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One year ago, Saint Mary's Parish in Montague began to look into the possibility of sponsoring a refugee family. Other church communities were invited to join the committee and the Montague Lions Club offered to provide financial support. After several months of meetings and planning, a family of four arrived. It was a very rewarding experience for all who were involved in this venture. The church communities worked together and many commented on how this made a difference in their lives. People shared their gifts … be it for driving family members to appointments, the local dentist providing free service, retired teachers providing language training and others visiting the family and offering support.
Development and Peace – Caritas Canada: On Ash Wednesday Development and Peace – Caritas Canada will launch its 50th annual Share Lent campaign, entitled Women at the Heart of Change. You are invited to make Share Lent a part of your Lenten journey. Supporting women is a priority for Development and Peace – Caritas Canada. For this year's campaign, we invite you to listen to the voices of women who are building the world of tomorrow. Women have always been at the heart of our organization. In parishes all across the country many events are being organized to celebrate this 50th anniversary. The most important of course is the Share Lent collection held on April 2, Solidarity Sunday.
Last Tuesday, the sisters and lay employees of the mother house of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame assembled to highlight and celebrate the efforts made thus far to diminish the ecological footprint of the house.
In fact, since 2014, words have been put into action and the mother house has been taking concrete steps to become “green”: evaluating and improving the energy efficiency of the heating system; composting; switching to biodegradable cleaning products and fair trade coffee, etc.
(photo: Sister Fernande Cantin, leader of the international community of the mother house)
It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Pictured is Sister Ruth Penny, after she won at Wii Bowling, a game played using the computer. Once a month, at Providence Mother House a Wii Bowling tournament takes place. Under the expert tutelage of Christine, one of our Activity organizers, six of us gather for a couple of hours of bowling. Amidst cheers and moans, laughter and applause each one tries her best to knock down all the pins to achieve a strike or at least a spare for her efforts. A specially designed trophy is presented to the winning team along with “Tuck Bucks” worth $1.00 at the in-house Tuck Shop. Who says we seniors can’t have fun?
Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) has launched a campaign that is asking us to "Give it up for the Earth!" There are postcards to send to the Minister of the Environment, where we check off what we are pledging to give up for Lent that will lower our carbon footprint (driving less & taking greener modes of transport, eating a non-meat meal once a week or more, or a blank 'other' category where you can write in your personal pledge) and urging the Canadian Government to follow this example and take action to reduce our carbon footprint at a national level. Cards can be sent anytime during Lent. This is a great way for us to fulfill the promises we made in our Corporate Stance pledge on Climate Action. You can request a postcard from the JPIC office, or visit the CPJ website to order a bulk amount free of charge to distribute in your house, your parish and other places.
Water Justice – March 22-24, 2017. Every year Trinity Wall Street Episcopal Church in NYC hosts a conference with a theme of national and global interest. This year's theme is about water justice and includes several well-known speakers engaged in this field, one of whom is Maude Barlow. Many churches and other institutions host the event locally. In Ottawa St. Matthew's Anglican Church on Bank Street is hosting it. For more information about the schedule and host sites so far see https://www.trinitywallstreet.org/trinity-institute/2017/home. There are not many Canadian host sites and there is information on the website on how to set one up in your local area if any interest. I participated in one Institute previously and both the input and discussions with the local group gathered were very good.
The Religious in Atlantic Canada (RAC) Gathering meets annually to explore topics that have greatest bearing on our common future as religious, living and ministering in these most challenging times. Any religious women or men who wish to join this exploration are most welcome to be part of the conversation. Keep your hand on the plow, look ahead, and discover new fields! Anyone who puts their hand to the plow, and keeps looking back is not about the reign of God! Luke 9:62
I am sure we are all feeling deep sadness regarding the recent violence in the Quebec City mosque. Carl Hetu, former Development & Peace animator in Ottawa, and current Director of Canada Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) has written a very helpful op-ed piece. I encourage you to take a look at it here: http://www.cnewa.ca/default.aspx?ID=2903&pagetypeID=8&sitecode=CA&pageno=1.
Carl is a member of the JPIC Lay Network, which our JPIC (Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation) office helped to found several years ago. This is a network of lay staff working on issues of justice, peace and creation with religious communities and in religious organizations. Through such groups we are able to cross-pollinate ideas and nurture deep reflection, thus cultivating the wisdom and courage to advocate for a just peace that considers root causes.
Congratulations to new Associates!
On January 8 at the Chapel of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in North Providence, four women became Congregation of Notre-Dame Associates. In addition to attending the monthly Rhode Island Associate Gatherings when they could, these four women participated in the Formation blog. Since the theme of the Prayer Service for the Feast of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys was “Go to the peripheries”, we are focusing on how they do that in their lives using their own words.
When the idea for the Have a Heart Campaign began in November, I had no idea of how appropriate it would be. In the face of developing anti-immigrant policies and practices, I think we are called to take a stand on behalf of compassion and love. This Campaign provides a simple, concrete way to do that. I hope you will spread the word and invite as broad participation as possible. Thank you.
Congregation of Notre-Dame – ‟HAVE A HEART” Campaign
February 14- March 17. In the spirit of our latest Congregation of Notre-Dame Orientations we invite you to “be open to the diversity of generations, cultures, attitudes and structures” and to “go to the peripheries” by being part of the “HAVE A HEART Campaign.” Today, our detention centers are certainly part of the peripheries. In this campaign, we will be collaborating with First Friends, an advocacy group in Kearney, NJ for those in detention in the NY Metro area. Between Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day we encourage you to join the Campaign by being involved yourself and by finding others to join with you/us.
Can you all believe it is February?
Here, in White Plains, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we have been working diligently and hard to continue to prepare our formation house.
Donna Kelly, CND arrived on January 6th from Kingston, Canada and on Saturday, February 4th, we will welcome Cathy Molloy, CND who arrives from Cameroon!...
After many years of missionary service in Cameroon, Sister Catherine Molloy returns to the U.S. where she will join the Formation House community in White Plains, NY. ...
The night of April 4 to 5, 2014, Sister Gilberte Bussière, CND, was abducted by a group of armed men in the extreme north of Cameroon; a few meters away, members of the same group also captured Father Gianantonio Allegri and Father Gianpaolo Marta. Captive for 57 days, they were freed on May 31, feast day of the Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame...
On Tuesday, January 3, 2017 the parishioners of St. Mary Parish in Mabou joined with the sisters and associates in praying the Novena in honour of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys. In preparation for the celebration of her feast on January 12 the Novena prayer was recited following Mass each day and those at home were invited to join us. Father Andrew Gillies, Chaplain at St. FX University, was invited to celebrate the Eucharist. Josephine MacNeil, associate, welcomed the congregation. Sisters and associates took part in the Entrance and Offertory processions and fulfilled the roles of Lector and Eucharistic Minister. Following Communion Peter Sargent, associate, presented a short, heartfelt reflection on St. Marguerite and how she strongly influences his life. Following our time of prayer and praise expressed in word and song we all assembled in the Renewal Centre where we enjoyed the traditional “cup of tea” and delicious lunch which was prepared by our associates. May St. Marguerite continue to intercede for all of us as we strive to live the charism designed by her so many years ago.
School Reunion – This year marks the 50th anniversary of the closing of St. Mary’s Convent in Miramichi (Newcastle) NB. Former students are organizing a reunion event for July 8th and 9th to be held at St. Mary’s Parish Centre. All who attended St. Mary’s Convent (ever!) are invited to register (before April 7th) with Susan Butler (email@example.com) Meet-and-greet, supper, Mass and closing luncheon included. Total cost $45.
Some pictures from that very special day
February Article for The R.I. Catholic
The Statue of Liberty has been restored and reopened within the past few years. With all the patching and plastering, painting and preening, the pedestal still holds the famous poem by Emma Lazarus “The New Colossus.”
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
(Photo: Sister Patricia McCarthy, CND, pictured here with Sister Ann Broderick, CND (seated) and Sister Patricia Flattery, CND)
On January 16, students and teachers from Holy Cross Secondary School in Kingston, shared with the Sisters at Providence Mother House, their experiences of Mission in Jamaica and with the homeless people in Toronto. They spoke with warmth and enthusiasm of the time they spent with the poorest people in small villages near Kingston, Jamaica. They were impressed with the children’s joy and eagerness toward going to school. These children appreciate the privilege they have in getting an education and are so grateful for everything that is done for them. The students remarked how they often resist going to school themselves for some reason or another. This experience in so many ways has enabled them to not take so many things they have for granted. One activity that really engaged their energy and gave them a sense of accomplishment was helping to build a house.
The day of celebration began at the community Mass with the Sisters of Providence, RHSJ’s and CND’s united in praising St. Marguerite. We “sang out her glory” and listened as Sisters Emily Doherty and Eleanor Monahan shared some anecdotes from Marguerite’s life which typified her compassion and mercy as she responded to the needs of the young colonists and their families. In the afternoon the CND Sisters and associates of the city with the Sisters of the other two communities enjoyed a delightful harp concert given by Pat Marshall, someone many sisters will remember as a former CND, who has remained a friend of the community, especially of Sr. Mary Meagher. Pat travelled from Ottawa to entertain us in honour of St. Marguerite. The music included a variety of familiar Christmas Carols, including a French one for Marguerite, Irish songs and some classical renditions.
Little did the parish and Pastor of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish realize when they served bread and soup at the luncheon on the feast of their Patron Saint, that they were carrying on a legacy of our Saint. Sunday, January 15, they were honouring Saint Marguerite and her daughters in a beautiful celebration of commemoration and gratitude. The soup and chowder were prepared by the pastor who was actually unaware of the significance of the bread and soup offered to us as they recreated the spirit of Marguerite. Father Bill Burke is to be commended for his efforts in promoting the knowledge and respect for Mother Bourgeoys. He himself, like Marguerite, is faced with rebuilding the church after the disastrous flooding as well rebuilding parish community after the closure of the three parishes which form the new St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish. He commented that this coming together to honour Marguerite and her daughters has proven a community builder. In coming together to honour us they honour their own efforts to become a new parish. People were meeting and speaking to other parishioners for the first time. Bread and soup proved to be another catalyst in the process.