Year of Consecrated Life

CONGREGATION OF NOTRE DAME

The Congregation of Notre Dame (CND) is a community of women religious whose motherhouse is in Montreal, Quebec. In 1653 Marguerite Bourgeoys came to Canada from Troyes, France. She was filled with a great enthusiasm for education. She came to open a school for the settlers’ children. However, because of the very harsh climate, children died at a very young age. It took five years before a school was opened. In the meantime, she ministered to the families in the small settlement. She was a social worker, nurse, counsellor, confidant, and she was affectionately called “Mother of the Colony.”

The sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, founded by Marguerite Bourgeoys, have been teachers for a very long time. They have educated generations of young people in primary and secondary schools, in classical colleges and in universities. Now, due to the evolution of society, there are fewer teaching sisters; however, they still carry the passion of Marguerite. Some sisters of the Congregation work for and with children who have serious family problems. Some work with adults, teaching classes, or facilitating retreats, giving sessions that foster growth in faith. Others volunteer at community kitchens and sewing workshops, sharing their talents with women and men who then discover their own gifts. Some work in prisons or with former inmates. Others work with single mothers and women who are refugees from war-torn countries. Some share their expertise with Christian communities and dioceses. Many collaborate with organizations focused on social justice. They advocate for women’s rights in all walks of life, giving specific attention to the poor, the vulnerable and the abused. All the congregation focuses on care of our planet. Those who are chosen to leadership responsibilities in the community guide the sisters in the spirit of liberating education which continues the heritage of Marguerite Bourgeoys.

For over three hundred years, women, following Marguerite Bourgeoys, have devoted their lives to follow Jesus in the preferential option for the poor and to live their mission of liberating education in fidelity to the prophetic charism of Marguerite Bourgeoys in today’s world. Sisters of the Congregation can be found in Canada (East, West, Central, and North), in the United States, Latin America, Japan, Africa and Troyes, France.

Two CND sisters serve in this diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador. Sisters Mildred Chabassol and Donna Kelly have been Directors of Parish Life at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Benoit’s Cove since 2004.

This statue of Marguerite Bourgeoys is found in our parish Church in Benoit’s Cove.