In light of the year of Consecrated Life, His Excellency, Valery Vienneau, archbishop of Moncton with the assistance of a team, organized a very significant celebration on October 28th 2105 .
All religious men and women were invited to an afternoon of reflection. We all know how spiritually motivated Bishop Vienneau is and in a profound but simple manner, he had us reflect once more on Pope Francis’ Letter: “Rejoice”. He began by situating religious life in the midst of all vocations. He then shared on the following three points:
The Bishop pointed out that we, the Daughters of Jesus, had left our Provincial House to settle in a new environment, really a new way of being Church. To live in a mixed community of religious and lay people is a prophetic gesture. The Priests and Brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross have also made the same move.
Indeed, here at Riverview, we, the 40 Daughters of Jesus among some 200 lay people, are committed to renew our lives on a community level: praying, sharing, serving and taking part in various activities. We now have more time for silence and prayer since all administrative, maintenance and culinary responsibilities are taken care of by the Institution.
On an apostolic level, we are continually given the opportunity to listen, to bring comfort, to say a kind word, to bring a little assistance, to smile… We allow ourselves to be challenged by our lay counterparts who have life experiences that are different but complementary to ours.
The Bishop reminded us of our mission to denounce – by our way of life – all that is not essential to the promotion of real Christian values. He even mentioned a fourth vow – that of JOY, which people are greatly in need of today.
After this reflection, we shared a toast which was followed by a delicious meal served by lay people. We were approximately 150 religious. During the evening there was a solemn Mass at the Cathedral which was filled to capacity with all the priests as well as many faithful of the diocese also in attendance.
The singing by choir and congregation was very vibrant. Outstanding also during this celebration were two posters: one chosen for the year of Consecrated Life: Gospel, prophecy and hope. The other, a large open book with, on one side, the names of 11 religious communities of the diocese and on the other, those of 19 religious communities who spread good deeds in this diocese but who had to leave.
This was a day of appreciation for religious life, one of thanksgiving, of friendly meeting as well as a time of renewal for all of us.
Sr Céline Poirier, d.j.