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Saint-Denis Parish (Montreal): Art, History and… the Present!

On Friday, November 11, the Saint-Denis Parish Council organized a special event. Parishioners and members of religious congregations met with the artist Yves-Daniel Thibodeau, who painted the sixteen panels honouring the founders of the Church in Canada which are found in the choir, transepts and nave of the church situated on Laurier Avenue. In attendance were: Sister Danielle Dubois, Sister Danielle Mineau, Sister Andrée Maheu, Sister Claudette Houle and Sister Michelle Beaulieu.

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Two conferences not to be missed in Alberta

Canadian Religious Conference presents:

Welcoming refugees and immigrants: Theological reflection and action

A day of reflection for women and men religious in leadership, future leaders, JPIC representatives, associates and any interested lay person

Saturday, Dec. 3 [10 a.m. – 3 p.m.] Monday, Dec. 5 [10 a.m. – 3 p.m.]

St. Helen’s Church FCJ Christian Life Centre

3894 Triumph Street, Burnaby BC 219 - 19th Avenue SW, Calgary AB

Cost: $20 at door (lunch included). For further information or to confirm your presence, contact Stéphanie Gravel at sgravel@crc-canada.org by November 28, 2016.


Our Lady of Guadalupe and the search for justice and reconciliation

A day of reflection for women and men religious and associates

with Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, CSB

Bishop Emeritus of Las Cruces, New Mexico

Friday, Dec. 9 [9 a.m. – 3 p.m.]

Providence Renewal Centre

3005 – 119 Street NW, Edmonton AB

Cost $25 (coffee and lunch included)

For further information and to register please email jmbigou@crc-canada.org

Remembrance Day 2016

Remembrance Day is about remembering civilians and military personnel whose efforts and sacrifice made it possible for us to experience the peace we have in our country and to live the values we cherish. We are grateful. Many of us choose to wear artificial poppies in these days before November 11; red poppies symbolize the memory of those who died and white poppies stand for non-military conflict interventions. On November 11, whether we pray in groups with other Canadians or by ourselves, we remember.

On Sunday, November 6, the Liturgy Committee of the Sisters of Providence Motherhouse, Kingston, presented a Workshop entitled, “What It Means to Be An Inclusive Church.” It was attended by the sisters of the city, associates and members of the Sunday assembly.

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Post Chapter Reflections: "Guided Flow"

As I look back on my experience of the General Chapter, two words keep surfacing to describe how the Chapter delegates moved from one part of the chapter to the next. The two words? ‘Guided flow.’

The initial trickles of this ‘flow’ started long before we gathered in Cornwall. All of us contributed to the beginning flow as sisters and associates gathered in their respective provinces and regions for pre-Chapter work. Twelve magnificent letters captured the essence of who we are as Congregation de Notre Dame sisters and associates.

Upon my return home, one sister asked: “What did you do during all that time?”

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Congregation of Notre Dame "HAVE A HEART" Campaign

We have learned there are 2,000 detained immigrants in a detention center and in county jails in the New York Metro area- within 10 miles of the Statue of Liberty. We can help them in a few ways. For now, pray for them and encourage others to pray for them. People in detention often feel isolated from their families and in despair about their future. In collaboration with First Friends, an interfaith group in Kearney, New Jersey, we plan to provide the resources which will allow detained immigrants to communicate with family and friends. The timing of our Campaign will focus on St. Valentine’s Day. 

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Book Reviews . . .

The Wonder is a novel by Emma Donoghue, the Canadian-Irish author of "The Room", set in 19th century Ireland about a form of behaviour by some at that time. It involves an 11 year old girl who appears not to have eaten anything for 4 months and a nurse from England who along with a Catholic nun have been tasked with observing her closely for two weeks to see if that is true. It unfolds as a mystery and is not a light read. However it does shed light on some of the religious practices of the time in the light of science as it unfolds in the lives of the characters in the book. Emma Donoghue has more background information on her website. 

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Movie Reviews . . .

Queen of Katwe. Katwe is a slum area in Kampala, Uganda; queen is a chess reference. 10-year-old Phiona, her two brothers, her older sister and her widowed mom have a difficult life, depending largely on selling vegetables in the streets. Enter Robert Katende, athletic coach.

(Kids don’t play football because it’s too expensive to treat injuries, one boy says). The coach begins teaching chess. Phiona is so good at the game she soon experiences success in local tournaments and larger competitions. Her whole village supports her and rejoices in her accomplishments as she helps her family to move beyond their extreme poverty. A tear-jerker at times but a story of hope and resilience… and family. 

Eleanor McCloskey, CND 

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The Logo

The theme of the General Chapter “Rooted in Jesus Christ, let us Cultivate Love and Compassion” allowed us the means of deepening our call to be CND in our world today. Natalie Manning, a friend of the sisters in Blessed Sacrament Province, was asked to design a logo that would help to inspire us along this journey toward chapter. The logo is full of life and light, open to growth, expansive, hopeful and joyful, suggesting the possibility of movement that stretches both outward and inward. Andrée Maheu, CND constructed the logo for our chapter gathering. Made of recycled/salvaged wood, it stands 7 feet tall. She managed to bring the logo to life through her creative talent and deep love of the life mission of the CND. Allow this image of our theme to speak to you. How then shall we live?

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Sister Agnes Campbell's November 2 Introductry Statement

Well, our ship is in port, preparing for the next phase of our journey. The ship is in good condition. It has been recently serviced in Cornwall where it was found to be a very sturdy vessel. During many, many years of sailing, work has been done periodically to preserve the essentials and to constantly renew what was needed to respond to the reality of the times. The various crews over the years have proven to be excellent leaders and have acted to ensure that Marguerite’s Congregation continues to embrace her spirit and to reach out to answer the needs of our time, especially to bring the love of God to all.

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JPIC Core Committee Meeting

The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Core Committee (Visitation Province of the Congregation of Notre Dame) met at the mother house October 21-24. The Committee reviewed the work of the past year and set priorities for upcoming months. We had a report from the recent General Chapter and discussion around what JPIC can do to further Chapter Directions and support the new Leadership Team. We reviewed (briefly) the story of our Visitation JPIC up to now, and made efforts to vision how best to move forward from here. On Monday, October 24th, we met with the Province Administration Team to share with members what we see as strengths, challenges, questions, hopes and possibilities. We continue to be involved, with similar groups and organizations, in the topics outlined on our promotion card, with emphasis on the areas of Eco-Justice and Economic Justice. 

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Praying the Gestures of Autumn – Opening to Transformation

This was the theme of the three-day retreat we were fortunate to have with Sister Becky McKenna, CND,  on October 17-19. We had three days in May with Sister Becky and this "Triduum" completed our annual retreat. With beautiful visuals, inspiring music, opportunities for creative expression, appropriate handouts and profound reflections, Sister Becky led us through a meaningful spiritual journey. We were reminded that we must be like the autumn leaves and learn to "let go." This letting go brings about transformation into new life. In keeping with that Year of Mercy, our call to receive and extend mercy was also highlighted. Sister Becky's parting gift was a little bag for each of us containing three symbols: a maple leaf (letting go), a butterfly (transformation) and a heart (mercy). We are most grateful for this wonderful retreat experience. 

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A New Adventure Begins!

Today, we are witnesses to the first part of a sea voyage filled with mystery, filled with the promise of expected visitations and unexpected surprises.

With Jesus as Captain, every departure is guided to a safe harbour.

Blessed is the God of Exodus who is always aboard!

Blessed is the God of Exodus who cares for you from a difficult departure to a new arrival!

When there are waves, he brings inner peace:

When there are gusts, he brings light winds,

It is God, do not fear.

May this Eucharist, a thanksgiving for your generous yes, help you gently set sail in sustained faith!

With Mary, Star of the Sea, interesting challenges are on the horizon.

Amazing grace!

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November Article for The RI Catholic by Sr. Patricia McCarthy, CND

Pope Francis has spoken to the Church and the world about “The Joy of Loving.” This is his rather long reflection on family. Typical of Pope Francis’ style, the document is intriguing, easy to read and practical. Only a man who rode the bus to work every day as a Cardinal could grasp the stress of everyday life on ordinary people. Only a man who rode the bus to work every day could appreciate the joy of life.

The ability to live an ordinary life in an extraordinary way is the fruit of the Incarnation. Because God became one of us in Jesus Christ, we all have the opportunity to endure suffering and to embrace joy in the daily encounters and experiences of our lives. The great challenge of life, actually the stuff of a meaningful life, is to realize while we are living an ordinary day just how extraordinary it can be.

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Color Of Hope

We are living in the graced movement of our August General Chapter and the gift of new Congregation Orientations for the next five years. These Orientations are given to us for the fuller life of the world we love. As a delegate at this Chapter, I experienced in an embodied way that our faces and hearts were painted with the color of hope. May that hope be contagious!

What seemed truly gift to me was that associates and sisters from around the world entered into the preparatory process so fully, thus the Chapter body heard clearly the hopes, challenges and deep desires for "Where God is calling the Congregation of Notre Dame into the Future?" We don't know what our orientations will look like as they grow and flower within and around us wherever we live and minister, but flower they will. We know that is possible! Thank you sisters and associates for the strength and courage of your "common voice" expressed so profoundly and hopefully. The color of HOPE is needed NOW in the unfinished journey of conversion and implementation. Transformation is underway! 

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Blessed John Henry Newman Dinner at UPEI

Last Friday evening, the Saint Dunstan's University Institute for Christianity and Culture sponsored a banquet as a fundraiser in the new School of Sustainable Design Engineering at UPEI. Funds raised go to the Canadian Catholic Student Association which is hosting the national conference here this month.

The occasion was the second annual Blessed Cardinal Newman Dinner. The guest speaker was Fr. Tom Rosica, who spoke on Cardinal Newman and Pope Francis. Catholic Studies students reported on their "Catholics in New York" experiential learning trip last February. 

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Days in the Life of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys

Celebrating the anniversary of the canonization of Marguerite Bourgeoys on October 31, 1982


April 17, 1620

Born in Troyes, France.


October 7, 1640

“I felt God touched me” – begins searching for a way to respond.


November 16, 1653

She arrives in Ville-Marie after three months on the leaky ship St. Nicolas.

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Birth of a Nation

This film is a remake of an early telling of the story of Nat Turner, a slave who led a rebellion in Virginia in 1831. Turner is literate, having learned to read from the pages of the Bible. He was forced to use his preaching skill to keep the slaves “in line” and productive for their owners. Nat struggles with this task, because he knows, instinctively, the Scriptures are really about freedom. We see suffering, but also one man’s passionate conviction he would prefer death to a continued life of slavery. The story is a hard one, but it’s history. Helps us understand the current racism and revenge that flourish even now. 

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Marguerite Bourgeoys – a short biography

On October 31st, we celebrate the anniversary of canonization of Marguerite Bourgeoys. 


Educator of Montreal

Marguerite Bourgeoys, a native of Troyes, France, came to Ville-Marie in 1653. The city that we now know as Montreal came into existence through the desire of a group of devout men and women in seventeenth-century France to share with the native people of the New World what they regarded as their most precious possession: their Christian faith. They hoped to achieve this goal through the establishment of a settlement on the island of Montreal in the colony of New France. The foundation was intended to embody the Christian ideal described in the Acts of the Apostles in such a way as to attract the Amerindians just as the communities of early Christians had drawn their first converts in the Mediterranean world of the first century.

Marguerite Bourgeoys's arrival eleven years after the initial foundation was to fulfill part of the original design for the colony, which included a plan to provide for the education of its children. She came with the recruitment known as the “hundred men” (« La grande recrue »), who were to prevent that first foundation from abandonment or extinction, the alternatives facing Ville-Marie by 1653. On the voyage between France and Canada, during which she had cared for the sick and consoled the dying, the prospective settlers with whom she journeyed had already begun to address her as “Sister.” From this beginning until her death in 1700, she was totally dedicated to the welfare of the people of Montreal.

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News from Visitation Province

Being able to be a delegate at our General Chapter was both a privilege and a gift for me. Those precious days in August were a culmination of two years of planning. The Chapter Preparatory Commission and the facilitator led sisters and associates of the Provinces and Regions through a wonderful process. As a result, the theme for our Chapter “Rooted in Jesus Christ, Let Us Cultivate Love and Compassion” became very much a part of us all. 

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