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Social Justice News from Visitation Province

Visitation Province

The “Periphery” Reaching Out To The Periphery

“They still bring forth fruit in old age, they are ever full of sap and green.” (Psalm 92:15)

We are certainly part of the “periphery!” We live in a seniors’ retirement home. Our average age is 85. Braces, canes, walkers and wheelchairs are part of our every-day reality. Some of us need help in personal care to various degrees. Some have physical or mental disabilities. Our sisters remain here until death. Yes, we fit into the peripheral category! “How then shall we live?”

Within the confines of our community, we have countless opportunities to reach out to the periphery! Some take on specific responsibilities as co-coordinators. For liturgy, we have a sacristan, a musician and lectors. We take turns leading our daily evening prayer. We gather as a community to listen to one another. We run shopping errands, accompany sisters to appointments, visit the sick, read to the visually impaired, keep vigil with the dying and attend and participate in their funerals when God calls them Home. And, of course, we pray for one another.

Our outreach to the periphery finds expression in our contacts with the other residents here at Andrews. One of us is a member of the Resident Council. One helps plan the annual World Day of Prayer and occasional skits for the “Drama Club.” We visit them, socialize with them, especially in the dining room, listen to their problems, participate actively in special events such as the Remembrance Day service and the World Day of Prayer and join them for activities provided for all the residents. We also reach out to our staff, many of whom are immigrants from various countries. They minister to us, but we befriend them, manifest an interest in their personal lives, express our gratitude for their services and offer bursary applications to those who are students. And, of course, we pray for our residents, staff and volunteers.

Our outreach to the periphery also extends beyond our walls. One of us is a member of the Donations Committee which helps designate funds to organizations reaching out to the periphery. One is a member of the JPIC Committee and the Cooper Institute, a PEI group involved in various social justice issues, especially migrant workers and care of the land and water. One sends stamps (which we save) to the missions, bowls for Big Brothers and Sisters and helps serve chili to the hungry UPEI students twice a year during exam time. Two of us teach English to new immigrants. Three are members of the Catholic Women’s League, which reaches out to the periphery in various ways. We provide students in financial need with bursary application forms. We donate to charitable organizations. And, of course, we pray for the many needs of the periphery everywhere.

Our “Visitation” story is probably similar to that of our sisters in our other retirement houses, who “still bring forth fruit, even in old age, and are full of sap and still green.”

Réjeanne Bourque, CND, with Notre Dame Community at Andrews of Charlottetown


Congrégation de Notre-Dame celebrates Earth Day, April 22, together...

The Congrégation de Notre-Dame Committee coordinating the “Sowing Hope for the Planet” campaign (initiated by the Union of Superiors General, Rome) has prepared two activities for the observance of Earth Day on April 22, 2019. We invited all Sisters and Associates to participate in a short prayer celebration and in a Congregation-wide Vegan Day.

The resources were created by our Sisters in Central America and had to be translated into our 4 languages. It might have been challenging to celebrate Earth Day this year, as it fell on Easter Monday. In recognition of this, the Global Catholic Climate Movement invited everyone to host an event on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 28, in answer to Pope Francis’ call that “the works of mercy also include care for our common home.” This year, the official theme for Earth Day is “Protect Our Species.” Towards the end of the prayer we were invited to reflect on the martyred earth defenders. This 1- minute video was prepared for All Saints and All Souls Day but it fit beautifully in the Earth Day prayer. I encourage you to take a look.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yYC_tOARuc&feature=youtu.be

Monica Lambton, JPIC Coordinator


This Easter Season Let's Commit to Not Giving Up

With so many global and complex problems surrounding us today, one of our big challenges is harnessing the energy and the hope to keep going for the long-term process that is required to make and sustain the changes we need. One of the strongest examples of this in Canada is the quest to bring Canadian mining companies to respect human rights and the environment. For over ten years JPIC, along with many sisters and associates, have been collaborating with Development and Peace, KAIROS, and many other groups to advocate for an independent ombudsperson to oversee companies in the extractive sector. We have gone through many layers of effort, always responding to the disappointing actions of three different governments with a consistent call for an independent and effective advocate. Last January, when the Liberal government announced CORE, their version of the Ombudsperson role, they promised that CORE would have powers to compel companies to release documents and force executives to testify under oath. Last week the Government finally named the person who would head up CORE, Ms. Sherri Meyerhoffer, but they are now saying they are unsure of exactly what powers Ms. Meyerhoffer will have. Why did this backtracking happen? Some say it was extensive lobbying by the mining companies - you can read about that in this National Post article: https://business.financialpost.com/commodities/mining/lobbied-to-death-liberals-face-backlash-over-corporate-responsibility-ombudsman

But whatever the reason, we are called to be persistent, not to lose energy and give up, but to keep hope alive. We all want to be part of quick effective actions that address ecological and social justice issues where we are lifted-up by the positive effects of our actions and support.

But let us also go to the periphery of action, where the same old issue comes back time and again, and where we have to write that letter one more time, for it is in our sustained, communal efforts that we often see significant results. Join us in pressing Prime Minister Trudeau to ensure that Ms. Meyerhoffer and CORE have all the tools they need to execute their role effectively. For more information you can visit

https://www.kairoscanada.org/canadian-government-reneges-promise-create-independent-corporate-human-rights-watchdog and https://www.devp.org/en/pressroom/2019/comm2019-04-08.

Monica Lambton, JPIC Coordinator

 

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