Opening ourselves to others through prayers from Eastern Religions and Judaism

A day of recollection is a time for beneficial renewal which favors reflection, a returning to the sources which inspire us and bring us life. The most recent activity of this type, took place on December 2nd at Residence Marie-Rose Durocher.  The day was planned and carried out by the Spiritual Animation Committee of the Quebec SNJMs, and achieved its objectives in a wonderful way.
The testimony of one of the participants highlights the special atmosphere of this gathering.
"O You, beyond all ..."
"Dim lighting set the scene for an atmosphere of calm, contemplation, and prayer. The visual and the prayers taken from Eastern Religions and Judaism helped us to pray to God, the root of all humanity. This leap into the universal was preparation for the Eucharistic Celebration. After lunch the Our Father, which was compared to the ‘Kaddish’ (a hymn of praises to God found in Jewish prayer services) promoted reflection, discussion and served as an invitation to encounter God."
The day, co-facilitated by Sisters Jacqueline Boudreau and Lise Bluteau, took place in an atmosphere of silence and inspirational contemplation. “The environment was conducive to reflection, and the well-balanced schedule enabled the animators to present content that was intensive, unifying and revitalizing” added the same participant.
The initial goal was attained and each of the 45 participants came away enriched by the reflection, prayer and sharing in small groups.

A similar gathering at Maison Jésus-Marie

On December 7, the Sisters at Maison Jésus-Marie participated in a day of reflection. On this occasion the content, based on what was offered at the first gathering, was adapted to meet the needs of the Sisters living in both pavilions.

The challenge of facilitating this gathering was entrusted to Sisters Michèle Gouin and Jeanne Dagenais. The morning was reserved for prayer and reflection with texts chosen from Eastern Religions and Judaism. The reflection continued in the afternoon with contemplation on an event in Mary's life: the Annunciation.

This special time of prayer also served as a prelude to the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which was celebrated the following day. This is an important feast for the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) since it marks the anniversary of the first three Sisters of the Congregation making their first vows.

During the day each of the Sisters deepened their awareness and experience of God as well as that of Mary.

In closing, we point out that the Quebec Spiritual Animation Committee plans to organize another day of recollection during Lent.

Photos taken by Sister Yolande Dufresne

Rediscover the charm of sacred music with the "VOX" Choir

The VOX choir, during their concert on November 26 at Maison Jésus-Marie, took the audience on a wonderful journey back in time by immersing them into the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. With the theme "Around the Rite of the Dedication of Churches", this concert of sacred songs brought to life a magnificent musical and cultural experience.

Truly, the musical director Alain Vadeboncoeur, a history buff regarding this era, delighted his audience by presenting each piece of music with scholarliness. It is a great way for him to share his passion and discoveries, while contributing to having these pieces from another era better appreciated. 

The Vox Choir is characterized by its keen interest in sacred music, the Latin language and the ‘A Capella’ style, that is without accompaniment by a musical instrument.  During this concert, the vocal effect, backed by the acoustics of the chapel at Maison Jésus-Marie, was unequalled in its richness. 

Incidentally, this explains the recent full-day foray by this mixed choir in the chapel at Maison Jésus-Marie. The members of this choir were thus able to practice in a perfect place with good sound quality.

Research and dissemination of sacred music

This vocal ensemble has been directed by Alain Vadeboncoeur since 2001. It is entirely dedicated to research and to the dissemination of sacred music. His repertoire consists mainly of plainchant and of sacred polyphony from all eras.

The expertise acquired throughout the years has enabled the choral ensemble to discover unknown works, sometimes unpublished and this, through high-quality performances to audiences who are surprised and won over by these incomparable treasures.  

The choir is pleased to respond to invitations to present its repertoire in new venues with the goal of fully carrying out its mandate, that of disseminating sacred music in Montreal.

Photos – Report: Sister Gisèle Lalande

Tasting probiotic yogurts

At the beginning of November, on Sister Jeanne Lebeau’s initiative, the Sisters at Résidence Marie-Rose-Durocher were invited to an informative activity together with the tasting of probiotic yogurts. 

Chef, Luc Tremblay, was entrusted with the task of initiating the Sisters to the characteristics of probiotics.

Health benefits 

Briefly, probiotics are living microorganisms that are useful (if not necessary) for health, particularly for the intestinal flora.

Among the recognized benefits, remember that they improve digestion by relieving digestive disorders (stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation and others). They strengthen the natural defenses and regenerate the intestinal flora by restraining the multiplication of viruses. They also help restore intestinal equilibrium during and after taking antibiotics, etc.

After a brief presentation, the Sisters tasted various probiotic yogurts. They had the pleasure of recognizing some well-known flavors (vanilla, strawberry, blueberry ...) while enjoying additional benefits for their health!

By mid-November, they were starting to integrate the probiotic yogurts into their regular diet.

Report - Sister Yolande Dufresne

Photos – Sister Pierrette Désilets

A magnificent four-handed piano recital by the HATO duet

The concert given by the HATO duo at Maison Jésus-Marie, on November 12, had everything to entertain the audience. The two pianists began their recital by presenting an all-Quebec suite of the repertoire of folk songs (arrangements for four-handed piano) by the Canadian composer, Violet Archer, with the piece "Ah! Si mon moine voulait danser”.

In keeping  with the rhythm and tone, another suite for piano four-hands followed, composed by Georges Bizet, entitled "Jeux d'enfants".
Then, the two pianists who are also excellent soloists, played each in turn, a high-caliber musical piece demonstrating their immense talent. Tomoko Inui performed Johann Sebastian Bach's "Prelude in do minor" while Haruyo Yoshino-Platt performed Frédéric Chopin's "Ballade no 4 Op".

They finished their performance with a masterful version (piano 4 hands) of the famous piece by George Gershwin, "Rhapsody in Blue".

Gifted pianists

The HATO duo is made up of Japanese pianists Tomoko Inui and Haruyo Yoshino-Platt. They have given numerous concerts in many places since 2009. The "Festival Borealis" concert was presented in various cultural centers and at Glebe Saint James United Church in Ottawa before being recorded on a CD in 2013. Several musical programs have been presented since then, including one on Clara Schumann and her contemporaries.

Tomoko Inui holds a Master's degree in interpretation from McGill University (under the direction of Kyoko Hashimoto). She received the Bruneau Award from the same university for an outstanding performance of a piano recital. She also has a doctorate and has worked as a researcher in physical oceanography in the United States.

For her part, Haruyo Yoshino-Platt studied at Tokyo's Toho Gakuen Music Conservatory and the Montreal Conservatory of Music (first prize). She has also studied under the direction of Natalie Pepin, SNJM, at the University of Montreal in the first and second cycle in music - piano interpretation. A finalist in the Canadian Music Competition, she was awarded a scholarship from the Canadian government in 1992 and 1993.

Photos – Sister Gisèle Lalande

Celebrating Halloween with music by La Mosaïque Choir

The Sisters on the first two floors of Saint-Charles Pavilion at Maison Jésus-Marie were treated to a very special Halloween party. Arriving in costumes, the singers and musicians of the La Mosaïque Choir came to sing a number of works from Quebec’s repertoire.

The Sisters were pleased with the proximity of the singers and musicians since they could see and hear the performances better. The familiar repertoire of old songs from Quebec‘s culture, including "La Manic" and "Le ciel marie avec la mer", prompted many of the Sisters to hum along.

It was a sight to see the smiles on the faces and the sparkling eyes to realize just how much this extraordinary presentation was appreciated by the audience. 

La Mosaïque Choir is directed by Paul-André Caron. For this occasion, he was accompanied on the electronic piano by Michel Laverdure. To make this Halloween magical, the members of the choir had agreed to "dress up".

Note that the choir is connected to the Centre d’action bénévole et communautaire La Mosaïque (La Mosaïque Volunteer and Community Center). This non-profit organization has as its goal to promote the independence and social integration of socially and financially disadvantaged people. The organization, founded in 1985, serves eight municipalities and offers a variety of services and activities.

See the photo album - Photo credit: Sister Gisèle Lalande

Ensemble vocal Polymnie de Longueuil: An inspiring and magical performance at Maison Jésus-Marie

Presented as part of the Journées de la Culture, the concert by the Ensemble vocal Polymnie de Longueuil, organized by the Recreation Committee of Maison Jésus-Marie, was a magnificent opening to the concert season. The ensemble of 40 choir members, was led by Louis Lavigueur, both choirmaster and orchestra conductor, and who demonstrated his great mastery throughout the diversity of his repertoire.

This repertoire consists of sacred and secular choral works by composers of yesterday and today. The choir performed a dozen pieces, including those by Melchior Franck, Alain Langrée, Morten Lauridsen, W.A. Mozart and Lionel Daunais.

Throughout the performance by the Ensemble vocal Polymnie, Louis Lavigueur took the time to give information about each piece, which resulted in a better experience for the audience. Also noteworthy was the magnificent work of accomplished pianist-accompanist Anne-Marie Denoncourt, a graduate of the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey.

A return to the roots

This first visit of the Ensemble vocal Polymnie de Longueuil to Maison Jésus-Marie coincides with the 40-year existence of this choir which was founded by Raymond Laforge, assisted by Sister Maryse Moisan, S.N.J.M.

Sister Maryse remembers the rehearsals in the Blue Room at Collège Durocher. "What beautiful memories," she stated when the current choirmaster, Louis Lavigueur, paid tribute to her at this concert. Of the 40 choir members making up the current vocal ensemble, there remains one person from the era when the choir was founded.

The members of the Ensemble vocal Polymnie de Longueuil were impressed by the acoustic quality of the chapel and by the warm welcome from the Sisters. The experience was so positive that they hope they will be welcomed back if the need for a place to rehearse arises in the future.

Photo album – Photo credits: Sister Gisèle Lalande



Other articles in the section SNJM Life
Opening ourselves to others through prayers from Eastern Religions and Judaism
Rediscover the charm of sacred music with the "VOX" Choir
Tasting probiotic yogurts
A magnificent four-handed piano recital by the HATO duet
Celebrating Halloween with music by La Mosaïque Choir
Reminiscing about Sainte-Émélie
Do you know the “Filles de la Providence de Saint-Brieuc”?
Ensemble vocal Polymnie de Longueuil: An inspiring and magical performance at Maison Jésus-Marie
Thank you for the marvels harvested
Who is Jeanne Mance, co-founder of Montreal?