Ever notice how a new and different translation of a scripture passage can catch your attention and cause you to think? Ever find your mind wandering during a scripture reading because the words are so familiar your head doesn’t need to pay attention? Because I love words so much, I am always looking for new words to give me a fresh look at familiar passages and keep my head engaged. One of the best resources I have found is The Message, The Bible on Contemporary Language – Catholic/Ecumenical Edition, by Eugene H. Peterson. It isn’t new (first edition was published in 2002) but there is a 2013 edition, and several in-between.
I had the privilege of attending the opening event of Waves of Change: Sustainable Food for All, Food Secure Canada’s eighth National Assembly. The keynote address was given by world-renowned writer, environmentalist, and seed campaigner Vandana Shiva as part of the Sow Much Love campaign.
Vandana Shiva is an inspirational author and award-winning Indian environmentalist, and founder of Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seed, organic farming and fair trade.
Charles de Glandelet, Marguerite Bourgeoys’s spiritual advisor and biographer, wrote about her, “When someone on whom she relied asked her to give an account of her prayer, she said that she could not pray discursively (…). A single word or a single truth occupied her mind for long periods of time.” In what ways did the truths she contemplated keep her so long in prayer, absorbed and in the presence of the God she loved?
In the early 17th century, the “French School of Spirituality” was emerging. Marguerite was undoubtedly immersed in it and prayed in the manner of this School.
This spirituality was centered on the Word Incarnate – the Son of God made man, true worshiper of the Father. For her spiritual advisors, the Bible was their book of prayer. They strongly encouraged a prayerful reading of Scriptures. These two sources, the Word Incarnate and the Gospel, inspired a three-point method of praying: “Jesus before your eyes, Jesus in your heart, and Jesus in your hands.”
On December 23, 1964, Sisters Mary MacIsaac, Rita Rompre, Louise Driscoll, and Celine Caufield began the mission in Guatemala. This December Mary Mac and Rita will return to celebrate the 50th jubilee in Olintepeque. Also attending from the United States will be: Srs. Bea Baker, Patricia McCarthy, Patricia Flattery, Margaret Egan, and Dolores McKinney. Together we thank God.
On Saturday, November 8, in Saint John, NB, D&P members from Fredericton, Miramichi and Saint John regions gathered in Saint John for a Fall meeting. After a warm welcome and an opening prayer led by Sandra Barrett, scic, we were greeted by Donna LeBlanc, regional chairperson of D&P. Our agenda included an explanation of the Fall Campaign, Sow Much Love, presented by Tara Hurford, the Youth Coordinator for this area. (See www.devp.org/en).
We experienced again the welcoming hospitality at the Small Plot when our Mission Group met there November 7 and 8. Morning prayer began with a reading from Mt 5:13-16 followed by a rich sharing on the question: How am I being called to be a living light for others? We had opportunity to see Mary Ellen Tucker’s new film about climate change and the ever-increasing signs of its effects. The Wisdom to Survive: Climate Change, Capitalism and Community (www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/wts.html)
I have just returned to the office after a week in the Atlantic followed by KAIROS and CRC JPIC meetings in Toronto and a conference on Mining Justice at Saint Paul University in Ottawa. Thanks so much to all who participated in the JPIC events in Summerside, Charlottetown and Halifax and to those who organized, chauffered, and hosted. Special thanks to Sisters Mary Corbett and Anne T. Gillis for their leadership roles. As you have most likely seen in the media, new information is emerging regularly on the ecological state of the world – the critical impacts of climate change are moving faster and deeper than originally anticipated. This is an important time of shift and many paths are coming to a crossroads.
Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty. (Jn 15:5)
Sister Marie Morin, annalist of the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, described Marguerite in this way: “There is nothing Sister Bourgeoys cannot do. She succeeds in both spiritual and temporal matters because her actions and her intelligence are inspired by the Lord’s love.”
The driving force behind Marguerite Bourgeoys’s missionary commitment was her love of God. Before being a woman for others, she was first and foremost a woman for her God. Her greatest wish had always been to do the will of God, to whom she had vowed her love. In a prayer to Mary, she expressed herself in this way: “My good and most honored Mother, I ask of you neither riches, pleasures nor honors for the present life in this house, but I ask only that God may be loved here, served and obeyed.”
Addressing her “Lord, Savior most worthy of my love,” she requested the following for herself and her sisters, “…that we may never have any other joy than to live in You and with You.”
CONGRATULATIONS to Congregation of Notre Dame Associate Stacie Van Deusen! Stacie attends Norwalk Community College (NCC) which is holding its first TED Talk this evening. The format and spirit of TED Talks is to present “ideas worth spreading.” Stacie is one of the four finalists chosen to present her speech at NCC’s PepsiCo Theater, 4:30 – 6:30 pm today. The presentations will be posted on the TEDx website and on Youtube. Her topic concerns learning to value yourself and discover your self-worth. Well done, Stacie! http://www.norwalk.edu/news.asp?1463
Book – The Meaning and Practice of Faith by Diarmuid O’Murchu (Orbis Books, 2014 – 132 pages). This little book has 6 chapters to invite our reflection: Adult Faith, Faith in God, Faith in Jesus, Faith in the Holy Spirit, Faith in the Church and Faith in the Future. In the Preface, the author writes: “I am not offering hand-me-down answers, which is precisely what many adults are seeking to outgrow.”
Each chapter offers a few pertinent questions for personal or group reflection. Unlike some of Father O’Muchu’s scholarly books, this one is an easy read expecting no reader qualifications beyond a desire to live our faith with meaning and even joy. “Passing on the faith came to be understood as indoctrination,…” (p.3). “My hope is that this generation of wise elders can engage more interactively and contribute more proactively to the fresh spiritual challenges that confront all adults in the world and church of our time” (p.13).
Grants were awarded for 2013 and 2014 to 45 different projects which support Christian communities, pastoral activity, and educational initiatives that rally resources to transform society or assist the poor in improving their lives.
The Scarboro Missions 2015 Calendar presents us with further images of the sanctity of all creation. The Integrity of Creation has color photos, with reflective quotes from Pope Francis (6 pages!), Thomas Berry, Rachel Carson and others. One page is a photo from the recent Peoples’ Climate March in New York. Subscribers to Scarboro Missions Magazine ($12 a year) get the calendar included, or anyone can order calendars ($1.00 per copy) from Scarboro Missions. See www.scarboromissions.ca to order online or write to: Scarboro Missions, 2658 Kingston Road, Scarborough, ON M1M 1M4
A retreat with Father Philip Chircop, SJ, has been arranged for August 24-29, 2015. However, before we can confirm this we need to know how many are committed to attending. His heavy schedule doesn’t permit him to come at an earlier time in the summer. Would you please indicate your intention and commitment to attending by contacting St. Joseph Renewal Centre, Mabou, a.s.a.p .
Fr. Philip Chircop, S.J. is a Jesuit priest born on the Mediterranean Island of Malta. He has worked in high school, university and parish settings in various capacities. But more recently he has been heavily involved in retreat work. He is a seeker always looking for fresh ways to proclaim the Good News hopefully helping people to embrace real and radical changes that lead to transformation in Christ Jesus.
In 1653, the time had come to leave Troyes. Marguerite Bourgeoys undertook her first long voyage across the Atlantic on a sailing vessel under the navigation conditions of that time. Her journey began in Troyes in early January; in March, she left Paris for Nantes; on June 15 or 16, she embarked from Nantes to New France; she finally arrived in Quebec on September 22 of that year. The trans-Atlantic voyage alone took two entire months, not counting the time spent navigating along rivers – one week on the Loire and “a good week” on the Saint Lawrence.
It is worth mentioning how much time Marguerite Bourgeoys spent sailing back and forth from one continent to the other. In addition to her crossing to Canada in 1653, she travelled three other times to France. In all, she crossed the Atlantic seven times. She described the shortest voyage by saying that “(it) only took us 31 days.” This intrepid traveler spent one entire year of her life at sea and close to four months navigating rivers.
The 1653 Crossing
Shortly after the Saint-Nicolas set sail, the ship began to take on water. Returning to port, it was found that the damages were irreparable. Another ship was boarded, one which, most likely, had been contaminated by infectious diseases during previous voyages. (At that time, disinfecting was, of course, unheard of.) An epidemic broke out on board. Marguerite acted as nurse to all who were sick. Eight died at sea. Dom Jamet, her biographer, wrote, “Her vigils were incessant, her kindness unwearied. Marguerite’s voice was the last sound they heard as she recited the prayers for the dying.”
Marguerite Bourgeoys tending to the sick aboard the Saint-Nicolas
The original frame can be found at Regina Assumpta School in Montreal
Warm Thanksgiving Greetings Everyone. Winnie and I had another meeting at the Motherhouse in Montreal this month with Sr. Nina Glinski and the other Coordinators of Visitation Province. As well, the Central Office Coordinators, Adèle Mercier and Ann Godfryd, and Monica Lambton from the Congregation of Notre Dame Visitation Province JPIC Committee (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation), joined us for meetings. Networking and sharing of information with these individuals was very enriching. We also got to visit with many sisters who live at the mother house and some Sisters who live at the Infirmary.
Atlantic Religious Congregations Associate Network (ARCAN) Meeting – September 12-13 in Halifax
ARCAN was founded in 2002 through the wisdom and dedication of Sister Alma MacLellan, CND, and Mabou Associate Peg Madigan to “support the relationship between associates and sisters”. Through ARCAN, the congregations share experiences, learn about current trends and issues, and support one another. “For everything there is a Season” was a line used when Peg announced at the meeting that she would not be with us next season. It was humbling to hear her pride in the way ARCAN has grown over these past 12 years and she felt that our group was in good hands and assured us of her prayers for success in the future. ARCAN is represented by Sisters and Associates of several congregations in Atlantic Canada.
In the ARCAN photo: Front row – Sr Maureen O’Keefe, RSM, and Marjorie Allison-Ross, A-CND. Seated - Lorna Burbine, A-CSM, Sr Margie Gillis, SC, Sr Claudette Gallant, CSM, Peg Madigan, A-CND. Standing Sr Regina Shapter, RSM, Sr Phyllis Gallant, CND, Sr Frances Johnson, CSM, Peggy Gorman, A-RSCJ, Cora Shebib, A-SC, Winnie Odo, A-CND, Sr Lauretta White, CSM, Aline Reid, A-CSM. Back row: visiting Associate Janet Irvine-Ross, A-CND, Sr Norma Heffernan, RSCJ.
Associates were well represented at the area days. The picture depicts Associates, Sisters and members of the General Administration in Wilton, CT. An Associate commented that she felt most welcome and “felt love, gratitude and experience of sisterhood for being with the Sisters and Associates”. One Associate commented that “experiencing face to face the openness, acceptance and appreciation of the General Leadership for the Associates was affirming and positive”. Associates valued the prayer, sharing and connecting with Associates from different areas. The slide presentation on the history and development of the Congregation presented by the General Administration was a learning experience and much appreciated. “The courage and grace that runs through so much of the Congregation’s history continues today in the lives of Sisters and Associates”. At Wilton, Sisters Agnes Campbell and Danielle Dubois, who are the liaisons of the General Council with the Associate Relationship, were invited to spend additional time at the end of the sessions with the Associates. The conversation was marked by keen listening and openness and willingness to look together at sustainability issues for the future of the Associate Relationship.