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Advent Prayer Service

Opening Song

Leader:  During this season of Advent, we pray for the openness and grace we need to live and grow as God’s people.  May God’s light shine brightly through us!

Candle One: Hope

Glory to you, God of Hope…breathe into us new life, new meaning, new hope this Advent.

Candle Two:  Peace

Glory to you, God of Peace…guide our footsteps and lead us in the way of peace and justice.

Candle Three:  Joy

Glory to you, God of Joy…may we be bearers of Visitation joy and welcome to all we meet.

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First Sunday of Advent Reflection

Photo credit: Marie-Claire Dugas

I have been invited to share some Advent reflections with you

Imagine you are a ten year old child getting excited about Christmas and hoping for your favorite gift. Imagine you are a University student preparing for end of semester exams at the beginning of Advent. Imagine you are young parents with three children worried about finding enough money to be able to celebrate this Christmas. Imagine you are an elderly person longing for Christ to come and take her home.

What will you say about Advent to each of these people?

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News from Maria Province (Japan)

Notre Dame de Bon Secours, Pray for us.

As we approach the end of autumn and the month of remembering the souls of the deceased, we recall the memory of our sisters who died this year and their families. Also it is the season of reflecting back on this year.


A meeting of the Associates’ Committee will be held on November 24 at Sensui cho convent. As our membership ages we feel the need to deepen our spirituality related to our activities. We are committed to returning to the true CND identity of Associates which includes more conversation among the associates themselves. Please pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit during this meeting.

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A photography exhibition at Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum

Sacred sites of timeless land displayed for the first time outside of Italy

Starting December 5, 2018, Universal Jerusalem – Gerusalemme universale, the new temporary exhibition at the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum, will explore the historic and cultural importance and the universal nature of the city of Jerusalem, long considered the centre of the world.

Holy city, centre of the world… just two of the names given to Jerusalem over the centuries. Stéphan Martel, historian at the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum, says that “Jerusalem’s shared spiritual value has made it a universal human heritage that we could have examined from the perspective of any of the three great religions of the Book.”



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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Conversations of the Heart: Charlottetown

Our group met on Sunday, November 18th; enjoying, as always, the warm hospitality provided by Sister Sue Kidd. We began with the Prayer for Internationality by lighting a candle as we prayed for each country, and using as a centerpiece the flags of each country. This was followed by the continuation of our sharing personal stories which we had begun earlier in the fall. We continued to be moved by the sometimes sad but, most of all, courageous, interesting and funny stories of our CND journeys from "then until now." We hope to finish these stories at our next gathering and if our memories serve us well, hope to continue to have an appreciation and respect for one another's backgrounds and contributions to Congregation de Notre-Dame life and mission.

Anne T. Gillis, CND

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Dorothy Day: A Modern-Day Saint

On November 8, 1897, Dorothy Day was born in Brooklyn, New York. On November 29, 1980, Dorothy Day died in the Bowery section of Manhattan. A bridge separates these two boroughs of New York.

Dorothy’s life was a bridge, a bridge connecting the homeless with a safe shelter, workers with their rights, the young with a vision for a different future based on cooperation rather than competitiveness, the Catholic with the radical message of the Sermon on the Mount.

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Congregation de Notre-Dame at the Parliament of World Religions

Last week over 10,000 people from many different countries and religious traditions gathered in Toronto for the Parliament of World Religions. I was there on behalf of JPIC to present a workshop featuring the dance performance we had commissioned for the 2016 World Social Forum. The title of our session was "Climate Change: Hope in Action through the Arts". Over 15 keen people were present, several sharing their contact information and asking for copies of the DVD of the dance. Many seeds were planted with this invitation to nurture caring for our common home in new and creative ways. Many thanks to Toronto Associate Karen Volpe who was on hand for tech support.

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PeaceQuest Moves to Next Phase

From the beginning, Visitation Province of the Congregation de Notre-Dame has been supporting PeaceQuest in its goal of creating an alternative recognition of the First World War. Following the four streams of faith, culture, education and policy, for five years events, resources and advocacy actions have been organized across the country. On the occasion of the centenary of the Armistice from WWI, over a hundred people gathered in Kingston last week-end to express gratitude for all that was accomplished and to reflect together on how to continue the vision and momentum of PeaceQuest as it takes on a new form apart from the WWI connection.

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

“Word on Fire” Retreat Held at Our Lady of Hope Centre

Twenty-four Sisters, Associates and Friends of the Congregation de Notre-Dame attended the Associate Retreat held at the Our Lady of Hope Retreat Centre in Breadalbane, PEI from October 29-31. The Retreat Facilitator was Fr. Bill Brennan, Parish Priest at St Dunstan’s, Fredericton, NB. The theme was “Word On Fire”. Our time during the Retreat included educational sessions, quiet time for reflection and prayer, communal prayer, social time and networking with those attending the retreat, walking on the grounds, enjoying the facility and scenery and eating great food. While there, we celebrated 2 birthdays – Sr. Phyllis Gallant and Anna Rowley. We enjoyed the “extravagance” of God’s love during our 3-day Retreat experience. We heard many positive comments from the participants saying that they learned so much and thought the Retreat Centre was a very restful place.

Marjorie Allison-Ross, associate

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News from Visitation Province (Canada)

We Remember Them

On All Souls Day, we gathered for a Memorial Service, during which we prayed, not only for the Visitation Province Sisters who died during the past year, but also for the fourteen Sisters who died at Andrews since we took residence here almost five years ago. (Sisters Margaret Kelly, Marie Bernice Arsenault, Georgina Hughes, Dorothy McCarron, Alfreda Rogers, Margaret Arsenault, Mary Cummiskey, Angela Shea, Elizabeth McCarron, Kathleen Chisholm, Joan O'Connor, Theresa McCarron, Clemmie McCarron and Florence O'Keefe). Their photos were displayed and a candle was lit as each name was read. We are grateful for having had them in our midst. We remember them fondly and we rejoice at their New Life in the presence of the loving God they served so well!

Réjeanne Bourque, CND

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Sister Bea Baker in El Paso

Sister Bea Baker will go to El Paso, Texas on Thursday November 8 to volunteer for 8 days at the Annunciation House for Immigrants. Recently immigration officials have been releasing large numbers of migrants seeking asylum to shelters along the border, and these shelters lack the personnel and funds to deal with this influx. In response, LCWR has asked its congregations to send donations and, where possible, sisters; because of Bea’s generosity, we are able to do both. We are very grateful to her and suggest that all of us pray the following blessing, composed by Sister Rosemary Sullivan, each day Sister Bea is in El Paso.

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Canadian Bishops release a Statement on Water

The issue of water – as sacred and as a human right that so many are deprived of – has been frequently mentioned by sisters and associates as a way to live out care for our common home and going to the peripheries. JPIC is currently preparing for several upcoming actions around protecting water. And so we were very happy to receive the news that the CCCB recently released a statement on water. It is quite a good document and it is helpful to have such encouragement for action on water to come from the Bishops. Council of Canadians Chair Maude Barlow said in an e-mail message, "Always glad to have new and important voices on this issue and the Bishops represent one of them." You can read the full statement here: https://www.cccb.ca/site/images/stories/pdf/CCCB_Drinking_Water_2018.pdf

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Word on Fire

Our Lady of Hope Retreat Centre welcomed associates, sisters and friends to retreat days in PE. Father Bill Brennan of Fredericton was the facilitator offering “a time to tend the eternal flame of the Sacred” within us and in the world. We learned new prayer paths. We explored our own personal graced history, remembering both the bitter wine and the best wine, and we rejoiced in discovering anew the extravagance of our loving God. With words, music, laughter, “spiritual conversation” in groups, quiet time and social time, we shared our stories. Many thanks to Father Bill, and also to Anna Rowley, our associate co-coordinator, planner and organizer of this retreat time.

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Annual Memorial Lecture

Some of our Sisters in the Charlottetown area had the opportunity of attending the 27th annual Daniel O’Hanley Memorial Lecture held on Sunday, October 28, in Our Lady of Assumption Parish Hall in Stratford. The topic was “If You Love This World: Climate Justice and Indigenous Wisdom.” The presenter was Hon. David MacDonald, a well-known United Church of Canada minister and also a former MP. In the late 1980’s, he chaired the first House of Commons Standing Committee on the Environment. As a United Church minister, he has also worked as advisor and facilitator in issues concerning our indigenous peoples. Our UN Sustainable Development Goals regarding the health of our planet are not being met, and the next few years are CRUCIAL. Our indigenous brothers and sisters have long cared for this Earth. It was most fitting that Dr. Judy Clark, a Mi’kmaq from Epekwitk, member of the Abegweit nation and Elder in Residence at UPEI, had been invited to respond and share the indigenous wisdom we have so ignored and are lacking today. The presentations ended with a fruitful question period followed by a time for entertainment and refreshments. It was a very informative and challenging afternoon.

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News from the Vocation/Formation Committee

When one door closes, another opens! For several years the Vocation/Formation Resource Committee has been hoping to have a community in Toronto which would welcome persons who wish to nurture their faith life and/or learn more about religious life. Today, we are delighted to tell you that our dream is becoming reality.

In the early new year, Marguerite Residence will become a House of Welcome. Many details remain to be worked out, but two members of our committee have agreed to get this project off the ground. Sisters Josephine Badali and Sheila Sullivan have agreed to take responsibility for this initial stage. As the project evolves, it is their hope to invite others to participate in this ministry. Please pray for this new mission.


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Fourth Annual Blessed John Henry Newman Mass and Dinner

The Fourth Annual Blessed John Henry Newman Mass and Dinner was held Friday, October 26, 2018. Like the previous three years, the Provincial Leadership Team bought a table local sisters and associates to attend with students. The theme this year was “Going Global with Faith and Knowledge” and 4 students shared their experiences of Honduras, Mexico and Malta. All excursions were the beneficiary of previous Newman Dinners. Also at the dinner were the four women from Visitation Place as Elizabeth was a speaker and Emily concluded the evening with song. Arranging the photo proved challenging with a lot of laughs and a few photo crashers but our perseverance was rewarded with this great memento of the evening. Having the four from Visitation Place in the same place at the same time was another perk of the evening.


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Climate Change: Hope in Action through the Arts

The Visitation Province JPIC office will be presenting a workshop at the Parliament of World Religions in Toronto on Saturday, November 3 from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. The title of our workshop is, "Climate Change: Hope in Action through the Arts".

We will be showing a DVD of the live dance performance from the 2016 World Social Forum in Montreal. The dance piece, "Mechanical Waltz" was commissioned with the professional dance company Ballet Ouest de Montreal by the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. It was also performed live at the 2017 CND Social Justice Network Meeting. The workshop will also discuss the arts in general as a way to bring spirituality to the important work of "caring for our common home". All our welcome to attend. 

For registration and program information: https://www.parliamentofreligions.org

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News from Blessed Sacrament Province

Encounter Mary the Black Madonna: Her Importance Today

News from Visitation Province (Canada)

Going to the Peripheries…

On October 17 representatives of several Island organizations, MacKillop Centre for Social Justice, Development and Peace and others were on the streets in Charlottetown, Cornwall and Summerside to observe the International Day for Poverty Eradication. I stood on Lower Queen Street in Charlottetown handing out bags containing a post card to the Prime Minister, a refrigerator magnet and a toffee candy to chew on. The post card tells Mr. Trudeau that "We Still Need a Plan" that will be an effective tool to end poverty, food insecurity, and homelessness in Canada. Participants in the campaign will be calling for the federal government to strengthen the newly-released Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy so that it is comprehensive, rights-based, legislated, and fully-funded.

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