Celebrating the 225th Anniversary of Marie Rivier’s Foundation
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Celebrating the 225th Anniversary of Marie Rivier’s Foundation
Thanksgiving for the Past and the Hope for the Future
In intimacy, we, the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, gathered together to celebrate our rich heritage of 225 years of foundation by Marie Rivier, who was beatified in 1982. It was a time of thanksgiving and rejoicing for all the graces that the Lord has bestowed on the Congregation since 1796.
As we commemorated this special anniversary, many activities took place during September 3rd to September 10th. In preparation for this celebration we made our spiritual annual retreat by video-conferences. Sister Genevieve Coriaud, from Castel Gandolfo, animated the retreat with very enriching presentations centered on the Word of God and our Rule of Life which were invitations to contemplate the mystery of God’s love in our daily lives. Her powerful words led us to reflect on the exigencies of the Gospel and our consecration. Sister Genevieve gave many examples of how the Word of God was at the heart of Marie Rivier’s life. Our foundress often said,
“I ONLY WANT TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST. TO LIVE JESUS CHRIST. TO WITNESS JESUS CHRIST”.
At the end of the last conference, the sisters expressed their appreciation and gratitude to S. Genevieve. This was followed by a dynamic virtual message from our General Superior, Mother Marie des Anges. She stressed the importance of being a presence of Christ in the world: to live fervently the mission entrusted to Marie Rivier from the beginning.
In communion with all our international sisters, we joyfully made our way to chapel singing the opening hymn of the Eucharist, “All are welcome in this place”. Bishop Albert Thévenot m.afr celebrated the special thanksgiving mass. After the proclamation of the Word, the bishop encouraged us to remain centered on Christ and to keep alive the spirit of Mother Rivier’s charism.
During the afternoon gathering, different activities took place.
ROOTS and WINGS:
At Sr. Lise’s invitation, on Sept. 10th, Sisters Lucie, Emma and Rita led us in a ritual to say ‘Good bye’ to our large house on Bishop Pascal Place. We realize that throughout the years we have been touched; we are grateful for people, for space and for experiences. Our ‘roots’ have deepened. At the same time our ‘wings’ became stronger. Macrina Wiederkehr’s words spoken to our reality:
“My longing to stay, my longing to go, come wrapped in the same package.”(Roots and Wings Seasons of your Heart – Macrina Wiederkehr)
We had an emotional ritual consisting of a procession leading us outside and coming back carrying a lit vigil light, a symbol of new life, as we sang ‘O Christ, you have set the world on fire.’ Like Marie Rivier, we are called to be light in the world. We ended this ritual with a sense of freedom to continue the journey and pilgrimage into something new. All this because God is faithful! God is with us as we move forward!
Sister Lise Paquette, Provincial Superior, reminded us of our Roots as a Congregation….
‘We are Women of Contemplation, of Compassion, of Mission Women of the Temple and of the Offering. We are Women of the Revolution – 1796 ’
Our Congregational Roots in France and Quebec have given us wings! I also want to acknowledge the Roots of many other Cultures present here today through our sisters of different nationalities in our Religious Province of Prince Albert.
When the first 12 Sisters of the Presentation in Western Canada stepped off the train in Duck Lake in 1903, they could not have predicted the vast changes in the church and the world over the next century. They were merely responding to a persistent call to service, courageously leaving behind comfort and familiarity to make Jesus known and loved by the children in their care. In the 118 years since their arrival here, 367 Sisters of the Presentation have served in western Canada, navigating the ever-changing landscape in a spirit of service, sacrifice, and faith. In 23 communities of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, northern Alberta and northern Ontario, we have carried well Marie Rivier’s dream of education and health care.
In 2021, “The pandemic is changing the world and putting us in crisis,” said Pope Francis. However, he insisted, “it is impossible to emerge from a crisis the same as before. Either we come out better or we come out worse. And how we emerge depends on the decisions we make.”
On September 10th, 2021 during a Commissioning Celebration, Sister Lise Paquette, Provincial Superior called each one by name to live obedience in a privileged manner through a ‘sending out on mission.”(C40)
The Theme chosen for the year 2021-2022
SOWERS OF PROPHETIC HOPE
“Hope gives us wings, connects us with the past and the future” We are being led to ‘another’ place as a Province… As individuals… We will want to carry good seeds, fruit of our lives with To whatever and wherever we are called.
“A Commitment to Hope” (Joyce Rupp, The Circle of Life)
We held feathers in the indicated position: Hold feather up high. I honor Jesus Christ, my hope, and give Jesus my best energy. Hold feather out in front.
I keep my eyes on Jesus, my hope, and do not let him out of my sight. Hold feather to the ear. I listen to Jesus, my hope, and respect what he teaches me.Hold feather down toward the ground or floor.I stand strong in Jesus, my hope, and trust in its possibilities.Hold feather to the heart. I become one with Jesus, my hope, and cherish His presence.
A Blessing of Hope
I become one with Jesus, my hope, and cherish His presence. May you give Jesus, your hope, room to breathe and to expand. May your anticipated dreams find a voice and a home in your life. May hope move freely through your heart, gifting your spirit with enthusiasm and joy. May you walk through the storms of life with a strong sense of purpose, undaunted fear. May you never lose confidence in your ability to grow. May Jesus, your hope, dancing in the far realms like a feather floating on the wings of the Spirit, bringing joy to all who need it May Mary, our Mother and Guardian be our refuge, as we bring compassion to each other and to the suffering world. With her our Hope gives us wings.
(Taken from Joyce Rupp; The Circle of Life)
Sister Michelle gave a financial report, which was followed by an interesting video; sisters, friends and former students expressed their gratitude and best wishes on the occasion of this anniversary.
Three sisters, Viviane, Re-Anne and Evelyn, who were participants in a virtual session on the Youth and Vocation Ministry, presented a PowerPoint. They summarized their experience, and what they have done in Regina and Saskatoon to foster vocations.