CALLED BY MARGUERITE
THE GARDEN OF EARTH
To everything there is a season,
and a time for every purpose under heaven…
We, the global Congregation of Notre Dame, rejoice to celebrate a Season of Jubilee in honor of the 400th anniversary of the birth of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, our sister and inspiration, and to imagine anew the charism she entrusted to us for the life of the world.
This year of favour arrives in a challenging season for our planet and for all living-kind; a time of crisis and decision that summons us to the greatest corporate awakening we have ever dared. The dream of a new world is already in process. With one heart and mind, we are welcoming it with a new hope for humanity and we want to work at its realization.
Nearly four centuries ago, Marguerite Bourgeoys engaged in a shared quest to plant a new garden in North America. In her baluchon, in her heart and mind, she carried the heirloom seeds of the original Garden and of her own Gospel desire to renew the world. Hers were seeds of good news and imagination, personal courage and ingenuity, creativity and daring, sustainable life-practice, feminist self-actualization, a desire to meet and to know “the other.” Hers were seeds of compassion and joy with and for others. Hers were seeds for starting over.
Eventually our earliest sisters’ seeds of promise bloomed in the soil of great generosity and faithful community. She and they fostered hope through multiple impossibilities until a new way was opened. And Marguerite made those seeds our heirloom for planting in this season of Earth. In fact, she composed our brief and radical rule from the pages of Genesis, or more accurately, from the Scripture of Creation:
The Rule for this community, and for everyone, is the one God gave from the creation of the world…“You shall love God with all your heart and your neighbour as yourself.”
This word has gone out from all the Earth for it is said that God will send forth His fire winging to the ends of the world…that all creatures - Angels, Humans, Animals, Inanimate Objects will say each in their own tongue: “It is not we who have made ourselves, but God has given us being…” The Sun proclaims this truth, the smallest creatures repeat the same in a language which is mute to humans, but heard by their Creator that unless its Creator sustained it, it would fall back into nothingness.” WMB p. 180
Four-hundred years after the birth of this courageous pioneer, we, the CND Family, now in mission to the four-directions of our planet, live in a critical moment. Inspired by Laudato si’ and in response to “the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor,” we live in the season of the revitalization of our Garden home. Likewise, today, we attend to the mandate of Marguerite: “Be a little plot in the garden…” - a vibrant plot in
The Garden of Our Common Home.
It is in this spirit that we desire to celebrate together
the 400th anniversary of Marguerite’s birth.
Let the Jubilee Continue!