Vincentian Maritime ProjectCollaborative advocacy for vulnerable persons in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick remains a priority for the four Canadian-based member congregations of the Sisters of Charity Federation, 20 women religious gathered at Bethany Center Antigonish, Nova Scotia recently agreed.

Hosted by Sisters of St. Martha of Antigonish (CSM), the six members of the Federation Maritime Project Committee met Oct. 16 with members of their four leadership teams to reflect together on their shared commitment, committee activities of the past two years and possible future directions.

In 2008, the Maritime Project received a mandate from the four leadership teams to collectively advocate for vulnerable women and children in areas of housing and social assistance, as well as for working persons living in poverty.  The initiative arose from the 2007 Federation gathering of leadership teams in Nazareth, Ky. which encouraged growth in collaboration.

Leaders of the four Canadian-based congregations at the time defined collaboration as, “Coming together to share our charism, gifts and resources for others, especially the most vulnerable of society.”

Participating and sponsoring congregations are the CSM; Sisters of Charity of Halifax, N.S. (SC); Religieuses de Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Coeur (NDSC; Moncton, N.B.) and Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception (SCIC; Saint John, N.B.).

For five years, Maritime Project Committee members have engaged in educational efforts to learn more about persons and issues related to their mandate.  They have offered presentations to Sisters and Associates and written to provincial and federal legislators to advocate for safe, affordable housing and a national housing policy.  They have also advocated for adequate heating subsidies, social assistance levels and minimum wages.

The recent gathering in Antigonish reaffirmed the original focus of the Maritime Project and the importance of ongoing education and outreach to congregational members and Associates concerning the mandate.  Participants also affirmed the importance of the committee’s continued relationships with other groups and networks in the region with similar priorities.

Committee chair Helen Danahy, SC offered an overview of meetings held since the last joint meeting with leadership in October 2011 in Halifax.  Maritime Project Committee members communicate via email and participate in face-to-face meetings and Skype Internet calls.

Maritime Project secretary Auréa Cormier, NDSC showed the PowerPoint presentation she created highlighting the committee’s history, mandate and activities, both local and regional.  The comprehensive presentation was originally shown to leadership team members of the North American Federation in Leavenworth, Kan. in June 2013.  Participants at the recent gathering in Nova Scotia suggested the presentation be shown and posted more widely for their congregational members and Associates.

Franklyn Ferguson, CSM gave the treasurer’s report while Roma De Robertis, SCIC offered the communications report.  Sisters Helen, Auréa, Franklyn and Roma are original committee members who were joined in 2012 by Sisters Claudette Gallant, CSM and Cecilia MacNeil, SC.

During the recent process facilitated by Brendalee Boisvert, CSM, participants considered creative ways to address challenges and embrace opportunities to strengthen their collaboration and approaches to education and action.  Another joint meeting was set for October 2015.

News about the Maritime Project can be found on websites of the Federation and worldwide Vincentian Family, of which the Federation is a member:

 (Photo by Tanya Mullin ~ CSM Communications

ANTIGONISH, Nova Scotia (Canada) —



(October 2013)

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