On the 23 April 2016, around 120 participants came together at Kermaria, France for the 17th meeting of the associates. Of these fifteen were there for the first time.
What have we retained from this day?
Without doubt the experience of meeting others and of wanting to prolong these meetings. By means of smiles exchanged and the attention paid to one another, we quietly got to know each other.
But two special moments marked out this April Saturday :
- The handing over of the reference document :
“A Way of Humanity : the Associates of the Daughters of Jesus”.
A representative of each group received this document, presented as a “gift”. Initiated by the associates during the year 2015, and after reflection, a reference booklet was edited. It proposes “some references and ways of following a path in life for all those who wish to live out their vocation in the Church and in society according to the charism of the Daughters of Jesus.” It is a beautiful eulogy to the Incarnation! “As Jesus Christ would do”, using our hands, our feet, our eyes, to relieve and comfort, to rejoice with those that he puts in our path. In the hope that Christ will, through us, be able to touch the other. An invitation to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, each one in his or her life …
As you turn the pages, you discover, in simple but profound language, the treasure of words that translate in unison the charism, and yet do not efface the particularities of expression of each one according to his or her country of origin, so far apart in terms of distance and yet so close …
Andrée, one of the kingpins, witnessed to how much her participation in the creation of this booklet had opened her to the international dimension of the congregation.
- « The fertile desert », vocation expressed through drama
“When father and daughter speak of love”,
A piece that had many surprises in store for us!
We discovered a brilliant and intelligent young daughter who announces to her father that she wants to become a religious sister! When she confides in him, her father, a widower, is not exactly best pleased! … Does it have to be his daughter? There begins an intimate, audacious and moving dialogue between father and daughter. The latter doesn’t spare him as she testifies to the beauty of her meeting with Jesus.
But the effusion of love that guides her at the beginning begins to erode …. It’s then the father’s turn to confide in her. He recounts an anecdote to his daughter from the time when his relationship with his wife was weakening. An event happened allowed him to have a different regard on his relationship with his wife and to “begin again”.
“Life as a couple or as part of a group is not a long, tranquil river!”
And it is that that touched the spectators :
- The difficulties one can have living with another person,
- A way of life that can show itself to be hard and disappointing,
- The need to be more attentive to relationships, whether in community life or in the life of a couple.
The love of God, the love of another : how can we continue to experience it in the ordinariness of everyday life or in moments of difficulty? We can be afraid of silence or of the desert … But when we look carefully, small seeds full of promise can sprout from this arid soil.
We can still hear this dialogue resounding between father and daughter. The reticence of the father, his incredulity! We can still hear the daughter reminding him of his own engagement at the heart of the Church. Do we not sometimes make light of our engagements? The two characters allow themselves to be continually shifted in their convictions by the word of the other.
What we will hold on to is that, for the “desert to be fertile”, there need to be certain conditions :
- Choosing and daring to have confidence
- Opening ones heart and ones regard
No doubt about it, it was a beautiful day during which the Eucharist brought us together. One image illustrates the “covenant relationship” that has built up over the years : the progressive arrival of all the associates spontaneously and happily taking their place alongside the sisters on the benches of the chapel : the pleasure of hearing the Word of God, of trying to understand it with the enlightenment of Father Gildas Kerhuel, of singing and praying together. The richness of this time lived with the sisters of the different communities.
Marie-Pierre Lorient (groupe de Lorient)