For us, Daughters of Jesus of Trois Rivières, (Canada) this was a day especially tinged with nostalgia since it was the last celebration of November 25 at our small Kermaria of North America. This day was focused on our departure, but at the same time, on hope.
In 1902, Mère Ste Elizabeth and Marie de Ste Zénaïde, once embarked on the Touraine, saw the outline of their home country, France, gradually disappearing out of sight.
A departure for the unknown
They were called upon by God, as in the days of Abraham: “Leave your country, your family, your father’s house for the land I will show you.” Gn1 It was for our two sisters a departure for the unknown, “where no one is waiting for you, where no one knows you, where no one is thinking of you.” Let’s try to grasp their anxieties, their fatigue, as they came to terms with this unknown. Moreover, such a displacement implied keeping only the essential necessities of life.
In a fervent hour of adoration in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament we entered this meditation, gazing at the monstrance that reminded us of this journey into the total unknown. This monstrance, originally from France was for some time in Arichat and in Rogersville before finally ending up in Trois Rivières. How? When? Where?
We continued our reflection reminding ourselves of our own exodus that we are about to undertake. To leave Kermaria is, for every Canadian daughter of Jesus, a leaving behind of a whole chapter of history and of our life within the walls of this, our tri-fluvial Kermaria.
A spiritual pilgrimage
After a prolonged time of prayer and silence during the forenoon, a festive meal awaited us. Then at 2 pm we met again, along with our associates, in our magnificent chapel for a Eucharistic celebration… a celebration specially filled with hope and joy.
We contemplated the photos of Mère Ste Elizabeth and Mère Ste Zénaïde as well as the boat, La Touraine, and we pondered over the probable emotions and feelings that must have been theirs and which are ours today.
May this short spiritual pilgrimage bring forth in us the grace to live our today with confidence, remembering what Mère Ste Elizabeth used to say “May these trials produce roses on those thorns that tear my heart today.”
We will go and settle elsewhere
“It is now our turn to go towards the unknown along with our fears and apprehensions but also with joy to a place where God is waiting for us among other congregations and amidst lay people.” (Words of blessing from our Provincial, Monique Brûlé).
Finally, we remember what Micheline, our Superior General, told us recently: “Under different circumstances, you are pursuing today the long journey of life which will always lead you further on, beyond the known…”
Madeleine Aylwin, fj Trois Rivières, Canada