The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

Aug 11, 2021 | Gospel Reflections

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin – Sister Bernadette Turgeon, SNDdeN –

August 15, 2021

Luke 1: 39 – 56

Mary set out, proceeding in haste into the hill country to the town of Judah where she entered Zechariah’s House to greet Elizabeth.

As I reflected on verses 39-40, I thought of Mary, very young and pregnant, thinking of her much older cousin. What could she bring? Did she ask Joseph, a carpenter to build a cradle? She checked with her friends for blankets and baby clothes.  She was so young – did some friends travel with her into the hills?

When Elizabeth saw her, she was filled with the Holy Spirit. Not only was she herself bearing a child, but she was aware that Mary was pregnant. She also realized that Mary was the mother of the Lord.

Mary said, My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my Savior. For he has looked upon his servant in her lowliness; all ages to come shall call me blessed. God who is mighty has done great things for me. Holy is God’s name.

Mary remained with Elizabeth for about three months. I am sure that Mary helped

Elizabeth helped set up the cradle and the space Elizabeth would use for her son. When her son was born, her neighbors and relatives rejoiced and were sure she would name the child after his father.

As I reflected on this story, I was touched that Mary, a very young woman, went in haste to Elizabeth. I reflected, too, on the many times I have read about Sisters of Notre Dame who leave their homes for the needs of others.

They help immigrants as they cross the border. They spend hours making sandwiches and soup and reaching out whereever they can help. Notre Dame Mission Volunteers who have served over 60,000 hours in 25 cities in educational settings with 15,000 student and adults and providing technology support to many families.

Sisters of Notre Dame were inspired by the recent Leadership Conference of Women Religious where conversations on strengthening the bond among woman religious in the United States took place. They enjoyed lively conversations about their experiences in health care, education, social services, parish ministry and social justice initiatives. The sharing led to new ideas and connections.

The Table of Plenty in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco, is a non-profit directed by Sr. Jeanette Braun, SND. Volunteers range in age from 12 to 85.   They help plan meals, greet the guests, serve meals.  As the pandemic set in, Jeanette saw that the new reality demanded a transformation of the operation.  They have prepared and delivered 200 warm suppers each week to those in need.

These are only a few ways in which our sisters are reaching out and sharing. If I had a hundred pages, I certainly could fill them in the ways or Notre Dame community, like Mary, reach out to others.

Luke 1: 39 – 56

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.”
Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

The Gospel of the Lord



Meet Sister Bernadette Turgeon, SNDdeN

Sr.Bernadette Turgeon has been a Sister of Notre Dame for 62 years. She entered the SNDs in Waltham from Beverly and Andover, Massachusetts. Her first ministry was as a primary grade teacher in Massachusetts… After 14 years, she moved to New Hampshire and began her ministry as a Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry. For 27 years she was the Director of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Manchester. She recently retired from service at the Parish of the Transfiguration in Manchester, NH, working with children of all ages. For the past 16 years she has been volunteering summers at Camp Bernadette, the Diocesan Camp for girls. She hopes to continue this ministry. Sr. Bernadette knows that she has been blessed for those many years to work with children and young adults. These ministries have been for her an honor and a privilege in her life.