Saturday, May 25, 2019

Installation of the statue of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys



On May 19th, 2019, our pastor, Fr. James Hauver, blessed the newly installed statue of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys after the noon liturgy at St. Columba Church. 

St. Marguerite Bourgeoys is the foundress of the Congregation of Notre Dame, whose sisters have served in Saint Columba Parish since 1945.

The following links provide additional information.

Who is St. Marguerite Bourgeoys?

The Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame and Saint Columba Parish


Who is St. Marguerite Bourgeoys?


Marguerite Bourgeoys was born on April 17, 1620 in Troyes, France. The middle child in a family of thirteen, she assumed responsibility for raising her younger siblings after her mother's death.

In 1640 during a Marian procession through her city, Marguerite experienced "a touch of grace' that led her to a deeper spiritual commitment. To this end, she joined a group of young women associated with a cloistered community of teaching nuns who gathered them for prayer and prepared them to teach in the poorer sections of Troyes. Sister Louise, who moderated this extern group, was the sister of Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, who founded the colony of Ville Marie (now Montreal) ten years earlier. On a trip back to France, de Maisonneuve visited with Sister Louise and spoke of his desire for a lay woman to teach the children of the settlers and the Native Peoples. The nuns recommended Marguerite and arranged for them to meet. Paul invited her to join the Ville Marie project. After much consultation and discernment, Marguerite accepted the invitation. After a three month voyage across the Atlantic, Marguerite arrived in Ville Marie in mid-November 1653.

While waiting for a sufficient number of children to reach school age, Marguerite kept house for the governor and taught young women to read and develop domestic skills for survival in the fragile environment of the colony. In 1655, she initiated the construction of a chapel outside the fort. (Today the pilgrimage site, the Chapel of Notre Dame de Bon-Secours, flourishes at this same location.)

In 1658, de Maisonneuve gave Marguerite a stone stable to establish Montreal's first school. A dove cove under the roof, accessible by an outside ladder, provided a dormitory for Marguerite and future companions. As her educational work expanded, in 1659 she took her first of three voyages back to France to recruit women to assist her in educating the youth. Four women came back with her. Her 1672 trip was very fruitful. She returned with six companions and a civil charter, signed by Louis XIV, which recognized the "Secular Women of the Congregation de Notre Dame" (CND). The dual purpose of her third trip, in 1580, was to protect the uncloistered character of her community and to seek additional members. While she achieved her first goal, her second goal was thwarted by the Bishop of Canada. He forbade her bringing back any recruits. Providentially, the entrance of Canadian women assured the survival of her work.

Marguerite was called "the Mother of the Colony". She welcomed and received into her house "Fille de Roi", young women sent by the King as potential wives of the settlers. She prepared them for pioneer life, protected them until their marriage, and formed them to be wives and mothers. She collaborated with the Sulpician Fathers in forming strong parish life. For Marguerite and her companions, their parish church was their chapel.

Marguerite died at age 80 on January 12, 1700. She was canonized in 1982.

Les Sœurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the birth of Marguerite Bourgeoys throughout 2020: click here for information. 

Did you know that the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame have been an integral part of the Saint Columba community for many years? Click here to find out how. 

The Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame and Saint Columba Parish

Did you know that the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame have been an integral part of the Saint Columba community for many years?

As many of you may know, Saint Columba Church was built and dedicated in 1845. Its first school was built next door in 1848 and eight years later, was replaced by a brick structure and officially chartered in Manhattan. Saint Columba School was the oldest private elementary school in Chelsea and served the community and parishioners from other neighborhoods until 2006 when it was closed by the Archdiocese as were other Catholic schools in New York City.

When it first opened, and for many years, boys at the school were taught by the Brothers of the Christian Schools while girls at the school were educated by the Sisters of Charity. These two religious groups taught in the school until 1945 when the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame (CND) were invited to take over. The CND Sisters served in Saint Columba School until 1999. That this order of nuns was able to keep the school running effectively - the school has thousands of successful graduates who are not celebrities — is a testament to the women who taught in Saint Columba School during some very historical times: the post-World War II boom; the ever changing demographics of Chelsea in the second half of the 20th century, which included the almost complete demolition of the neighborhood as it had been to make way for the Penn South development in the 1960s; and the cultural changes the country witnessed in these and ensuing years. Still, the CNDs persisted in their mission of teaching the children of Chelsea — and other neighborhoods - successfully for more than 50 years.

The Sisters were also instrumental in their pastoral work within Saint Columba Parish. Aside from continuing their education work in providing religious education to children who did not attend parochial schools, the Sisters visited the sick and the dying, and assisted the efforts of The Saint Anne's Guild — the parish women's group that helped support Saint Columba Parish and School for many, many years. For decades, the Sisters worked on Bingo in the school hall, organized fairs on 25th street to extend the sense of the parish community, and began and continue to work with the senior citizens in our neighborhood - including bus trips to Atlantic City! They also played a role in the formation of the Catechumenate group in Saint Columba. Indeed, the Sisters' work and influence have been longstanding, widespread and impressive!

We acknowledge their many contributions to our church community which stem from the selfless mission of their founder, Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys.

Les Sœurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the birth of Marguerite Bourgeoys throughout 2020: click here for information. 

May 19th, 2019 installation of the statue of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys at St. Columba. Click here.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

RENEW + REBUILD CAMPAIGN

Paying it Forward…. 
 
One hundred years ago, a gifted pastor, Msgr. A. Thornton, mobilized the parish of St. Columba to initiate a great renovation project, to bring the parish into the Twentieth century. The people of St. Columba sacrificed of themselves to benefit future generations of parishioners. The exterior of St. Columba was entirely reconstructed (dedicated in 1915), the beautiful high altar constructed in 1930), a state-of-the-art heating system installed, and a splendid 16 room school house erected for the children of the parish. The people of St. Columba paid it forward to benefit us. 

In the early Twentieth century, the parishioners of Guardian Angel Church decided that they needed a new church. The old church on West 23rd was not adequate for their needs or the needs of future parishioners. In 1930, the archbishop of New York dedicated a splendid new church, modeled on a cathedral in Italy, on West 21st Street. The parishioners of Guardian Angel in the early Twentieth century paid it forward to benefit us today. We look back with gratitude to our predecessors of one hundred years of themselves for our sakes. 

Today, we are called to pay it forward for the sake of parishioners three and four generations in the future. Our parish capital campaign is designed to do just that. The combined Cardinals Appeal and Capital Campaign goal is $164,500, of which $32,000 is for the Cardinal’s Appeal. The Capital Campaign goal is $132,500, of which $98,050 will remain in the parish for our many capital renovations carried out over the last two years and continuing in the future.

Recall what we have accomplished already for the parish: air conditioning in both Guardian Angel and St. Columba Church, restoring the steps and frontal façade of Guardian Angel Church, completely restoring the exterior of St. Columba Church, and renovating the Burke Building behind the rectory, including Thornton Hall. In the future, we will create handicap accessible entrance at both churches and restore the organ at St. Columba Church. 

As your Pastor, I think its important for me to lead by my own example. Therefore, I have personally pledged a $25,000 contribution to the Capital Campaign, to be paid in five $5,000 annual installments over the next five years. 

I am happy to report that we have already achieved 84% of our parish goal. If you have not already made a pledge, please do so for the sake of future generations. Lets pay it forward for our future parishioners!