Sunday, August 23, 2009

LEGION OF MARY PILGRIMAGE to Our Lady of the Cape and Saint Anne de Beaupre 1-3 August 2009

My friend Jennifer has been orgainizing the Legion of Mary Pilgrimage to our Lady of the Cape and Saint Anne de Beaupre for the past three years. This year's pilgrimage, which took place during the first weekend in August, was a wonderful occasion, and so abounding in God's blessings and Grace, that I want to share the weekend with you. Below is the transcript of Jennifer's summary that she wrote for the Senatus of Ontario.

The 2009 pilgrimage of the Legion of Mary, Senatus of Ontario was held in memory of Brother Tony Corrigan. Br Tony was a long time legionary and dedicated pilgrim who died in Kingston, Ontario on 15th August 2008, the feast of our Lady of the Assumption, just eleven days following his return from the 2008 pilgrimage.
On Saturday 1st August, 2009, three buses carrying 141 pilgrims, including Father Anthony Hannon the Spiritual Director for the Senatus of Ontario departed the Ottawa Diocesan Centre en route the Shrines of the Sacred Heart in Montreal , our Lady of the Cape in Trois Rivieres , St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec City and the Shrine of Blessed Father Frederic in Trois Rivieres . For the 63rd consecutive year, the Legion of Mary pilgrimage was completed and is considered very successful!
I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to the bus supervisors, Marilyn Montminy, Anne Stewart, Leslie Anne Juneau (who filled in for Wayne Smith) and Maureen Ward who filled in for Leslie Anne for the trip to St. Anne de Beaupre. Although Wayne was unable to attend this year he dedicated many hours to receiving pilgrim enquiries and collecting their payments. The bus supervisors spend many hours answering enquiries, mailing information, collecting money and that is only the beginning of their work. The real work starts on the first day of the pilgrimage as they meet 46 pilgrims who are intent on finding their favoured seat on the bus. Without the dedication of bus supervisors, the pilgrimage could not unfold with the proficiency that it does. As customary, forty eight hours prior to departure there were some last minute surprises. Fortunately there was a waiting list and with a few adjustments, vacancies were short lived. This year there were broken bones, a serious viral illness, a funeral to attend, a dental emergency, and a car accident; even Father Hannon almost had to cancel due to scheduling problems.
Before departing, Father Hannon boarded each bus to pray over the pilgrims and the bus driver and then to bless all on board. I always wonder how our faith and prayerful journeys impact the drivers. Throughout the three days, bus supervisors include the driver in prayer intentions. The first order of business, after departure, is to recite the rosary, imploring Our Blessed Mother to protect us as we travel to the shrines in Quebec. Hymns are sung where we praise and worship God and honour Our Blessed Mother Mary. Videos are also viewed while en route; this year all pilgrims saw the latest Legion video: Meet the Legion. Pro life movies ‘Bella’ and the beautiful in utero development story ‘Baby Steps’ were included in the on board entertainment. The pamphlet “Why I love the Legion” is distributed to non legion pilgrims. The annual pilgrimage is an opportunity to promote membership in the Legion of Mary and to evangelize. I believe Frank Duff would agree that the pilgrimage is a great form of Legion work.
The first stop was at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Montreal where we were met by Father Manuel. We remained at this shrine where we enjoyed lunch on the grounds. Some lucky pilgrims shared home baked carrots muffins prepared early on the morning of departure by Sister Dorothy Harris (Morning Star Praesidium) who will celebrate her 93rd birthday this month and 77 years as a legion member.
The Shrine of the Sacred Heart is nestled in Montreal and provides a setting of serenity and beauty. The outdoor Stations of the Cross, the Scala Santa with its magnificent carving of the Last Supper, the Grotto of Lourdes and the Padre-Pio Chapel are just a few of the sacred places to visit on the grounds.
When we arrived in Trois Rivieres, the staff at the Madonna Hotel at Our Lady of the Cape greeted us and made our arrival seem like a blessing. Both Father Oulette and Father Dunston welcomed us to the Cape. It was very special that Father Hannon was with us as we were met by Fathers Oulette and Dunston. After checking baggage into our cozy rooms, we gathered for Mary’s outdoor Stations of the Cross, led by the faithful Mrs. Burns. During dinner, fellow pilgrim friends from Bellville, Ontario arrived and old friendships were renewed. A special mention is made that Maureen Ward’s uncle Frank Maloney and his wife Patricia are faithful pilgrims with the Bellville group. Maureen’s uncle is increasingly becoming “Uncle Frank” to many Legion of Mary pilgrims.
Following the opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation, and to attend mass on Saturday evening, we experienced the beautiful and sacred candlelight procession at the Cape. Dorothy Harris, although not able to walk in the procession can always be spotted wearing a gorgeous hat and singing from a bench along the route. Ceremonially, I take the honour of giving my candle to Dorothy and asking her to wait until her friends from Morning Star Praesidium meet her for the stroll back to the Madonna Hotel. Once back at the hotel, a good nights’ rest followed and prepared the pilgrims for an early Sunday morning start.
Following Sunday morning mass, most pilgrims boarded buses and travelled to St. Anne d’Beaupre. This is always a special place to honour St. Anne, our heavenly grandmother. This shrine, now over 350 years old is a very special place for many pilgrims. Amongst my friends, I am aware of two miracles that happened at St. Anne de Beaupre. Whilst at the Shrine, I lit candles of thanksgiving for both friends. Construction traffic on the return trip slowed us down somewhat but supper was still waiting for us upon our return at the Cape. The delay was seen as an opportunity to pray, to sing, to sing more and to view movies.
After dinner, a huge number of pilgrims gathered in the magnificent Basilica for adoration; we were led in prayerful song by Father Oulette. Once again the evening was adorned with our second candle light procession. It is worthy to note that rain held off until late evening with pilgrims safely back at the Madonna Hotel.
On Monday morning Father Oulette met with us and introduced Father De lafontaine, the new director of Our Lady of the Cape Shrine. Father welcomed the pilgrims; he thanked us for coming and reminded us of the importance of our presence at the shrine. Father Oulette and Mrs. Burns briefed us on the history of the Cape and we viewed an historic video depicting the history of the Cape. Just before morning mass, a group photo (enclosure) was taken with pilgrims in the sanctuary of the old chapel where Our Lady of the Cape smiles on us. Mass was celebrated by Father Dunstan. Prior to departure a healing service was held in the old chapel. During the service the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, we sang hymns of praise and each pilgrim was individually blessed by either Father Oulette or Father Dunstan. Soon after the healing service pilgrims boarded buses and departed for the Shrine of Blessed Father Frederic.
Again this year, were blessed that M. Jean Normandin, a long time friend of Our Lady of the Cape accompanied us to Trois Rivieres to the church where the body of Blessed Father Frederic is resting. Jean recounted many interesting facts about Blessed Father Frederic and shared how he has been present and involved at significant events related to Father Frederic’s history. Thanks to Jean, pilgrims had the opportunity to reverence the tomb and a first class relic of Blessed Father Frederic. We are indebted to Jean for taking his time to accompany the Legion of Mary pilgrims to the tomb of Blessed Father Ferderic and to share information about the life of this holy Priest.
The buses arrived at the Ottawa Diocesan Centre on schedule at 6:30 PM and thus the 63rd annual pilgrimage was completed. In view of this summer’s record rainfall, we were blessed that the rain we did receive over the weekend did not interfere with our outdoor activities.

Respectfully submitted,
Jennifer Snell, Pilgrimage Coordinator

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sisters of the Queenship of Mary

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Queenship of Mary.
If you go to our Archbishop's blog he will tell you more about this beautiful Feast.

Also you will learn about the Sisters of The Queenship of Mary, an aspiring religious community of women under the guidance of Alice Fougere from Halifax, Nova Scotia. They are a small group of dedicated women who are living a common life in Ottawa, with the hope of eventually becoming a community of apostolic life. I praise and thank God for the good work of these beautiful sisters. Last week when I attended mass at Notre Dame Cathedral I had the privilege of talking with them. I had met two of the Sisters last year during the 40 Days for Life Campaign. On more than one occasion we prayed together at the Ottawa abortion site. May our good Lord bless them and I ask Mother Mary to continue to guide and protect them in their beautiful work in the Lord's vineyard.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Paula's Response to Somerville

It's a good thing we're so ugly! We are original antiquities and are so not perfect that perhaps we are more valuable than we think. I guess deep down, I'm glad I have ugly and painful legs!

I remember growing up in Hull envying the Lamarres (as an example) because they had wall-to-wall carpet and I was "like Oh my God, we only have ugly wood floors and they have a beautiful rug in their living room"......... What do most builders and restorers do with an old house today???.....they look for the original hardwood floor buried beneath ugly worn out synthetic wall-to-wall carpet from the 60's!!! "Who would dream of covering up hardwood" they would say.

No wonder we loved our parents soooooo much. They were old and wrinkly antiques. Daddy even walked like the leaning tower of Pisa.....he was SO "imperfect". Hmmmmmm.

Sorry daddy for ever thinking that your beautiful hardwood floors that you so painstakingly put down at 10 Isabelle while on your hands and knees, were anything less than perfect!

And I have "ugly" homemade knitted mittens that mom made me about a 100 years ago. I wondered why I loved them so much, the "pointed" tips that I always was so embarrassed about.......sorry mom.

I want a copy of this ummmmmbelievable book Patty.


My sister Pat's response to Somerville's Article

I read Margaret Sommerville's article "The flawed quest for perfection" in the Citizen today, the same day I spent my lunch hour outside at work reading "the Shack". This book is so freaking good (as I sat outside at lunch with the tears streaming down my imperfect face blowing my imperfect nose and my human crying condition and the balled up kleenexes). I am buying 5 more copies of it and will give/lend it out to you/my girls/whomever. It is fiction but it is so ummmmmbelievable. This book is so good because the whole point of it is to make us mere imperfect humans better understand the nature of suffering, sort of through God's point of view. I don't think we will ever completely understand the nature of suffering until we sit across the breakfast table with God, but this book makes it as close to a real imperfect human's ability to comprehend that I have read yet. And it does it in very simple language so any imperfect human being can understand it. You don't have to have a face lift, or a flat stomach, you can even be ugly. It doesn't matter. You will still understand it. And that is where Margaret is so right in her article, why can't we just leave the human condition alone? Why can't we just keep our wrinkles and our imperfections and ugly bodies, our inconvenient babies and our troublesome old people alone? This is where science has caused us difficulty in that it lets us think we can play God and not depend on God.

Great Article in today's Ottawa Citizen by Margaret Somerville

The Flawed Quest for Perfection by Margaret Somerville, Citizen Special, August 7, 2009 Technology can eliminate many human imperfections, but we risk losing that messy quality that is the essence of our humanness

Terri Schiavo's death not peaceful, says brother

Terri Schiavo's death not peaceful, says brother In his keynote to the 26th National Conference of Lutherans For Life (LFL), July 24-25 in St. Louis, Bobby Schindler said his sister, Terri Schindler Schiavo, did not die a peaceful death as her husband had said.Terri Schiavo's 2005 starvation was "the most heinous, barbaric thing I ever had to witness," Bobby Schindler told the 26th National Conference of Lutherans For Life. for more information see