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Peace is the Way of Christ

January 1st was the 53rd World Day of Peace in the Catholic Church. Having begun by Pope St. Paul VI in 1967, every Pope since then has continued the tradition of writing a pastoral letter on Peace on this day.

During these years there have been wars and conflicts in the following countries: Eretria, S. Korea, Malaysia, North Ireland, Italy, Philippines, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, The Falklands, Indonesia, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, Egypt, Bangladesh, India, United Arab Republic, Ethiopia, Chili, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, China, Russia, Afghanistan, Uganda, Rwanda, Libya, Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Serbia, Panama, Romania, Ukraine, Zimbabwe, Grenada, New Guinea, Senegal, Sudan, South Africa, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Panama, Mali, and Ethiopia. I am sure I have missed some. Almost every other country in the world has been involved in one or more of these conflicts.

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April 17, 2020: 400th anniversary of the birth of Marguerite Bourgeoys

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

April 17, 2020: 400th anniversary of the birth of Marguerite Bourgeoys

Montreal, January 3, 2020

In 2020, the Congrégation de Notre-Dame will be celebrating a very special anniversary – the 400th of the birth of Marguerite Bourgeoys, Montreal’s first teacher and the foundress of the Congregation. This celebration of the anniversary year is a way of paying tribute to this pioneer who came to North America to help establish a new society in Ville-Marie in the 17th century, and recognizing that the values she had can still be found in the social fabric of Montreal, as in the eight different countries in which the sisters of the Congregation are present. Four hundred years ago began the great adventure of a brave and compassionate woman who put herself in the service of the people to build a new society.

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Marguerite Bourgeoys's Feast Day at St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish in Brookfield, Connecticut

On January 12, 2020, St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish in Brookfield will mark the 400th anniversary of the birth of Marguerite Bourgeoys.

Following the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday Masses, the newly formed St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Sodality will be hosting a birthday party!  A “French” breakfast will be served (crepes, quiche, croissants, French toast), and there will be activities for the entire family.

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CND presence still felt in Caraquet New Brunswick

Caraquet is an Acadian village on the Bay of Chaleur in Northern New Brunswick where Congrégation de Notre-Dame Sisters lived, loved, laboured and prayed for 125 years... from 1874 to 1999. I felt their presence there yesterday when I attended a Christmas Concert in the parish church where the Little Stars of Marguerite Bourgeoys sang like angels and were a featured part of the program. There in front of the church is the former convent which burned many years ago, the statue of Our Lady and the Convent Park. The memory of Marguerite and her Sisters is very much alive. It is worth a visit to Caraquet to go and see for yourselves.

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Canada – we can still do better

As Advent quickly becomes Christmas, we recognize a little more deeply the connection between the circumstances of Mary and Joseph, expecting a child and searching for a place and the almost 65 million human beings fleeing their homes and looking for asylum. Many of us are more aware of the connection between the suffering of Mother Earth and what happens to human beings whom we call refugees.

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Good News on Water from Ontario

Last week we told you about the important decision that the Ontario Government had to make about the moratorium on water permits coming to an end and we invited all Ontario residents to write to Premier Ford urging him to extend the moratorium. The provincial government had signaled publicly that they were intending to let the moratorium expire. However, we have received the happy news that Jeff Yurek, the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, announced that the government will in fact extend the moratorium for a further 9 months. This is great news but we still have plenty of work ahead to safeguard water. Thanks to all who took action. We will continue to keep you informed of similar opportunities in the future.

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Carols Enjoyed by All!

On Friday, December 13th, at 6:30 pm, the Sisters entertained the residents of Andrews of Charlottetown with the singing of Christmas carols. Sisters Libby Osgood and Shelley Grant accompanied them with their guitars and keyboard. Our soloist Sr. Marie Gaudet sang “Il Est Né, Le Divin Enfant,” and Sr. Mary Gillis sang “O Holy Night.”

This was an effort to help keep Christ, our Messiah, in Christmas as we sang carols from “Away in a Manger” to “Silent Night.” Following the presentation to a full house, we had a joyful get-together in our Community Room.

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Appreciation Luncheon at the Fortress of Louisbourg

On Sunday, December 15th the Fortress of Louisbourg volunteers gathered in the Bigot Theatre for an Appreciation Luncheon. During the summer months Congregation de Notre-Dame Sisters and Associates volunteer in the De La Perelle Exhibit. This exhibit on "The Sisters of Louisbourg" is about the lives of and work of the Sisters of The Congregation de Notre-Dame who ran the only formal school in Louisbourg, NS in the 18th century.

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The Mysterious, Magical Ways of Marguerite

On December 10th and 11th, the Life of Marguerite Bourgeoys As Told in Story and Song was performed four times at St. Marguerite Bourgeoys School here in Kingston to the sheer delight of all those in the audience. The play/musical unfolds with seven songs composed by Sr. Eleanor Monahan (some 20 years ago!) and a complementary narration created by Sr. Emily Doherty. Alison Bogle, teacher and CND Associate (in process), along with many talented and generous volunteers, was responsible for the production.

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Texas Border

From February 15-28, 2020, 5 Sisters from Visitation and Blessed Sacrament Provinces, a CND Associate and her husband, and 2 CND friends will go to Brownsville, on the Texas border, in order to serve with Catholic Charities and the Humanitarian Respite Center.

 

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Prayer Service for the Feast Day of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, January 12, 2020

Introduction

Leader: 

Today we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, the foundress of the Congregation of Notre Dame.

As we honor Marguerite today and begin the year-long 400th anniversary celebration of her birth in Blessed Sacrament Province, we are filled with joy and gratitude!

Marguerite’s greatest desire was that God be loved above all things; the neighbor so loved that she was always the servant of that neighbor.

We gather today to remember, to pray, and to celebrate Marguerite’s life of love and service to God and others.

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Break the Silence… Stop the Violence

On December 5, Norma Gallant, CND, accompanied by 2 West Kootenay Associates, Tammy Fox and Maureen Wiley, helped to host a vigil at a local coffee shop commemorating the horrific massacre of women in Montreal at the School of Engineering at École Polytechnique in 1989. Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame have been participating in this annual event since it first began locally 14 years ago. The vigil was opened with a welcoming meditation by a First Nations representative and it was closed by a member of the local RCMP. Respectful remembrance was given to each of the young women killed, as well as all victims of violence. Statistics say that a woman is murdered by her partner every 2.5 days in Canada and that, of every 5 homicides, 4 will be women victims.

What can we do? Concrete actions below include something each of us can do:

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Protecting Water in Ontario

December 18th is a big date for protecting the source of sacred water in Ontario. The Province of Ontario currently has a ban on renewing water permits and that ban expires on Dec 18. The government will decide on whether it will renew the ban on all permit renewals again. This decision makes a big difference for the work of the Wellington Water Watchers (WWW) who are working to protect their region from the Nestle water bottling plants that currently take excessive amounts of water for pennies with expansion plans in the works. There is a proposal to the government for a nine month extension on the current ban and on new permits. The Sisters of St. Joseph and other communities are working with the WWW to affirm this ban and they have asked for the support of the CND in Visitation Province. Attached is a social media meme that is posted on the CND website and Facebook page. Please circulate it along with this link for action to all of your contacts and networks in Ontario, https://www.bluecommunitycsj.org/action. All residents of Ontario, please take the time to send a message to your MPP and Premier Doug Ford that you support an extension on the ban. There is a letter ready to go on the action page with a form to fill in your name and address. At the click of a button your letter will automatically be sent.

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Annunciation House, El Paso, TX

Last month I had the opportunity to return to El Paso Texas to serve at Annunciation House, a shelter for migrants coming daily to the U.S. seeking asylum. While working in the laundry room at the shelter, I met a migrant (I’ll call him Juan) who volunteered by collecting the daily dirty laundry. He told me he did well on his ranch in southern Mexico with many cattle and horses. The cartel came and threatened his family if he didn’t pay an enormous amount. He had to sell the ranch and all the animals. They returned and said the money wasn’t enough and that they would return the next day for more, or else. He had nothing left to give them. He packed his family in the car that night and drove for days to the U.S. border. “I lost everything”, he said one day incredulously many times through many tears (both his and mine) and just as many times reminded himself that he still had his wife and 3 children. He added that we were now his new family. How prophetic! We are all the human family, all with the same needs, all parts of the Body of Christ, all God’s creation. There is no “us” and “them”; there is only “us”. I worked with many others from all over the country who lived this ideal. Juan lived it too. He said he helped at the shelter as pay-back for all God had given him....a “glass half full” kind of man.

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Al-Madany Islamic Center In Norwalk

Srs. Marylou Lyons, Joan Mahoney, Mary Ann Rossi and Maryann Calabrese took part in the Interfaith Thanksgiving Prayer Service held at the Al-Madany Islamic Center in Norwalk. Religious leaders from the Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, and Christian communities offered prayerful reflections, and civic leaders challenged us to show our gratitude at this Thanksgiving time through acts of service. A song, Deep Blue Sea, performed by Alman Nusrat brought us together in praise of our one God who knows and loves us all.

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Ok Clean Water Project Update

The OK Clean Water Project committee in Ottawa has made it official that 2019 is the last year it will raise funds for the OK project in Cameroon. The on-going socio-political crisis has limited the work in the villages, and OK Cameroon’s is being recognized by the government of Cameroon as an Association providing the official status needed for future fundraising opportunities. Since “education for sustainability” has been a key component of the OK project from the beginning, the village water management committees are able to maintain their village water projects.

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Keeping Christ in Christmas

It was Saturday morning, the day before the First Sunday of Advent. The usual impressive size crowd was at the 6 AM Mass. The priest was giving the homily in which he was reminding everyone that the Church year would begin the next day. In the course of his words he mentioned the name of Jesus. Two seats in front of me the older man nodded his head, ever so slightly, almost imperceptibly

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Advent 2019

The Season of Advent is upon us. A time of expectant waiting and preparation to celebrate the coming of Christ and to reflect on the nativity of Jesus. Stories of refugees and migrants have dominated the news in recent years. Their plight parallels the nativity story. Mary, Jesus and Joseph were refugees fleeing from violence as so many do today within their own countries or to other countries.  I invite you to read the prayer below and sit with the words. What is your response when God asks, “Will you let me in?” Do you hear the cry of the poor in our world today when they ask, “Will you let me in?”

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

At the heart of every vocation is the recognition of our dignity and the ideal that caring for each other is caring for God. We are bound by a common Creator, a loving God who asks all of us to be that love for others . . .

Each of us embodies the love of God in our time and place. Silences, action, mistakes, missteps, distractions, choices, attitudes, are all included in our path to holiness. The whole of our life, all the ups and downs, emerge as our reflection of Jesus Christ in the world today. By Sister Peggy Ryan, O.P. commenting on Pope Francis’ Gaudete Et Ex sultate, Rejoice and be Glad.

Question for reflection:

How do I embody the love of God today with the people living and working in my current context?

Rebecca McKenna, CND with members of the Vocation/Formation Committee

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Meeting on Eradication of Poverty: On Monday, November 25th, I along with approximately 100 other people had the opportunity to attend a public meeting to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the All – Party Resolution in the House of Commons to eradicate child poverty in Canada by the year 2000. The title of this meeting was: “Good Jobs For All: Fighting Poverty with A Job Guarantee.” Our guest speaker (by Skype) was Pavlina Tcherneva PH.D. Associate Professor of the Economics Program, Brad College, and research Scholar at Levy Economics Institute, Annandale - on Hudson, New York.

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