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Visit to the Beaton Institute

Recently, Sister Simone Abbass, Sister Rita Clare and Ms. Marie-Josée Morin, archivist of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, visited the archives of the Beaton Institute, named in honor of Sister Margaret Beaton (St. Margaret of Scotland). This regional archives centre stores documents which bear witness to the Congrégation de Notre-Dame’s contribution to the development of Cape Breton. Available for consultation are, for instance, records of the Cape Breton Chorale, directed for many years by Sister Rita Clare, and documents relating to the Mad Potters, a project began by Sister Catherine Rooney (Saint Philip). There are also thousands of photos of the Abbass Studio documenting the life of the entire region, including the daily life of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame schools.

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News from Visitation Province

Retreat Weekend

On the weekend of June 3rd - 5th, Sister Alma MacLellan and Sister Florence MacKenzie of Port Felix, put on their annual retreat at St. Joseph’s Retreat Centre in Mabou, NS, for the ladies of Guysborough County and their friends. Although the group was small this year, because of various circumstances, it was very powerful and productive. Each year this Spiritual Retreat has a theme and this year’s theme was “Opening Doors.” Individuals have lots of quiet time by themselves to reflect in silence and later come back to the group to share their experience if they feel comfortable to do so. The group shares lots of tears, laughs and lots of reminiscing from the past. This retreat has been happening for 16 years so the ladies have become part of a Very Special Family and look forward to spending the weekend together. The home cooked meals are provided by the ladies at the centre and are very delicious. It is a great weekend enjoyed by all and we look forward to next year’s event!

Pearl Whitaker

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Peace & Justice News

June Is Torture Awareness Month

Guantanamo Bay Detention Center has sadly emerged as our national symbol of torture. Although President Obama has declared his desire to close the center, opposition from Congress has thwarted him. The National Religious Coalition Against Torture has also identified the overuse of solitary confinement within our jails and prisons as an example of torture.

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Associate Birdella Stevenson and Husband Conserve: A Pesticide Free Farm

Larry and Birdella Stevenson of Chebanse, IL (near Kankakee) currently have placed fifty-six acres of their small farm in the "Pollinator Habitat Initiative," a part of the National Resource Conservation Service. This commitment is for ten years. The initiative calls for them to plant nectar rich wild plants, prairie grasses, milkweeds, and wildflowers. The plants increase agricultural production, support honey bees and birds, provide habitat for ground living birds and mammals, and back the migratory zone of monarch butterflies. No fertilizers, insecticides, or pesticides are used in this process, preventing runoff in waterways and groundwater. The Stevensons are so pleased to be a part of this conservation program. Congratulations!

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Associate Janet Curry Celebrated Her Silver Jubilee As An Associate At Wilton

On May 31, about 20 CND Sisters and 6 Associates celebrated the 10 am Liturgy with our wonderful SSND community. We had two Jubilarians with us, Sr. Jeannette Bolduc, visiting from Central America, is 60 years a Sister, and Janet Curry is 25 years an Associate. The mass was followed by refreshments and a lovely lunch. 

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Associates Celebrate Sr. Margaret Giroux’s 75th Jubilee

Sr. Edith Laflamme and Sr. Margaret Giroux celebrated their Jubilee of 75 years as Sisters of the Congregation de Notre Dame at Andrus on Saturday, May 28. Sr. Margaret has been a member of the Staten Island Associate Community for the last two years since she left South Dakota. The Associates and Candidates appreciate her wisdom and loving presence with them. Associates Janice Amitrano and Sebastiana Leon happily represented all of their Associate Community at Sr. Margaret’s celebration.

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New Associates, Hayesville, Nc

On the Feast of Pentecost, May 15, eight women made their first commitment as Associates of the Congregation de Notre Dame at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Hayesville, NC. The ceremony was conducted after communion at the 9 am Liturgy. New Associates Kathy Aparo, Michele McGinnis, and Shirley Moran added their voices to the beautiful choir music. Linda Kennedy and Margaret DeLisle were Eucharistic Ministers. In the late afternoon, we had a dinner party at new Associate Pam Craig’s home. The picture above is at Pam’s house and is missing Sharon Ely. Barbara McGrattan, second from the left, is one of the Associates who led the formation for the new Associates. Sandy Jersey, in the second picture, became an Associate on May 31.

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Anniversary of Laudato Si’ – A Perfect Time to Act

One year ago, on June 18th 2015, Pope Francis released his historic encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home. People everywhere are getting ready for Laudato Si’ Week (June 12-19) where there will be a major international celebration of the encyclical’s anniversary to reflect on the Laudato Si’ message and express our gratitude to Pope Francis by taking action to bring the encyclical to life. http://catholicclimatemovement.global/ready-to-celebrate-the-laudato-si-anniversary/

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Celebrating Visitation in Kingston

On Sunday, May 29, Congregation of Notre Dame associates and sisters gathered at Providence mother house to celebrate the feast of the Visitation. As the strains of Carey Landry’s song, “Companions on the Journey” reminded us, “We have been gifted with each other.” And indeed we were gifted with the creativity, spontaneity and joy of our Associates who prepared and led us in a beautiful prayer service in which we reflected together on the place of Elizabeth in the Visitation event. She was portrayed as having a “walk on part” in the drama that was unfolding before her, and yet was integral to the deeper reality both she and Mary were living together. Within this context a new Associate, Mary Carr was welcomed and made her first commitment, then followed the Associates renewal of their commitment, and the commitment of the Sisters to Associates. The celebration continued with refreshments and ongoing “visitations.”

On Tuesday afternoon the CND sisters of the city gathered together at Providence mother house for their renewal of vows framed in a simple and moving prayer service prepared by Sister Denise Bérubé. Following the prayer, the Sisters went out and enjoyed a special meal at a nearby restaurant.


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Book Recommendation

The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise by Thich Nhat Hanh goes beyond the noise of traffic, TV, chatter etc. "Noise" applies to all our senses e.g. time spent in front of a monitor surfing the net or liking or commenting on posts by our dozens if not hundreds of Facebook "friends" or scrolling through Twitter feeds so we can retweet. Woven throughout the book is his core mindfulness teaching of the practice of breathing in, breathing out. This leads to deep listening, inner stillness and connection with our now no matter what or where our circumstances. 


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Sharing a Resource

At the RAC conference this past weekend in Halifax, we watched this video of Carol Zinn, ssj, on livestream (from 25 min and following). The first part is the history of religious life: cycles of birth, growth and decline, but the next part is quite powerful. Here is the link. http://livestream.com/dominicanuniversity/events/4769537

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Planetary Pilgrims Mission Group met in Summerside May 20 and 21

We celebrated – in song, as usual – happy events in the lives of some of the members. Our discussion on Saturday centered around two articles in the Winter Issue of the LCWR Occasional Papers: The Evolutionary Task Now: To Raise the Powers of Love Upward and Mapping in Mystery: Communal Discernment in Our Time of Middle Space. We always find it helpful to hear the views and reviews of each other on these large topics as we seek to maintain hope and encouragement in the current “middle space” in which we live and work. 

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Basic Income Guarantee (Big) – Ontario

Last week Rosemary Brosseau and I attended a meeting hosted by the Kingston Action Group for a Basic Income Guarantee held at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral. The hall was packed – a sign that there is a lot of interest in this issue. We heard from two wonderful advocates of this proposed program: Hugh Segal (former parliamentarian and Senator) and Reverend Michael Oulton, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Ontario. 

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Have a Say in Canada's Climate Action Plan

The Trudeau government has announced that they will put forward a new national climate strategy for Canada before the end of 2016. We commend the Government on this important endeavour. Environment Minister McKenna has invited Canadians to participate in crafting the principles of this important plan of action. It has been suggested by the Government that Members of Parliament could lead Town Halls on this topic in their ridings. This is our chance to raise our voice in support of the principles and values that formed our commitment to the Corporate Stance on Climate and it is an important part of the follow-up to the promise made in the Stance of supporting the Government Parties to the Agreement in implementing the commitments made in Paris.

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An Archivist in Maria Province, a CND Province

From March 28 to April 12, 2016, upon an invitation from Sister Kyoko Terashima, the author of this text met with the teachers and directors of the teaching establishments of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame in Japan as well as the sisters and associates. In Fukushima, Kita Kyushu (Tobata) and Tokyo (Chofu), he gave six presentations of a conference entitled Marguerite Bourgeoys, 1620-1700. Liberating Education for Everyone, Everywhere. The presentation was given in English with simultaneous Japanese translation graciously provided by Sister Terashima. During this period, accompanied by Sister Mary Gillis, he visited Nagasaki, the birthplace of Christianity in Japan.

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A Pentecost Gift

The Ignatian Centre of Montreal sponsored a workshop given by Philip Chircop, sj at Loyola High School. Friday evening and all day Saturday, 55 grateful people (including Peg and Carl Madigan, Maura McGrath, Kay Duffin and myself) listened, reflected and prayed together in an atmosphere more like a retreat than a workshop. The theme: Practicing Mercy. Scripture passages (especially Luke 15), quotes from Pope Francis, inspirational music and periods of silence all combined to nourish our minds, hearts and spirits. The Eucharistic celebration which brought our time together to a close was especially moving. We were sent forth, as were the disciples on the first Pentecost, to share the good news of our God, ”Whose name is Mercy.” 

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Avanti! What a treasure is this newest booklet from LCWR! It took me some time to move beyond the 4 questions at the beginning, getting lost in my own answers before reading what the contributing writers offered for reflection. All the pieces are honest, hopeful, positive and inclusive. My favorites are p.17-19 - Drawn Forward and p.39- Let’s Go! The illustrations add to the depth of the content. Thanks so much to our Leadership Team for providing this resource for us.  


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News from Blessed Sacrament Province

Sr. Jeannette Bolduc has been in Wilton doing her annual visits and retreat since April 2nd. She will be returning to Central America on July 6th. In early September, Jeannette will return from there to reenter our U.S. Province. We are delighted to welcome her back. Sr. Jeannette will be on mission at St. Louis Parish in West Haven where she will live with our Sisters and minister to the Spanish speaking in the parish.

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MOVIE – "Suffragette"

Suffragette is a British movie that played in selected cities. The DVD is now available. Carey Mulligan (Great Gatsby) and Helena Bonham Carter (Margaret’s Museum, The King’s Speech) are prominent and Meryl Streep has a bit part as an inspiring political activist. The movie shows the up-front and also the behind-the-scenes struggles of the women seeking, in 1912, the right to vote. (Not realized in Britain until 1928). Having exhausted the peaceful means available to them, they resorted to more radical means. They lost their homes, husbands, children and endured public humiliation, domestic abuse for insubordination, and jail terms. I thought it interesting that the women we saw in the film were working women, poor women, not the upper class or the wives, daughters and sisters of the men who were constant in maintaining the status quo. (One exception was the wife of an MP who encouraged the women to present their case.) The movie opens with a statement: “They (women) don’t need rights. They have husbands and fathers and brothers to take care of them.” I feel like a wimp when faced with the passion of these women. 

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Deck Gardening

Purchase a second hand bookshelf or two. I have two.

Cover inside and outside with heavy plastic.

Lay on its back. Plant rows of seeds and or starter veggies in rows between shelves.

I have assorted lettuces, carrots, green peppers, kale, onions,....

also beans in a hanging basket and tomato plants.



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