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Visitation Province

St Joseph Convent and Renewal Centre Open House

Submitted by Marjorie Allison-Ross

On Sunday, August 5, Visitation Province Leadership Team and CND Sisters invited people to an Open House to say good-bye to the building and mission of the Congregation de Notre Dame Sisters in Mabou, Cape Breton. The Sisters arrived in 1887 and are now closing their mission in October 2018, 131 years later. So many people have been impacted by their presence in this wonderful part of the world. The Sisters ministered to the people of Mabou and surrounding communities through teaching, hospitality, friendship, facilitating retreats and supporting the people in their faith.

Sister Becky McKenna, speaking on behalf of the Visitation Province at the Open House, gave the following remarks:

  • “Yes, despite the fact that we are marking the end of something that was very good, very dear to our hearts, this is truly a day of celebration. We celebrate 131 years of friendship and collaboration with the wonderful people of Mabou and this part of Cape Breton Island.
  • We also celebrate the passing of the flame, the spirit of this place, to new owners. In the last few years, as we recognized our time here in Mabou coming to a close and with that the completion of our mission, we initiated a process to find new owners who could take up the essence, the spirit of this holy place and give it a new expression of life. We looked for a group that would continue to serve community, culture, faith and education. We believe that in the process we discovered the perfect organization who could assume this work, The Gaelic College Foundation.
  • In this life nothing stands still. We serve to the best of our ability for the time that is ours and then faithfully entrust our work to others who are coming behind us. We CNDs will watch with great interest and extend our prayers over this new venture, praying that this building will continue to serve as a place of welcome, learning and personal transformation”.

We all have memories that we will treasure from our visits to the St Joseph’s Convent and Renewal Centre in Mabou and we give thanks for the blessings we have received from this special place.

Celebrating Milestones

Sr Rejeanne Bourque is celebrating 60 years of Religious Life this year.

Summer Gathering in Miramichi

Submitted by Marjorie Allison-Ross

On Saturday, July 14, Miramichi Associates, Sister Marie St Coeur, Sister Réjeanne Bourque, Marjorie Allison-Ross, Anna and Eric Rowley gathered at Fran Connell’s cottage for an afternoon of prayer, sharing, visitations and a delicious potluck supper. Fran prepared a Prayer for the group. Anna and Marjorie shared information about their Coordinator’s work and the Associate Assembly held in Montreal in May. They shared 2 videos that were prepared for the Associate Assembly. One was for the opening ceremony at the Assembly showing pictures of the Associates and Sisters who were registered to attend the Assembly. The second video was a collection of pictures taken during the Walking Tour “In Marguerite’s Footsteps”, the Assembly and the Liturgy at Notre-Dame-de- Bon-Secours Chapel. In honour of Sister Réjeanne’s 60th Anniversary of Religious Life, she was presented with a card and cake. She spoke about the activities that she’s been involved since she visited the Miramichi last summer.

Halifax Celebration of the Feast of the Visitation

Submitted by Alexa Smith, Halifax Associate

On May 31st Halifax area Associates and Sisters gathered at Visitation Centre to celebrate the Feast of Visitation. Sister Mary led us in prayer and sharing as we reflected on our Journeys and Visitations over the past year. Sisters renewed their vows and associates our commitment. Sister Maureen MacIsaac, Frankie MacCormack and Alexa Smith shared with the group some of their experiences from the Associate Assembly: On Fire for Mission which they attended earlier in the month in Montreal. We ended the evening gathered around the table enjoying stories, friendship and refreshments all in the Spirit of Marguerite Bourgeoys!

Central Committee Meeting

Submitted by Marjorie Allison-Ross

Associates and Sisters who are involved in the coordination of Associate Relationship in the Congregation of Notre Dame gathered at the Mother House in Montreal for the annual meeting of the Central Committee on July 31 to August 3. The theme for this gathering was “The Air We Breathe …. The Wind in Our Sails”. In the Prayer Centre, there were 6 little boats, one for each CND Province/Region. Each boat contained the 6 words that the Province/Region submitted in June that speak about the action of the Spirit at work within our associate communities. Three of the words were to animate (air that we breathe) and three were to motivate (wind in our sails). Visitation Provinces’ 6 words/phrases that were on our boat were: Rooted in Jesus Christ; Spirit Led; Honour Creation; Unity in Diversity; Compassionate Heart; Flexible and Open to Change. There was also feathers representing Hildegard of Bingen who said, “I am Like a Feather on the Breath of God”. Little windmills completed the symbols in the Prayer Centre. Wind makes wheels turn and wind keeps us moving.

Fr Arthur Carrillo, CP, is a Passionate Priest and a NACAR Board Member who also provides mission and retreat centre ministry. He was invited to be facilitator at the Central Committee Meeting. For each session, he used a scripture reading to guide the theme and discussion.

At the opening of Day 2, Tom Dearhouse from Kahnawake Shakotiia’takehnhas Community Services addressed the Meeting. He spreads a message of healing and reconciliation and what it’s like to be a First Nations’s individual in today’s world. We went outside the Mother House to share in a Purification Ceremony which Tom led for the group. In a handout from the Central Office, the Purification Ceremony was described as: “calls each one to make things right; to forgive oneself, and to be at peace using a good mind. The goal is to have a good mind, and a good heart, and to continue the work that lies ahead. For smudging, sweetgrass and sometimes tobacco are burned in an abalone shell and the smoke brushed towards the participants by way of a feather or fan. The intent of each participant it to allow the medicine to do its cleansing and healing work of removing any obstacle one may have”.


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