In August 2021, neighbours and friends showed great solidarity and friendship towards the community of Tonneins, France, when the Sisters moved out.
The 28th of August is a date that many people will remember in Tonneins, in the department of Lot and Garonne. Our worried friends and neigbours, had asked us several times, “Have you finished clearing out all your furniture?” The answer was, “Yes!”, but it was laborious. Two yard sales did bring in a few people, but it was only small items of furniture that went, and not the big ones as hoped for. Emmaus could only come three weeks later!
A sharing beyond our expectations
However, four families were able to complete their furniture thanks to us. A young couple was delighted to be able to set up a household at a lower cost and a friend from Benin, who has petitioned to stay in France with her children, also found enough to complete her linen and crockery. Finally, one lady, after choosing what she needed, said to us, “You can give all that is left to my son, he helps out many friends.”
A welcome without limits
So, on Thursday the 26th, the last convoy took away the last articles. We had, of course, kept the necessary to eat and sleep, but no way. “You will come to us, we have three rooms free since the children are no longer there!” and our friends Michel and Aline, long-time partners, welcomed us with open arms.
We heard the sentence, “You will let me know about the cleaning.” several times and even afterwards, “Why didn’t you call me for the cleaning? I was really sorry I wasn’t there that afternoon.” We took pictures as souvenirs and also to thank our friends. One of them mowed the lawn, while another cleaned the cupboards and drawers thoroughly. A third took care of the skirting boards and other areas.
Our Sisters from the community in Libos came to help us and we musn’t forget our neighbour Michel who was there at the end. If it hadn’t been for him, we would have been in trouble many times during our time in Tonneins.
We have only been in Tonneins, a small town of almost 10,000 inhabitants, for eight years but we have made many connections. Some of the ladies who opened their arms to us when we arrived were faithful to the end. We had formed strong bonds with the neighbours and they invited us on the evening of the 15th of August for a potluck supper. It was a very friendly evening.
It’s only a goodbye
Sr Michèle will no doubt have the opportunity to see some of the parishioners again on certain occasions as she is now in Libos and will return sometimes to Tonneins. Sr St Paul has gone to Cahors where she spent 15 years in the past.
As we turn one page, another opens!
May they both be for the Glory of God!
The Sisters of Tonneins, France