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Feast of Marguerite Bourgeoys, January 12, 2016_Marguerite’s Gift of Joy to Us

Joan Mahoney, CND

Sister Joan Mahoney prepared a Prayer Service to accompany an abbreviated version of Sr. Patricia Simpson's presentation to the Jubilarians of 2015.  It is entitled "She Went on Her Way Rejoicing"

Feast of Marguerite Bourgeoys, January 12, 2016

Marguerite’s Gift of Joy to Us

Introduction: For each group of Congregation of Notre Dame sisters celebrating their 50th Jubilee, Sr. Patricia Simpson, CND, gives a presentation on some dimension of Marguerite Bourgeoys.  This past May, Sr. Patricia’s topic was “She Went on Her Way Rejoicing”.  Sr. Patricia describes the undercurrent of joy throughout Marguerite’s life even though she had many disappointments and hardships.  During this prayer service, you will be invited to reflect on this somewhat shortened article. As you know, Sr. Patricia is the author of several definitive books on Marguerite Bourgeoys, including Brave Beginnings that is so foundational for Associate formation.  In this article, Sr. Patricia refers to Sr. Eileen Scott, CND, her mentor, who did expansive research and lectured widely on Marguerite.  And so, on this feast day when we rejoice in the gift of Marguerite to us, let us discover or delve deeper into her essential joy.

Suggested Song: Psalm of the Beloved (Ave © KP Deignan, CND)

As long as I am I will sing to You,

 a song to my God, while I live.

I hope that this song will bring joy to You.  I’m happy myself with You, Lord.

I want to call You by Your name O God,

as truly as I live.

My Lord and my God You are great indeed clothed with Your splendor and Your majesty.

O blessed, blessed be the Holy One

all through the world, let our praises ring.

I want to call You by Your name, O God.  The holy One, as truly as I live!


Opening Prayer 

Isaiah tells us to “Shout aloud and sing for joy…for great is the Holy One of Israel among you”.  We join together in joy, God of graciousness, to celebrate St. Marguerite, your friend and servant.   Open our hearts to learn from Jesus, the Incarnate One, Mary, our mother, and Marguerite, our sister, how to delight in You and spread your love and joy to others.  We ask this to give you glory.  Amen.


Joy Passages in the Bible (suggestion: each person reads one)  

Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! Psalms 47:1

Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Ecclesiastes 9:7

Shout for joy, O daughter Sion! Sing joyfully, O Israel!  Be glad and exult with all your heart. Zephaniah 3:14

Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out….”the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears the infant in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”  Luke 1: 44

Mary said “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”  Luke 1:46

 “Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people.”  (Angel to the shepherds) Luke 2:10

Jesus filled with joy by the Holy Spirit said “I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from the learned and clever and revealing them to mere children.” Lk 10:21

You are sad now, but I shall see you again and your hearts will be full of joy, and that joy no one shall take from you. (Last Supper)  John 16:22

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.  Indeed the Lord is near! Philippians 4: 4-5

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope! Romans 15:13

Before reading Sr. Patricia Simpson’s article “She Went on Her Way Rejoicing”, consider what words come spontaneously to your mind to describe Marguerite’s personality and character?  Is joy among them?  Then read and reflect on the article.  (20 minutes)

Suggested Reflection Questions (choose one or two)

  • What are my gleanings from reading this article?  What strikes or touches me?
  • After reading the article, do you see Marguerite as essentially joyful?  Why or why not?
  • If I do see Marguerite as joyful, what does this open up for me in my relationship with her?
  • What are the words that I and others use to describe me?  Is joy among them?  What might the Bible passages and Marguerite teach me for my life and service to others?  

Intercessions:  Let us bring our petitions to our loving God. 

Response:      God of joy, hear our prayer

  1. That like Pope Francis, we and all Christians may live the joy of the Gospel we pray:  
  2. For the guidance of St. Marguerite to live joyfully the Visitations in our lives, we pray:
  3. For the many Candidates preparing to become CND Associates, we pray:  
  4. For our Provincial Chapter in March and General Chapter in August.  May the Holy Spirit and the spirit of Marguerite guide us, we pray:
  5. For all Congregation of Notre Dame associates and sisters throughout the world and for an increase of vocations. May we be like Marguerite be signs of joyful service and compassion, we pray:  

(Please add any additional intentions)


Closing Prayer:  Holy One of Blessing, may we proclaim your greatness and rejoice in You, our Savior, in all that we do and all that we are.  May we, like Marguerite, desire most ardently and live joyfully “the great precept of the love of God above all things and of the neighbor as oneself.”  May this be written in our hearts! We ask this in the name of Jesus, our brother.  Amen.


Closing Song Suggestion – Magnificat  (Ave or Songs of the Visitation © KP Deignan, CND) Text and tune Mary Anne Foley, CND

Refrain: Our being proclaims Your greatness, O God, Our spirit finds joy in You.

For You’ve looked on us in our littleness:

Now we are blest.

And You in Your strength do great things for us— Holy Your name.

Your mercy lasts from age to age

for those who seek your love.

The ways of Your power, O Holy One

confuse the proud of heart.

You put the mighty from their thrones,

raise up the little ones.

You fill the hungry with good things,

the rich go empty away.

For You’ve helped your servant Israel,

remembering Your love,

As You promised to Sarah and Abraham

and their children, love without end.




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