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Memorial Service – December 6

It is difficult to find words to adequately describe the moving candle-lighting ceremony held at the Confederation Center organized by the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women. The ceremony opened with an Aboriginal prayer and the Honour Song. Various officials lit the individual candles in memory of the women murdered in the Montreal Massacre, as well as ten candles honouring the women who have been murdered on PEI by their partners or significant others since 1989. All was silent except for the reading of names and some reflective music playing in the background. The theme of the day was really about honouring survivors, in keeping with that, a young Syrian Refugee woman, Dima Mreesh, was the guest speaker, telling her story of survival. The ceremony ended with a powerful song of survival composed and sung by a young woman who is a survivor. Everyone was then invited to depart in silence. I have attended these memorials for a number of years and never cease to be moved by the reverence and respect surrounding the event and the emotional toll experienced by many participants. I was happy that Sister Marie Hagen could accompany me. 

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Area Gatherings

Area Gathering in Victoria, BC 

On the second Sunday of Advent East met West, as we gathered in Victoria for reflections from the General Chapter. With the sun shining, the birds singing and the grass being mowed, one could hardly realize we had entered the month of December.

Though our numbers were small, we did not lack energy or enthusiasm. We found the process designed for these gatherings very good. With Donna Kelly and Josephine Badali bringing us their personal experiences and insights we felt connected to the whole Congrégation de Notre-Dame community.

As we contemplated, sang, shared and danced we reflected on our past, were attentive to our present reality, and move hopefully into our future.

We were delighted that associate Maria MacDonald was with us adding so much with her insights. Sister Mary Jane Wilson, our hostess, graciously welcomed us to her home, treating us to a delightful meal.

The day was indeed a graced encounter for each of us.

Mildred Chabassol, CND 

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A Cinema Suggestion: Silence

A Film about Faith and Struggle is something that Pastoral Center Publishing is suggesting to watch for in January. The film, based on Shūsaku Endō’s celebrated Japanese novel of the same name, raises deep questions related to faith, loneliness, doubt, suffering, and oppression. The story follows Fr. Sebastian Rodrigues, a seventeenth-century Jesuit priest from Portugal who sneaks into Japan at a time when Christians were brutally persecuted there. Here are some interesting notes about the film:

  • Scorcese, who briefly studied for the priesthood, worked toward this film adaptation for almost 30 years.
  • Pope Francis has read the novel and told Scorcese at a recent Vatican screening that he hopes the film "bears much fruit."
  • Actor Andrew Garfield spoke last night about praying through the 30-day Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in preparation for his role as Fr. Rodrigues.
  • Fr. James Martin, S.J. served as a consultant to the film.
  • The film is a top contender for the Academy Awards, just making it under the wire to be considered for this year.
  • VIEW the Trailer to see some of it.


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