Mission and Mandate – A Short History

When Visitation was founded in 2001 with the amalgamation of two existing English-speaking provinces, we committed ourselves to “cultivate right relationship with the whole of the sacred community…” 
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That work began immediately, moving through education and action processes and, ultimately, envisioning the establishment of a Centre for Peace, Justice and Ecology.  This Centre would express the CND commitment to “challenge unjust structures, and to take corporate action…”

By February 2006 a meeting in Ottawa was convened as a “Think Tank on Right Relationship.” Participants from across the country expressed their desire to strengthen partnerships with groups dealing with human rights (e.g. the right to adequate housing, clean water, a living wage,) and ecological integrity (e.g. preservation of species; resistance to genetically modified foods; issues related to climate change, land usage, etc.)

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In December 2006, twenty Sisters, Associates, and friends of the Congregation of Notre Dame, Visitation Province, met to bless the opening of the Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation at the Baycrest Residence, Ottawa with newly hired Coordinator Joe Gunn.

In January 2009, the JPIC office moved to Montreal and a new Coordinator joined the team.  The following article from the Catholic Times of Montreal describes the change. 


 MONTREAL (CCN) — The Canadian English-speaking Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame (CND) opened their justice office in Montreal recently. Located in the downtown Catholic Centre, the office moved from its Ottawa site and officially opened in mid-January.

Monica LambtonThe Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), established in 2006, reopened with a new coordinator — Monica Lambton. She succeeds Joe Gunn, with whom she co-authored Calling Out the Prophetic Tradition in 1999. The book on the social teachings of the Church was published to mark the 50th anniversary of the Canadian bishops’ social-action office.

Lambton has worked in international justice and human rights for 18 years, with a double focus: Middle East peace and victims of war and torture. She worked for Canadian Friends of Sabeel for five years, after spending one year (1993-4) with Sabeel in Jerusalem. Sabeel is an ecumenical grassroots liberation-theology movement among Palestinian Christians.

In addition to her work at JPIC, she will continue as co-ordinator of a training program for health professionals on how to treat survivors of war and torture, run by the Ottawa-based Canadian Mental Health Association, on a contract basis. She has been the association’s on-contract co-ordinator for 15 years.

The 44-year-old holds a BA in political science from McGill University, with a concentration in international development, and an MA in international development education from the University of Toronto. Following her studies, she worked in the justice and peace office of Scarboro Foreign Missions for three years.

Lambton applied to JPIC, for one, because she liked the idea of working with a religious community. “To work with a group that has a common vision, mission and spirituality that inform all they do is appealing to me,” she said. “The majority of my work until now has been secular, and I’m very comfortable to move into a more openly religious context.”

Her career has focused on building networks and relationships — skills well suited for her responsibilities at JPIC, which include collaborating with other Christian justice organizations, such as KAIROS, Pax Christi and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. By collaborating with these groups, the CND sisters “can lend their voice to the larger campaigns, which evangelize the community,” she said. “JPIC allows the sisters’ vision to be put into action.”

JPIC’s focus is on establishing right relationships, particularly with the poor and vulnerable and with the environment. Its mission is also to foster a culture of peace and to address emerging social issues. Lambton said JPIC’s core committee will meet this month to determine priorities for 2009.

The Ottawa native has been living in the Archdiocese of Montreal for six years and is a parishioner of St. Thomas à Becket. She is married to Concordia University theology professor Paul Allen; they have two children.

Laura Ieraci - Catholic Times

With kind thanks to the Catholic New Times for allowing us to repost this text.