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Associates of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame

During this time of Covid-19, one of the technology that we have had to learn is to ZOOM. As members of many groups we have zoomed with Development and Peace, with our Laudato Si Group, with the other boards we are on, as well as friends and family. We have Zoomed with the associates and sisters in the Maritimes with Anna Rowley’s presentation of the Garden Retreat. One of us has even zoomed a few times a week to participate in her daughter’s yoga classes!

We had a 4 day Zoom meeting of all the Co-Coordinators held in May and June. We did not meet 4 days in a row, but over a couple of weeks. We took breaks. We missed meeting in Montreal, especially missed the camaraderie that we could build in person but is harder to do on a videoconference call. Yet we did it! We had a few laughs, some time for prayer and reflection, and we even tried to have a social time. We met our new Co coordinators Mary and Dianne, and said goodbye to Karen and Marjorie.

We had many discussions on how to be more inclusive, how to live interculturally. We had two guests; Monica from JPIC and Anna Rowley from Bureau central. We were impressed with the input from all. We are excited about the plans we have to have more Zoom meetings with associates from all across Visitation Province. It was a blessing to be able to meet on Zoom. We are grateful for technology.

Marjorie Allison-Ross,

Theresa MacNeil,

Dianne MacAskill,

Jacqueline Fehlner,

Mary Myers,

Karen Volpe,

Dolores MacGillivary,

Teresa McKerral

and Maureen MacIsaac, CND

400 Anniversary Congregation-wide Retreat

“In the Garden of our Common Home with Marguerite”

To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven… Ecclesiastes 3:1

Sister Sophie Mbougoum, member of the General Leadership Team stated in a letter, “The theme of the Congregation - wide retreat for the 400th anniversary is in the Garden with Marguerite - the garden being as much the garden of creation as our common home. It is a retreat that encourages a prayerful and sharing approach between sisters and brothers, communion and united action”.

Truro N.S. Associates, took the initiative to begin the Retreat with the East Associates and Sisters. Soon the invitation was extended to all Visitation Province, Sisters and Associates. The retreat was in four movements that together formed a whole but which could be followed one movement at a time. Each movement stood on it’s own.

Zoom, this new way of visually communicating, has worked well with a few minor issues. We pray, sing, reflect and share each time we meet In the Garden. Thank you to the Host Associate Anna Rowley from Truro Nova Scotia and Sr. Eleanor McCloskey, CND for taking the 'reins’ on this new way for Associates to meet. All responses from the Associates were very positive. We know Marguerite is happy with Visitation Province, as we are not afraid to try something innovative.

Let us work then to cultivate flowers and fruits worthy to be presented to Him

...If we put our minds to this, we will find no difficulty in poor and humiliating tasks.

 The Little Book of Marguerite Bourgeoys Mother of the Colony (p. 40)

Visitation Encounter

“Let us move forward from the powerful moment of Mary's “Yes” and join her as she sets out in haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth. May we be awakened to the mystical energy generated by her Visitation.”

Just under ninety Congrégation de Notre-Dame associates and sisters from Blessed Sacrament and Visitation Province came together for a great cross province ‘Visitation Encounter’. Together we celebrated our Visitation and Pentecost spirituality by sharing an hour of prayer and renewing our commitments and vows together.

More importantly, we formed new connections as we divided up into smaller ‘breakout rooms’ and shared reflections and insights.

It is our hope that this zoom gathering will be the first of many “Meet and Greet“ visitations between our two provinces.


In early 2019, some of our Congregation de Notre-Dame Sisters participated with 53 international congregations in Rome on the theme “Investing our Diversity in Interculturality”. Since that time, this team has been sharing the information of living mission interculturally. It is a process by which we develop and acquire new values and attitudes. We believe that God desires us to live with others in ways that are respectful and mutually empowering. These are some of the guiding principles on intercultural community life, which caught their attention.

1. Build a home for all, where we can feel at home.

2. To learn to appreciate our differences is learning to celebrate our differences and to engage in dialogue.

3. Review our ways of thinking.

An intercultural community needs to develop an inclusive or complementary model of thinking. It must find a balance between two extremes, finding what is true and valid on both sides. Every person is called to the challenge of learning the necessary skills to live in intercultural communities.

Jesus’ commandment:

“ that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

At Pentecost, this promise was fulfilled and in this year celebrating the birth of Marguerite Bourgeoys, the reminder that intercultural life is rooted in love, prayer and community. New information, reflection, and policies on how to develop new awareness of the Interculturality program and the criteria will follow. in the coming months.

The Pandemic and JPIC Work

Visitation Province coordinators were once again pleased to have a visit with Monica Lambton, the Visitation Province Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) coordinator, during their Spring Coordinators Zoom meetings.

Monica brought the theme of Pandemic and JPIC work. Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’, has been a guiding light for us, and so we can look at it again during these changing times.

At the beginning of Covid-19 we heard a lot the phrase that ‘the Pandemic is a great equalizer because it does not discriminate – we are all human and vulnerable to the virus’. Monica shared this is true to some degree. In Laudato Si we read that we are all fragile and we are all connected, and the Corona Virus shows us that this indeed is true. But in other ways it is showing us that in fact the Pandemic is not a great equalizer – it is affecting others in a more significant way than maybe you and I. We need to open our minds and eyes to the bigger picture. Just look at how Covid 19 is affecting our seniors and those who are living in care facilities. We need to look and reflect on our neighbours who are struggling with no work, stress and anxiety. Consideration also has to be given to those frontline workers who are providing essential services, putting themselves at risk for others.

Monica reminded us that JPIC is paying attention to this and following how the government is taking action, especially regarding public spending. Everything is moving faster now in the government and waiting for results is not as long, because we are in an emergency. She said this is the opportune time to approach the government and make our voices heard for the vision we have of an economy and society that cares for our common home and for those on the peripheries. She noted that the government is hearing requests and many different proposals are going to be forth coming about how to ‘re-boot’ the economy. We need to make sure that a social justice perspective is there with a very compelling presentation. This is the time that we may see action happen.

During Monica’s presentation there was time for reflection and sharing among the coordinators.



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