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Various Ways Feast Day Was Celebrated Throughout Visitation Province...

Visitation Province

In Woodstock

Marjorie Allison Ross, associate co-coordinator, shown with display at St. Gertrude’s Church in Woodstock, January 12. After Mass, associates gathered at the home of Helen Ross.

In Fredericton

CND sisters and associates attended the Parish Mass at St. Dunstan’s in downtown Fredericton. Father Bill Brennan, with his usual humor and teaching style, spoke about Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys and the CND connection in the area. After Mass, a group of us went to The Lunar Rogue to enjoy nourishment and conversation.

Eleanor McCloskey, CND

At Andrews of Charlottetown

On Saturday, January 12, almost all of the sisters of PEI gathered in the Activity Room at Andrews of Charlottetown to celebrate our St. Marguerite. We began with a Prayer Service led by Sister Anne T. Gillis. This was followed by a delicious steak dinner served by the staff at Andrews. We are grateful for this opportunity to pray and socialize together. Both our bodies and spirits were revitalized.

Réjeanne Bourque, CND

In Summerside

“Today, January 12th, is the Feast of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, Canada’s first woman saint. She is the founder of the Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, who ministered in our parish for 150 years and who continue to minister to the people of God at the Marguerite Bourgeoys Centre.”

This was the introductory paragraph of a presentation on Marguerite Bourgeoys before the Eucharist at which a large number of sisters and associates attended in a body. The parish priest highlighted the feast by including the following intention:

“You inspired Marguerite to found the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame to live and proclaim the gospel as educators;

…guide all teachers and educators as they enable others to grow in knowledge, wisdom, and gospel values.”

Following the service the CND associates and guests were invited to the Centre for refreshments. As a blessing before eating we prayed:

“Spirit of the living God, confirm the awareness of your presence alive and active in us and among us as we celebrate the feast of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys.” We then recited the prayer for families before we settled in with our beverage, sweets and a lively chat.

Marie L. Arsenault, CND

In Miramichi

On January 12th, the new pastoral unit of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys parish in Miramichi, NB, celebrated a special Mass in her honour, followed by a reception in the parish centre. Mass was celebrated by the pastor Father Antonio Reyes and Father Swift. CND associates Gail McKibbon and Frances Connell did the readings. Music was provided by associate Mary Butler. Altar servers were associates Alcide and Gemma Allain. The statue of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys was placed in a prominent place in front of the sanctuary. Father Antonio, new to the parish unit of St. Marguerite, travelled to Montreal recently on a personal pilgrimage to learn more about Marguerite. He visited Bon Secours Museum and Church, and prayed at her tomb. He walked in Old Montreal where Marguerite walked, read books about her and became her friend. He calls himself a beloved devoted son of St. Marguerite and gave a fine homily at her Feast Day Mass. We are very grateful to Father Antonio.

Frances Connell, CND associate

At the CND Health Care Centre in Sydney

A celebration was held on Saturday, January 12th, in recognition of the Feast of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys.

Arlene Rutledge and JoAnn MacLean

Health care co-coordinators

In Kingston

On Sunday, January 13th, sisters and associates of Kingston gathered with the community at Providence Mother House for their regular Sunday Eucharist. At the closing of the Mass, the chapel resounded with the joyous strains of Sing out Her Glory as all joined with the choir in praise of Saint Marguerite whose statue, surrounded by daisies stood in a place of honour in the sanctuary. Following the liturgy, sisters, associates and guests gathered in the auditorium for a delightful video presentation on the life of Marguerite. This video was illustrated and narrated by the students of Notre Dame High School in Toronto and presented by Sister Marijke Gerretsen. This was followed by a review of the past year by means of a slide show of all the events at which CND’s and associates participated. These included the visit of the newer members in the summer and a visit from Japanese students from Sakura No Seibo Junior College in Fukushima. After the video presentation all were invited to a delicious festive dinner in the dining room.

Eleanor Monahan, CND

And the Feast Continues

On Wednesday, January 16th, once again the Sisters of Kingston and their Associates were invited to join in a Mass at Regiopolis Notre Dame in honour of the School's Patron, St. Marguerite Bourgeoys. The student hosts welcomed us at the door and escorted us to the auditorium where the entire student body was assembled. Upon our arrival, all stood in greeting. St. Marguerite was the central focus. Songs, readings and visuals were appropriately chosen. The school band and choir led the group singing. The Chaplain, Friar James Fukes, OFM Conv. gave an inspiring homily, and ministries were performed by teachers and students in a reverend fashion. Tributes were paid to the CND Sisters present and to those of the past. An atmosphere of respect, attention and devotion was sensed amid the presence of so many students gathered. Surely St. Marguerite was as proud as we were to have been part of such a celebration. May Marguerite continue to bless Regiopolis Notre Dame Secondary School.

Barbara Prior, CND

In Toronto

On January 13th, sisters, associates and teaching colleagues from Notre Dame High School filled the first few pews of a packed church for 11 o’clock mass at St. Paschal Baylon parish in Toronto. It was the fulfilment of a dream brought to reality by associate Iole Bada and manifested in the large statue to the right of the altar. Working with the pastor, Iole arranged for this image of St. Marguerite to be presented to the parish as part of our Toronto Feast Day celebrations. During mass Sister Marie Azzarello spoke beautifully about Marguerite’s life and spirituality emphasizing the meaning of the woman and children that the sculptor included. Before blessing the statue, Father Vincenzo emphasized the importance of saints as examples and role models for us today. At the end of mass, the whole church recited together Marguerite’s prayer. Many parishioners came forward to admire and touch Marguerite and offer quiet personal prayers. The statue will stay at the front of the church for a week and will then be installed near the entrance. All were invited to share refreshments in the church hall. This was a wonderful opportunity to meet and greet everyone especially associates who had travelled from well outside the city. Thanks to the initiative of Iole, Marguerite has found a new home in North Toronto and will soon be at home in the hearts of the parishioners. Here is a link to Sister Marie’s reflection:

Ann Gotfryd, associate

In Montréal

Montréal sisters and associates braved Arctic temperatures to join their francophone counterparts and friends of Marguerite for a bilingual Mass at Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel on Sunday, January 13th to celebrate the liturgical Feast of our foundress. The chapel was decked out with an array of “marguerites” conveying a sense of occasion for this annual event. Being the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, our presider Fr. Guy Chapdelaine, Brigadier General and Chaplain General of the Canadian Armed Forces, in his homily aptly tied the call of Marguerite to her baptism, being present to and embracing the needs of the people of Ville-Marie who gratefully referred to her as “Mother of the Colony”.

As per tradition, this annual Mass concluded to the strains of Handel's oratorio, Judas Maccabaeus, with the singing of a bilingual version of “O Marguerite”. Following the Mass, a few of the Montréal Visitation Province associates were photographed with the chapel statue of St. Marguerite, placed in the sanctuary for the occasion and continued the celebration with a festive breakfast in Old Montréal.

Charles Taker, associate

In Ottawa

Ottawa associates and sisters met in the Serenity Renewal for Families conference room for their Feast Day Celebration. We were fortunate to have Alexa Smith join us and to support her and each other in our recent loss. It was also a time to honour the passing of Sr. Louise, whom we all continue to love dearly. It was a time as well to support each other in our grieving. An empty chair, the spot where Louise usually sat, was placed in our circle. Bill and Jacquie Fehlner along with Sister Nina Glinski facilitated a beautiful, gentle afternoon which allowed us to have quiet time, time to share, and a space to honor Marguerite and our journeys together! We then gathered to feast on beautiful soups, breads, cheeses and desserts. A winter delight! A beautiful, healing gathering!

Patricia MacNeil, associate

In Innisfail

On January 14th, the Innisfail sisters and associates of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys parish met for pizza and a beautiful prayer service to commemorate St. Marguerite’s Feast Day. After a time of meditation, we contemplated times when we recognized God working within us. Some very beautiful, heartfelt moments were shared. Thank you to Sisters Marie and Paula for providing the pizza (they slaved all day over their hot pizza ovens).

Millie Hoffos, associate



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