At the 50th anniversary of the Daughters of Jesus’ presence in Chili, Canadian and French sisters who had worked there participated in the celebrations. They share some of their impressions.
The « house of the Sisters » at Tucapel becomes a medical clinic at the service of the people
When we took possession of our house in Tucapel in the years 1968 – 1970, Sr Rachel Boutin, now 91 years old, worked as a nurse in a tiny space not even big enough to house a camp bed. As well as accompanying people who lived in precarity, she gave basic care and visited the sick.
After some years, the Congregation and the Hospital at Huepil, 6 kms from Tucapel, judged that Rachel could enlarge her services as a nurse and entrusted her with a whole day at the Hospital.
Sisters are being replaced by lay-people.
The Sisters left Tucapel after some years. The house was transformed into a health centre where specialist doctors came each day to serve the people of the region. It is now run by the municipality but at the beginning, the Associates lived out their apostolic engagement by working actively as volunteers to help bring about the changes.
In this way, the simple “private” medical service assured by Sister Rachel has become a regional health centre. An extension receives a group of old people each day for various learning, leisure and spiritual activities.
A monument has been erected to honour the presence of the Daughters of Jesus
To mark the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Daughters of Jesus, a monument has been erected at the entrance, with the apostolic flame of the charism and the names of all of the Daughters of Jesus who have worked there.
The grain thrown into the earth 50 years ago has produced a tree giving fruits of heath, joy and fraternity to all the population.
Lucie Larouche f.j. Trois Rivières, Canada
- From a dictatorship to democracy and peace.
- From poverty to social projects for the betterment of the impoverished.
- From a few Daughters of Jesus to numerous lay associates.
And much more.
- Companions always in love with Jesus, with a people who are so welcoming, with the ‘little ones’ who are so courageous.
- Companions who humanise in the way that Jesus did and allow themselves to be humanised.
- Associates truly rooted in the spirituality of the Daughters of Jesus and deeply engaged in the mission of “honouring the Sacred Humanity of the Son of God.”
- Friends who are still faithful years after our departure.
Gratitude for the gift of life.
What joy to celebrate together the 50 years of the missionary presence of the Daughters of Jesus at Tucapel, Chillan and Santiago.
Thank you to each person who showed so much love and who gave so generously so that we can sing in our hearts an endless song of celebration and leave there an indelible memory.
As a Chilean friend said so well, “It’s as if you had never left!” It’s what I felt and lived in going to “your home” which is still “my home”.
Madeleine Lambert fj, Trois-Rivières
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God present in all our endeavors.
To have the possibility of returning to Chile after coming back for good to France and to celebrate there the 50 years of the Congregation’s presence is first of all an event that I experience as a grace from the God who guides our footsteps each day and who accompanies us on all our roads.
Bonds that remain in spite of distances.
My stay of almost 3 weeks confirmed for me that, despite the geographical distance and the fact of taking root little by little in another context, the deep links that I wove with the people in and through my mission are not broken. I took great pleasure in seeing again the Daughters of Jesus who are in the country and Sisters from different congregations. It was an equal pleasure to see priests and lay people who continue to pursue the work that I had been part of, as well as associates of the Congregation and friends from way back.
“I feel at home.”
We talked about how things have evolved in the last three years.
I had stayed in contact by various means with some people. There is nothing like a conversation however, where you don’t need many words to understand each other, because of what you have previously lived together. Several times I had the feeling that we had had just left each other the day before. I thank all of those who made me feel that I had “come back home” to this land where the 25 years that I spent there are still very much alive.
Marie Noelle Christien, fj, France
Joy of being together again.
What happy moments I lived in Chile after not having been in the country for 30 years. It was agreeable to meet up again with Sisters Louise, Maggy and Noëlle, as well going back to places that I used to visit on foot, on bicycle, or by bus and train. I took great pleasure in seeing how the houses, roads and general infrastructure had improved.
My principal mission was pastoral work with the young. It was a great joy for me to see many people who were young when I knew them and who are now adults: a priest, fathers, grandfathers, associates, single people. I very much enjoyed listening to how life had treated them and to how they were involved at work, with their family, in the parish, or the neighbourhood.
So many memories!
They clearly expressed their gratitude for what they had learned and lived during their youth. I was very surprised that I could remember their names and recall the places and circumstances in which we had known each other and shared part of the road together.
As always, I valued the simplicity, the warm relationships, the invitations to their homes to share a meal, the exchanges around their life now, their projects, their sense of celebration and remembering their youth.
God is good!
I also had some glimpses of Providence – I don’t want to say fate. While I was walking along a street, my godson, baptised as an adult, approached and recognised me. I thought I might have the possibility of seeing him again, but I had neither his address nor his telephone number. Another day I met with a bishop of the time who is now retired. The past caught up with me …
Marie-Andrée Le Mouël, fj, France