Interview with Sr. Agnes Miquel, dj, who is living her mission in the Vice- Province of Three-Rivers (Quebec, Canada) for the last eight months.
Agnes, you have been in Canada for eight months now, in the Vice-Province of Three-Rivers, how are you living this change, at first as far as the country is concerned?
To start with, Quebec appears to me as a region less stressful than is Europe. That might be due to the pace of life and the difference of work… It is as though we live according to the seasons. I had difficulty grasping the language; because of the accent, and because of the meaning of some words and expressions. For example one expression that I find particularly meaningful is: «Ça vient me chercher», (It reaches out to touch me) because it expresses clearly that things and events reach out to us.
How do you feel living with the Quebec Sisters?
I feel like quoting an old French film: The Three Musketeers; « one for all, and all for one»! And I add only to say that «ONE» is Jesus Christ, that it is because of Him that we are a Congregation, and that, beyond frontiers, it is the same name that we carry: Daughters of Jesus.
Of course, I felt warmly welcomed, as any other Daughter of Jesus; but when we arrive in another country this fraternity is strong and precious.
What helped me to integrate more fully in the Canada Province, was the service that was asked of me for the Provincial Chapter: I met Sisters of the other Vice-Provinces, and I discovered a different way of working and approaching things.
When we change countries, we must live passages …. And also difficulties in adaptation….
Yes, I will sum up these passages in two words: a freedom and a road…
First, freedom, not a freedom where we do what we want, when we want and where we want; but an interior freedom. By that, I mean living far from my country, my work, my friends all this has taught me to let go; not forget or renounce, but this detachment has led me straight to communion with those that I love and that I left behind in my country.
Secondly, a road: living differently, learning to look after my own «humanity» in order to lead me to « look after» my relationship with Christ, to better follow in His footsteps in community and in the service of the mission.
Yes, I had some difficulties in the beginning, as all changes imply … The greatest was the cold, the snow that lasts and the ice. The ice is really a hardship!!! But the Lord had preceded me.
You can share with us what your mission is on Canadian soil?
My first mission is a beautiful one! It is to be in the service of the project at Tavibois: a place where the community cares for 22 cottages that we rent out according to the seasons of the year. My days follow a rhythm by the verification of the cottages after the departure of the renters, by the housecleaning with Sylvie (one of the employees), by the laundry of the cottage linen and finally by a kitchen service for the community. I also have a pastoral participation on a team responsible for the preparation of Confirmation of young adults.
A final word?
A French singer that I appreciate a lot, Jean Jacques Goldman says, in one of his songs «We must take in our baggage, only what really matters, and to say thank you to oneself for these pearls of life».
So let us put out into the deep with what makes us live.