Sr Marie Thérèse Catusse, in community in Cameroon, went to celebrate Easter with a small Christian community near N’Gaoundéré. To her surprise, she found that she was not the first Daughter of Jesus to go there.
“Go to Galilee”
To hear that today is to hear the call of Pope Francis to “Go to the frontiers … to the peripheries”. The village of Darang is a “periphery” of the University Parish of Bini Dang. The parish priest had asked me to accompany him and so I had the chance to celebrate Easter there. What a joy on my return home to learn that this community was founded by the Daughters of Jesus in 1996!
A seed sown in trust
Patricia Pèlerin and Thérèse Le Carrer were the first Sisters to go there at the request of some Christians. Thérèse tells us :
“Between 1996-2002, there were some men from Chad in this village, who worked as the guardians of land belonging to people from N’Gaoundéré. They were the ones who first showed a desire for prayer and sharing the Gospel. Christians from other areas then joined them and they built a basic shelter where we met once a week. “
They left an embryonic community that has since grown.
A seed that has borne fruit
More than 20 years later, I found a lively, dynamic community, organised like a real parish: choir, children’s group, women’s group, liturgy, catechesis, Caritas (Catholic Relief Services). The Easter celebration was a testimony to this.
– Mothers, in their beautiful uniforms, asked the priest for a blessing and expressed their wish to join other women’s groups.
– The Caritas group had organised a collection that allowed them to share with 14 needy orphans and elderly people in the community. “You don’t have to be rich to share”, said the parish priest as he congratulated them.
– At the end of the celebration, a fraternal meal awaited all the participants. The parish priest and I were happy to be among them.
The life of this small community reminded me of that of the first Christians described in the Acts of the Apostles :
“These remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers … The faithful all lived together and owned everything in common.”
(Acts 2, 42-45)
Thank you, Lord, for continuing to challenge us as Daughters of Jesus to :
– have the same “enterprising spirit” as our first Sisters.
– recognise Your presence “in the most concrete realities and the most ordinary gestures”.
– contemplate You in the face of each of our brothers and sisters.
Sr Marie -Thérèse Catusse fj, Cameroon