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Visitation Province

Approaching Truth, and Reconciliation:

A Personal Journey with Visitation and Pentecost Spirituality

On September 9 and 10, some 40 Sisters and Associates came together from coast to coast for the 2022 Howe Island Virtual Gathering. The theme of the gathering was framed by a shared desire to continue developing a more informed, respectful and meaningful relationship with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. Participants were invited to step into a safe space in order to explore more deeply both personal and communal responses and responsibilities to and for truth and reconciliation.

Grounded in the Gospel of St John (Chapter 9 – Jesus Cures the Man Born Blind) and examined considering Visitation Spirituality, Sisters and Associates considered the meaning of truth and truth- telling. Similarly, they reflected on reconciliation and our call to imitate the journeying life of Mary through Pentecost Spirituality as we move towards a sense of community and service with and for our Indigenous sisters and brothers. Learning from those whose lives have been shaped by the Doctrine of Discovery and the legacy of Indian Residential schools, and reflecting on the impact of the Pope’s penitential visit to Canada in July of this year, we listened and shared.

Participants described the experience as “remarkable and transformative . . . well-researched. . . timely and meaningful. . . thoughtful and thought-provoking. . . offering with hope and joy a future of reconciliation for the earth community called Canada.”

Wilma de Rond, Associate


Special Gathering this August

This past August I was privileged to celebrate sixty years since our ceremony met for the first time at the Mother House, in Montreal. Growing up in North Rustico, back in those days a small, quaint village in PEI, my family lit that first flame that kindled life-long dreams and ambitions. This summer a new flame was lit within me... a flame of gratitude for my long-time connection to the Congregation of Notre Dame.

In August 1962 twelve or more young women took the train from the Maritimes to Montreal to enter the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. At the same time other young women from Ontario and Quebec traveled to Montreal to the Congregation Mother House all eager to answer God's call to consecrated life.

This summer six of us were privileged to return to the land of St. Marguerite. The sisters at de Sève Residence welcomed us with open arms and offered wonderful hospitality. Sister Maura McGrath, Sister Sheila Sullivan and Antoinette T. organized a remarkable reunion for the six of us who were able to attend. We remembered in prayer those who could not be there and those who have died, including the sisters who participated in our formation.

It was a joy to visit Dawson College (former Congregation Mother House) and to relive memories of our time in the Mother House sixty years ago. We were warmly welcomed and given a grand tour of the Peace Garden, the Infinity Walk. Dawson's education model focuses on sustainability and well-being... well-being for all. How pleasing this would be to Marguerite Bourgeoys! The highlight for me was being in the chapel (now the library). This was an emotional moment. Saturday found us out at Antoinette's cottage in Île Perrot. On Sunday we spent the entire afternoon at Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel basking in the spirit of Marguerite Bourgeoys. It was truly a blessing. Maura, Paula and I were privileged to proclaim God's Word at Mass. While there, we were happy to meet associates Carl and Peg.

Sunday evening, our last evening together was special. The six of us enjoyed dinner at de Sève and afterwards gathered to pray, to give gratitude for our journeys solidified sixty years ago at 3040 Sherbrooke St. West in Montreal, the sacred ground of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys.

Throughout these blessed days we celebrated each other's life bound by Marguerite's dream. As our journey continues, celebrating autumn's wisdom, we strive to remain faithful to Marguerite's charism and 'dare to live the Visitation' especially by being in solidarity with our marginalized sisters and brothers everywhere.

Gratefully,

Dorena Gallant Hall, Associate


Miramichi Associates 

On August 14, we celebrated 40 years of Associate Relationship with a gathering at beautiful Oak Point overlooking Miramichi Bay under clear blue sky, warm sunshine, with sparkling waves lapping the shore, squirrels and birds and tall pine trees all around us. We gathered around our sacred white spruce tree with flags representing our group. The tree, a tiny one, was planted a few years ago. We called it Marguerite’s Tree. Now it is flourishing and taller than we are. We had a prayer service with intercessions around the tree and we sang the wonder and beauty of creation while our flags flapped in the breeze.

Frances Connell Enriquez, Associate


Birthday Party!

Sister Charlotte Lockhart enjoyed her 102nd birthday September 17th. Windsor Court residents and staff celebrated the day before, and a small luncheon was arranged on the day itself. A special treat for Sister Charlotte for this year’s birthday was the visit of her niece Penny, coming from Ontario.

Eleanor McCloskey, CND


Each year, September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the children who never returned home and survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.

September 30 is also Orange Shirt Day: Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day intended to raise awareness of the individual, family and

community inter-generational impacts of residential schools, and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters.” The orange shirt is a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.

Kathy Kelly, Associate

 

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