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News from our Associates in Eastern Canada

Congrégation de Notre-Dame

New Year’s Message

Submitted by Marjorie Allison-Ross

I found this message on Facebook on January 5. The person who posted it was wishing her friends the blessings of Epiphany. When I read it, I thought of the Congregation de Notre-Dame Orientations and how we can live out interculturality, go to the peripheries, and honour and respect our common home. The message in the quote is really describing for us what Marguerite Bourgeoys did during her lifetime. May we reflect on this message and find ways to continue Marguerite’s work in 2018.

“When the carols have been stilled,

When the star–topped tree is taken down,

When family and friends are gone home,

When we are back to our schedules,


To welcome the refugee,

To heal a broken planet,

To feed the hungry,

To build bridges of trust, not walls of fear,

To share our gifts,

To seek justice and peace for all people,

To bring Christ’s light to the world.”

- Michael Dougherty

Happy Feast Day

St Marguerite Bourgeoys—The Pilgrim Daughter of the Church

The love of God and neighbour serves as a summary of Marguerite’s life. Just a year before her death, she would write, “It is true that what I have always wanted most, and most ardently desire, is for the great teaching of the love of God above all things and the love of one’s neighbour as one would be loved, to be engraved on all hearts.” She wanted for her community “the true spirit of hospitality and love which was the glory of the first Christians,” when they “were of one heart and mind in God,” and “held everything in common.”

Christmas Pageant at Parkland, Cape Breton

Sydney Mines, St. Theresa’s, Holy Angels and New Victoria Associates

On December 6, the Congregation de Notre-Dame associates of Sydney and surrounding areas gathered at Parkland, Cape Breton to host the Annual Christmas Pageant to a packed audience. The afternoon began with carolling led by Sister Elaine Hawrylak, CND, followed by the Christmas Pageant. Associate Lorette Campbell was our MC and did a fine job of keeping the festivities flowing. The hilight was a presentation by Special Olympian Speed-skater Aimee Gordon, niece of Sydney Mines Associate Frances Gordon and Sister Ada Gordon, CND, of Parkland. In fine CND fashion, we ended the day with refreshments and wonderful “visitations”.

Frances Gordon, Jenny Gordon, Gerald Odo, Geraldine Walker, Marilyn Clements, Lore e Andrews, Sr Theresa Sampson CND

Frances Gordon, Jenny Gordon, Geraldine Walker, Lorette Campbell 

Special Olympian Speed-skater Aimee Gordon

Halifax Associates Gather in December

Submitted by Frankie MacCormack

The Halifax Associates met on December 3 at the Visitation Center in Bedford. Sisters Maureen MacIsaac and Eileen McQuaid were introduced to the Associates who they hadn’t met. Alexa Smith led us in an Advent Service followed by reflection and sharing.

We were fortunate to have Anna Rowley give an excellent presentation. The Coordinators of Visitation Province prepared and together with seven other associates presented it at Chapter in July. They certainly represented us well and we appreciate the amount of work put into it.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch; discussed plans for gifts to the residents of the Marguerite Centre; Marguerite’s Feast Day in January and the possibility of telephone meetings for areas where there are very few Associates. Gratitude was expressed to our CND Sisters for their continued support and hospitality, to Anna for her presentation and to Alexa for her planning and preparation.

St Theresa’s and Holy Angel’s Associates Celebrate Internationality Prayer

Submitted by St Theresa’s Associate Dianne MacAskill

On November 19th, 2017, Doreen MacDonnell held the Internationality Prayer Meeting at her home. Doreen welcomed the associates and spoke briefly on the "how then shall we live today?" Sr. Theresa opened with the Internationality prayer followed by minutes of silence for our contemplative prayer. A flag for each country where the Congregation is present (Cameroon, Canada, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan and USA) circled our table with an open Bible and a lit candle in the center. A statue of St Marguerite Bourgeoys was positioned on a side table. Associates from Holy Angels and St. Theresa's groups were in attendance and each Associate took part in reading the Congregation de Notre-Dame Orientation 2016-2021. Some topics such as peripheries, common home, and how we should strive to live interculturality, face our fears, to be open to take action against destruction of our world were discussed. The closing prayer and Magnificat were read by each associate. Sandwiches, sweets and tea were enjoyed.

This stained glass window can be found at the Blessed Sacrament Province Centre in Wilton, CT.

Let Us Cultivate Love and Compassion

Submitted by Associate Marilyn Clements

On November 14th the New Victoria Associate Group met at the home of Associate Brenda MacPherson to celebrate Internationality Day. We decided that we would invite Associate Marg Berger to give us a little bit of her Hungarian Culture. Marg’s first language is Hungarian.

Marg’s parents were very young when they came to Canada and they settled in Minto, NB. Later they moved to Scotchtown, a small community close to New Waterford. At one time, there was a small building on their street called the Hungarian Hall where family and friends gathered for celebrations. Marg spoke of some the foods that were important – soup was a staple meal made with vegetables, homemade noodles and dumplings. They also enjoyed pork and chicken.

She recalled that when her grandparents died it was customary to receive a black letter – times were hard back in Hungary. Marg displayed materials from her culture, one very special pillow that bore an inscription which translated means “we love the heart of Jesus, His love is very great”! The radiance of color techniques were all absolutely stunning.

Marg had an opportunity to travel back to Hungary with her father in the 80’s. At that time he showed her the place where he had met her mother. While there she got to meet some of her relatives and attend the wedding of a distant cousin. She spoke of the ritual at her own Hungarian wedding. At the end of the evening all the guests were invited to dance with the bride and as was the custom, each of them put money in a pot. Marg told us that after the dance they had enough money from that custom to purchase their bedroom furniture. We felt very blessed by her sharing.


Fran of Miramichi Visits Montreal in December

Submitted by Associate Frances Connell

During my past two weeks in Montreal I had the great pleasure of visiting the CND Associate offices at the Mother house. To find them, one goes through a labyrinth of passages on the bottom floor past locker rooms, workmens quarters and laundry rooms, etc. I was delighted to see a hand-made sign saying "Welcome Fran". They knew I was coming. There they were: Adele, Ann and Christine Holland and I was very happy to see them. They greeted me warmly and showed me around each office and all the interesting art and pictures and information about the Associates all over the globe. What a great revelation to be there in person and meet these beautiful women and see the humble place from where they send their inspiring messages to all of us spread out in all the lands where Congregation de Notre-Dame is found. I am very grateful and extremely impressed with my visit with them.

During my visit to Montreal I also had a visit to the Mother House and prayed for our troubled world at the tomb of our Saint Marguerite.

I met many Sisters and enjoyed lunch with Sisters Maura McGrath and Kay Duffin.

I also had a beautiful time in Old Montreal...visited the archeological museum at Pointe-a-Calliere site of the first fort in Montreal where Marguerite lived. A procession formed there in the cold winter evening which I joined with other CND Sisters and Associates and people of Montreal. We carried candles, sang old French Advent and Christmas hymns and walked to Bon Secours Church where the Christmas pageant was enacted with all the cast of the Manger (Mary, Joseph and Real Infant, shepherds, angels and Magi) while the organ played and choir sang. It was an enactment of an old traditional Christmas celebration in Old Montreal. How blessed I was to be there.

Fran Connell, Adele Mercier, Ann Gotfryd 

Sisters Maura McGrath and Kay Duffin


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