Items filtered by date: April 2020
An important event took place in our region of America North-East. Cécile Côté’s hundredth birthday
A hundred years calls for a celebration
Celebrating the hundredth birthday of one of the pioneer Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate was a joyful event for Cécile’s family, the Oblates, the Augustinians, the employees and Father Julien Campagnat, a close friend of the family. It was a niece, Louise, and her husband, Rémi Piché, who brought us together January 11, 2020, six dates before the actual birthday date.
We were welcomed at the Monastery of the Augustinians by family members including Louise’s daughter, Mégan and her little daughter Mia, who led us to the Frontenac Room and made us feel at home.
We expressed with simplicity how Cécile had been loved by all and in all the milieus where she carried out her mission. We were unanimous in describing her unconditional love, her competence as a nurse (the inhabitants of the Magdalene Islands referred to her as their doctor), her joy, her tenacity, her prayer of supplication, her trust and the peace she radiated.
Cécile was visibly moved by the presence of our President, Denise Desrochers. With her usual polished skill and simplicity, Denise expressed a warm tribute to our jubilarian, a founding member of the Institute and missionary with a heart of fire, highlighting her audacious faith and her constant availability.
Those who knew her well can tell facts and stories about her many involvements.
Her niece Louise, who organized the celebration, told of her devotion to her aunt in the following terms: “I had the privilege at various times of being in touch with Aunt Cécile during her years at Neuville and St-Augustin-de-Desmaures, in the company of her brother, Émile, but more particularly between her two missions abroad, when she would touch down for a period of rest and to visit with her loving family. I have fond memories of these moments.
Since my early childhood she inspired me by her dedication, her tenacity, her capacity to learn and to adapt. She was before her time, always up-to-date, fearless and a go-getter, able to evolve in a world of constant change.
Her studies in education, nursing and psychiatry proved to be valued assets, allowing her to face up to the worse and appreciate the best. Having grown up one of 14 children on a farm with theparents and grand-parents, relationship, sharing and mutual help were part of her DNA.
What she accomplished in a century of life is impressive. She worked amongst the underprivileged in conditions that, at times, were hard. She would tell stories of her missionary life with the fireof one who was committed and happy with her calling. She was where she belonged.
She left her print on the roads of the world and in the memory of those with whom she rubbed shoulders.
Let us celebrate the hundred years of the woman she has been and remains in her head andheart and will always remain in our heads and hearts.”
The tribute continues with Martine Poulin expressing the gratitude the Haitians hold for Cécile.
I personally got to know Cécile through the witnessing of others as expressed by simple people. In 1956, Cécile was sent to Haiti as a missionary. She arrived at Tiburon, a small village at the southern tip of the island in October. She is thefirst nurse to work at that dispensary.
Ten years later, I was sent to Tiburon. The people still remembered Mademoiselle Cécile and ask about her. These are the comments Iheard: she was very competent, she knew how to treat her clients and her prayer was very powerful. Through herprayer she healedthe sickthat could not be healed by medication alone. (According to popular belief, these illnesses were attributed to evil spells.)
This beautiful witnessing I heard many times over! The people had perceived spiritual strengthin her. In 2010, after the earthquake, I returned to Tiburon for a visit and, still, people who had known her asked about her. Congratulations, Cécile, you were a witness. Thank you.
The celebration continued in joy around the sharing of food and a birthday cake. Gathered around our jubilarian we were of one heart as we watched herblow out the candles; engaged in the moment we forgot to take a photo.
In response to my message of congratulations to Louise for the success of the celebration, Louise wrote, “A celebration is a success only with the participation of people with heart, like our dear Oblates. What a fine group we were!”
Our thanks go out as well to the Augustinians who made the event happen by allowing us a place to gather; they joined in the celebration with us. Thanks as well to Rémi Piché who served as photographer providing us souvenirs of our gathering. Thanks to Louise and herfamily too who allowed usto be part of Cécile’s place in the great Côté family. It was a true celebration for all who were present.
Testimonies collected by Raymonde H.
Every six weeks or so, for several years now, I gather a groupe of people who are interested in the Bible.
We explore together texts from the Old and New Testaments, while searching the meaning for our spiritual life.
When the pandemic started with the confinement, some were disappointed to be deprived of these meetings. So, I thought of making short "biblical videos" on Facebook, lasting 20 to 30 minutes. Each video ends with a prayer that links to its theme.
The result was that people asked for more and the number of listeners grew every time I posted a new video. So I prayed more to understand the will of God and I was looking for the most suitable themes for what we were experiencing at the present moment, in correspondence with the liturgical time of the year: Holy Week, Easter, Ascension, the Eucharist. ..
Through these videos, I therefore seek to give meaning to our experience during this pandemic, through the liturgical texts of the present time. I also seek, as Origen said, to bring out the "core"of the texts, in other words, the main message or symbolism behind the text, which strikes the imagination and gives a new perspective to the text .
I hope that these short videos will help you in meditation and make you live a renewed relationship with the Lord Jesus, the Risen One.
I thank my Oblate leaders who encouraged me to continue them.
Violaine Couture, here is my youtube channel
List of videos, French only. Click on the titles to view on the Institute's youtube channel.
1. LEVER LES YEUX VERS LE CHRIST
Au désert, Moïse éleva un serpent d'airain sur un poteau pour qu'en le regardant les Hébreux soient libérés des conséquences des morsures de serpents multiples. Le Christ a été élevé en croix pour nous libérer des maux qui nous assaillent. Il nous invite à lever les yeux vers lui.
2. COVID-19 : JUGEMENT DE DIEU?
La pandémie actuelle est un événement inédit. Par certains, elle pourrait être considérée comme un jugement de Dieu. L'auteur tente de différencier entre un jugement de condamnation et une interpellation. Elle situe le tout dans un contexte d'alliance entre Dieu et les êtres humains, contexte qui implique surtout la miséricorde comme jugement ultime.
3. LE SHABBAT DES ÊTRES HUMAINS ET DE LA TERRE
Voilà une pandémie qui nous jette soudainement dans l'immobilisation, dans un arrêt subit... Cela fait réfléchir... Peut-être sommes-nous trop dans l'activisme ignorant les besoins de repos pour le corps, l'âme et l'esprit? Et que dire du repos dont la Nature ne cesse de rêver pour se refaire une beauté? Dans la Bible, Dieu demande un repos hebdomadaire, le shabbat... pour que chacun puisse se ressourcer en Lui.
4. MARIE ET LA SEMAINE SAINTE
Marie, mère de Jésus. Nous nous interrogeons souvent sur son rôle, surtout au moment de la passion de son fils. Quel serait le message qu'elle voudrait nous livrer en cette semaine sainte?
5. PÂQUES : DU CONFINEMENT À LA LIBERTÉ
Le confinement que nous vivons en ce moment pèse sur chacun de nous physiquement et psychologiquement. Pâques est le rappelle de la libération que Jésus est venue nous apporter. Jésus a été "confiné" sur la croix pour nous sauver et nous libérer intérieurement. En lui nous avons la guérison. Il peut ouvrir la liberté intérieure alors que nous sommes confinés physiquement parlant. Tournons-nous vers lui.
6. PÂQUES : DU REPENTIR À LA CONVERSION À LA MISÉRICORDE
On confond souvent "repentir" et "conversion"... Bien sûr, les deux termes se rejoignent. Mais une petite nuance s'impose: le "repentir" est le début de la conversion, le moment précis où on se sent touché, où on se voit dans notre misère et où on la reconnaît devant Dieu. Ensuite vient la conversion, le retournement, moment où on prend la décision de changer et où on pose des gestes concrets pour changer. Vient ensuite l'accueil de la miséricorde de Dieu.
7. LE RESSUSCITÉ TRAVERSANT NOS PORTES CLOSES
Jésus ressuscité a traversé les portes closes du Cénacle où les disciples se rassemblaient suite à la crucifixion. Il peut aussi traverser les portes closes de nos coeurs, de nos esprits, de nos mentalités...
8. NICODÈME : DIEU ACCOUCHERAIT-IL DE NOUS ?
Nicodème ne comprend pas le concept de "renaître de nouveau". Il pense devoir retourner dans le sein de sa mère. Jésus l'invite plutôt à renaître d'eau et d'Esprit. Ainsi, nous pourrions dire que l'Esprit Saint "accouche" de nous dans le sens qu'il participe à notre transformation, à notre accès à la vie nouvelle d'en Haut.
9. L’EUCHARISTIE : LA RENCONTRE ENTRE L’ÉPOUX ET L’ÉPOUSE
À chaque fois que le prêtre élève l’hostie, nous sommes élevés un peu plus avec le Christ pour aller à la rencontre du Père. Le jour viendra, où nous serons élevés définitivement et soudainement pour être unis au Christ et au Père. Voilà la rencontre définitive de l'Époux et l'Épouse.
Presently I don’t feel as if I am in confinement; I am not alone, I am in the company of all of you are reading me. In fact, by living the presence of God in the present moment, He and I are always together. One day, the Oblate that I am, realized that God, in my life, is present in one place only: He is present in what I am living at the moment, in what is and not in what could have been. Confinement today is me choosing to be where I am otherwise I would not be where God invites me to live in his presence. Accordingly, here is a description of how my life is unfolding at this time:
Presently, while watching liturgies on TV, I find I am more attentive and interiorizing more even if I don’t have access to sacramental communion. I give thanks for the services I had been used to receiving and which I was not fully appreciating. I will be so happy when the cleaning woman starts coming back, when I can visit the hairdresser for a haircut, when I will be able to choose my fruit and vegetables myself. But I will appreciate as well the calm silence that presently envelopes me for long hours at a time, the moments of leisurely meditation of the Word without time constraints.
I am reinitiating myself to the cooking of meals and perhaps I will even come to enjoy it – I realize I am dreaming in color; eating out allows me to socialize. As I go for walks in my area I hear birds, I see strangers greeting each other, I see lots of children.
My greatest joy is to have the time to realize my niece’s often repeated request to write our family’s story, because, she says, “When you are no longer with us you will be taking the family memory with you.” It goes without saying that the family values I am striving to record are those of our family heritage; it will be as well the witnessing of the human values born of the gospel and of the faith that the family lived with joy.
Had home confinement never occurred I would never have known all that I was missing!
Sabine van Erp pixabay
Tanvi Malik pixabay
Jesus explained to his disciples the three facets necessary to becoming progressivelymore loving:
1. Love each other as you love yourself.
Loving one’s self translates into to the beginning of loving others. When we appreciate someone we should tell them so and find qualities in them that can help them overcome negative images they may have of themselves.
2. Love one another as I have loved you.
Jesus explains that he loves as man and as God. He loves with his whole heart, not superficially. His love is total and he asks that we love as he loves. Loving someone simply for their performance or for the joy we experience from their way of being is not really love. Loving is looking for the best in others and accepting them for who they are and as they are.
3. Love one another as the Father lovesyou.
Love fosters unity. There is no weakness in love; the Father’s love for his Son is perfect. Each of the persons in the Trinity initiates us to the profound mystery of what true love really means.Jesus asks usto live these three facets of love and gives us the strength, the light and love to do so successfully.
Extracts from the collection Les Volontaires (The Volunteers) by Louis-Marie Parent, o.m.i.
Photo: Gerd Altmann
I would like to share with you my involvement in my parish. Since the parish was experiencing financial problems we have initiated a variety of activities to put money in the kitty. One of these was garage sales.
For the past 17 years, people have been donating clothes, furniture… all kinds of things like pots, dishes, etc. In preparing for the sale days 15 volunteers work at displaying the articles. My job is to wash and polish the pots, dishes… even a lawn mower. This team work is a human and spiritually enriching experience; we all have different ideas about how to prepare displays. We have to make concessions and learn to respect each other. On sale days I sell fifty-fifty tickets.
In this experience I see the Holy Spirit in action; we learn to create fraternal ties, camaraderie and to take teasing, to be joyful and forgiving. We get to know each other and, in so doing, create community. For me our spirituality of the 5-5-5 help me to be a peacemaker.
Missionary at all times,
The Institute invites its members to develop a missionary spirit and to participate accordingly as each is able. But, at our age, what can we do ?
One of our members, Simone Raymond, has worked many years with Collaboration Santé International (International Health Collaboration). Since moving to a residence she participates actively in this missionary project with others at the home. Although she is 94 years of age and legally blind, she busies herself knitting wool squares which Jeannine Bourque then sews together to make attractive blankets which are donated to under-privileged children.
In a spirit of generosity, other women join the knitting group and contribute by making clothing to sell at an exhibition. The profits are sent to the Oblates in Haiti in support of their works. The articles left unsold are returned to Collaboration Santé International to be donated to developing countries.
To the joy of needy mothers, Pierrette Ferron too participates wholeheartedly by knitting pretty baby blankets.
Martine Poulin, who has a record of many years of missionary work in Haiti, collects pieces of fabric to be sewn in squares to make blankets. At times, she swaps scraps of fabric with ladies down the street involved in the same project.
Why this endeavor? Because children benefit from the fruits of our labour and because it is an opportunity to exercise creativity. We are proud of the fine pieces that we produce from recycled wool and fabrics.
Our thanks go out to all who provide the basic materials.
Today I am entering into your home via television for a visit with you. I hope you are well.
During this month of May,month dedicated to Mary, I invite you to sing the prayer to Mary with me. Let us sing it for our seniors since Mary is the mother of all, mother of the vulnerable. She is the mother of all who have now become fragile due to present events. Let us sing together.
Let us pray: Hail Mary, full of grace,the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Let us consider Mary as the spiritual mother of all believers, a mother who is there and accompanies us. Some say, “What is the point of praying; no one up there is listening.” Remember that prayer is first and foremost an encounter of love, and today, this encounter is with Mary, our mother. Remember that as Mary and John stood at the foot of the cross, Jesus said to Mary,“Woman, this is your son.” and to John, “This is your mother.”
When Jesus entrusted John to Mary, he entrusted each ofus to her as well. Let us not forget that she is our mother;she holds each of her children by the hand, she holds the hand of those who suffer, of those who are ill. She is a mother who cradles each of her children in her heart just as they are. She supports us. This may surprise you but, when I am sad, she cries with me, she consoles me.
Let us acknowledge in Mary a loving presence, a presence of hope, a presence that is a path of life. What do you say to starting our prayer chain right now? Let us say a Hail Mary asking Mary, our mother, to support andprotect all COVID-19 front-line workers.
Let us expand our prayer from the heart to embrace the whole world.
Louise F. Volunteer of God
This exclamation haunts me since the beginning of the epidemic in Belgium. One of the tiniest creatures in existence is holding the whole world hostage. Our life has been reduced to nothing better to do than staying home as much as possible! Mind-blowing!
No more eating out, trips, sports, leisure activities, shopping, hanging out with friends, cinema, tennis, golf, horse-riding, fitness exercising… For children, no more meeting with friends, no more school, horse-riding, tennis and football, to name a few. It has takeneverything away from us, destroyed everything. All the activities we enjoyed are cut down to nothing. Mind-blowing!
In his book, The Cancer Ward, Soljenitsyne, puts in the mouth of his characters (a couple who had lost all their belongings) this amazing phrase, “It is not the quality of life that makes the happiness of man but heartsattached to each other.”Indeed, the one thing that even this tiny living creature cannot take away from me is my interior joy. Mind-blowing!
In reality, I discover that the frenetic pace of theworld that supposedly defines quality of life prevents me from entering within, into my interior depth. This “me” in my deepest interior self, can give life to trust, affection, sensitivity, sincerity and joy. The depth of mybeing – my soul – is the place where God dwellsin me, where the “me-ego,” the “me-in-God” dwell. Mind-blowing!
It is that ferocious, aggressive little killer that today gives methetime to enjoy a marvelous interior journey, to connect with the story of my life between my heart and the heart of God, to, in peace and serenity, reset this heart to heart. Mind-blowing!
I am now equipped to listen to the heart ofGod that wells up from the heart of humankind, echoes of God’s acts of goodness, imagination, support, generosity, of concern for others, encouragement and creativity resonate within me.
In the evening at their windows in my street, humans have recovered their smile; they applaud life, timidly in the early days but gradually becoming noisier, encouraged by the pealing of the bells of our proud steeples. Mind-blowing!
Tomorrow, with the Church, let us pray that wemay continue to marvel at the mind-blowing promise of a better world; that, in the future, humankind, with a new understanding, can reset and believe in itself as a promoter of love instead of a consumer of material goods.
Oblate Missionaryof Mary Immaculate (I.S.)
Communique from the Media Room of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Catholic Bishops Consecrate Canada and the United States to Mary, Mother of the Church
Thursday, April 23 2020
Ottawa – On Friday 1 May 2020, the Catholic Bishops of Canada will consecrate their individual dioceses or eparchies to Mary, Mother of the Church, seeking her protection during the Coronavirus pandemic, similar to what other Episcopal Conferences throughout the world have already done. Along with the Bishops, pastors, families, groups, individuals and other faith communities may likewise choose to join the consecration as part of the global effort to unite in faith and prayer in this most difficult time.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), in fraternal communion with the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has agreed that this Marian consecration be held on the same day in both countries, making this a most meaningful and powerful intercession throughout North America to the Blessed Mother. The Bishops of Mexico, as well as the other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, consecrated their dioceses and eparchies to Mother Mary this past Easter Sunday. Pope Francis has already offered up a moving Prayer to the Virgin Mary for protection in light of COVID-19 last 11 March 2020.