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Formation Corner

Maco Cassetta, CND

Happy Spring to each of you!!! Since our last communication, we, the sisters of the Mount Carmel Novitiate Community have been nurturing new life in our inter-provincial novitiate. One highlight, the parish graced us with a small plot to start a garden! I quickly took advantage of “Marguerite’s plot” and planted tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, radishes, lettuce, and herbs! We hope the harvest will be a­plenty this Fall!

While we continue to attend to the physical needs of the house –adding new carpets to rooms, cleaning more windows and bathrooms, sewing drapes and curtains (with the help of Suzanne Poulin, CND), painting the newly furnished chapel, planning an open house, or simply transformingthe confessional into our tool closet (no kidding!) –we have also taken time to get to know each other and discern together the purpose of this local community at this time in history.

We are working on formulating a mission statement for the novitiate with the help of a facilitator. This process has been very positive and has given us time to pause and discern our call together. In the meantime, I’ve been connecting with the inter­novitiate Formators of LCWR’s Region 2 (on the East Coast) where we have drawn up a plan for next Fall’s inter-novitiate and inter-formation programs. These programs will give the novices in the region an opportunity to learn together and develop relationships as they live into and navigate religious life. This preparation has been a work in progress. All to say that there is much gratitude for it all..

However, what has been most rewarding as of late was traveling together mid May to the Canadian East Coast to connect with the candidate from Visitation Province, Ms. Libby Osgood. (Cathy Molloy, CND had to back out of the trip at the very last minute due to a dental emergency. However, she was definitely with us in spirit!) We had an opportunity to meet some of Libby’s family and friends. We visited the University of Prince Edward Island where Libby teaches and we grew to appreciate what it means to be an Islander!!!! We visited the sisters at Andrews and Summerside and we had a chance to meet other CNDs at a Nun Fest Barbecue hosted by Sue Kidd,CND. We even visited, yes, a potato farm! (Really, how could we not visit one in PEI!)

While we were in PEI, Sue and Libby organized a fourth “Nun Fest”. One might ask, “What is a Nun Fest?” Its goal all along has been to invite young women, mostly from PEI, to visit and meet our sisters in their homes, work places and CND point of interest. Over these last few years, the group has visited Montreal, Quebec City and the Eastern Provinces (Nova Scotia, New Burniwick and PEI ). Last September, a gourp came to New York City! They stayed at St. Jean’s and while in New York, they had the chance to visit White Plains and St. Columba. They also met up with Stacy Hanrahan, CND at the UN. During this fourth Nun Fest, we toured the Island in a van (the usual form of travel for the nun festers) and we got to visit Libby’s favorite places and local and special locations where our sisters have lived and ministered.

There was with us in spirit from White Plains!)There were many great conversations about thecongregation and CND life in general. We even participated in a murder mystery night with the sisters at Summerside and with Libby’s cousins, not to mention being treated to a lobster dinner!!! (As you can see through the photo, CathyOur Lady of Mount Carmel Formation House June 7, 2017

Also, when we visited the Lennox Island First Nations’ reserve in PEI, it was very heart-warming to hear one of the Nun Fest participants make reference to the term “liberating education” as she spoke about a teacher she knew who taught there. Moreover, it was awesome to be guided by Sue and Libby onto the cemeterygrounds of the reserve where we came across the headstone of one of our CND sisters. We definitely came across some amazing sites including Cavendish where we allowed orselves to live into the fantasy world of Anne of Green Gables!

As noted earlier, on one of the evenings, Sue hosted a lively barbecue. The sisters of the Island and young women joined us for a fun night of fiddle music and dancing.

When most had left, the White Plains community, Sue and Libby sat around in the living room with young women who had participated in the present and past Nun Fests. They were filled with much enthusiasm and desire for communal sharing and connection. It was pretty late when they left. However, we were aware how much energy these youngwomen had about Church and community. Their witness energized us. It was truly a Visitation moment that left me wondering, “How can we replicate a Nun Fest in the different parts of the congregation?”

On this trip, Libby was the designated tour guide for the Island and helped us navigate our way to Halifax where we participated in a weekend conference for Religious in Atlantic Canada. The journey to Halfiax, included a stop at the Joggins Fossil Center, a visit to an exotic farm, a view of Peggy’s Cove, a walk along the Halifax boardwalk and more. Just before the conference started, Nina Glinski, CND invited us and Ona Bessette, CND (who also arrived that afternoon to participate in the conference) for a pizza dinner.

The conference was held on the grounds of Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax. Together, with other religious communities (and 12 CNDs), we explored topics pertaining to our common future as religious. It was inspirting to be with Canadian Sisters tackling similar universal questions about the future and about religious life!

And so, next Sunday is our open house. We look forward seeing many of you. We hope to share our enthusiasm and our joy with each of you in our new home. Still much to do as we prepare for Libby’s arrival in late August! But we are filled with encouragement and hope as we look ahead. We are proud of what we have accomplished thus far. Thank you for your support to us this past year! May Marguerite and Mary continue to affirm us in our vocation. May we share the joy of the Gospel with all those we meet. I ask that you pray for us and in a special way to pray for Libby as she makes her way to New York from Prince Edward Island.  Blessed be! Yes, this will be one of our unforgetable trips which left us with many sacred gifts. We saw magnificent beauty. There were many treasures — all of which will be tucked in our memories. We drove the countriside of the East Coast, listened to Canadian and fun music, walked the parks and beaches, and experienced many visitation moments along the way. We came back to White Plains renewed and ready to “keep our hand on the plow, look ahead, and discover new fields” in religious life (title of the conference).


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