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Lenten Prayer Service

Leader

Lent is about becoming, doing, and changing

whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now.

--Sister Joan Chittister, OSB

Lent is not an event. It is not something that happens to us. It is at most a microcosm of what turns out to be a lifelong journey to the center of the self. The purpose of Lent is to confront us with ourselves in a way that’s conscious and purposeful, that enables us to deal with the rest of life well.  It is not a “penitential season.” It is a growing season. It requires us to determine what is worth dying for in our own lives and what it may be necessary for us to become if we really want to live. - Joan Chittister, OSB, A Growing Season

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Good Shepherd Ministries

It has been a wonderful and productive month in the clothing room at Good Shepherd Ministries in Toronto. I help in the distribution of clothes to the homeless people and received help from three seminarians from St. Augustine's Seminary, a novice of Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood and lay woman.

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Novice Libby Osgood

Novice Libby Osgood will be leaving for North Carolina on February 18th for her next apostolic and community experience. She will be forming community with Sisters Margarita Castañeda and Thérèse Martin in Hayesville and will also have the opportunity to meet-up with the associates of the area. Libby will be returning to White Plains on June 1st. While there, she will be participating in a series of ministry experiences in the parish as well as in the local area. I invite you to pray for Libby and her new community in this next stage of her discernment process. May her next apostolic experience help her to integrate her sense of religious life within the mission of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. Many blessings and thanks!

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Fanning That Flame Of Mission

On February 10, Monica Lambton, JPIC coordinator, journeyed to Toronto for the monthly gathering of sisters and associates. We got a good turnout of almost 20, just ahead of the wintry blast.

Carrying forward the theme of last year's Associate Assembly, Monica spoke about Fanning that Flame of Mission. Mindful of the core values (e.g. act with courage and boldness), we must strive to keep hoping in the big shift, despite naysayers all around us. Sometimes, it takes a letting go before we can grow our hope. Allies are important along the way ... and always have been. Comparing notes in small groups, hearing what others are doing to care for our common home, we began to see how much more each one can do. We can also help each other to see how far we've come already, even though there's still such a long way to go. Laudato Si' is a valuable resource: "Everything is beautiful. Everything is fragile. Everything is connected"

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Going To The Peripheries

The Miramichi Quilt Guild of which I’ve been a member for 20 years, gives a quilt annually to an organization in the Miramichi area to sell tickets to raise money for their cause. In 2018, a quilt that I made was quilted by another Guild member, Betty Doyle. It was donated to Special Olympics Miramichi and they raised $6,250.00 in 11 months for their organization. The funds will be used February 21st - 23rd, 2019 when Miramichi hosts the NB Special Olympics Winter Games.

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From The Formation Corner

Annunciation House, El Paso, Texas

Dear Friends, Cathy, Libby and I (Maco) just returned a few days ago and are filled with gratitude to each of you for your prayers and moral and financial support during our time in El Paso, TX. In honesty, we have felt the CND presence on this very special journey. It has been an incredible community experience filled with many visitation moments and it will take a long time to unpack the many graces. 

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Peace & Justice News

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General Report issued January 2019

You can read the report here: https://www.oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-BL-18-00511.pdf.

The key take away from this report is that the exact total number of children separated from a parent or guardian by immigration authorities at our southern border is unknown. We do know that in the spring of 2018, a zero tolerance policy for certain immigration offenses was announced by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. Implementation of this policy often resulted in children being separated from their parent or guardian. Public opposition to the policy grew in the next few months. The policy was challenged in Federal Court in California and in responding to a June 2018 Court Order; HHS identified 2,737 children in its care at that time who were separated from their parents in the time since the new policy was announced.

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News from Blessed Sacrament Province (USA)

Photo credit: Marie-Claire Dugas

From Our Leadership Team

During the General Conference in January, all those present were inspired by this image of a spirited Marguerite, striding forward to meet the urgent needs she confronted. As we prayed for migrants and refugees and listened to the presentations from the provinces and regions, the members of the Conference sought a way to respond as a Congregation to the crisis at the Mexico-United States border. At the same time, we heard a presentation on public advocacy from the Executive Director of the Canadian Religious Conference, Timothy Scott, CSB. He suggested that public positions are most appropriately taken by those who are citizens of the government entity being addressed, with other groups declaring their solidarity and support.

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Movie recommendation: Green Book

Green Book is a 2018 American comedy-drama film based on a true life story. The setting is the Deep South in the 1960’s; the story follows a tour with Dr. Don Shirley, a black man, a world class pianist, who needs a driver – protector during the trip. Tony Lip, a tough-talking Italian bouncer from the Bronx is recruited. Maybe we have forgotten the degree of segregation experienced at that time, and maybe some of us never knew. The film shows the truth of the time, and shares a witty warmth and humour as the two men develop a man-man friendship, a relationship that persisted long after the tour. (The Green Book was a booklet with information of places where black travellers can expect to receive hospitality when they travel).

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Congrégation de Notre-Dame associates’ 1st commitment – Summerside

(Left to right: Sr. Joan Marie, Jeannette, Dorothy, Sr. Marie L.)

On January 30th the two journeying associates in Summerside, Dorothy and Jeannette, made their 1st commitment in the presence of a well-attended monthly meeting of associates and sisters. We gathered in the chapel for the celebration, facilitated by associates Louise and Aldona. They introduced the service by referring to the Sisters of the Congregation ministering in El Paso and prayed the meaningful Blessing Prayer for Sisters at the Border composed by Sr. Rosemary Sullivan of Blessed Sacrament Province. This stimulated a discussion, as well as a questioning, in particular with regards to Sister Libby who was once present and appreciated at our meetings.

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Let the Children Come!

Photo credit: Marie-Claire Dugas

Immediately after the Super Bowl victory for the New England Patriots, the crowds were swarming the players and coaches, especially Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Typical of sports reporters following a championship game, most were trying to get a microphone in front of the key people involved with the usual inane question. “How do you feel about winning?” Or even worse, “How do you feel about losing?” All that is necessary is to say nothing and let the cameras roll. Is it not obvious what each one present is feeling at the moment?

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Movie Recommendation: The Upside

The Upside is finally showing in community theatres. It’s a remake of Les Intouchables made in 2011; that version was in French with subtitles. The movie is based on a real story. It’s about the relationship that develops between a serious rich man left paraplegic after an accident, and his ex-con super-funny attendant, played by Kevin Hart. Kevin’s body language and facial expression liven up the dialogue, for sure. He’s hilarious. Nicole Kidman has a constant, rather subdued presence. I liked the message that caregivers can learn sometimes to lighten up. Every life needs some fun.

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25th Anniversary Year of Action Refugiés

Early in the morning of January 17th, about twenty people, made up of staff, board members, human rights lawyers and student interns gathered for breakfast to launch the 25th Anniversary Year of Action Refugiés (www.actionr.org).

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Celebrating!

Sister Norma Gallant and the West Kootenay associates gathered on Sunday, January 13th to celebrate Marguerite with a pot-luck style turkey dinner at the home of associates Maurice & Janet in Castlegar. Our coming together was filled with warmth and happiness and the pure simple joy of being together. Following the noon-day meal, we remained at the table where we prayed the beautiful service provided by Blessed Sacrament Province to which we added our own music, including Kathleen Deignan’s meditative Pax Amor Christi. Sharing was deep and stories were told of times of stepping out in faith – stories from our past as well as very recent. In each case, our God was there to bring us through. Our time of prayer and sharing was very much in keeping with our current 2018-2019 focus on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’. We were so comfortable together in our prayer and conversation that no one seemed to notice the several hours that had passed. In parting, many were heard to say, “That was so beautiful and meaningful. Again!”

 

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Intercultural workshop, Rome 2019

From January 21 to February 1 (2019) we had the opportunity to participate in the Intercultural Workshop offered by the International Union of Superiors General. Four sisters from the Congrégation de Notre-Dame along with other sisters from 45 different international congregations were present.

The variety of countries and languages represented in the meeting made evident the great wealth of experiences that exist around us and that become enriching elements for each culture.

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Visitation west

News From Local Communities


Kamloops And Area Associate Gatherings, Fall 2018

Greetings from associates in Kamloops, Quesnel, Ashcroft, Eagle Bay and Salmon Arm. We are a group of 14 associates scattered over quite a large area of British Columbia. This is intended as just a very brief overview of our gatherings this past fall of 2018 as we had quite an interesting time.

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Prayer Service: Marguerite Bourgeoys and Liberating Education

“To be Christian is a journey of liberation. 

The commandments liberate you from your own self-centerdness,

and they liberate you because there is 

God’s love to carry you forward.” --Pope Francis

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Halifax Associates Gather in December

Submitted by Coordinator Anna Rowley

Halifax Associates gathered at the Bedford office on Sunday, December 9. Frankie MacCormack, Gloria Dempsey, Josie Ritcey, Sr Eileen McQuaid and Anna Rowley participated in a beautiful Advent service prepared by Sr. Connie MacIsaac entitled The Advent Dance of Waiting in Darkness. Through prayer, song, reflection and discussion we deepened our personal Advent journey. Sr. Eileen updated the group on preparations for the 400th Anniversary of the birth of St Marguerite. Anna talked about the activities she and Marjorie have worked on and will be working on in the coming year. We ended with a delicious potluck meal and catching up on everyone’s Christmas plans.

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Various Ways Feast Day Was Celebrated Throughout Visitation Province...

In Woodstock

Marjorie Allison Ross, associate co-coordinator, shown with display at St. Gertrude’s Church in Woodstock, January 12. After Mass, associates gathered at the home of Helen Ross.


In Fredericton

CND sisters and associates attended the Parish Mass at St. Dunstan’s in downtown Fredericton. Father Bill Brennan, with his usual humor and teaching style, spoke about Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys and the CND connection in the area. After Mass, a group of us went to The Lunar Rogue to enjoy nourishment and conversation.

Eleanor McCloskey, CND

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Feast Day Celebrations in Toronto

On January 13th, sisters, associates and teaching colleagues from Notre Dame High School filled the first few pews of a packed church for 11 o’clock mass at St. Paschal Baylon parish in Toronto. It was the fulfilment of a dream brought to reality by associate Iole Bada and manifested in the large statue to the right of the altar. Working with the pastor, Iole arranged for this image of St. Marguerite to be presented to the parish as part of our Toronto Feast Day celebrations.

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