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“How Then Shall We Live?”

Visitation East Associates

Submitted by Marjorie Allison-Ross 

Bernadette Fegan, Anna Rowley and I are continuing to visit the various groups in Visitation East to share information about the July Visitation Assembly. Sr. Nancy Sylvester, IHM, was the guest speaker on the topic of “Contemplative Prayer and Dialogue” and the Visitation Province Directional Statement.

On October 2, Anna visited the Pictou/New Glasgow Associates. Marjorie met with the Truro Associates on October 15. Bernadette and Marjorie visited PEI on October 23 and 24. Presentations were given in Summerside on Friday afternoon and in Charlottetown Saturday morning.

The associates and sisters who have attended the presentations to date have expressed gratitude for the information. We encouraged them to practice Contemplative Prayer. 

Photo taken on October 23 when Bernadette and Marjorie visited the Summerside associates and sisters.

Photo taken on October 24 at the Charlottetown meeting of the associates and sisters from the North Rustico and 2 Charlottetown Groups.


On October 14, Marjorie and Dorena Hall visited with some of the Sisters at the Andrews Residence in Charlottetown 

Internationality Prayer

Do you know why we celebrate this on November 16 each year? Marguerite arrived in Ville Marie on that date in 1653. The Internationality Prayer began 18 years ago in 1997.

An ARCAN Reflection  

By Cora Shebib, Sydney, NS 

Associate of Sisters of Charity (Halifax)

How familiar are you with ARCAN? First of all, a reminder that the acronym ARCAN represents Atlantic Religious Congregations Associate Network.

As the ARCAN steering committee gathered for its bi-yearly meeting in June this year we reflected on these questions:

  • Are we, the ARCAN steering committee, getting our message out as well as we could?
  • Is our work making a difference in this new experience of our relationship as sisters and associates in Atlantic Canada?

For a moment or so let's return to the origin of ARCAN and a quote from Congregation of Notre Dame associate Peg Madigan in 2002: “As Sr. Alma MacLellan, CND, and I were working as co-coordinators in Associate Relationship we had often wondered how other congregations were making out in this relatively new venture. After a time of discernment, letters were sent off to our Maritime communities to invite those who were involved in associate leadership to gather together for a two day sharing session with us in Pictou. We began our meeting with prayer followed by a very open agenda, which offered lots of opportunity to share thoughts, ideas and ended with plans to gather again.”

From these simple beginnings ARCAN has grown into a vibrant network for religious and associates in Atlantic Canada.

Although evolving as a group takes time, the ARCAN Steering Committee is encouraged by the great efforts of this energetic committed group. For several meetings we have been working at a Strategic Plan for the network. At our June 2015 meeting we focused on three specific areas: Executive (Succession), Communications and Finance.

The Executive working group is designing an approach that will ensure ARCAN leadership is rotational, consistent, and effective. The Finance group is considering the long range financial viability of the network. And the Communication group is working to ensure sisters and associates are well informed of the work and activity of ARCAN. To realize this communication objective we are writing this article for congregational newsletters in the Atlantic region and hope to submit regular updates that will inform you, our membership. In addition I encourage you to check out our blog at

This article is Part I in a two part series about ARCAN. Part II will be in the December issue. 

COP21 Meeting in Paris November 30-December 11, 2015 

Submitted by Marjorie Allison-Ross 

We are now less than one month away from the start of the COP21 Meeting. This stands for 21st Conference of Parties which began in Berlin in 1995. This year the conference is known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference where 195 nations that make up the United Nations Framework on Climate Change come together with the aim to set a legally binding agreement to keep global warming below what most scientists say is a critical threshold of 2 degrees Celsius of warming. There will be more than 40,000 delegates from the 195 nations in Paris for the meeting. Why should we be concerned about climate change? There has been an increase in forest files, droughts, floods, heat waves, erosion, shifting monsoon patterns, transformation of the Amazon rainforest, rise in sea water, increase ocean acidity. Climate change impacts health, infrastructure, economy and the environment. Although the main impact of COP21 is for the international community to reach a climate agreement, it’s also a great opportunity to remind the citizens of the world what we can do to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our day-to-day lives.

  • The following 10 Climate-Friendly Habits can help us to reduce our impact on the climate:
  • Turn off the light when leaving a room
  • Switch off appliances on standby mode
  • Do not waste water
  • Recycle waste and use fewer disposable products
  • Use energy-efficient appliances
  • Cut down on paper
  • Beware of overheating your home in winter
  • Reduce internet use on your computer, phone and tablet
  • Start cycling, using public transport and carpooling
  • Change your eating habits 

Habit and History: The Impact of Women Religious in Atlantic Canada 

Submitted by Anna Rowley 

On the evening of Tuesday October 27th a free public lecture was held at the Halifax Central Library. The lecture entitled Habits and History: The Impact of Women Religious in Atlantic Canada was delivered by Dr. Heidi MacDonald, Associate Professor of History at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta. Dr. MacDonald illustrated how the history of Atlantic Canada, especially the histories of education, health care, feminism and religion cannot be fully understood without an understanding of the role of women religious. Of particular interest to me was the role of the Congregation of Notre Dame sisters. The first woman religious in what was then Acadia, was a Congregation of Notre Dame sister stationed at Port Royal in 1684 tasked with teaching the children to read and write. In 1727, one CND sister went to Louisbourg and stayed for a few years. Three other CND sisters arrived there in the 1730’s. The CNDs were deported along with others from Louisbourg twice, in 1745 & 1758. After this second siege, there were no sisters in Atlantic Canada for almost 100 years. This region was part of the Diocese of Quebec and the Bishop at the time had a policy of “unstudied neglect” when it came to the Atlantic region. From 1833 various congregations arrived helping to shape the history of this area. Dr. MacDonald’s illustrated talk gave examples from the past to Vatican II through to the present. This talk was filmed and there is a plan to turn it into a DVD which will be made available to the congregations. The evening finished with questions and refreshments. This lecture was sponsored by the Atlantic congregations of men and women religious, as part of the Year of Consecrated Life. 

NACAR Presentation at Sisters of St Martha Retreat

Submitted by Peggy Madigan

The Sisters of St. Martha hosted their annual fall retreat for the associates and sisters on September 18-20. This year’s retreat presenter was Sheila O’Handley. Sheila is a Hermit and lives at a beautiful Hermitage in Newfoundland, a Place of Solitude & Prayer.  The theme or our retreat was ‘My Shadow…. My Other Self’. Our time was spent in reflection and silence and after each input session we were invited to work on the process of finding our ‘shadow selves.’ It was a wonderful weekend retreat that both challenged and gave us all food for thought.  As some may know, I was invited to attend this weekend again this year, to give a presentation at the closing gathering with information on NACAR (North American Conference of Associates & Religious) highlighting our role and activities this past year plus our upcoming 20th Anniversary, the CARA study, and various surveys/results from our membership. I closed with an invitation to check out our active NACAR website plus past and present copies of The Associate.



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