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Winter/Spring 2015 Associate Newsletter: Visitation Province, West/North

Visitation Province

Feast of the Visitation and the CND Corporate Stance

Greetings one and all,

Pentecost has come and a new season begins, that of “Ordinary Time.” To some that may sound like the valley bottom after being on the peaks of the Easter Season, but it is in the valleys that we live our daily lives, encountering our God in the ordinary and the everyday just as St. Marguerite Bourgeoys did. May our deep trust in that “ordinary” encounter sustain us and lead us to deeper love in action.

This year, as you know we are being challenged to climate action. When we renew our commitments to associate relationship this spring we are also being invited to sign our support for the Congregation of Notre Dame Corporate Stance on the environment.

We have had many special moments since January and it is with joy that we have heard all that has happened and pass the ‘good news’ to each of you.


2015 Congregation of Notre Dame Area Gathering at CACHE CREEK

 

Although we missed the Naramata campus that had hosted us so well for past annual gatherings, we discovered many advantages to the Immaculate Heart Retreat Centre in Cache Creek. It was good to be under one roof and have our meals provided by the brothers ample and delicious cuisine. We were also delighted to be part of the local parish Sunday morning who celebrate Eucharist in the chapel there.

Monica Lambton, our province’s chair for the Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation Committee (JPIC), led our reflections on the connection between our Congregation of Notre Dame spirituality and our call to care for the environment. She helped us clarify the climate action that is required if we are to protect our world and the commitment we make in the Congregation of Notre Dame Corporate Stance should we sign it this May.

We looked forward to the upcoming Province Assembly in Toronto, “How Then Shall We Live” and the proposed process to prepare for the general chapter, August 2016 in Cornwall, “Rooted in Jesus Christ, let us cultivate love and compassion.” We delighted in sharing our lives and the events of the past year with associates from diverse places in the West in the relaxed and beautiful surroundings of the Centre. We ask your prayers for the people of Cache Creek, for the safety of the Centre and its staff after the flash flood of May 23rd. 


Visit of our General Leadership Team to Visitation West /North

Sister Josephine Badali’s Visit To Cranbrook, April 14-16

          

The Cranbrook Associates indeed felt truly blessed to have Sister Josephine Badali visit us as part of the leadership tour of Visitation province. She arrived at Christ the Servant Parish on April 14th late in the afternoon. During this time there was the opportunity to introduce new associates, for others to become reacquainted, and for a few of her dear close friends, a wonderful reunion. It was a time to reminisce about the many years sister Josephine spent in Cranbrook and to share with us her life since leaving Cranbrook. There are 17 Cranbrook Congregation of Notre Dame Associates along with five members who are still attached long distance to the Cranbrook group. We have been without a Congregation of Notre Dame Sister present in our community since Marywood Retreat Centre closed down four years ago so this was a welcome visit. The loss of the sister’s presence in Cranbrook has touched the Cranbrook community deeply.

After dinner, we met for prayer, song, reflection and thanksgiving. The highlight of the evening was a presentation by Sister Josephine bringing us up to date on the current status of the Congregation and the many ways the Congregation of Notre Dame has contributed to the early growth of education and the Catholic faith in Canada, the USA and beyond. Sister Josephine touched on the many varied individual missions carried out at present by the sisters.

The associates shared what being an associate meant to them at this time in their lives. The comments touched on the sharing of faith, the support we give each other, the deepening of our spirituality through association with each other and the support systems provided by our local and provincial teams. We recognize the need to focus on developing leadership skills within the membership to take us into the future. There have been so many examples to remind us that we are part of a much larger whole. With more time we would have included a discussion about the parish and community involvement of each of the members but time was short.

At the end of the presentation Teresa Knight, our group artist, presented sister Josephine with a painting of the Rocky Mountains and surrounding area to remind her of days gone by.

We would have difficulty expressing what sister Josephine’s visit meant to each of us and thank her for taking the time to meet and share with us. Thank you, Sister Josephine, for the visit.

On the Road to Trail…

After a restful night Sister Josephine and Sister Nancy drove to Trail over the beautiful Kootenay Pass.

In the afternoon we joined Sister Norma and the associates from the West Kootenay at the home of Maureen Wiley for Sister Josephine’s presentation and for a delightful pot luck supper. Sister Josephine’s presence stirred many memories of other gatherings while she lived among us. It was a time of re-connection and of celebrating our Congregation of Notre Dame relationship.


Sister Anne’s Visit to Innisfail, April 21-22

Sisters and associates met for the Leadership Visitation at Marguerite Bourgeoys School, April 22nd in Innisfail, AB. Sister Anne Leonard presented an overview of the History of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame and their foundress Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys. There was time for discussion and sharing of ideas following the presentation.

A wonderful informative evening ended with refreshments. Because of the love and determination of our foundress Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame continue to be committed to the education of women and to issues of social justice. We thank Sister Anne for her good works and Visitation.


Sister Anne Leonard visits Kelowna April 20th

  

     


Feast Day Celebrations January 12th, Cranbrook

The East Kootenay associates gathered on January 12th in the Parish Prayer Room at Christ the Servant Church. We used the Feast Day Prayer from Sister Joan Mahoney as the major focus of our discussion. We are going to use portions of the Year Long Retreat on Marguerite … each meeting to make sure that we keep Marguerite in our focus throughout the year. A portion of each meeting will also be spent sharing thoughts and observations as we read through the Joy of the Gospel.

(Submitted by Mary Fiorintino) 


West Kootenay 

On Monday, January 12th, we gathered at the home of associates, Chris and Gerry Sobie, to celebrate the feast of St. Marguerite on the actual date. Chris and Gerry, our most recent Associates to move to the West Kootenays, welcomed us to their home. It gave us the opportunity to meet them in their new surroundings and to become better acquainted. After a joyful and exuberant welcome, the stage was set for a lively and life-giving session that flowed from the prayer service that was prepared and shared with us by Sister Joan Mahonney of Blessed Sacrament Province. There was no shortage of input from this session.

We then enjoyed a sumptuous potluck dinner that renewed our energy for what would follow in the early afternoon. Earlier, we had decided that the Joy of the Gospel would be our focus for the coming year, and so following our meal, we returned to our circle where we undertook our first study session focusing on the Introduction. In this process, we are assisted by resources, especially the guide that is freely available online from RCSpirituality.org. Of special note — clearly, our enthusiasm and our understanding were greatly enriched due to the efforts of Sister Nancy Hurren and Pat Weicker, co-coordinators, who came to us in November to generously provide a day of retreat on this very topic – Joy of the Gospel. Hopefully, we will become more engaged with our faith lives due to this study!

(Submitted by Maureen Wiley) 


Kamloops

Kamloops came together to renew their associate commitment January 12th, the feast of St. Marguerite, with a prayer service and pot luck.


Innisfail

We had a lovely celebration on January 12th which aside from good food, included welcoming Dolores MacGillivary, an associate from Pictou NS, and her husband Wayne to our group. They recently moved to Airdrie to be closer to their daughter and granddaughter and we feel blessed to have them join our group.

After supper and some social time, we prayed the prayer service prepared by Sister Joan Mahoney and reviewed and shared the Circular from December. Our plan over the next while is to focus our time discussing the message of Pope Francis in “The Joy of the Gospel.”

(Submitted by Millie Hoffas) 


Okanagan

The associates from the Kelowna, Penticton, and Summerland gathered on January 11th at Pat Weicker’s house to celebrate the feast of St. Marguerite. We started the afternoon with the prayer service from Sister Joan Mahoney which generated a good deal of reflection and discussion on living Marguerite’s charism in our daily lives. We then discussed the information sent by Doreen Gowans concerning human trafficking and will spend time during our February meeting pursuing the topic in more detail.

An always delicious pot luck meal was shared after our prayer and discussion time, and we were able to spend time catching up on each others’ lives.

(Submitted by Pat Weicker) 


Lower Mainland 

Seven of the associates from the Lower Mainland gathered at Jose and Malin’s home on January 11th and shared delicious soup, homemade tacos and sweet bread prepared by Malin. They shared the prayer service from Sister Joan and reflected on challenges facing their families as well as the consumerism, in the Advent/Christmas season. Prayers were offered for Eileen and Sol who are not well and unable to attend the celebration.

(submitted by Anne Stuart) 


Quesnel 

Looking forward the Feast Day of St. Marguerite next Monday, January 12, 2015. I am the only associate left in Quesnel but continue to honor St. Marguerite at St. Ann's, and her statue stands proudly in the church foyer as a reminder. Marilyn Kuzek and I have offered the mass intention on that day for all the Congregation of Notre Dame sisters and associates. God Bless you all.

Love, Anna Marshall 


News from the Wider Congregation of Notre Dame Community 

Associate communities in Eastern Canada are looking to transition to a new co-coordinator of Associate Relationship. Your prayers are requested as the communities enter into a discernment process to select a replacement for Winnie Odo.

Congratulations to Mary Fiorintino and Teresa McKerral who will be attending the Province Assembly along with Pat and Sister Nancy in Toronto in July. Dolores MacGillivary has offered to stand by if needed. Thanks to all who let their names stand.

 

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