In the entity of Three Rivers, at the Lokia Residence, Sr. Monique Brûlé , Regional Superior, and the Animation Team, keep searching for ways and means to bring us together despite the pandemic.
Sr Angèle Lépine fj shares with us an interview she had with Srs Monique Brulé, Regional Superior, and Paquerette Dessureault a member of the animation team for the entity of Trois-Rivières.
Pandemic and the new structure
Angèle:- During this pandemic crisis, how have you considered your call within the new structure?
Monique:- When I said YES, I hadn’t foreseen the scope of the Pandemic nor the confinement constraints we would have to face. Everything was turned upside down… So I can say that as far as I’m concerned it is still very difficult. It was impossible for us to launch the new structure … Working in virtual mode has enabled us to move forward with certain files or dossiers. However, what we missed was the aspect of human relationships and time to share together for a deeper reflection.
My mission is to be present in the four entities, to live with the Sisters, and work with the teams … but I couldn’t even get there. So it’s with faith and the assurance that the Lord always precedes me that I live my everyday life. I hope that a time will come when I can share beautiful experiences with the Sisters of each entity.
Pâquerette :- The response to this call is a daily challenge! To ensure that life circulates with dynamism and to sustain fraternal life in the community -while respecting all the requirements of the Pandemic – demands a lot of creativity and availability to each of the Sisters. Adjustments are required regularly and need flexibility and constant adaptation.
How to foster life on a daily basis
Angèle:- What has facilitated your work in this mission of stimulating fraternal and missionary enthusiasm on a daily basis?
Pâquerettte : The element that facilitates our mission the most is the invaluable work of the entity’s Animation Team. The regular weekly meetings help us to enlighten each other and work together co-responsibly.
In addition, the fact that each member of the team is responsible for a group of Sisters in the community, makes it possible to share their life in the reality of every day. This daily experience enriches the sharing of the animation team and facilitates the decisions to be taken in order to foster more life and better respond to the orientations of the mission.
Role and challenges of the Regional Superior in a time of pandemic
Angèle:- And you, Monique, as Regional Superior, how do you succeed in promoting the desire to live the charism in solidarity within a fruitful and happy life?
Monique:- With the Regional Council – always by virtual mode – we are attentive to what is experienced in each entity. We make sure that all information reaches everyone. With the participation of the members of the teams we have chosen a common theme for our reflection and sharing:
“I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.”
(Is. 43, 18-19).
During this time of confinement, we can see a similarity between this passage from Isaiah and the pandemic that we have been living for over a year… We have taken the time to see it in a positive light: all that has taken root in us and around us. An exercise of discernment has enabled us to be attentive in order to perceive what God is doing in us and in our suffering world.
Challenges of community life in a time of pandemic
Angèle:- And you Pâquerette, would you like to talk to us about the animation team? How to foster community life when gatherings are prohibited? How to rekindle the fire of the charism and the significance of our mission?
Pâquerette:- The animation team of our entity is made up of four members: Gisèle Lacerte, Superior of the Notre Dame du Rosaire community; Pâquerette Dessureault, superior of the St. Joseph community as well as floor manager; Thérèse Normand and Cécile Brouillette, the two other floor managers; plus the Regional Superior, Monique Brulé; they share the task according to the topics to be studied and the decisions to be taken. Each member, in close connection with the Regional Superior, assumes an aspect of the mission entrusted to us, namely: Animation, Communication, Administration, etc
The Animation Team has worked hard to foster community life. The gatherings that were allowed, with a very limited number of people, obliged us to increase the number of community meetings in small groups, to prepare written texts for reflection, to meet the Sisters more often individually for information, consultations, and sharing of ideas, tasks, etc.
However, we have experienced that ‘living differently’ does not mean that community life no longer exists. On the contrary, it takes on new forms and strengthens bonds more deeply. We also noted, with joy, that our charism remains very much alive.
The reality of everyday situations with the Ursulines, the Carmelites, and the laity who live with us at Lokia made us aware that the theme chosen for animation: “I am about to do a new thing” (Is. 43, 19), has sustained life around us during this difficult time of the pandemic.
How to foster participation in community life
Angèle:- Our Rule of Life reminds us that the “community is being built up day by day and that each one is responsible for creating it.” (R.L. 23) How do we succeed in allowing the active sisters to invest – even today – at community level?
Monique : According to our new structure, the Animation Teams have for mission to promote, with the Regional Superior, an evangelical and missionary religious life. They are attentive to the Sisters and do everything to make life circulate with enthusiasm and fraternity, even in times of confinement.
Therefore, in each entity, the team members remain very present to the sisters. Each one is a living stone of the community where she lives. It is important that each one able to live the charism of the Daughters of Jesus with dynamism. So as to make this possible the structure and organisation of the Region promote attention to each person as well as participation with regard to the whole community and the whole Region.
Paquerette:- The best example that we can give to make the text of our R.L. No 23 a pertinent reality came about at the start of the experimentation with the new structure. When the Sisters were invited to share various responsibilities for the proper functioning of community life … in record time, all the needs were met with remarkable generosity! Each Sister found her place in the “building up” of the community according to her talents and abilities. BRAVO!
Angèle: What is your CREED for the future?
- I believe that Christ is alive and that He walks with us on a daily basis. He goes before us on our humble paths.
- I believe that life will spring forth from this period of confinement, from this ordeal of Covid which affects all humanity.
- I believe that we will emerge from Covid, transformed, and that we will experience a renewal in community.
- I still believe that it is HE who chose me for this mission: “You didn’t choose me, I chose you.” (Jn. 15, 16)
- I believe “the Lord himself will enable prophetic fruit to grow from what we undertook in faith and hope.” (Acts of the Chapter 2016)
- I believe that God meets us at the heart of our upheavals.
- I believe that God can produce something new from distressing events.
- I believe that God is opening up new paths for us …
- I believe that God can make life spring up from hopelessness …
- I believe that God is inviting us to give up the past in order to welcome the newness of His designs for us.
- I believe God is calling us to be attentive to what He is preparing for us …
(inspired by Father Michel Proulx’s reflection)
Monique and Paquerette, thank you both for the time devoted
to this inspiring interview.
May the Holy Spirit bless your every step!