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400th and 50th in Cameroon

Angèle Ngo Ngok, CND

“My sister, my brother, my friend, the hand that takes from us tomorrow will make things grow without asking us our opinion.”

With these words from the song of the Saguenay, I invite you to live this official opening of our festivities. I feel that the opening of the year of the 400th anniversary  of the birth of Marguerite Bourgeoys and of the 50th anniversary of CND presence on African soil merits a special time of preparation.

On this occasion or at this time of preparation, we will ask the Lord, through the intercession of Marguerite Bourgeoys, for the grace of living this time of preparation in love, reconciliation and mercy and of finding a new  missionary fervour, like that of our  founding mother, in order to set the world ablaze  with the contagious fire of love and faith.

Enter Into The Celebration Of The 400 Years Of Life Given And 50 Years Of Shared Wisdom In The CND

Double Alliance Anniversary:

To prepare for the celebration:

  1. a large candle
  2. two flags (France and Cameroon)
  3. a poster of Marguerite for the 400th anniversary
  4. a poster of the group of 6 foundresses
  5. a globe

Opening Song

Je veux chanter ton amour, Seigneur

R/

Je veux chanter ton amour, Seigneur chaque instant de ma vie,

Danser pour toi en chantant ma joie et glorifier ton Nom !

 

1-Ton amour pour nous est plus fort que tout

Et tu veux nous donner la vie,

Nous embraser par ton Esprit. Gloire à toi!

 

2-Oui, tu es mon Dieu, tu es mon Seigneur,

Toi seul est mon libérateur,

Le rocher sur qui je m'appuie. Gloire à toi!

 

3-Car tu es fidèle, tu es toujours là,

Tout près de tous ceux qui te cherchent,

Tu réponds à ceux qui t'appellent. Gloire à toi !

4-Voici que tu viens au milieu de nous,

Demeurer au cœur de nos vies

Pour nous mener droit vers le Père. Gloire à toi!

 

5-Avec toi, Seigneur, je n'ai peur de rien,

Tu es là sur tous mes chemins,

Tu m'apprends à vivre l'amour. Gloire à toi !

Psalm 126 taken from the book « Psaumes de la savane » p. 199

“If the Lord does not build the house, then it is in vain that the guards toil.”

 

If your God does not bless the square that you make,        

Your feet knead the clay in vain;

If God is not chief of your village,

Vain is the protection of all chiefs.

 

You are wasting your time rising at dawn,

Staying in your fields when night has fallen,

Your saabou will give you no strength,

But the blessing of God gladdens his sons.

 

God gives you your children,

Sons who are born, his best gifts.

Your young children are your pride and joy

They are better than the hunters’ arrows.

 

Happy is he who fills his plot of land with his sons,

He has more than the richest chief

When the wicked judges come to accuse him

His sons will surround him better than an army.

Let us take the time to listen to our mother Marguerite who is speaking to us.

The first Christians, our models.

“The first thing that was noted about the first Christians is that they were one heart and one soul in God and that they possessed nothing of their own as individuals; all their goods were held in common among them.  Imitating them and the example of the Blessed Virgin who had the care of the first Christian community after the death of her Son, we must live together in perfect union in the Congregation.  Without this union, there is no community.  Above all, this must be a union of hearts and minds, conforming to the same spirit of grace which ought to animate us.  It is a spirit of simplicity, littleness and poverty, of detachment from all things and abandonment to God who should draw us all toward the same good…” WMB, p. 67

Time of Silence and Reflection

“Let us remember all the pioneers who worked for the great achievement before our eyes today in Cameroon (Sr. Jeanne Beaudouin, Sr. Collette Ouellet, Sr. Solange Monfet, Sister Yvonne Lamonde, Sister Françoise Baril, Sr. Fernande Dubé).

Before this act of grace, what rises within me during this time of thanksgiving? For what do I want to give thanks to the Lord by remembering?

Second Place

“It seems to me that we are charcoal ready to be kindled and that Holy Communion is entirely suited to set us on fire.” p. 204

With this reality in mind, let us take the time to pray this text by Dominique and, through the intercession of Marguerite Bourgeoys, ask the Lord for the grace of having a heart open to welcoming the beauty of love and to live by it

Unconditional Love

Everyone believes they know how to love but, in reality, very few people do. I’m talking about true love, love without the desire to “possess.”

To love without tying down but, rather, by leaving the other free to exist outside oneself. This does not mean resigning oneself to not having exclusivity and pushing the other to being unfaithful, on the contrary, it is to want as the highest proof of love that they be faithful, above all else, to themselves.

This kind of love involves understanding, complete respect for the person we love and also for oneself. This means not imposing ones wants and desires on the other person and not wanting to exercise any kind of power over them. In reality, we truly love when we do not use the other person’s weaknesses as our strength.

To truly love, we must, of course, be fully aware that our current way of loving is very often shaped by the lack of affection we received at childhood and by the false or demeaning ideas we were given by those close to us, society, the supposed morality.

When we hope and we do everything we can so that the other returns to us the love that we may have missed during our childhood, we are asking too much of them. How could they ever live up to such expectations? No man or woman can replace that love...

We must, therefore, come to terms with that, stop thinking about a better past, accept what it was and forgive oneself for having carried this suffering for so long. In order to move forward, one must also take partial responsibility in all things and not continually run away from it by placing the blame on someone else.

Then, we must see in ourselves our own value, because we all have one; in reality we are all unique, special people, children of God, as wonderful as can be. Thus begins a work of resilience that enables us to transcend the suffering and finally begin to love fully the person we really are. Only then can we truly love others for who they are and not for who we would like them to be.

Third Place: Intercessions

“It seems to me that we do not pay enough attention to prayer, for unless it arises from the heart which ought to be its center, it is no more than a fruitless dream. Prayer ought to carry over into our words, our thoughts and our actions.” WMB, p.169

Reading of a quote from the letter written by Lorraine Caza on July 16, 1997 to Solange Monfet to accept or welcome Cameroonians into the CND and to announce her nomination as first mistress of novices.

“Very dear Sister Solange,

At the Council meeting on July 16, I had the pleasure of presenting to my companions the proposal that had benefited from a long period of reflection in the region of Cameroon and among us – that you become the first novitiate director in the region. It goes without saying that the candidates will have to begin by going through the pre-nocitiate stage, but for the sake of unity and cohesion in the formation process, in the content offered and in the means implemented to reach the objectives, it is important that, beginning today, you work together with Sister Simone, director of candidacy, and the sisters of Tchéré, privileged witnesses and support for this phase of formation… Rest assured that I carry in my prayers the great act of faith that is being carried out by opening the Congregation to Cameroonian women at this time in our history. I am certain that God is doing and will do great things…”

Lorraine Caza, Congregation Leader

Refrain: “like the oil in a lamp turns into light, may our lives be prayer and light in the night”

Then, reading of extracts from the vocation story of the first candidates as they answer the question: What drew you to the CND?

  • “I first learned of the CND when I was 13 years old thanks to Gilberte Bussière… I decided to enter because I was attracted to the Visitation charism and it was a good way of learning more about Marguerite Bourgeoys, a daring builder, a woman of faith whose resourceful charity found answers to the calls and needs of her time.” Assaya Irène
  • “I learned about the CND 7 years ago. I had a strong attraction to the Visitation charism. It helps me be in union with the others and help them through my presence, my smile and my friendship… the formation I receive each day brings hope to my life…” Annie Mballa
  • “Wind, no one knows where it comes from and where it goes. One evening in April 1997, this wind pushed me when I learned, through the voice of Sister Yvette Dubois, that a Marguerite Bourgeoys was a woman of Visitation… Discovering God’s plan is no easy task because he sometimes leads us on unmarked trails in order to respect our freedom… which deepens the desire for God in me…” Simone Jeannine Mmolo
  • “I have known the CNDs since 1977 in Ebolowa… I remain marked by the tenacity of their commitments, their special attention to the disconcerting reality of their milieu, their actions fostered by the desire to fight the injustices in their own way… be close to their brothers and sisters in the love received from Jesus Christ to be with God the Father…” Blandine Essono

Refrain : He does wonders for you and for me,

He has done wonders alleluia!

So many free and personal intentions…

Pater each in her own language.

Closing prayer to recite throughout the jubilee year:

Almighty and everlasting God, we give you thanks

For the gift of life, for Marguerite Bourgeoys’s vocation,

And for the spiritual heritage she bequeathed to us 400 years go.

We glorify your Name and we recognize your active presence

In the works of her daughters and sons throughout the world.

 

Today, the charism and spirituality of this woman,

Who gave new spirit to the Church and to society,

Continue to inspire men and women today.

The flame received set another group of women on their way

On African roads on Cameroonian soil and continues to touch people today.

 

And we want to thank the faithful God, good and merciful,

Through his son Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, who nourished and inspired,

Stimulated and made daring those who are impassioned by the Gospel

To send the Congregation of Notre Dame there 50 years ago.

 

Enriched by this great work, we pray to you Lord

Through the intercession of Notre-Dame-des-Apôtres, patron saint of Cameroon

And of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, our foundress

To grant us throughout this jubilee year

The grace of reconciliation and of mercy, of love and of unity.

May we remain open to our sisters and brothers

May we be creative and innovative according to the Word.

 

In the example of the first Christian community,

May we show ourselves to be joyful witnesses to the Good News,

May the Church and its children find, once again, reasons to hope,

Faith despite the headwinds, the hope of reaching one day your eternal bliss

And praise through the choir of angels the beauty of your Name.. Amen!

 

Notre-Dame des Apôtres, pray for us!

Sainte Marguerite Bourgeoys, intercede on our behalf!

 

Enjoy the celebration and the beginning of the festivities!

For the Region of Notre-Dame des Apôtres,

Ngo Ngok Angèle, CND

 

 

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