For the feast of Gratitude – Don Bosco Youth Center – Toronto, Canada.
Seeds of faith sown in your soil yesterday
The seeds of Faith were planted in Ontario in 1615.  In 1650, six Jesuit priests were martyred. So faith in this part of the country is rooted in the blood of these men who were not afraid to face the challenge of bringing faith in Christ Jesus to the heart of the Indigenous people,  as well as to the early settlers who came from Scotland. In 1806, 170 was the number of catholics in Ontario. In 1882, St. Paul's Church, the first Catholic parish in Toronto, is established. This was the work of Bishop Alexander MacDonnell, bishop of Kingston.  Later the city of Toronto began to take shape and Bishop Michael Power was appointed as the first bishop of Toronto.  He laid the foundations of the St Michael’s Cathedral.  In 1848 the Catholic population had increased and was now numbering 50, 000 souls.  In 1984, the Catholic population was 1,214,000, served by 214 parishes, missions and chapels.  In July 2002, the World Youth Day is held in Toronto.   Toronto is now an archdiocese with Cardinal Thomas Collins as leader. Today, the Archdiocese of Toronto’s Catholic population is about 1,700,000.  There are: 217 parishes, 24 missions and various ethnic chaplaincies; 386 diocesan priests; 116 permanent deacons; as well as 90 religious orders comprised of 450 priests, 56 brothers and 643 sisters.
Today what are the challenges that we encounter in living the faith in the community and the mission?
In Toronto where we are involved in various apostolates, the traditional Catholics are leaving the practice of their faith and immigrants and newly converts are usually more enthusiastic in the practice of their faith. Most of our youth are from immigrant backgrounds and are mostly Asians. We contact few Canadian Caucasians and they are often hard to reach. They are not very supportive of the Catholic faith, yet the connecting force that unites all is solidarity with the poor.

Secularism, behavior problems, lack of family value, media, lack of respect for life such as abortion, euthanasia etc… are big challenges for us when trying to reach out to the young people.  Youth are also in search of immediate results and we cannot offer them that.  Many are also drawn to different religions.  Young people find it hard to stick to their Catholic principles. The diversity of cultural origins and the diverse cultural barriers that come with that are sometimes challenging when we try reaching out to the Youth. Besides,  we are few sisters in the Catholic School System of Toronto and the Catholic Schools are also public, therefore,  we are limited in what we can teach and do in that environment.

New ways of evangelization tomorrow?
We are striving to have an open house, where we welcome informally and formally youth and all people. We would like to make ourselves more visible and present in different areas for ex. Universities and colleges. We are trying to tap on what are the interests of youth: sense of solidarity, generosity, environmental issues. We want to learn the language of young people to approach them more effectively, and in creative way.

Young people’s lives are most available in the evening, so we want to arrange our schedule to spend more time with them. We want to form ourselves in the use of media so as to be able to evangelize through the digital world, that is, digital evangelization, online retreat, you tube, testimonials, retreat ministry, film study etc….

We want to foster relationships so as to encourage and facilitate youth’s personal encounter with Christ but for that we must renew ourselves in our own faith and inspire by example, keeping in mind to grasp the moment with an opportune encouragement or a word of advice. We must be convinced and comfortable when we speak about Jesus so that the young people may encounter Jesus at a deeper level.


For The Feast of Gratitude – St. Joseph Community- Toronto, Canada (NAC)
As individual Sisters our upbringing has been the one common element that has impacted our faith development and created fertile soil for our FMA vocation to germinate. Home life, the influence of local Church and various Catholic groups have helped develop our desire to do something good for others. Prayer within our families and with our faith communities has nourished our hearts and our spirits to seek those things from above.
In a similar way our own community life today continues to mature as we bring to fruition our first desires to be good and to do good to those most in need. The many daily encounters with Christ and with the Christ in others through community prayer, Eucharist, Marian devotion, Mother Yvonne’s monthly circular, and encounters with the people of God are constant seeds sown, developing and maturing each at its own pace.

Within our community there are still those challenges of living “the house of the Love of God” because of our own limitations of mind, heart and soul. Yet with great courage we daily move a bit forward in our clearer communication and our deeper compassion. In our ministries there are ever growing concerns of single parent families or/and multi-parent families which create great insecurity in the children. The press for economic security and survival in a multicultural country have the young too often left to their devices while parents are working several jobs to pay the bills. It is most difficult to gather youth because the Church is no longer the centre of culture.

We feel the need to re-educate ourselves in ways that speak to the young people. Therefore, we believe that being able to be familiar with media communication that youth are utilizing we can learn their new language and be able to translate the Good News of Jesus Salesian style more effectively. The continued practice of living our witness to Jesus with each encounter and to make the time to listen and spiritually accompany families and their children evangelizes and enables us to be bearers of hope for the children of God for whom we have given our lives.


This is from the community of La Nativité, in Cornwall, Ontario (Canada)

The best-know of the early Jesuit Missions is the heroic failures of St. Jean de Brébeuf and his companions in Huronia. They had hoped to establish a Church there that would be at once fully Catholic and fully Huron. At Sainte-Marie, in 1639, they build "a house of prayer and a home of peace,", a community where white and aboriginal people were to dwell together in harmony, where the rites and traditions of both Europeans and Hurons could be strengthened and enriched by the values of the Gospel. But their plans got caught up in tribal warfare, in the intrigues of the French and English courts, in the politics of the fur and brandy trades. They were destroyed by those they most wanted to serve. Eight have been canonized: Jean de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues, Gabriel Lalement, Antoine Daniel, Charles Garnier, Noel Chabanel, René Goupil, and Jean de la Lande; and many others, including their native friends Joseph Chiwatenhwa and Kateri Tekakwitha, continue to inspire missionaries down to the present day.

- the fragmented families;
- the lessening of Catholic values and practice
- the priority given to material goods and the consumeristic society

- Open our houses with warmth and love;
- Build quality relationships among us and with the youth and their families
- Educate young people to the use of modern technology at the service of the Good News and Human Rights

CND ...Laura Vicuna, Montreal    ‘Feast of Gratitude’
Faith....The religious life of Montreal has had its periods of prosperity and depression. Thus, to describe it fully would necessitate extended excursions into political and social history. Anyway, the Church played the determinant role through all the period of New France.  Nowadays, the Roman Catholic Church enjoys still a rather strong position In Montreal, but its influence and impact on the inhabitants has been lost. However, Montreal is still famous for its hundreds of churches.
Today...We, FMA give of our best toward Evangelizing through Catechesis, Youth Retreats, Summer Camps, -always with a ‘Good Word’. Being with the ‘smallest’, giving care and a presence of ‘security’ – this is our daily gift to our people.
Challenge... Our greatest challenge is how to be a presence to Parents too pre-occupied with their ‘world’ and leaving aside the world of the ‘Spiritual’. 
We accompany Mother Yvonne with prayer and gratitude for her being  our model of  Evangelization!