On the 20th May a group of Sisters from the Pierre Noury Community, Kermaria, marked the end of lockdown with a visit to the community of Bignan, where the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus was founded in 1834.
Accompanied by our leader, Sister Liliane Abgrall, Sylvie, our animator, and Annick, a nurse, the “pilgrim” Sisters from the Motherhouse prepared to live a moment of remembrance in this house of origin.
The Sisters of the community welcomed us, and we began our pilgrimage with a guided tour of the house once inhabited by our foundresses. A memorial room with its various objects, the portraits of the founders, and the room of Mother Marie de Saint Charles, invited us to plunge into history.
A time of prayer
We lived this important moment in the chapel. A time of evocation and expression of intentions allowed us to be in communion with the Sisters of other Provinces and countries – Africa, Latin America, Vietnam – so many countries made present by the group photos placed before the altar.
To conclude our time of recollection and prayer together we sang the hymn to Father Noury.
Afterward, we shared a snack together in the dining room. The friendly get-together was enlivened by songs and hymns found in our archives. And why not finish with a dance? The initiated joined in an “en dro“, a Breton dance, while the spectators marked the pace, to the rhythm of a song dedicated to Mother Sainte-Angèle and to Pierre Noury.
Some feedback from the Sisters of the Pierre Noury Community
“For us, it was a return to our roots. In our own modest way, we wanted to follow in the footsteps of our founder, Pierre Noury.
It was a rich day, filled with joy. I think it is wonderful that the Congregation still maintains the memory of these places. So many generations have followed one another.” Rosalie
“It was an incredibly positive day and a joy for me to return to these places where I lived. The community welcomed us with open arms. Thank you, every one of you, for the warm welcome.” Elizabeth.
“I was very touched by the time of prayer which extended to the dimensions of the Congregation and the world. We felt a presence. Thank you!” Marie-Thérèse
“I appreciated getting to know the beginnings of the Congregation and its evolution. The discovery of the foundress’ room and the original chapel allows you to go back in time.” Annick, Animator.
“We were following in the footsteps of Angélique Périgault who crossed this same threshold! The Sisters were there to welcome us with the same openness of heart, the same fraternal joy that Angélique reserved for all those who knocked at the door, asking for a service, a piece of bread, or a listening ear. ” Bernadette Kernoa
A time of discovery
“We visited the house. Surprise: there was only one opening onto the street with a door bar. Marie-Thérèse showed us the different rooms on the ground floor, then the attic, which served as a dormitory, accommodating about thirty aspirants. Inhabited by a deep desire for religious life, they followed the example of Mother Sainte-Angèle. Determined to envisage their future, they accepted to live in conditions of extreme poverty.
We finished our discovery of the first floor in the Chapel, where Perrine Samson pronounced her vows on November 25th, 1834, according to a text which is still ours today. We then went downstairs to the dining room where a well-stocked and decorated table awaited us. There we met the Sisters of the community and got to know them a bit better.
Our time schedule obliged us to return to Kermaria. We warmly thanked Sister Liliane and our two companions who said they were happy to have discovered this page of our region’s history with us, a history they had been totally unaware of.” Bernadette Kernoa
We were very well received by the Sisters. We visited the whole house and immersed ourselves in the history of our modest origins. The Sister in charge, Marie-Thérèse Le Goff, served as guide for our visit, and reminded us of many details. She showed us how difficult it was for the Sisters. They lived in cramped conditions, some were sick, and yet they were all animated by the desire to give themselves to the Lord.
Thank you to Sister Liliane, our community leader, for having organised this project. This day of discovery was an opportunity for us to plunge into history, to remember and to visit the source of our origins.” Anne Marie Guillemin
The Bignan community gives thanks
The Bignan Sisters were happy to welcome the pilgrims. Before the visit, there were various preparations. We had to enlarge he table to accommodate our 15 guests and choose the tablecloths for the occasion. We placed bouquets of flowers from our garden on the table, together with baskets filled with small croissants and chocolate buns. A hot drink!
Sharing with the Sisters from Kermaria was an important moment for us and allowed us to implement the “welcoming” dimension of our community project. The small gestures made by each one are so many steps on the path of fraternity. To quote from our Orientation for the Year, it is a new path born today from the “Fire of Charity”.
Living the dimension of “welcoming” also meant allowing ourselves to be inhabited by the desire to allow others to come and recharge their batteries and to live for a while in these places of memory of the foundation of the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus in Bignan.
The Sisters of the Bignan Community