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By Kathleen Deignan and Kevin Cawley
An e-course is being offered by Spirituality and Practice
July 4 – 29, 2016 at a cost of $59.95 [US funds]
Try something new... it’s easy. You can do it!
An exploration of the contemplative depth and call to practice in Thomas Berry's works.
Kathleen and Kevin share a mission to bring ecological wisdom to faith and education communities, particularly the legacy of Thomas Berry and also the challenges of Pope Francis, whose recent letter to the world — Laudato Si — is a global summons to care for our common home. In this way they hope to contribute to The Great Work of our time: healing the human soul that we might heal the Earth.
In this exclusive e-course developed for Spirituality & Practice, Kathleen and Kevin will draw out the contemplative depth and call to practice in Berry's works. They will focus on foundational themes from his life -- like Storyteller of the Universe, Mystic of the Meadow, and Master of Creation Spirituality -- drawn from Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community, published by Orbis in 2014.
You can register for this e-course at: http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/ecourses
Progress of Syrian family sponsored by St. Basil's Parish, Ottawa: Nabil and Manal and their four children arrived last August. Since then they have worked hard improving their English, transitioning to school and work and adjusting to life in Canada. The neighbouring Dovercourt Recreation Centre provided the family with free passes to all programs for a year and 9 weeks of summer camp for the children. Nabil is a skilled body shop technician and has been helped using means other than written ones to receive his apprenticeship papers. He noticed the many discarded bicycles and retrieves, repairs and sells them. Manal is participating with others in the community garden at St. Basil's that will provide the family and others with fresh produce. The parish is in the process of discerning whether to undertake the sponsorship of another family.
The Activity Room at Andrews of Charlottetown was bursting with life and activity from 2 to 4 PM on Sunday, June 19. We celebrated the jubilees of Sisters Sally MacPherson, Marie Fernande Arsenault and the Florence O'Keefe. (Although Sally's name is not on the Jubilee list, she entered with this group, then became part of the January ceremony. She wanted to celebrate with them.) Several of their family members were present as well as the PEI sisters. Other residents dropped in to offer their congratulations. They received flowers and other gifts and many cards containing glorious tributes to their life as CND's. A beautifully decorated Jubilee cake contributed to the festive atmosphere and refreshments were enjoyed by all. We are grateful to all who attended. Informal celebrations continued with our local community in the evening.
This month we learned that the July 22 memorial observance of St. Mary Magdalene is now a major feast in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar. In recent years, the feast day has been promoted and celebrated as a significant way to help us learn about women leaders in our church history and to promote gender balance in scripture proclamation. According to Future Church (http://ncronline.org) every year 200 – 300 Magdala Day celebrations are organized around the world. We are fortunate in our area to have experienced this for several summers, on or close to July 22 in different churches close by. Rosemary Radford Ruether wrote in a 2001 article in NCR that “for the first five centuries no writer misinterpreted Mary Magdalene as a prostitute. Rather she was seen as a leading disciple and image of the church.” Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director of Future Church writes: “It is gratifying and heartening to learn that this message is now echoing from the Vatican and that they now recognize her for her role as the primary witness to the Resurrection and a key figure in our salvation history with equal standing to her male counterparts.”
A one-day conference guided by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action, #62, was co-hosted by St. Michael’s University, Toronto, and the Jesuits in English Canada on Wednesday, June 22. The day began with a smudging ceremony followed by a number of presentations and talks by speakers; such as, Knowledge Keeper Noel Starblanket, Charlie Angus, the Honourable Paul Martin, and a number of aboriginal leaders and youth. The focus of the day was to acknowledge the systemic injustices visited upon our native peoples, which was lead by Fr. Peter Bisson, President of the Jesuits in English Canada, who presented the Jesuit apology and Statement of Reconciliation from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission delivered in 2013, and to begin the process of moving to take concrete steps toward creating a Canada characterized by mutual reverence and partnership. This gathering was a beginning step toward education, awareness, and the call to action that will hopefully be followed by more such opportunities in the future.
Congrégation de Notre-Dame
The year 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the first women's suffrage in Canada. For this reason Canada History Week has chosen to make it this year’s theme.
In this spirit, the Congrégation de Notre-Dame wishes to participate in this event by providing information on the history of the struggle for women’s right to vote in Canada and particularly in Quebec.
You will find below the names and photos of three former Congrégation de Notre-Dame students who campaigned for women’s rights.
Prize-winning video: This week our local newspaper carried a good news announcement of a prize-winning video produced by students at Leo Hayes High School where Sister Karen Kelly, CND, is a teacher and also the Safe-Grad program coordinator. The contest focused on the topic of responsible use of alcohol and was open to all high schools in the province. The prize was worth $1300 in money but worth much more in the value of its message. The students recounted the difficult story of a young man from their school who lost his life this past year; his younger brother speaks candidly about the dangers of binge drinking and drinking games. Sister Karen’s constant work and presence with these young people is widely recognized and noted here in our city. Congratulations to all! The video may be viewed on the following site: https://vimeo.com/164613268
Eleanor McCloskey, CND
Montreal, 15 June, 2016
Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame de Montréal coming from eight countries will gather in General Chapter this summer in Cornwall, Ontario, from August 11 to 29, 2016. In the course of this meeting, they will discuss major orientations that will set the direction of the Congregation for the next five years, and they will elect a new leadership team.
“No family drops from heaven perfectly formed; families need constantly to grow and mature in the ability to love.” Pope Francis writes these words near the end of his document on family. Francis has a keen sense of the ordinary way of God in each of us and in our lives together. He knows we live in a world where we often do less than the perfect and seem to make more bad choices than good ones. Yet we continue to stay the course and try to keep on being hopeful people, loving parents and faithful spouses.
Recently, Sister Simone Abbass, Sister Rita Clare and Ms. Marie-Josée Morin, archivist of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, visited the archives of the Beaton Institute, named in honor of Sister Margaret Beaton (St. Margaret of Scotland). This regional archives centre stores documents which bear witness to the Congrégation de Notre-Dame’s contribution to the development of Cape Breton. Available for consultation are, for instance, records of the Cape Breton Chorale, directed for many years by Sister Rita Clare, and documents relating to the Mad Potters, a project began by Sister Catherine Rooney (Saint Philip). There are also thousands of photos of the Abbass Studio documenting the life of the entire region, including the daily life of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame schools.
On the weekend of June 3rd - 5th, Sister Alma MacLellan and Sister Florence MacKenzie of Port Felix, put on their annual retreat at St. Joseph’s Retreat Centre in Mabou, NS, for the ladies of Guysborough County and their friends. Although the group was small this year, because of various circumstances, it was very powerful and productive. Each year this Spiritual Retreat has a theme and this year’s theme was “Opening Doors.” Individuals have lots of quiet time by themselves to reflect in silence and later come back to the group to share their experience if they feel comfortable to do so. The group shares lots of tears, laughs and lots of reminiscing from the past. This retreat has been happening for 16 years so the ladies have become part of a Very Special Family and look forward to spending the weekend together. The home cooked meals are provided by the ladies at the centre and are very delicious. It is a great weekend enjoyed by all and we look forward to next year’s event!
June Is Torture Awareness Month
Guantanamo Bay Detention Center has sadly emerged as our national symbol of torture. Although President Obama has declared his desire to close the center, opposition from Congress has thwarted him. The National Religious Coalition Against Torture has also identified the overuse of solitary confinement within our jails and prisons as an example of torture.
Larry and Birdella Stevenson of Chebanse, IL (near Kankakee) currently have placed fifty-six acres of their small farm in the "Pollinator Habitat Initiative," a part of the National Resource Conservation Service. This commitment is for ten years. The initiative calls for them to plant nectar rich wild plants, prairie grasses, milkweeds, and wildflowers. The plants increase agricultural production, support honey bees and birds, provide habitat for ground living birds and mammals, and back the migratory zone of monarch butterflies. No fertilizers, insecticides, or pesticides are used in this process, preventing runoff in waterways and groundwater. The Stevensons are so pleased to be a part of this conservation program. Congratulations!
On May 31, about 20 CND Sisters and 6 Associates celebrated the 10 am Liturgy with our wonderful SSND community. We had two Jubilarians with us, Sr. Jeannette Bolduc, visiting from Central America, is 60 years a Sister, and Janet Curry is 25 years an Associate. The mass was followed by refreshments and a lovely lunch.
Sr. Edith Laflamme and Sr. Margaret Giroux celebrated their Jubilee of 75 years as Sisters of the Congregation de Notre Dame at Andrus on Saturday, May 28. Sr. Margaret has been a member of the Staten Island Associate Community for the last two years since she left South Dakota. The Associates and Candidates appreciate her wisdom and loving presence with them. Associates Janice Amitrano and Sebastiana Leon happily represented all of their Associate Community at Sr. Margaret’s celebration.
On the Feast of Pentecost, May 15, eight women made their first commitment as Associates of the Congregation de Notre Dame at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Hayesville, NC. The ceremony was conducted after communion at the 9 am Liturgy. New Associates Kathy Aparo, Michele McGinnis, and Shirley Moran added their voices to the beautiful choir music. Linda Kennedy and Margaret DeLisle were Eucharistic Ministers. In the late afternoon, we had a dinner party at new Associate Pam Craig’s home. The picture above is at Pam’s house and is missing Sharon Ely. Barbara McGrattan, second from the left, is one of the Associates who led the formation for the new Associates. Sandy Jersey, in the second picture, became an Associate on May 31.
One year ago, on June 18th 2015, Pope Francis released his historic encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home. People everywhere are getting ready for Laudato Si’ Week (June 12-19) where there will be a major international celebration of the encyclical’s anniversary to reflect on the Laudato Si’ message and express our gratitude to Pope Francis by taking action to bring the encyclical to life. http://catholicclimatemovement.global/ready-to-celebrate-the-laudato-si-anniversary/
On Sunday, May 29, Congregation of Notre Dame associates and sisters gathered at Providence mother house to celebrate the feast of the Visitation. As the strains of Carey Landry’s song, “Companions on the Journey” reminded us, “We have been gifted with each other.” And indeed we were gifted with the creativity, spontaneity and joy of our Associates who prepared and led us in a beautiful prayer service in which we reflected together on the place of Elizabeth in the Visitation event. She was portrayed as having a “walk on part” in the drama that was unfolding before her, and yet was integral to the deeper reality both she and Mary were living together. Within this context a new Associate, Mary Carr was welcomed and made her first commitment, then followed the Associates renewal of their commitment, and the commitment of the Sisters to Associates. The celebration continued with refreshments and ongoing “visitations.”
On Tuesday afternoon the CND sisters of the city gathered together at Providence mother house for their renewal of vows framed in a simple and moving prayer service prepared by Sister Denise Bérubé. Following the prayer, the Sisters went out and enjoyed a special meal at a nearby restaurant.
The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise by Thich Nhat Hanh goes beyond the noise of traffic, TV, chatter etc. "Noise" applies to all our senses e.g. time spent in front of a monitor surfing the net or liking or commenting on posts by our dozens if not hundreds of Facebook "friends" or scrolling through Twitter feeds so we can retweet. Woven throughout the book is his core mindfulness teaching of the practice of breathing in, breathing out. This leads to deep listening, inner stillness and connection with our now no matter what or where our circumstances.