Featuring the Congrégation de Notre-Dame

Founded in 1659 in Ville-Marie (Montréal) by Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, the Congrégation de Notre-Dame is present in eight countries and active in several fields including education, social and environmental justice. “To follow Jesus in a preferential option for the poor and to live [their] mission of liberating education in fidelity to the prophetic charism of Marguerite Bourgeoys,” the Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame participate actively in the transformation of society for a more just world.

“Liberating Education” is a term used often by the Congrégation de Notre-Dame to describe the philosophy motivating our mission of education. For us, a liberating education is person- centered and always conscious of the dignity of each person. It is an education which aims to develop the full potential of the student, preparing the student to become the agent of his/her own personal transformation. Likewise, a liberating education aims to lead students to become responsible citizens of the world, concerned and involved in the transformation of society and the care of our planet.

Social justice is at the heart of the CND mission. A community Social Justice Network was created in 1991 to support the sisters in their efforts to help the poor and the oppressed. The CND’s Social Justice Network concentrates its efforts on the status of women, the trafficking of women and children, and environmental issues and human rights.

Concrete actions against human trafficking have included letter-writing campaigns against trafficking at the time of important sporting events (Olympic Games) and awareness-raising activities (distribution of pedagogical material in schools and parishes).

Sisters, Associates and friends of the CND annually participate in the World March of Women where they advocate for rights to better the lives of women and their families.

We are concerned with the impact that mining companies have on the environment and on indigenous populations: Mountain top removal in West Virginia (USA), open-pit mining, etc. (An open-pit mine is shown in the picture ) Many letters are sent by the Social Justice Network on behalf of the CND to members of parliament to ensure that laws regulating mining companies are maintained and to denounce these companies’ abusive practices in Canada, the United States, Central America and in Cameroon.

In Japan, nuclear power is a source of concern. The Sisters who live in Fukushima are affected directly by the consequences of the earthquake-tsunami-nuclear accident which occurred in March 2011. In the CND schools in Japan, the emphasis is on protecting the environment and the students are committed to the cause.
Here five young women from Sakura no Seibo College set up a clean-up operation in their local community.

Faithful to the charism of Marguerite Bourgeoys, a social worker before the term was coined, the Sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame continue her mission of Liberating Education at the service of the Church and in response to the needs of a world that is constantly changing. Together, they risk to hope!