We also ask for prayers for the safety of the residents in the mountains and please PRAY FOR RAIN.  Thank you all for your prayers and may this Thanksgiving be a blessed one of each one of you. (photo: Sr. Terry Martin, CND)

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Remembering Sister Sheila McAuliffe, CND

Sheila was an educator “par excellence”. She had a vision of the reign of God where the potential of each and every person was realized and where each person, especially women, could make their own unique contribution to the common good. There was a unique charm and flair about Sheila. With her eye and her heart persistently focused on how to move things forward, Sheila was a determined force to reckoned with. She did whatever was necessary, whether it be to coax, nudge, advocate or, if necessary, to use all her political astuteness to help women claim their voice. Sheila’s abiding faith compelled her to reach out to others with small gestures of kindness. This was most evident in how she related to the staff of 750 Kingston Rd. and at 2 O’Connor and how they related to her. Dignity of all people was really important to Sheila, and she wanted everyone to know that he/she was loved, appreciated, and valued. She personified the meaning of justice for all.

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La Prairie is Celebrating!

Description : Macintosh HD:Users:smanseau:Desktop:photos article:IMG_9786.JPGFriday, November 18 marked the beginning of the celebrations of the 350th anniversary of La Nativité de la Sainte-Vierge Parish in La Prairie and the 175th anniversary of the church. During the very interesting program organized for this day, we had the pleasure of discovering Old La Prairie – from the church crypt to Saint-Ignace Street – and also visiting the Société d’histoire de La Prairie-de-la-Magdeleine where there is a beautiful scale model of the very first village of La Prairie. Our guides knew how to situate us in context – who today can remember that water from the river regularly flooded the church?

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