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During General Chapter 2016 the Environment and Social Committee (chaired by Sisters Marie L. Arsenault and Mary Jane Leonard) placed a glass pot with some bean plants on each of the nine tables. These living organisms reminded us of our Chapter theme “Rooted in Jesus Christ: Let us Cultivate Love and Compassion.” The sisters and associates at each table watched daily, noticing how the roots snaked their way under the earth, the long lanky stems stretched upward, leaves unfurled and how some plants mysteriously returned to compost. The living cycle of life was present in all its wonder, beauty and vulnerability. Towards the end of Chapter there was a ritual where someone from each table brought the plants and soil to one central container and we were told that this soil would continue to support life in another setting. I took this soil home to The Small Plot and a week ago Sr. Ann Broderick and I mixed the rich black earth with some soft peat, and a little bone meal before we forked it into the raised beds. The life of these plants and soil continues as does the life of Chapter as we take it from Cornwall into many other life venues.
On Sunday, September 18, 2016 many Congregation of Notre Dame Sisters attended Holy Mass and the dedication of a memorial monument in Westport, Ontario. The memorial, on the site of the former Notre Dame Convent next to the church, recognizes the CND Sisters' great contribution to Catholic education, as well as to parish and community life, in Westport and area for over a century.
The Plaque reads:
TO THE SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME CONVENT, WESTPORT, ONTARIO
This memorial was created from foundation stones of Notre Dame Convent and St. Edward's Roman Catholic Continuation School. The two-storey red brick buildings were constructed on this site in 1886 by Father Michael J. Stanton and the parishioners of St. Edward's Parish, Westport. The convent was home to a total of 106 Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame until their departure in 1987, after which it served as a centre for parish activities until its demolition in 2011. The high school closed in 1967 and the new St. Edward Catholic School was constructed in 1970. The CND Sisters were central to the life of the school, parish and local community throughout those 101 years. This memorial was dedicated on September 18, 2016.
Thanks to all who sent birthday greetings … it was a fun day! The sisters took me out for supper after Mass on Saturday, proposing to pay for my meal. When it came time to pay the bill, the waiter said, "Oh, it's your birthday? What's the number? That's the percentage we take off the cost of your meal." The sisters laughed, spontaneously and heartily, thinking BIG discount. I told the waiter: "It's 96." My bill came to sixty cents. I think the sisters should still take me out and give me dinner!
On August 21st, I was fortunate to accompany my two sisters, Ann and Veronica, and our cousin Mary to attend the 100th anniversary of the official opening of St. Bridget's Catholic Church in Renous, NB. On a beautiful sunny day, Bishop Harris concelebrated mass with a number of priests including Father Vincent Donovan, born in Renous. Eight Renous women entered religious life, four of them Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame: Sisters Sadie and Alvera Donovan, Sister Elizabeth Hayes and myself. As the only surviving sister, I was presented a plaque in honour of the occasion. A large number of parishioners attended, some of whom I knew. It was a happy occasion for us.
Continuing our General Chapter Reflections, each province and region (administrative entities of the Congregation of Notre Dame) prepared a “creative presentation” to show where each felt God was calling the Congregation into the future. These presentations were to be approximately 10 minutes in length and were to come from the province or region’s reflections on the 17 letters from the sisters and associates that we received and shared on in the year leading up to the Chapter. Our associates also did a similar presentation although their challenge was much greater than ours as they had to prepare theirs working across all languages and great distance! All seven of these presentations happened over the course of a morning and were live-streamed for those at home to watch. If you did not see them, it is not too late – archived versions are available at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/cnd-en and http://www.ustream.tv/channel/cnd-fr and http://www.ustream.tv/channel/cnd-es.
This Saturday we will welcome three pre-novices to our Congregation of Notre Dame community in Tobin. Please join us in prayer and spirit as we welcome Emilienne Nancy, Huguette Nina, and Solange Sylvie in a simple prayer service. Some of our associates will be present. The sisters in the Tobin community are Sisters Cecile Buote, Catherine Molloy, and MEKOULOU ME-ZAMBO Lucie along with KONAI Justine and MATCHUENDUM Augustine who come on some weekends from their mission at St. John Bosco School in Ngarum. We count on your prayers.
Thank you/Merci/Beri Wo.
Parishioners of the Archdiocese of Kingston were invited to St. Edward Church in Westport on Sunday, 18th September 2016 for 2 p.m. Mass followed by the blessing of the memorial by Archbishop Brendan O’Brien.
In January 2009, Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) made an emergency landing in the Hudson River in New York after a flock of geese crippled his plane in flight. We remember this event; the landing was successful and all of the 155 passengers and crew survived. This movie is about the after-events, and the way we can be quick to second-guess motives and decisions and slow to recognize a selfless act for what it is. Tom Hanks is an excellent Sully.
On Monday afternoon, we gathered at The Small Plot in Three Brooks where we were welcomed by Sisters Mary Corbett and Becky McKenna. After a short prayer, Becky proceeded to review the Chapter process with us through words and pictures.
The exchange that took place among the sisters at Chapter provided a richness which made all of us proud to belong to this gathering of women. A further proof of this was obvious in the smooth flowing of the election process resulting in the election of a gifted group of women. Our heart and prayer accompanies them as they embark on this onerous undertaking.
After socializing and enjoying a delicious lunch, we were sent on our way with a bag of garden fresh vegetables and a bottle of jam, all the product of their hard work!
A must-see movie produced by Luc Jacquet (March of the Penguins) which recounts the story of Glaciologist Claude Lorius who volunteered to go on a trip to Antarctica at the age of 23 and now, at 82, is retracing the steps of his many journeys that followed. His inquisitive, scientific mind recognized that, the presence of air bubbles in the ice cubes of his drink he was enjoying after a hard day in the extreme cold, had a profound significance. Thus began his journey into the depths of the polar ice fields gathering data and making the connection between the presence of air bubbles and the impact of human activity on earth’s climate over thousands of years. It is a powerful, fascinating story.
For me, a Chapter memory and highlight is my table group. We were Table #5 and we were great. All tables were bilingual tables and Table 5 was Spanish-English. We were aware of differences in what words meant, deeper meaning than simple translation might imply. Being sure we each spoke, allowing our ideas to be influenced by others. I still wonder what interculturality means for me locally but Table #5 showed me what's possible and I am grateful. Thanks!
On September 8, the Sisters of Notre Dame Community at the Providence Mother House welcomed twelve students and two of their teachers from Sakura no Seibo Junior College in Fukushima, Japan. The students shared some beautiful pictures of scenic places in and around Fukushima trying in their best English to explain the images they shared. One of the teachers tickled our imaginations as he performed a few magic tricks much to the delight of all present. The students also described the preparation of some unusual foods that are served in their part of the world. After refreshments were served, the students gave each Sister a tantalizing game which involved matching small pictures which had to fit with other parts of pictures to form a whole. The challenge was that the paper could only be arranged by folding. The Sisters enjoyed immensely the visit of these lovely young women who are in regular contact with our Japanese Sisters.
Where in your life are you called to be merciful rather than punitive? Where can you lessen the violence in your daily life? In the way you speak to others? Toward the homeless or those on the margins of society? Instead of waiting for a natural or human-made disaster, how about practicing a habitual and deliberate act of mercy. It is an act that you will never regret.
Suggested Action: This week, make a conscious effort to show mercy and kindness, not once randomly, but twice or three times intentionally.
Suggested Petitions: We pray in thanksgiving heavenly Father for the boundless mercy and compassion you show us. We pray too for those suffering who do not know or perhaps do not believe in the mercy and grace of God, Look upon us, O God, Creator and Ruler of all things, may we feel the workings of your mercy in our hearts and in our lives. Show us the ways to serve you so others may know that You love them with an unconditional love. All glory and praise be to You. (Adapted)
My heart is very full as I reflected on the celebration of my 103rd Birthday. I am very grateful for all who prayed with me and others at Wilton, for all the beautiful card and loving messages, for the gifts, the flowers, the Masses and promises of prayer. I am blessed with so many friend and those who care for me. Try to live until 103 and experience this joy!!
My life of Visitation was a life in motion, a life on the way. I experienced this frequently during my time in Africa. Just reaching a destination was often a miracle. For example, during the last three to four hours of driving from Yaoundé to Kumbo the roads were so bad that the driver was compelled to ask if we had a contract with God. This was not the "go I will not abandon you" of Mary but it made me become more conscious of whose work this was and of the providential care I could expect. In fact, we often said that our guardian angels were working overtime.
Little apparently insignificant remarks and acts of kindness that I encountered on the roads and in crisis situations would always turn out to be my greatest Visitation moments.
OK Clean Water Brunch October 30, 2016
Still Standing is a CBC summertime program that shows comedy man Johnny Harris as he travels to small towns and puts on a show for the local community. Johnny’s visit to Mabou, NS, will be aired Tuesday, September 13 at 9 p.m. (Atlantic Time). (Johnny is well known to viewers of CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries. Johnny plays Constable Crabtree).
During the summer, Sean Casey, the federal liberal MP for Charlottetown, held a consultation on Climate Change which Sister Marie Hagen and I attended. Mr. Casey was very attentive and receptive to a number of informal presentations given by representatives of such organizations as Eco-PEI, Sierra Club, Winter River Watershed etc. Dorena Hall spoke on behalf of Development and Peace. Since the mike was being passed around, I decided to share our Congregation of Notre Dame commitment to and support of all efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, mentioning our Corporate Stance.