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Coordinators’ Corner

Visitation Province Associates

Awaken your spirit to adventure

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm

For your soul senses the world that awaits you."

John O’Donohue

Welcome, September – a time for new beginnings!

Much has happened since our First Associate Assembly and our last edition of Coordinators' Corner.

• Central Committee Meeting in Montreal in August

• Coordinators' Meeting last week also in Montreal

• Many retreats and gatherings across Visitation Province.


Marjorie Allison-Ross, East

Anna Rowley, East

Dolores MacGillivary, West/North

Pat Weicker, West/North

Jacqueline Fehlner, Central

Karen Volpe, Central

... and Maureen MacIsaac, CND, Province Leadership Team Liaison

On Fire for Mission

Core Values For Living Congrégation de Notre-Dame Mission Orientation

From a Spirit-led Compassionate Heart, we, Congrégation de Notre-Dame Associates of Visitation Province commit to:

• Honour the Sacredness of All Creation

• Unite in Diversity

• Act with Courage and Boldness

• Be Flexible and Open to Change

During our Fall Coordinators' Meeting we worked on the Core Values for a day. We took the consolidations created by the different subcommittees for each Core Value and put each core value into a succinct statement that included thoughts on what it looks like and how we foster it in partial answer to the question "How shall we live?"

We co-coordinators are looking forward to carrying Marguerite Bourgeoys's flame to gatherings of Associate groups in the different areas across Visitation Province. We will begin in October and finish the visits by next Spring.

We want to share the fruits of our first Associate Assembly as we explore with you how both individuals and small groups can put the Congregation de Notre Dame Orientation and Core Values into action in their locale. Together let's generate some ideas and small projects for the 21st century that will carry forward the Compassionate and Spirit-led work that Marguerite Bourgeoys began upon her arrival in Ville-Marie!

We invite all Associates and Sisters to join us in prayerful reflection and exploration at the meeting in your area. May our hearts beat with Marguerite!

Central Committee Gathering: July 31 - August 3, 2018

Our facilitator for the Central Committee meeting was Father Arthur Carillo CP from Los Angeles. He is actively involved in formation programs for laity associated with the Passionists in the United States and has served for 4 years on the Board of the North America Conference of Associates and Religious (NACAR). The theme of the meeting was The Air We Breathe. . . The Wind In Our Sails, and each day Father Arthur made a presentation based on scripture to guide our discussions.

On day 1, he led us to examine discernment and evaluation. Discernment is the process of examining ourselves with the help of the spirit to identify the gifts we have to offer before looking at a ministry that is life-giving and uses those gifts, whereas evaluation is looking at our suitability for a particular job. Discernment is an internal process and calls for prayer, contemplation, trust in God and silence. We were left with the questions "How does my ministry flow from the Congrégation de Notre-Dame charism and lead me to share with those associates I lead. How does this nourish my soul?"

Day 2, he led the group in an exploration of the meaning of charism and how it is lived out in the Community. We looked at the history of Associate Relationship and how it has developed and changed over the years in response to changing dynamics and needs. Many questions were considered regarding the direction Associate relationship needs to take considering how to maintain growth of the associates when sisters leave the region and sisters and associates age.

On day 3, he led us to reflect on the story of Nicodemus (Acts 6:1-7) and ponder how the church in early times developed according to the needs of the members, inspired by the Holy Spirit. We were invited to spend time contemplating how the spirit is acting in the lives of Associates today and how we are responding to those needs.

On day 4, Father Arthur used Acts 4:32 as the basis for the discussion on the role of the Central committee in the future of Associate relationship. The participants were each invited to spend some time in prayer to determine one directive they would like to make to the Central Office and forward it.

We are very grateful for Father Arthur's gentle guidance, input and direction as we contemplated how the Central Committee can best serve the needs of all the Associates in the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, wherever they live in the world.

Purification Ceremony

Wednesday August 1st, 2018 Day 2 of the Central Committee Gathering started with a Purification Ceremony led by Tom Deerhouse. Born to a Mohawk father and Ojibway mother Tom generously shares his knowledge and what it is like to be a First Nations person in 2018 as he spreads the message of healing and reconciliation. The purpose of a purification ceremony is to "make things right" with ourselves and the world, so we can be clear of mind, open of heart and at peace to continue the work of that day. The ceremony began inside with words of thanksgiving to our Creator and everything on earth including the four winds. We then proceeded outside where Tom burned sage in an abalone shell for the smudging. By way of a feather, smoke is brushed towards each person where the medicine cleanses and heals, removing any obstacles to the work that lies ahead.

Troyes, Here We Come!

As we anticipate the 400th Anniversary of the birth of Marguerite Bourgeoys, plans for celebrations are beginning to percolate around the Congrégation de Notre-Dame as well as Visitation Province. One way to celebrate is a Pilgrimage to Troyes, France. The idea began with the Montreal Associates and now the Coordinators of Visitation Province are organizing a Province wide Pilgrimage.

This Pilgrimage is open to all Sisters, Associates and their spouses (regardless if they are Associates or not). The Pilgrimage will be in English and the invitation will be extended to Blessed Sacrament Associates and Sisters as well. It will take place either the latter part of May 2019 or the latter part of September 2019.

JPIC - Monica Lambton

Monica Lambton, coordinator of JPIC (Office of Justice and Peace and the Integrity of Creation) gave an update on present initiatives. Monica Lambton, Associates: Theresa McKerral and Carol Douglas together with Sisters: Anne T. Gillis, Eleanor McCloskey, Mary Corbett, Maura McGrath and Provincial Leadership Team liaison, Sr. Catherine Walker make up the JPIC CORE Committee. Based on the June 2015 Papal Encyclical Laudato Si', they have been exploring action for JPIC's vision 2018-2019.

Everything is beautiful.

Everything is fragile.

Everything is connected.

JPIC is working on many fronts to engage and educate Sisters and Associates. Water, climate and Aboriginal reconciliation will be amongst the upcoming themes. To help associates live out the Congrégation de Notre-Dame Orientation, this Lent, we will coordinate with JPIC to participate in the Give It Up For the Earth campaign across Visitation Province.


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