Once upon a time four candles

This Saturday, December 30, 2023, at the Lokia Residence in Three Rivers, our Regional Leader, Sister Micheline Cormier, invites us to a prayerful gathering with an accent on Thanksgiving.

With the help of a story, we celebrate the passage from the year 2023 to 2024.  Four candles come to visit us and help us welcome the New Year with a renewed heart.

The support of a visual aid

A highly significant visual aid inspires our reflections.  The Christ Child rests on branches of a fir tree.  The fir tree always keeps its color, just as God’s love is from everlasting to everlasting!

To the left of the Infant Jesus, four candles glow, and to the right, a humble violet reminds us of the importance of small gestures.

Author and moderator of the celebration:

Sr Micheline Cormier, Sr Thérèse Foley

Some twenty sisters from the St-Joseph community took part, along with four sisters from the Oasis community.

The story begins

The first candle, PEACE, feels threatened by violence of all kinds, family quarrels, community tensions.  It suffocates and eventually dies out.

In turn, the candle of love feels weakened by so much selfishness.  We are easily preoccupied with TV, computers, telephones and the like… Comfortably ensconced in our own comfort zone, we turn a blind eye to those who hunger for bread and love. And suddenly a second candle goes out.

The third candle, faith, also feels itself dying of despair… It wonders: “Who really believes in the Word?  Who relies confidently on God?”  It realizes that people no longer need it, and it too dies out.

The fourth candle, hope, cedes its place to the Paschal candle which represents God’s Presence in our lives.  Hope enables us to stand firm in times of sadness, and helps us to believe without seeing.

The Infant Jesus of Bethlehem rekindles all extinguished lives, and he’s always there.  So, HOPE rekindles the three other candles for the joy of all!

Passing the torch

In addition to celebrating the transition from 2023 to 2024, we welcome the passing of one Animation Team to another.  In thanksgiving and with grateful hearts, we would like to highlight some of the accomplishments and gestures that have emerged from what the sisters shared in the Communities of St. Joseph and Our Lady of the Rosary.

First and foremost, the Sisters emphasize their fidelity to prayer and the Eucharist in order to discover God’s will; periods of renewal through adoration, sharing of the Word, attention to the life of the Church and the community.

Secondly, the testimonies insist on our readiness to respond to the slightest needs, to visit our frail Sisters, and doing so as Jesus would.

“Say it with a rose”!

In gratitude, each member of Team 2020-2023 were given a rose: Pâquerette Dessureault, Cécile Brouillette, Thérèse Normand and Gisèle Lacerte.

Thérèse Normand plays “Minuit Chrétien” on the piano, and each note sings of our gratitude.

Open arms and open hearts!

We then welcome the new Team: Gisèle Lacerte, Thérèse Normand, Georgette Beaudry and Nicole Périgny. We wish them PEACE, LOVE, FAITH and HOPE for this specific mission!  Each one receives a card bearing the four lit candles!

We also welcome Monique Brûlé as the new leader of our Lady of the Holy Rosary community (care center).

Together, we receive the Lord’s blessing:

“The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

We Sing

God, bless the New Year

Make our friends and family happy

It is all yours and given to us

On our paths of humanity! (2) 

Lord, grant us in this blessed year,

The strength to love and help one another;

Help us build peace, joy and kindness,

So that your reign of love may guide our every day.

“Together, let’s cast our nets!” 

Where there’s peace, love, faith and hope. It’s Christmas every day!

Angèle Lépine, fj

Three Rivers, Canada

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