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From the Formation Corner

Maco Cassetta, Novice Director

This year’s program is so different from last year’s. I would say that it is very much of a “hands on” year where the novice, during her second year, gets to practice her skills in light of what she has learned about religious life. The three fundamental areas of concentration include prayer, community life and ministry. More specifically, as part of the second year novitiate the goals are:

  • To offer space for integration of all that one learned during her canonical year.
  • To provide the novice with a positive environment that will nurture her discernment.
  • To offer a positive experience that will help deepen the novice’s sense of belonging to the Congrégation de Notre-Dame.

Just this week, Libby returned to White Plains from her Apostolic Mission in Toronto where she became an active member of the Catherine Crolo Community with Sisters Maureen Baldwin, Virginia Sullivan and Josephine Badali from a distance. Libby had the opportunity to work with our sisters and associates in a variety of ministries, which included helping out at a homeless shelter, assisting with inner city retreats for teenagers, helping with a breakfast program for school age children, wrapping gifts for a Christmas toy drive and visiting our senior sisters. Her experience proved to be very rich with many Visitation encounters.

Now that Libby is back in the novitiate, it will give her an opportunity to reflect on her past experience and incorporate her learning as part of her discernment. During these next couple of months, she will have space to reflect and participate in the happenings of the local community. There will be a short apostolic experience in January where Libby will join Sisters Cathy Molloy and Maco Cassetta to work with asylum seekers in El Paso, TX. This is a timely opportunity to address immediate needs in the United States.

Libby will also participate in a weekend retreat with young sisters who are in their 20’s and 30’s. This year’s theme, sponsored by Giving Voice, an organization for young sisters in North America is “Staying at the Table: Our Commitment to Community”. This gathering will give Libby an opportunity to meet other sisters of her age cohort and deepen bonds as they look to the future of religious life.

In mid-February, Libby will begin another apostolic experience in Hayesville, North Carolina. With Sisters Margarita Castenada and Terri Martin, she will help address the needs of the area in a variety of ways. She will be with them until June. I am very grateful to the community for their openness to receive Libby!

As you can see, formation doesn’t happen in isolation but is fostered by the many communal experiences and opportunities that allow a novice to see a fuller picture of the community. Libby has met many sisters along the way, and even while in Toronto, she made it a point to visit with the sisters in Kingston. This has given her the opportunity to deepen relationships and nurture many encounters filled with Visitation graces. Being in New York has given her many opportunities to visit with the sisters in Blessed Sacrament Province. In a few weeks, we will be gathering in Norwalk to talk about the Constitutions.

I am grateful to each of you for your continued support and prayers. Saint Marguerite would be proud of the ways we mentor new members and nurture their vocation. May this season of Advent and Christmas rekindle hope in your hearts.

From Our Lady of Mount Carmel Novitiate Community to yours,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


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