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Stained Glass Window

The Marguerite Bourgeoys stained glass window from Notre Dame Convent Charlottetown will now grace the new diocesan Our Lady of Hope Retreat Centre in Stanley Bridge, PEI.

This stained glass window was a gift from the Prince of Wales students, class of 1952 who boarded at Notre Dame.


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Spirituality Resource Group

“I do not understand

The mystery of grace-

Only that it meets us where we are

And does not leave us

Where it found us.”

(Anne Lamott)

It is always a thankful time to look back on events that have been realized through the collaboration of many hands and hearts. The Spirituality Resource Group in dreaming about possibilities this year imagined offering a Visitation Spirituality Retreat and also a Congregation of Notre Dame gathering called GRACED AGING for sisters in their 70’s. 

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Associate Relationship

September was a wonderful month for many events connected to the on-going development of Associate Relationship in Visitation Province.

On September 17th, the North American Conference of Associates and Religious (NACAR) gathered at Villa Consolata, Howe Island, ON, for one of three workshops on: Celebrating Our Charisms Alive in the World. Celebrating NACAR’s 20th anniversary, it was a first Canadian conference hosted by our CND associate coordinators. Over 78 sisters and associates of 5 different communities came together and enjoyed a meaningful facilitation by Mercy associate, Kathleen Wade. Those present were led in a contemplative exploration of associate-religious relationship, especially focused on leadership for the future and how all are called to discover and share personal gifts and community charisms. 

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Island's Catholic Parish celebrates 46th anniversary

 Island's Catholic Parish celebrates 46th anniversary

First published in the Nun's Island Journal, Wednesday, October 12, 2016

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Kindling the Energies of Love: Webinar with Sister Maco Cassetta, CND

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 (2 pm Central Time)

We stand at an evolutionary juncture that is fostered by a deep yearning to be co-creators of the Universe. Led by the energies of that first primordial fire of the Divine, we are in communion with the Universe, Earth, and God. We strive, as sexual beings, to evolve and engage in life, seeking deeper understanding, interconnectivity and love. In this webinar, participants will explore how these energies within ourselves and beyond have evolved from that first fire that drove evolution. We will explore what God has intended for us all along.

"Some day after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we will harness for God the energies of love, and then, for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire."

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Essay: "The Evolution of Chastity", 1934.

Presenter: Maco Cassetta, CND, is a member of the Congregation of Notre Dame, a psychotherapist, and spiritual mentor. Based in New York, she is Director of Formation for her congregation.

Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6216679803264200194

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News from Visitation Province

A Chapter – Thanksgiving...

In this ‘thanking’ season, Chapter 2016 calls for deep remembering and giving thanks. What is striking me most these days is the on-going assertion that attests to a special spirit, a wholly ‘Holy Spirit,’ both during the experience and palpable still. Along with being so grateful to all who toiled diligently behind the scenes, and prayed behind the scenes, I feel deep gratitude to Marguerite’s spirit in us that dared to listen deeply and dared to keep it simple... dared to invite us, one and all, to go to the peripheries of our own thoughts, behaviours, limitations and comfort zones... wherever we find ourselves and whatever our age, that Love and Compassion be cultivated in ways that might well amaze even ourselves!

For the leadership that got us here and for the leadership that will walk with us into God’s new doings, deepest gratitude. Thanksgiving reminds me that if we have the will, we have the grace!

Lorraine Costello, CND 

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News from Blessed Sacrament Province

Statue of our Lady Of Grace dedicated on September 11, 2016 at Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bourbonnais, IL. The statue was formerly on the top of the Novitiate. 

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The CRC-Stop Coalition in New York is engaged in educating its members on Fair Trade Issues. One source recommended was http://www.betterworldshopper.org/rankings.html Online access to ratings included in the book, The Better World Shopping Guide #5 edition. While many products are difficult to buy locally, you might be helped in buying decisions to make the best choice available to you. Check out: THE TOP 10 THINGS TO CHANGE as a place to begin. I bought a used copy of the book from Amazon.

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The CRC-Stop Coalition in New York is engaged in educating its members on Fair Trade Issues. One source recommended was http://www.betterworldshopper.org/rankings.html Online access to ratings included in the book, The Better World Shopping Guide #5 edition. While many products are difficult to buy locally, you might be helped in buying decisions to make the best choice available to you. Check out: THE TOP 10 THINGS TO CHANGE as a place to begin. I bought a used copy of the book from Amazon.

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Emilienne Nancy, Huguette Nina, and Solange Sylvie all Cameroonians have the pleasure to share with you our joy of our first step in the garden of the sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame.We come from different regions of Cameroon: Yaoundé (Emilienne Nancy and Huguette Nina) and Figuil (Northern Cameroon) (Solange Sylvie).

We covered kilometers in order to reach Kumbo (formation house); the journey was not easy due to bad roads. In Kumbo, we were welcomed like princesses with a lot of joy, and this made us to feel at home. Concerning the preparation of the celebration to the Entrance in the Pre-Novitiate, we started by a recollection on the previous day, which helped us to better welcome God and his Will in our heart.On the day of the celebration, all the sisters, manifested their joy to welcome us in the Congregation in one way or the other.

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Monarch Butterflies at the Mother house

With gratitude during this post-Chapter time, the staff and sisters at the Mother House have been waiting patiently for the birth of monarchs. For a little over a month, thanks to Dawson College, we have a monarch kit which has been home to eggs which have become caterpillars. And!! So far three beautiful monarchs have appeared, showering all who pass by Bineta’s office with joy! The photos tell the story!!

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October Article for The RI Catholic

Pope Francis’ document on the family, “The Joy of Loving,” gives many helpful reminders for dealing with the stress and challenges of everyday life. One that is stated very early is, “Where love is concerned, silence is always more eloquent than words.”

In our age of Instagram and Twitter, texting and posting, silence seems to be a rare response. How many people regret the emails that they posted before they took the time to think! In general silence seems to be a rare commodity in today’s world. We are constantly bombarded by noise and media. In response to this, colleges have quiet dorms and trains have quiet cars. Some families keep cell phones off the dinner table.

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France bans plastic bags

France bans plastic bags: As of July 1st, most of the 17 billion lightweight plastic bags (12 billion for fruit and vegetables) used annually in France have been banned. An average plastic bag takes one second to make, is used for roughly 20 minutes and takes up to 400 years to degrade naturally. They have also legislation effective in 2020 banning plastic cutlery and cups. There is opposition from the plastic industry and others with a financial stake in this. Other than a small number of municipalities which ban plastic bags, Canada lags far behind in this regard. 

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News from Japan

I thought it would be of interest to us that Sister Janet Malone’s article “A Spirituality of Aging in Religious Communities” was used at a retreat that my sister Mary (Sr. Mary Gillis, CND) made recently in Japan and that the Jesuit priest who conducted the retreat told her that, the Japanese Jesuits were so impressed with the article they had it translated into Japanese and published in their Theological Digest. There is also interest in getting a copy of her book so I am in the process of facilitating that. So happy to know that Sister Janet’s incredible insight lives on.


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Sister Louise Dunn CND receive Recovery Award

I was privileged to be able to attend the afternoon of Recovery Day in Ottawa on Friday, September 22, 2016. The day was all about those who are in recovery, their families and supporters. It was wonderful to feel the energy, unity and hope that permeated throughout the crowd.

A young America woman, Brooke, addressed the group and challenged all who are living in recovery to be proud of their journey and share it openly so that those who are still “using” will see that there is help, hope and happiness available to them.

Then Sr. Louise Dunn was called to the stage and the crowd was spontaneously on its feet. David McGinty, MP for Ottawa South, presented her with the statement which he had read in the House of Commons earlier that week. This was followed by the Recovery Award being presented to Sister Louise by Gord Garner, chair of Recovery Day Ottawa.


Sister Louise humbly accepted the award on behalf of all involved in Serenity Renewal for Families, acknowledging that she and Alexa Smith co-founded Serenity Renewal. The Award was a tribute to Sister Louise and Alexa as well as the past and present staff.

As the day ended Sister Louise and Alexa had been receiving lines of people who came to re-acquaint themselves, give gratitude and some to set-up appointments to visit the staff at Serenity Renewal and begin a road to healing.

It was a day celebrating the mission of the Congregation of Notre Dame and we congratulate and thank Sister Louise and Alexa for what Serenity Renewal has done for the over one hundred thousand men, women and children who have found a path to recovery over the past thirty-three years. 

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Graced Aging… Keeping the Energy Alive

Twenty-two (22) Congregation of Notre Dame Sisters gathered at the mother house for the weekend of September 23-25, 2016. This gathering was an opportunity to pray, reflect on input and share in small and large groups on the topic of graced aging. Using her well-honed skills and broad experience, Sister Nancy Sylvester, IHM, gently led us through an unfolding and rewarding process.

Friday evening began with the sharing of symbols. Each sister had been asked to bring a symbol that describes how they want to live into their graced aging years.

There were many opportunities for reflection and sharing as Sister Nancy introduced us to “The Five Why Process” and the Powers of the Universe … Energy for Aging. “The Five Why Process” helped us to identify what we feel when we reflect on getting older. We were asked to consider what the four (4) Powers of the Universe – Cataclysm, Transmutation, Transformation and Radiance tell us about how we understand and approach aging and what do they offer to us to approach aging in new ways?

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General Chapter 2016 Environment and Social Committee

During General Chapter 2016 the Environment and Social Committee (chaired by Sisters Marie L. Arsenault and Mary Jane Leonard) placed a glass pot with some bean plants on each of the nine tables. These living organisms reminded us of our Chapter theme “Rooted in Jesus Christ: Let us Cultivate Love and Compassion.” The sisters and associates at each table watched daily, noticing how the roots snaked their way under the earth, the long lanky stems stretched upward, leaves unfurled and how some plants mysteriously returned to compost. The living cycle of life was present in all its wonder, beauty and vulnerability. Towards the end of Chapter there was a ritual where someone from each table brought the plants and soil to one central container and we were told that this soil would continue to support life in another setting. I took this soil home to The Small Plot and a week ago Sr. Ann Broderick and I mixed the rich black earth with some soft peat, and a little bone meal before we forked it into the raised beds. The life of these plants and soil continues as does the life of Chapter as we take it from Cornwall into many other life venues. 

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Westport celebration

On Sunday, September 18, 2016 many Congregation of Notre Dame Sisters attended Holy Mass and the dedication of a memorial monument in Westport, Ontario. The memorial, on the site of the former Notre Dame Convent next to the church, recognizes the CND Sisters' great contribution to Catholic education, as well as to parish and community life, in Westport and area for over a century.

The Plaque reads:


This memorial was created from foundation stones of Notre Dame Convent and St. Edward's Roman Catholic Continuation School. The two-storey red brick buildings were constructed on this site in 1886 by Father Michael J. Stanton and the parishioners of St. Edward's Parish, Westport. The convent was home to a total of 106 Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame until their departure in 1987, after which it served as a centre for parish activities until its demolition in 2011. The high school closed in 1967 and the new St. Edward Catholic School was constructed in 1970. The CND Sisters were central to the life of the school, parish and local community throughout those 101 years. This memorial was dedicated on September 18, 2016. 

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Surprise Benefit!

Thanks to all who sent birthday greetings … it was a fun day! The sisters took me out for supper after Mass on Saturday, proposing to pay for my meal. When it came time to pay the bill, the waiter said, "Oh, it's your birthday? What's the number? That's the percentage we take off the cost of your meal." The sisters laughed, spontaneously and heartily, thinking BIG discount. I told the waiter: "It's 96." My bill came to sixty cents. I think the sisters should still take me out and give me dinner!


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Anniversary in Renous, NB

On August 21st, I was fortunate to accompany my two sisters, Ann and Veronica, and our cousin Mary to attend the 100th anniversary of the official opening of St. Bridget's Catholic Church in Renous, NB. On a beautiful sunny day, Bishop Harris concelebrated mass with a number of priests including Father Vincent Donovan, born in Renous. Eight Renous women entered religious life, four of them Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame: Sisters Sadie and Alvera Donovan, Sister Elizabeth Hayes and myself. As the only surviving sister, I was presented a plaque in honour of the occasion. A large number of parishioners attended, some of whom I knew. It was a happy occasion for us.


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