We work for the transformation of unjust systems, the integrity of creation and the flourishing of humanity and Earth. We network with persons and groups whose charism and values resonate with ours. (C9)
Collaboration through partnering is a deep-seated value for us globally and as Presentation Sisters of Newfoundland & Labrador. We collaborate with others in the wider community on initiatives that support the flourishing of humanity and of the Earth as our home, as well as for the transformation of unjust systems, especially those of which we are a part. Through such partnering we continue to identify and respond to on-going and emerging needs, with special attentiveness to care of the Earth and those made poor, in communion with all of life.
In 2000 our NL Presentation Associate Relationship was born. We connect with others who feel called to Presentation spirituality and charism in the context of their own life situations rather than as vowed Sisters. Presentation Sisters support Associates’ spiritual exploration and growth, and Associates join with us in responding to the cry of the Earth and those made poor. Becoming an Associate involves a structured orientation and mutual discernment process, culminating in a celebration of commitment, which is renewed annually. For more about the Associate relationship, see the Presentation NL Associate handbook, HERE. Sister Sandy Butler is now our Link Sister for our Associate Relationship.
“Behold, we are doing something new…” Isaiah 43:19.
Since September 2017, there has been a global movement towards recognizing ourselves in the broader and more fluid context of Presentation People (Associates, employees and other collaborators, as well as vowed Sisters). The phrase Presentation People encompasses a broad range of commitment to and involvement in the local and global work of Presentation.
Come meet some of our NL “Presentation People” which includes Sisters, Associates and Collaborators, and in fact, anyone who lives Nano’s spirit, and en-JOY a virtual sharing in some special Associate Projects in Eastern. Western and Central NL just prior to Covid impacting our ability to gather safely …
An Archive of Associate and Presentation People newsletters is available below.
Presentation NL Associate Newsletters
Nano's Echo: Newsletters of the International Presentation Movement for Mission
Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland
Founded in 1831 by the Venerable Catherine McAuly, who had Initially trained in religious life with the Sisters of the Presentation in Ireland, the Sisters of Mercy came to NL in 1842, also invited by Bishop Fleming. They established the first Mercy convent/school in the New World. as well as caring for the sick and poor in hospitals and homes. With very similar cultural backgrounds, and some commonalities in charism and mission, it is perhaps inevitable that the two Congregations would collaborate as the years unfolded.
When the city-wide Great Fire of 1846 destroyed our Sisters’ Long’s Hill convent and school in St. John’s, the Sisters of Mercy generously welcomed our Sisters to their newly-built convent on Military Road (right), until 1853 when the new Presentation convent and school (now our Presentation Motherhouse, Provincial Archives and Administrative Offices) were completed. That spirit of collaboration continues to this day; notable examples are outlined below.
Holy Heart of Mary Regional High School for Girls
In 1958 in response to a growing need, both Congregations partnered to build, operate and staff Holy Heart of Mary, a state-of-the-art high school for girls, serving 13 Parishes in St. John’s and the surrounding area. Holy Heart continues to be well-known for its music and other performing arts programs, which have supported the development of the performing arts in Newfoundland & Labrador. The motto on the school crest (shown left),
“Cor unum inter nos“, means “One heart among us.”
Mercy–Presentation Educational Fund
In the 1990s Presentation and Mercy jointly established an Educational Fund that supports not-for-profit educational initiatives in keeping with the charism of both Congregations. One of these is the annual Mercy–Presentation Speakers Forum. Open to the wider community, this forum brings internationally renowned speakers such as Wayne Dyer, Illia Delio, Joan Chitchester, John Phillip Newell and Diarmud O’Murchu for reflection and dialogue on 21st Century spirituality and life.
The Gathering Place
One of our most visible Mercy–Presentation collaborations gave birth in 1994 to The Gathering Place, creating a place of welcome for those who were cold, hungry and often homeless. For more about this important social justice initiative and how it has since expanded to meet the evolving complex needs of guests, visit the Gathering Place website.
Founded by Presentation-educated Blessed Edmund Rice, the Congregation of Christian Brothers (originally known as Presentation Brothers) shares with Presentation a similar background and mission to help empower people through education. The Christian Brothers have periodically invited us to join with them in educational initiatives. For example, from 1977 to 1989, we taught alongside the Brothers in Brother Edmund Rice High School in Toronto, Ontario, offering an added richness through music and counselling.
Atlantic Congregational and Provincial Leaders
A supportive annual gathering is held for the elected leaders of the following Congregations: Sisters of St. Martha, Antigonish and Prince Edward Island; Sisters of Charity; Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame – Halifax, Sisters of Charity of Immaculate Conception; Soeurs de Notre Dame du Sacre Coeur; Soeurs Filles de Jesus, New Brunswick; Sisters of Mercy, NL; and the Presentation Sisters, NL. The leaders also meet annually with the Bishops of Atlantic Canada to discuss issues of mutual concern and find ways to support one another’s ministries.
Canadian Religious Conference (CRC)
Every two years the leadership teams of Religious Congregations meet for a General Assembly. The purpose of the gathering is to foster the vitality of religious life by providing the opportunity for members to meet and share. It also encourages the building of greater solidarity in our common mission of proclaiming the Good News at the heart of the Church and Canadian Society.
Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)
Other NL Partnering
St. John’s and Area Council of Churches
Members of clergy and women religious communities formed the St. John’s and Area Council of Churches to give expression to the fundamental unity of several Christian denominations and to provide for consultation and common action. Together we worked to support refugees in crisis, including securing affordable housing; to address medical assistance in dying and to respond to the Church Towards a Common Vision, a document from National Council of Churches.
Religious Leaders of Newfoundland & Labrador
Twice a year the three Bishops of Newfoundland & Labrador, together with representatives of the Christian Brothers, the Redemptorist and Jesuit communities, and the Leadership Teams of the Sisters of Mercy and Presentation meet for a day of prayer, reflection and dialogue. Such meetings are an opportunity to explore ways of sharing leadership and engaging in joint advocacy to address unmet needs of our Church and world.
In cases where providing personnel is unnecessary or impracticable, as Presentation Sisters we also provide financial, fundraising, volunteering and/or advocacy support to a wide range of education and social justice causes. Some of these are outlined below:
Since 2004 Broadening Horizons has been providing pre-employment and group employment services to Gander-area adults with intellectual disabilities. Hosted at our St. Joseph’s Convent in Gander, Broadening Horizons is guided by an independent Board of Directors and supported by highly committed staff and volunteers from the Gander area. For more about Broadening Horizons, visit their Facebook page.
Girls Rock NL
This inclusive week-long summer musical camp empowers girls aged 8-16 in Newfoundland & Labrador to explore musical expression, foster self-esteem and develop friendships across many ethnicities and cultures. During COVID times, Girls Rock camps have been on-line, although in-person camps have been hosted at The Lantern .
This local arm of L’Arche International is sponsored in part by the Mercy-Presentation Educational Fund [anchor link to that section above]. Several Sisters participate regularly in their monthly gatherings, which are hosted at The Lantern, and we support L’Arche Avalon fundraising towards their long-term goal of establishing L’Arche residences in Newfoundland & Labrador.
Moving Forward Together:
A Campaign for Healing and Reconciliation
In 2011 we joined with other Religious in Canadian to participate in a campaign to bring fundamental and lasting change to Aboriginal communities in Canada by supporting healing and educational programs. In 2014 scholarships were established for a period of eight years for indigenous students at Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador and its Marine Institute. In the period 2016 – 2020, eight students were granted awards. We have also partnered with Memorial University in a three-year agreement to build an Indigenous Student Centre on campus.
Newfoundland & Labrador Coalition against Human Trafficking
This group of people from government and non-governmental sectors seek the eradication of human trafficking. The coalition continues to raise awareness of Human Trafficking in the community and has created a network of contacts so that victims can be identified and supported. Together we are currently involved in Strategic Planning and in preparing a brief to be submitted to the province’s Department of Justice and Public Safety, the Department of Health and Community Services, and the Women’s Policy Office.
Terra Nova Grannies
This fundraising group supports the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign for sub-Saharan African grandmothers raising children orphaned from HIV/AIDS. Fundraisers include scrabble afternoons, annual Dare to Dine dinners at The Lantern and the Stride to Turn the Tide walk initiative, all of which raise over $5000 each year.
Women to Women
This Leadership Program was developed by local women to foster women leaders in the public, private and not-for-profit/community sectors. The bi-annual Women to Women: Empowering Leadership Conference and periodic Women to Women Fireside Chats offer a unique opportunity for women of all backgrounds and sectors to learn and grow together: developing self-knowledge and enhancing professional skills through stories and actionable examples of leadership shared by woman leaders in our communities. Women to Women is offered at The Lantern.