My visit to Honduras

What an opportunity to have been invited to Honduras by the “Messagères de l’Immaculée”! Since I am the niece and goddaughter of Gemma Beaulieu (former Marie-Anna-du-Sauveur, fj), I had the privilege and honor of joining them to celebrate the centenary of the birth of their foundress, my aunt.

With the approval of the Canadian Regional Council, I responded with great joy to that cordial invitation.

Brief overview of my stay

I was warmly welcomed at the airport by three Daughters of Jesus and  Pascuala, a “Messagère” Sister. What a joy to see each other again! After traveling a few hours by car, we finally arrived in Choluteca.

The very next day, I found myself at the community of the “Messagères” for a few days. They are now 38 Sisters missioned in 14 communities including a community of 3 sisters in Guatemala.

Since Pascuala could speak French she accompanied me as often as possible. When she was not around I managed as best I could in Spanish; we had a lot of fun with certain expressions I used… I was very touched to visit my aunt Gemma’s bedroom – kept intact: to see her bed, her rocking chair, some of her clothes, books and many other objects she used.

A Thanksgiving Mass

The main celebration took place at the cathedral on January 10th.  It all began by listening to the reading of my aunt’s biography followed by the celebration of the Eucharist. Music, songs, flowers, decorations, and the gathering of so many people made this event a grandiose celebration.

Prior to the address of the Superior General of the “Messagères”, I was invited to speak to the assembly. I was somewhat impressed to stand in front of a packed cathedral! Archbishop Guy Charbonneau translated my brief intervention.

A Festive Meal

After mass we made our way to Casa San Jose (house where my aunt had lived) for a festive meal followed by music, singing, and even games for the younger ones. I had the opportunity to meet some family members of Floriselva, fj. Bishop Charbonneau blessed a commemorative plaque that had been already installed at the entrance of the building.

On pilgrimage

Along with the “Messagères”, we left on a pilgrimage to the cemetery. In front of the mausoleum of my dear godmother, Gemma, we recalled certain events of her life and spontaneous prayers sprang from our hearts. I was deeply touched by the thoughtfulness of the Sisters who invited me to lay flowers on the tomb of Sister Giovani (Jeanne-Mance Leclerc, fj) who died in Honduras; she was laid to rest in this same peaceful garden.

San Marcos, Danli and Tegucigalpa

Later on, Sister Monique Guitton, fj drove me to San Marcos where I was very happy to visit the place where my aunt Rita, (Sister St-Eusèbe fj) worked for several years. What a great welcome from the FJ community! Floriselva, Maura and Isemane are very busy at Ste-Thérèse School. We shared the evening meal with the teachers who came for an afternoon retreat led by Monique.

We then left for Danli where I spent a few days with Monique and Leslie. What beautiful encounters! We went to the airport to drive Leslie who is leaving for a mission in Chile.

I met up with Maura and Floriselva in Tegucigalpa; they took me back to Choluteca for a short stay with the Messagèreswho, during a farewell meal,thanked mewarmly for my being present with them.

Enriching experience

At the FJ community in Choluteca, Christina showed me around the home where she works with a team that welcomes immigrants. Patrocinia told me about her mission as a nurse at the hospital and Deysi about her work with women. A succulent meal awaits us in San Lorenzo. Deysi took me to her village; I was happy to meet some members of her family and we then went on to the next village to attend a wedding: a last experience before my return home the next day.

This visit to Honduras was a wonderful opportunity for fraternal and enriching encounters with the Messagères Sisters as well as with our own FJ Sisters. Our final goodbyes at the airport were heart-warming.

I am deeply grateful to the Lord for all the many favors and blessings bestowed upon me during these fifteen days which proved to be a kind of pilgrimage, experienced as that of a Church moving beyond our own frontiers.

Ursule Beaulieu fj

Rimouski,Canada

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