Return to her country of origin


Marie-Noëlle Christien,

after 25 years spent in Chile,

writes about her re-adaptation in France



Since I have come back to the country, I have opted to welcome the experience of those who have not parted and not to speak too quickly. For the moment I have not been able to sufficiently “chew over” my experience so that I can better express it at the opportune moment … it will surprise no-one if I say that it was not easy to leave a place where I felt very much at home, sent by the congregation, accompanied by many friends and work colleagues, in different places, whether it was during my 5 years in Chillan or my 20 years in the Chilean capital Santiago.


The support of the community has been for me a fundamental aspect of my re-insertion. I try to be one among four, with my faults and my qualities. I am lucky in that I have arrived in a recently created community without too many established customs, living a community project where we will go on to live in a rented apartment provided for us by the diocese of Quimper.

As for my apostolic engagements, in this my first year I have joined the parish liturgical team, taking my turn to animate Sunday masses in the two places of the “Steir-Odet” sector that are nearest to the community. I have equally taken part in the Evangelical Service for the sick who prepare a monthly liturgical celebration in a nursing home for the elderly. I have responded to several requests for individual spiritual accompaniment.

Before arriving in the diocese, I had been asked to act as “bridge” between the existing team of accompanying persons and the new team of the retreat “New Life after hardship”, a retreat proposed twice a year to people who have lived through a bereavement.

Starting in November 2015, I received 13 people at Kernisy (Quimper) who were interested in being accompanied in Lectio Divina. We finished this formation in May 2016 and I will begin again with others in the year 2016 – 2017. During this time I was also asked to be a “presence” in the sheltered housing complex Saint-Corentin. Over the course of the months other engagements have come up, some one-off, others more permanent: starting in September 2016, accompaniment of a CVX group and member of the diocesan spiritual animation team.


A sign that I am still between two cultures is that I wrote this article first of all in Spanish. It would have been more difficult for me to have expressed all this in French.

I will finish by saying that I have come back from my 25 years abroad the same and yet changed …. Not only because of my age but because of small changes, sometimes lived in a radical fashion, more often negotiated subtly and progressively. I am not saying, as others have said to me, that leaving revolutionizes your life, but I can say that certain of my priorities have been modified definitively. In community and in my mission “to the outside”. It would take too long – and without doubt be premature – to be more explicit in this first try. I hope that my attempt will suffice to continue the exchange with those who will read this first draft, here in the provinces of the North and further south in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.

Marie-Noëlle Christien.



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