Posts - Communitas Montreal


Sou’Wester Winter 2024


The Winter 2024 Edition of the Sou’Wester is now available online by clicking on the image.  Read about Communitas’s Christmas party, Christmas cards for the incarcerated, Wab Kinew’s victory message, former Federal Justice Minister David Lametti’s legacy, and much more.  Enjoy and send us your feedback.  [email protected]SouWester cover winter 2024



To our dear friends and supporters!

2023 is almost over and Communitas has much to report on!

Open Door – Our signature program continues to draw 25 to 30 participants each week. From April 2023 – March 2024, 890 persons attended Open Door, including 434 ex-prisoners and prisoners escorted from two minimum security penitentiaries (Federal Training Centre and Archambault Minimum). Prisoners on Unescorted Temporary Absence (UTA) from the prison continue to choose to attend Open Door even though they have a choice of outings. Our volunteer attendance is also very consistent, and we regularly welcome enthusiastic newcomers.  Finally, we are delighted that four new escort drivers are being trained!

Table Talk – Another great success marking 2023 has been Table Talk, our free Friday lunch, which takes place at our office in the Undercroft. Attendance has grown from an average of 8 attendees to 15 or even 20 persons each week. Volunteers step up to prepare a hot meal, and somewhat like Open Door, you never know what to expect – it’s an enjoyable surprise!

Chapel Activities – In other good news, we have added another Minimum Security Prison to our Chapel Activities: our volunteers now visit Archambault Minimum one afternoon a month! We continue to visit the two prisons (Minimum and Medium Security) at Federal Training Center in Laval each Thursday night.  As more volunteers have been certified by the Correctional Service of Canada, we are now able to do more ‘prison in-reach.’ Both inmates and volunteers continue to express their enjoyment to the Chaplains at the three institutions.

One-on-one Pastoral Accompaniment – This year we have doubled the number of one-on-one pastoral visits to incarcerated men. This is also an opportunity to identify men wishing to have a Circle of Support and Accountability (CoSA) when they are released.

As we start our 2023 annual fundraising drive, Communitas welcomes your donations for our activities.  This is particularly relevant given the loss of Government funding in 2021, leaving us wholly dependent on donations from our members, supporters and the general public.

Donors are invited to contribute to  Communitas through the  Canada  Helps button on our website,  Cheques are also welcome and can be mailed to our office at 1444 Union Avenue.

We strongly encourage you to become a monthly contributor to our Organization.  This will assist with our long-term planning, especially as we continue to envision serving a greater client base.

We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all members, supporters and well-wishers for your financial and moral support, without which our work could not succeed.

Michele Rattray-Huish, President
Mouvement Communitas Inc.

1444 Union Avenue, Montreal QC, H3A 2B8
Tel: +1 514 244 6147

Open Door Spiritual Moment by Bill , September 26, 2023, to mark National Truth and Reconciliation Week

At first, I was going to show a video on intergenerational trauma, but the more I thought about it, I felt we just needed to talk.
I had a recent conversation with my friend Jerrod where he stated that before we get to the reconciliation part, we need to hear the truth. Thank you, Jerrod, for such meaningful words. I was listening today to a webinar with Jesse Wente, an indigenous arts journalist and current head of the Canada Arts Council, and he also talked about the truth part of truth and reconciliation. He said it isn’t only listening to the truth but accepting the truth. Only then will you open the pathway to reconciliation. He said it may still take generations to get there. But at least the journey has started.
What can we do? Get informed and listen.
Here is the video mentioned above.
Thinking about acts of reconciliation?  Here are some ideas to start with:
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

Communitas Montreal Land Acknowledgement

Communitas and National Truth and Reconciliation Week — Land Acknowledgement
Adapted from the City of Montreal land acknowledgement
We are on unceded Indigenous lands of the traditional territory of both the Kanien’kehá:ka, “Mohawk,” and the Anishinabeg, “Algonquin,” peoples.
We are grateful for the opportunity to live here, and we thank the many generations who have taken care of this land and these waters. Tiohtiá:ke, Montreal, is historically known as a gathering place for diverse First Nations; thus, we recognize and deeply appreciate the historic and ongoing Indigenous connections to and presence on these lands and waters.
Let us continue to support community efforts to sustain a relationship with Indigenous peoples based on respect, dignity, trust, and cooperation in the process of advancing truth, reconciliation and justice.

Are You a Possible Future Monthly Donor to Communitas?


As we head into the Fall, Communitas wishes to thank all our benefactors who have supported us financially – whether with membership fees, through Open Door Book purchases, or by donating to the Organization, via cash, cheques or through our Canada Helps account.

We would like to express a special note of thanks to the individuals who have decided to contribute to Communitas on a monthly basis.  At present Communitas has a total of 10 such individual benefactors who donate a fixed sum to us every month.

Given the recent change in our funding base – with the end of Government financial support, this dependability of funding is very much appreciated in planning our activities for the future – be it Open Door, Table Talk, Prison Chapel activities, Prison In-Reach, Circles of Support and Accountability, the Sou’Wester or simply accompaniment of men recently released from prison.

I would encourage anyone who feels able to make such a monthly contribution to Communitas, to consider doing so.  The monthly amount need not be onerous – any amount that you can afford will be greatly welcomed. To do so, visit our Donate page.

We hope to double the number of monthly donors from 10 to 20 by the next Annual General Meeting in May 2024.

Thank you for all the support that you provide to Communitas.

Michele Rattray-Huish, President/Treasurer


September 2023

COMMUNITAS Annual General Meeting 2023


COMMUNITAS’ Annual General Meeting took place on 24 May 2023 via Zoom.  Attended by 29 members, the AGM approved the Financial Statements for 2022-2023 as well as the 2023-2024 budget.

A new Board of Directors was acclaimed and Communitas is very pleased to welcome Donald as the newest member of the Board.  Six members of the previous Board returned to serve – Michele, Steve, Jeri, Pauline, Sabrina and Dave.

We said farewell to Roch our invaluable Treasurer for the past 2 years, who stepped down from the Board of Directors after yeoman’s service.

A more complete account of the meeting results will be published in the next edition of the Sou’Wester.

Longtime Communitas Member Tom Gero has died


Photo of Tom GeroTom Gero was a much-loved member of Communitas.  We learned recently that he passed away two weeks ago after a short illness.

Tom had been a member of Communitas from back in the day when we were still called Montreal Southwest Community Ministries (MSCM).  He was a faithful participant at both Open Door and Table Talk – when Table Talk was held at our offices at Notre Dame.  Tom would arrive early for Open Door and make sure that the coffee was ready for when people started showing up.  At Table Talk, he had his special chair in the corner that everyone knew was ‘Tom’s chair.’  There he would sit, sometimes appearing to be asleep as the hubbub of Table Talk took place around him.

Although he was a very quiet person, Tom had many friends – and a sly sense of humour.     His understated but warm personality drew people to him, and even in the times when he was going through especially hard times, friends and even strangers would stop by to talk with him, bring him food or money and generally show him love.  We even heard that someone placed a chair outside a Provigo he was known to frequent so that he could be more comfortable.

His friends at Communitas will miss him greatly.

Rest in Peace, Tom.