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Visitation Province

Retreat Weekend

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!

Pearl Whitaker

New Eyes a Prayer From Pedro Arupe, Sj

“Grant me, O Lord,

to see everything now

with new eyes,

to discern and test the spirits that help me read the signs of the times,

to relish the things

that are yours,

and to communicate

them to others.”

We used this prayer at our recent Planetary Pilgrims Mission Group gathering. I like the way it invites us to consider change and discern where it might be calling us.

Eleanor McCloskey, CND

Kairos Mass Blanket Exercise

Sr. Hermine Bernard and I recently participated in the Kairos Mass Blanket Exercise, held outdoors in front of our PEI Legislature Building. It was a re-reading of our Canadian history, as impacting the indigenous peoples, from the time of the arrival of Europeans to our continent to the present day. It is a sad and rather shameful story, shared with a few hundred of us. The cool dark afternoon contributed to the feelings as we listened to several speakers, representing the natives and the powerful incoming oppressors.

About thirty blankets of mixed colours and design were spread on the ground. This represented the whole area where several native tribes once lived, hunting, fishing and moving freely...All present were asked to remove their shoes and stand on the blankets, representing the first native peoples, on this space. On came the white man and things changed! In a symbolic gesture, gradually blankets here and there were removed from under our feet. As the story went on, the natives died, were pushed out and the land mass they once had, became very, very small. New diseases, treaties, 1763, the railway, the 49th parallel, Samuel Holland’s map etc. were told to us from a different perspective!

Jenna Burke, from the Native Council of PEI, was the lead organizer who worked with native persons and Chiefs to prepare this experiential activity for us. The script offered by Kairos was the script used on Parliament Hill at the closing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in June 2015. It was offered in several centres across Canada. The last one is scheduled for Kingston on July 7th. The general feeling is that it ought to be presented in our schools in the near future. The story ended with a hopeful note due to the recent events and promises made from Ottawa. We were all invited to update our thinking and relate to the indigenous persons as fellow Canadians, deserving respect and with equal rights and privileges. It was a very moving experience for all present.

Bernadette Gallant, CND


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