Prayers and Reflections

Celebration of Advent 2017


We enter into the season of Advent in the presence of Mary awaiting her child. In the person of Mary, waiting for the birth of Jesus, tradition recognizes a figure of the Church waiting for the fulfillment of the promises. The Church is all Christians, and therefore each of us is a member of the waiting church. Advent recalls the waiting for the birth of the Savior in the flesh. But what are we waiting for? Do we dare to believe that our God became incarnate in the person of his Son who lived in the midst of our human reality?


Mary, it is so that neither God nor neighbors are made to wait 
that you set out in haste.
God's visit of love to the world 
is immediately transformed, through you, into service. 
Servant of the Lord,
you are, at the same time, the servant of humanity.
You go in great haste because love fills you with joy.

As the new Eve, you run, 
transported by the One you carry within you,
and you eagerly offer to the world the blessed fruit of your womb.

Holy Mary, share with us this love
that causes you to set out in haste,
which urgently calls you to go to your cousin
in order to share with her the Good News.
Share with us your eagerness to encounter God and neighbor with love and joy.

Rejoice, Mary, you who, according to St. Luke,
are going to the “hill country".
You travel on roads steep and difficult, rocky and unfriendly -
you, the sinless young woman,
surprised at evil and moved by compassion.

You set out on bumpy trails leading to the center of villages, 
and opening, as always, paths to your Son.
Towards the pot-holed paths 
of the old world, waiting for its spring
-which you bear and which will be born in you -
you set out, the Woman announced beforehand,
younger than the ancient world of sin.

Towards our paths both difficult and steep,
hostile and dangerous, you come.
In the midst of our troubles you reveal to us God’s dream for us,
a dream already fulfilled in you, a marvel of true humanity.

Holy Mary, be truly present to us
so that the difficulties of the road do not hold us back
from responding to the calls of our neighbor. 
Our Lady of the Visitation,
grant that we may set out each day, in great haste,
to be of service to our neighbor.
Adapted and translated from a prayer by P. Quiavrac'h, smm

LET US LISTEN to the stories of two individuals in the Bible.

• "I am Anne. I am one of those discreet women of the Bible about whom we have heard so little, whose words have not necessarily been remembered. In the Gospel, all that is said of me is that I “spoke of the child”. Yet I am called a prophetess. I carry, under the burden of the ages, a new word filled with hope for life. Many are the hours I spent day and night, discreetly, in the labyrinths of the Temple, waiting for the One who was to come. Day and night, I prayed and fasted in the hope of the promise. My body, having become barren, carried in waiting a Word that needed to be fulfilled. Like Mary and Elizabeth, today I tremble with hope. Like them, I perceived that this child would overturn history. From his time on, the world would be divided between those who see hope in this child and who dare to believe in him and those who no longer hope for anything. "
Translated from Oser le dire, Novalis Lumen vitae, Ottawa, 2006, p. 88 
• Imagine people's looks when they saw this man coming down through the roof! They were already suffocating in this house, packed in like sardines, so much so that "there was no more room, even in front of the door". And then here comes another one – descending from the sky and, what’s more, on a stretcher! He’s even paralyzed, which means he’s a sinner, excluded. How does he dare to come here? They have seen it all! The “gang of four” must really care about their friend to bring him like this to Jesus, “breaking and entering” despite the protests of the crowd. 
"Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old,” Isaiah had already said. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”  Isaiah 43: 18-19
Surely, they see him - the paralytic returning home whistling happily, with the stretcher under his arm… 
Translated paraphrase of Mark  2,4  Éloge de la fragilité. Gabriel Ringlet p. 184-186
In what would you like to believe?
Where are you on the continuum of daring to believe God will be faithful to his promise for a new world?
In what do we dare to believe during this Advent season?


Mary, hear the cry of mothers all over the world, worried about the health and safety of their children. Grant them perseverance and open their hearts to the presence of the Breath of Life dwelling within them.
R. Mary, our Mother, hear us.
Mary, may the song of the poor and the oppressed, the song of those who serve but are not served, grow within us. At the memory of God’s coming among us, may we raise a song of love for the world.
R. Mary, our Mother, hear us.
Lord, when our faith shows signs of weakening, grant us the audacity to believe despite doubts and appearances. Strengthen us to open ourselves to the newness that you can bring into our lives as you did in the life of your Son Jesus.
R. God of renewal, hear us.
Lord, open our hearts to the needs of those around us so that, through our concern, we may be signs of your presence to them.
R. God of compassion, hear us.
Lord, we entrust to you the new generation with its desires to live fully in a world where everything becomes possible if we build it together, with values of truth, solidarity and openness. 
R. God of the impossible, hear us.
Lord Jesus, in you all people are brothers and sisters. Build between us bonds and a heartfelt dialogue which contribute to each one’s well-being and to the coming of the Kingdom.
R. Lord Jesus, hear us.


You never cease calling us to transformation.
The time has come, give us a sign
during this time of waiting.
We turn our eyes to you.
We walk the road that you have mapped out for us.
During this time, we find you, our God,
are closer to us, rather than farther away.
Renew our minds.
Come and make our hearts beat
with the same rhythm as yours.
Give us patience 
so that we do not succumb to discouragement.
You are our hope.
You fulfill your promises,
and we steadfastly await 
the new heavens and the new earth
where justice and peace will meet.
Henceforth, You invite us 
to prepare your way in our hearts,
to dare to believe in your presence among us.
Lord Jesus,
take your rightful place in our lives;
we are so much in need of a love like yours.

Spiritual Message – October 2017 - Transformations in the Community throughout Its History

“A sower went out to sow.” (Luke8:5)

Following Jesus, the Great Sower, Eulalie (Marie-Rose) and Melodie (Marie-Agnes) set out for Longueuil, where Henriette Céré (Marie-Madeleine) and her sister Émélie waited for them in the little parish school. Like Abraham, they set out in faith, not knowing what awaited them. They were responding to a call rooted in their pastoral and social commitment in Beloeil. Bishop Ignace Bourget, very sensitive to the urgent need to educate youth, solicited their physical strength as well as their ardent love for this work of the Church. Their entire lives would be transformed.

Nine months went by in this "Bethlehem" where they lacked almost everything. However, their joy seemed to increase daily through their total gift of self. There was much to do: the material organization and upkeep, religious formation and the acquisition of pedagogical skills. Gratitude was expressed to the Brothers of the Christian Schools who shared their expertise and to the Oblate priests who guided them in their first steps. Salome Martin (Thérèse-de-Jésus) and Hedwidge Davignon (Véronique-du-Crucifix), two multi-talented women, were warmly welcomed. The harvest looked promising and students flocked to them. They had to move into a larger convent.

But challenges and difficulties arose: scheming by Fr. Chiniquy who wanted to take the place of the Oblates; the naivety of their pastor, Fr. Brassard, who allowed himself to be fooled by his protégé; doubts and suspicions among the public and an uncertain future. As they suffered and prayed, Providence watched over them. God wanted this work. It was God’s work and it would survive!

Soon, under the happy gaze of Mother Marie-Rose, the first expansions were realized: Beloeil, Saint-Lin, Saint-Timothée. However, an immense trial was on the horizon: the beloved foundress would depart this life leaving her community this message of hope: God will take care of you.

The expansion would continue: parishes in Quebec were calling for religious teachers. The audacious Thérèse-de-Jésus would send the first missionaries to far-off Oregon. The pace was set. Over time, many foundations were established in the United States, Ontario, Manitoba, Japan, Africa, Haiti, and South America.

As time went by, in order to meet specific needs, a variety of specialized schools were established: nursery schools, teacher training colleges, home economics schools, commercial courses, music schools, classical colleges, art studios, etc. These women, open to transformation, were letting new possibilities emerge wherever they were.

“Those who sow bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as much as you have decided ... God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9: 6-7)

In this time of grace, let us be in touch with the deep roots of our being which connect us to our Congregation. For many years, we have lived according to its values ​​and mission. We have found a home in the SNJM spirituality. We have advanced the spirit of Mother Marie-Rose through the sharing of our gifts and talents, wherever our nominations and the calls of God have led us.

Time for reflection

 One way for each of us TO REMEMBER as we approach the 175th anniversary of our founding is to take times of quiet to recall God’s blessings.

  • In spirit, I revisit the places of my “missions” and commitments.
  • I ask myself how these have been sources of life given and life received. In other words, how have they promoted my growth and my development?
  • I recall events and community celebrations which were transformational experiences for us, strengthening our SNJM belonging, unity, and pride.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Praise to You, Lord,

for your constant presence along our paths.
Praise to You for the many seeds cast into the ground.
Praise to You for generous sowers throughout time.
Praise to You for the earth

which welcomed the seed and helped it grow.
Praise to You, Lord, for keeping us open

to the calls of today and the calls of tomorrow.


Simone Perras, in collaboration with the PLT

Other articles in the section Prayers and Reflections
Celebration of Advent 2017
Spiritual Message – October 2017 - Transformations in the Community throughout Its History
A PRAYER for EARTH DAY - April 22, 2017
WEEK 7 - Blue Community: Churches response to the right to water
Spiritual Message – March 2017 - Called to a spirituality of welcome . . . welcoming life in its fragility
WEEK 6 - Water: a source of conflict and a source of peace building
WEEK 5 - Normative content on human right to water in Africa
WEEK 4 - Why Waste Water?
An Irish Prayer