Certain elements of Marguerite Bourgeoys’s message are as relevant as the Gospel: they were true yesterday, are still true today and will be always. The same applies, for instance, to the emphasis she placed on the great commandment to love. Other elements particularly stand out because of the context in which we live. What follows are some examples:
Marguerite had an acute sense of human dignity and of equal dignity for all persons: each person is loved by God; for each one Jesus gave his blood.
This certainty led her to help everyone without exception. She spoke of teaching as a mission which must be fulfilled without distinction between the poor and the rich, between relatives and friends and strangers, between the pretty and the ugly, the gentle and the grumblers, looking upon them all as drops of Our Lord's blood.
On Sunday, October 19th the OK Clean Water Project held its annual Brunch at the Centurion Conference and Event Centre with 100 great supporters in attendance.
Alana Giustizia spoke compassionately about her trip to Cameroon in February of 2014 and the welcome that she received from the people. She was moved by the dedication of many who work so diligently to bring clean water to their villages. Alana also praised the work of Sister Cathy Molloy, cnd the coordinator and that of Edwin Visi, the consultant who trains the villagers to ensure the water projects are maintained. Sister Cathy and Edwin journey with the people with the emphasis on dialogue to promote sustainability. Alana’s power point presentation illustrated the progress made over these eleven years with forty-three villages now accessing clean water. This trip also made it possible for Alana to visit with her aunt Sister Cecile Buote, cnd, who has lived in Cameroon for more than forty years.
On October 31, 1982, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Marguerite Bourgeoys a saint, something popular devotion had already confirmed in January 1700 in this way: “If the saints were canonized today as they were in the olden times, by the voice of the people and of the clergy, tomorrow we would celebrate the Mass of Saint Marguerite of Canada.” “The Pope of families” recognized in Canada’s first saint his own conviction that the family is the vital unit of society and the first school of life for men and women. In the homily pronounced on the day of the canonization of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, he brought to light “her unique contribution to the promotion of families, children, future spouses, parent.”
Message of His Holiness John Paul II on the occasion of the audience granted to the Pilgrims, Saturday, October 30, 1982, in the Paul VI Auditorium at the Vatican
Dear Pilgrims from France and Canada,
In a sprit of joy and pride you are preparing for the celebration of the canonization of Blessed Marguerite Bourgeoys and Blessed Jeanne Delanoue.
[…] The event of canonization gives rise to a question that may be addressed to your communities, whether on the diocesan or national level. Is it reasonable to assume that men and women can attain holiness in today’s world? Do people aspire to holiness? Do they take the means to become saints?
On Saturday, October 18, CNWE-NB (Catholic Network for Women’s Equality – New Brunswick) had a Fall day of Reflection, featuring a presentation from Mary Hanson, a Congregation of Notre Dame Associate from Woodstock sharing about her summer visit to the Philippines. Mary travelled with 13 other Canadians on a Development and Peace organized trip. David Lewis, a CNWE member from Saint John spoke about D & P and this year’s fall campaign: Sow Much Love (see www.devp.org).
Book Recommendation: Jesus: A Pilgrimage by James Martin, sj, is an entertaining read. It is intended for a general audience and draws upon scripture studies, his own life experiences and a recent two-week pilgrimage to Israel. His trademark humour is very much a part of the book. It gets 5 stars on amazon.com based on 348 reviews. I picked my copy up at Chapters, available on kindle etc.
Movie Recommendation: The Vatican Museums is a 3D movie playing occasionally at some Cineplex theatres. It is just over an hour long with excellent photography greatly enhanced by the 3D effect. (The 3D glasses can be used over regular glasses and are recycled). Admission is a little pricier than regular movies but cheaper than a trip to Rome!
It was on the occasion of Bishop Tom Dowd's official pastoral visit to the parish, that the Pastor, Father Vittorio Tucci and the parishioners of Holy Cross Parish chose, Sunday, October 19, to honor and celebrate Sister Dorothy Maher's more than 28 years of dedicated service in the parish. Many parishioners, past and present, as well as a good number of Congregation of Notre Dame Sisters attended the celebration. Bishop Dowd, assisted by Fathers Tucci and Joe Cameron celebrated the Eucharist.
On Sunday, October 19th still filled with the enthusiasm of her participation in the People’s March for Climate Change in New York, Monica Lambton shared her experience of the event at the monthly gathering of the Sisters and Associates. She said she was impressed with the immensity of the march, the intensity of it and the number and variety of people who took part in this now world-wide movement. Monica spoke of Sister Kathleen Deignan, CND who has been researching the relationship between Marguerite Bourgeoys and those who have been involved in the pursuit of remedies for climate change as far back as St. Francis, and as recently as Thomas Berry and Thomas Merton. Kathleen sees Marguerite Bourgeoys’ era as an Age of Destruction as is ours today. In Marguerite’s time the way of life of the aboriginal peoples in the New World was being destroyed and Marguerite set about building up an alternative life.
On Sunday, October 19, 2014, Father Bill Burke spoke of the need for someone like Marguerite Bourgeoys at a time of great changes in the Church, in our Diocese and in Canada.
Sisters and associates from the Sydney area as well as Mabou, Antigonish, and Prince Edward Island gathered with the parishioners and friends at the former St. Joseph Church in Sydney. Bishop Brian Dunn celebrated Eucharist and dedicated the church to Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys. He blessed the two beautiful statues of Marguerite, one located outside the church and the other in the foyer. The relic of St. Marguerite was carried in procession and placed in the altar. In renaming and officially placing the parish under the patronage of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, Father Bill paid tribute to Marguerite and to all her daughters who contributed to education in Cape Breton and in the rest of Canada. He invited all sisters present to stand and be acknowledged.
I will soon be beginning an on-line Formation community for the Associate Relationship. Right now, there are seven women who are eager to participate and I have invited others to consider this opportunity. Is there anyone you know whom you would like to invite to Associate Relationship and for whom the on-line formation blog would be a good fit?
Sisters Joan Mahoney and Patricia McCarthy (April 2014)
The Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Congregation of Notre Dame & UPEI Chaplaincy Centre Invite Students, Staff and Faculty to meet with Monica Lambton, JPIC Coordinator from Montreal, Friday October 31 2014 / UPEI Chaplaincy Centre. Gather @ 11:00 am ~ Presentation 11:30-12:30 ~ Q&A til 1:00.
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.