The Visit from our General Administration Team from Montreal has just been completed. Eight Sisters waved them off from the front door of Wilton SSND Community a few minutes ago. We even attempted one verse of “Ave Maris Stella.”
This past week was spent visiting some places in New York City and Connecticut. Thank God we had good weather for all the days we needed it. Beginning at St. Jean Baptiste High School we met students, staff and Board Members. Our schools are exciting, inspiring places of liberating education. From SJB we split into three groups to visit Covenant House, Encore (SRO for the poor) and the Archdiocesan offices.
Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame with Archbishop Blair of Hartford, CT
Associates in NB will gather at St Anthony’s Parish Hall in Fredericton on Saturday, November 1 from 10:00-3:00. Sr Della Gaudet, CND, who lived in Troyes, France for 10 years, will provide a presentation on the life of Marguerite Bourgeoys. Winnie and Marjorie will provide updates about their work and the committees that they participate in.
The Toronto conference planning group is thrilled to announce that our keynote speaker will be Canadian human rights activist, journalist and author, Sally Armstrong.
Sally “has covered stories in zones of conflict all over the world. From Bosnia and Somalia to Rwanda and Afghanistan, her eyewitness reports have earned her the Amnesty International Media Award three times over, as well as acclaim all over the world.”
Sally Armstrong’s book, Ascent of Women (2013) is highly recommended reading and “shows us why empowering women and girls is the way forward.”
MICHAEL MORWOOD: THROUGH A 21ST CENTURY LENS October 19-21, 2014 Sunday, 7 pm to Tuesday 4 pm Michael Morwood encourages people to examine their perceptions of Jesus and raises challenging questions for traditional Christian belief, while providing solid ground on which to articulate Christian faith today. His speaking and writing have focused on the urgent need to shape Christian belief and practice in the understanding that the Divine Presence has always permeated everything that exists.
As a chaplain of Saint Marguerite School in Innisfail, one of my ministries is to participate in the distribution of the Bibles for the grade four students. The Red Deer Catholic School District gathers all the grade four students for a liturgical celebration and they number about five hundred students.
The Sisters of Notre Dame Community of Andrews of Charlottetown have completed our yearly retreat which comprised three days in May and three days in October. We were truly blessed to have had Father Keith Kennific, pastor of St. Bonaventure Parish in Tracadie, PE, as our director. Father Keith’s knowledge of the scriptures and his ability to help us apply them to our everyday lives has been and is a wonderful gift as we continue our journey with our God.
For anyone who likes mysteries, and court cases, and who can handle one more dysfunctional family story, this movie is a gripper. Robert Duvall (83 years young) is totally credible as the aging judge and Robert Downey Jr. is as real as it gets playing the successful (career-wise) son who “got away” from his family and hometown. It’s a long movie – 2 hours - but the time doesn’t seem long because the story is fast-paced and opens up like a Grisham novel. In spite of some reviews I read beforehand, I liked this movie. It shows how forgiveness can happen (or not) and how we can move on (or not) in our own story.
D&P, you will remember, is an important part of our Canadian church. For the past 45 years we have been supporting and empowering the poor in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
During the 2014 Lent campaign, D&P focused on the issue of hunger and food production. Since more than one billion people still suffer from hunger around the world, D&P is making this the focus of its 2014 education campaign.
The “Conversations of the Heart" group met at Sr. Sue Kidd's in Charlottetown to view and discuss the video, WHERE ARE YOU the presentation which was given to the Formation personnel by Nancy Schreck. What a challenging presentation! We were all particularly struck by her use of God's words in the garden: WHERE ARE YOU? Where am I? Where are we? We will, I am sure, ponder that, as we struggle, as she said, to walk the tight rope on the margins of this new/different world to which we are called to be God's presence.
My dear Sisters, I am writing to you today with a heavy heart. I have been reading many of the news reports about the Ebola virus, as I am sure most of you have been. However, there was a news report in the NYT today, 10/10/14 about a mother who went into preterm labor at 8 months and delivered a little girl. She continued to hemorrhage profusely after delivery and was brought by her boyfriend and parents to 3 different hospitals before she was seen where she died. She was just 36 years old and died in the absence of compassion or tenderness. We cannot blame the caretakers or the health care providers because they too are afraid of catching the virus and dying themselves. This is the new leprosy and the infected have become that person on the road where people are afraid to come to his/her aide. What can I do? I find myself crying out to Jesus asking this exact question.
Kamloops associates gathered on Sunday, September 28, a sunny warm fall day, for a retreat presented by Sr. Nancy Hurren, CND and Pat Weicker, Visitation West co-coordinators. The day focused on Pope Frances' encyclical "The Joy of the Gospel" which invites us all to live more simply and in greater solidarity with the poor. There was time for reflection, prayer, sharing and visitation and everyone reflected that they came away from the day spiritually nourished and refreshed. We were introduced to a 14-step program, "The Joy of Just Living" developed by Bill Huebsch which can be used during the year to help us discover the joy of just living simply, just living happily, living justly so that others may also live.
The purpose of this week was focused on bringing generations of people together. To celebrate this week, the Seniors’ Secretariat launched a contest in PEI. The idea was to submit stories about RESPECT to help people of all generations learn more about other generations. The Secretariat believes that people of all ages can develop greater respect for one another. Prizes were awarded to the top three winners across the province. Sister Réjeanne Bourque was the 2nd place winner for her story “Little Sam’s Respect for Seniors” (actually a real happening). The prize and certificate were presented by Mary Hughes, chair of the Seniors’ Secretariat for PEI. Little Sam and his family were present for the occasion. Congratulations, Sister Réjeanne!
I am not sure about all of my companions, but I know I am still marching. September 21 was a marvelous and grace-filled day. Being part of such a peaceful mass of people whose intention was to change the patterns of our treatment of creation was just exhilarating. To do so in such good company was an extra benefit. We were so conscious that we were marching in the name of all of us: Sisters, Associates, Friends, Colleagues, and Students. We made the Congregation of Notre Dame present in an historic event.
WELCOME FIVE NEW ASSOCIATES: At the joyous Liturgy for the Associate Retreat at Quonnie, five women became CND Associates. Three of them had their formation in Wilton, CT and two online with the use of a blog. How blessed we are in these five new Associates of the Congregation of Notre Dame!
Quonnie Associate Retreat, September 12-14, 2014
The thirty-three Associates and five Sisters pictured above enjoyed a weekend of discernment, prayer, celebration of five women becoming Associates, wonderful meals and many Visitations in the beautiful setting of Quonnie.
The real test of success for the People's Climate March (New York City on September 21) will be on the concrete follow-up for change. Our first opportunity was the Global Frackdown Day. At our meeting this summer, the Congregation of Notre Dame Social Justice Network made the decision to endorse the International Frackdown Day which took place on October 11, 2014. We have been invited to take action by praying or doing advocacy.
On Saturday and Sunday of the last September weekend, the annual Vocation Fair of the Kingston Archdiocese was held at Holy Rosary Church in Belleville, Ontario. All the religious communities of men and women in the archdiocese took part in what was an exceptional and creative display of their life and ministry in Canada and around the world. The Congregation of Notre Dame was beautifully and interestingly represented thanks to the hard work of Sisters Rosemary Shannon, Rosemary Brosseau, Denise Bérubé, and Sheila Sullivan. Besides the Religious Communities, the Diocesan Priesthood, Permanent Diaconate and various pastorally oriented organizations such as the Catholic Women’s League, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Birthright, and several other organizations invited people to share their gifts in service of God and their neighbour. The visitors to the exhibits were interested and eager to hear from the organizers about the community they were presenting. So we continue to pray to “the Lord of the harvest...”
As a result of sessions initiated by The Martha Spirituality Center and Fr. John Lacey, some of the lay people who participated became committed to continue this process in the diocese. A series of sessions began on Monday September 22 in St. Francis of Assisi Parish in which a total of 20 lay people were present including the coordinating committee, of which I am a member. It was so hopeful to see this initiated by members of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Cornwall; five of whom are, of course, on the coordinating team. I was very happy to be invited to be part of the team. We all agreed we were off to a good start. People shared openly regarding how the scandal had affected them and members of their families and their desire to be part of the process of healing.
At the National CWL Convention, held in Fredericton, NB, in August, CND Associate Doreen Gowans was elected National Chairperson of Community Life. Doreen lives in Kamloops, BC and she has been a very active CWL member for several years. Doreen has also worked with the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Core Committee of Visitation Province, CND. Doreen asks for our ongoing support and our prayer. Already on the job, she refers to newly adopted Resolution 20114.01 Restoration of Health Care for Refugee Claimants and suggests we consider writing to firstname.lastname@example.org about this issue.