“In this world that God loves”
Every summer, the Daughters of Jesus of Vaylats, Lot (46), organise a celebration for the province South West France. It’s an opportunity to bring together their associates, friends, families and co-workers and to honour the sisters celebrating a jubilee that year.
Sr Rhona Burns, participant for the first time, shares some of the highlights of this event with us.
The convent is transformed into a beehive
A large celebration needs preparing and from the beginning of the week everyone is involved. The community is summoned to a ‘briefing’, where the programme is laid out with a precision worthy of the 14th July! On stage or behind the scenes everyone pitches in. There is only one worry: “Will we have good weather?” We trust to confidence.
This exhibition serves to bring our presence in other countries to the attention of the public and to raise funds for our mission in Africa.
A team of lay volunteers and sisters transform a large room into a beautiful exhibition space. The visitors are enthralled by the beauty and creativity of the articles donated or made by the sisters. As it is for a good cause they succumb to temptation.
On Friday a group of around twenty children and adolescents arrive for the week-end, accompanied by their group leaders. As the aftermath of a storm makes it impossible to put up the tents, we have to put them up in what was the school.
The young people are invited to work on the theme “In this world that God loves”, a theme that recalls our orientation for this year. They will develop it in a very original and artistic fashion.
Between moments of creativity, there are times of prayer or discussion, good meals shared together and hotly contested games of pétanque (bowls)!
On the Saturday evening everyone is invited to take part in a beautiful prayer vigil. The candle-light procession to the statue of the Virgin in the garden closes the day.
Sunday – ‘D’ day
Our prayers are answered, the sun shines and people begin to arrive during the course of the morning. The first rendezvous is in the chapel for an artistic production of the life of St Francis of Assisi. Led by a musician, the performance brings together theatre, participative songs, puppets and dance.
Midday and the conviviality continues, either around a picnic with an aperitif offered by the village council or around a festive meal in the dining room.
The young have their place as they mime the psalm and carry an enormous sphere which represents the planet Earth.
I give thanks for having taken part in these days of celebration with the Daughters of Jesus and the local Church.
Sr Rhona Burns, Rennes