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Grounding Ourselves in Hope



Prayer Service

September, 2019





LEADER:  Creator God—God of our hoping, God of our dreaming—you are the great dreamer.

ALL:  You fill us with hope; you call us to deeper hope, to dreams still undreamed, and to visions still becoming.  As we begin this new year together, awaken us to a deeper way of seeing.  Awaken us to a brighter vision.  May our gatherings be places of healing, peace, and hope for all.  We ask this in faith.  Amen.



A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans

For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with patient endurance.

(Rom 8:24-25)


(Silent Reflection)



"Hope begins where hope begins." (book title and quote by Jon Sobrino)

Sobrino's words seem to express that great mystery at the core of human freedom and responsibility, that mystery we name hope. Without it we do not live.  Indeed, wherever there is life there is hope. Traces of it are found each time we take the next step. Because of its light, we turn the page and we are able to look from one moment to the next.  It looks to a future that can come only as a gift.  It begins where it begins.  And hope, the deep-down kind, has no end.  It is like faith.  It is no less than love.


(Silent Reflection)



Marguerite Bourgeoys:  a Woman of Hope and a Practical Dreamer.

Marguerite dreamed of honoring the life of the journeying Virgin Mary.  “Even without veil or wimple one could be a true religious.”  Although the experimental community of three fell apart in Troyes, Fr. Gendret, her confessor, told her “that what God had not willed (in Troyes) he would perhaps bring to pass in Montreal”.  Torn by conflicting opinions about her going to Montreal, Marguerite turned to Mary.  Her trust was rewarded with Mary’s clear assurance:  ‘Go, I will never abandon you!’   In hope, Marguerite journeyed to New France in 1653.

After two trips back to France, Marguerite had nine women joining her in community.  In 1676, Bishop Laval recognized the small group of ten as ‘secular women’ of the Congregation of Notre Dame within his diocese.  Two decades later, although Marguerite did not prevail in all she wanted with Bishop Laval over the rule for her Congregation ,  her dream was close to realization when on  June 25, 1698, 24 sisters pronounced their public vows as religious in the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal, the first non-cloistered religious community in the New World.   

Marguerite encourages us to place our trust and hope, as she did, in the mercy of our God and in Mary’s help, as we take the creative risks called for in our daily journey through this challenging world.

Based on Louise Finn, CND, Called to Compassion and Patricia Simpson, CND,  Brave Beginnings



  • What words of hope does Jesus speak to me for the coming year? To our Associate group?
  • How do we as Sisters and Associates speak hope to others?





All:  Creator God, increase our hope, (alternate stanzas)

  • Hope is the very condition for the possibility of believing and loving, (response)
  • Hope is the capacity in each of us that is open to God's truth and love, (response)
  • Hope is the dynamism that carries us from now to then, inclining us to look from the present to the future, from what is to what is still to come, and on to what might yet be. (response)
  • Hope is the driving force of all human initiative, the undercurrent of all human activity. It looks for the coming of the new. that which has never been before, (response)
  • We lift up in prayer those we know who are in need of hope….(say response after all names are said aloud)
  • We lift up in prayer our own personal hopes for the coming year….(say response after time for silent prayer)




All:  Loving God, help us to understand more deeply this mysterious reality called "hope," which comes only as a gift from you. Continue to stir up hope in our hearts. May it find a home in us and room to grow so that our life may speak of one long season of hope. We pray in confidence. Amen.




Prayer service (adapted) written by Sr. Barbara McMullen, CDP/March-April 2001

Hope Begins Where Hope Begins, by Michael Downey, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY, 1998, pp. 16, 68,125.



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