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Prayer service for the Feast of Marguerite Bourgeoys, 2017

Blessed Sacrament Province

“Go to the peripheries.  In a spirit of mutuality and collaboration, respond in hope to the cries of our wounded world.” The second direction of the CND Orientation 2016-2021

Suggested Opening Song:  Mission Song (Ave, Kathleen Deignan, CND) you may wish to intersperse verses after each reading

We will gather up the Blood of the Savior,

which is shed by the ignorance of people.

We will gather up the Blood of the Lord.


We will teach the gospel of justice;

we will labor for the kingdom of peace.


We will sow the seeds of the Spirit;

we will harvest the fruit of new life.


We have come to the new land to labor

for the new world promised in Christ.


May there always be written on our

dwellings the great commandment of love.

May we love the Lord as a lover,

attentive as a mother to her child.


Let there be no chains except for loving,

that our freedom give us joy for God’s praise.


And as Mary embraced her crucified Son,

may be embrace the wounds of the world.


And like Mary who went in visitation,

may our journeys be missions of praise.


As our Lady was one with his passion,

so we embrace his cross as our hope.


We believe Jesus suffers still I others;

we proclaim his death until he comes.


Opening Prayer:  Gracious and Beloved One, at the beginning of this time of prayer, we lift to you our hearts overflowing with gratitude for the many gifts and blessings that you have given us in our model and foundress Marguerite Bourgeoys and the Congregation de Notre Dame.  We also lift up all those who are oppressed or living in fear, who are without hope or devoid of dreams, into your divine heart. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our brother.  Amen.  (Ed Hayes, Planetary Pilgrims, adapted) 


Scripture Readings.  A reading from the Prophet   Ezekiel (34: 11-14)

‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.  As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.  And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. 

A reading from the Gospel of Matthew (9:36-37)

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest”.


Marguerite Bourgeoys was constantly going to the peripheries.  The following are just some examples among many others. 

Extern Congregation – Experience of Poverty

Her experiences in the extern congregation must also have given Marguerite a new, first-hand knowledge of poverty and its effects.  The number of beggars in the area swelled as a result of the devastation caused in the surrounding countryside and the city passed laws to attempt to control the beggars already there, to prevent the entrance of beggars from outside and to control the crime associated with their presence and situation.  Harsh penalties could be invoked both against the beggars and against those who aided them unlawfully.  In moving about in the poorer sections of the city, Marguerite would also have been much exposed to disease. Patricia Simson, Brave Beginnings p.21

1658 – First School in Ville Marie

Four years after my arrival, M. de Masonneuve decided to give me a stone stable to make into a house to lodge the person who would teach there.  I had a fireplace made and whatever was necessary to live there.  The children attended it and they worked there in everything they could.  Writings of Marguerite Bourgeoys (WMB) P. 26

The Situation in Ville-Marie continued to be dangerous and the ladder leading to the sleeping quarters in the stable school has to be pulled in every night.  The school continued to offer temporary shelter to young women who had come to Montreal to marry.  It also served as a public building where marriage contracts were signed and where wakes over the deceased could be held on the eve of their burial.  The school population continued to grow. Patricia Simson, Brave Beginnings p. 62

Relationship to Native People

Since then, we have had a little Algonquin girl, and then a girl from Lachine, who were between eight and nine years old when they died…  We had another Iroquois girl baptized at the mountain [school] and named Marie-Barbe Antonin who lived with us in order to join the community.  She was received there and took the habit and made promises as they did at that time.  She lived there for 12 years and died a very Christian death. WMB p. 27

Mountain Mission Because the Native girls could remain with their families, many problems that arose when attempts were made to educate them in boarding schools were avoided.  Marguerite would have preferred to go further in her adaption to the culture and way of life of the Native Peoples but royal policy at that time made this impossible.  Soon, however, the school would have as teacher a Congregation sister of Huron and Iroquois descent. Patricia Simson, Brave Beginnings p. 78, 79

Go to the peripheries.  Our lives sometimes involve living on the edge and participating in the struggles, the insecurities of the peripheries.  Sometimes, due to circumstances, our involvement can be different.  Just imagine, if each sister and associate would reach out in some way, even to a few persons on the margins, how the margins would be transformed.  If we connect with others, whatever their situation, Pope Francis said, our humanity is “greatly enriched.” Christmas Circular No. 1, Agnes Campbell, CND, with the Members of the Leadership Team

Suggested Reflection Questions:  (15-20 Minutes)

  • Talk with Marguerite about her going to the peripheries in her life time.  Which action especially impresses you?  
  • Sr. Agnes Campbell challenges each of us to reach out to a few persons on the margins.  Who might that be in your life? 
  • Who in our neighborhood, our society is wounded?  How can you/we in mutuality respond in hope to those who are wounded? 


Sign of peace

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

Response:  Good Shepherd, hear your people’s cry.

1.  For those suffering from illness, abuse or alienation, that the Savior will bind up their broken bodies and heal their broken spirits, we pray to the Lord:

2.  For the guidance of St. Marguerite, to allow us to go to the peripheries and respond in hope to the cries of our wounded world, we pray to the Lord:

3.  For hopefulness and confidence in the political situation in all the countries where the Congregation exists and around the world, we pray to the Lord:

4.  For all CND Associates and Sisters throughout the world, that we may be blessed by the wisdom and holiness of the Holy Sprit and the spirit of Marguerite, we pray to the Lord:

Add your own intentions

CLOSING PRAYER:  Holy One of Blessing, Giver of all life, may we, like Marguerite, desire most ardently “that the great precept of the love of God above all things and of the neighbor as oneself be written in every heart”. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our brother.  Amen.

Magnificat (Ave)

Text and tune Mary Anne Foley, CND

Inspired by Mary’s canticle (Luke 1:46-55)


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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