Daughter of Jesus,
shares her journey with us.
38 years old, Nathalie is one of the younger sisters of the diocese of Quimper (France). Born in Loctudy, she is the second of 13 children. “Early on, my parents taught me to live a fraternal and communal life”.
She owes her religious education in large part to her grandmother.
It was she who gave me the desire to go to church, to pray with other Christians and above all to discover the Word of God.
As a child I was struck at Mass by the Gospels that related the miracles of healing and by the manner in which Jesus raised up a person”.
Sister Nathalie Guéguen cannot remember a particular moment when she became aware of being called. For her, it was an ensemble of events that led her to enter religious life. “When I was 7 years old, I remember one of my great uncles, a missionary brother of saint Gabriel in Africa, say to my parents: I pray that one of your children will follow in my footsteps”. Something reverberated in me and I said to myself : “Why not me” ?
Later on, it was a meeting with a priest in Loctudy that marked Nathalie.
“He gave a particular place to the young by giving us a certain responsibility in the way we became involved. He gave us a certain audacity. That made me experience what life in the Church is”.
The MEJ equally marked a turning point in the life of the sister because it allowed her to discover Ignatian spituality.
“After the baccalaureat, I already had the desire to enter an apostolic religious congregation because I felt the Lord was calling me in this direction.
During my three and a half years at nursing school in Quimper, I was accompanied by a sister who helped me to discern my way”.
Putting down deep roots
After several experimental periods in different congregations, Nathalie Guéguen felt that her place was with the Daughters of Jesus.
“When I discovered their way of living and their charism, that swung it for me, I felt I had come home”. During a year’s postulancy at Clohars-Carnoët, during which the young sister worked as a district nurse, Sister Nathalie discovered community life “with women that one had not chosen to live with. You have to learn to live together, to find a liberating word that allows each one to envisage this community life together while respecting the age and the culture of each one.”
Then in 1999 Nathalie Guéguen started two years of noviciate. “It was a period of rupture from family, friends, work, a period for putting down deep roots. There were difficult moments, especially as I come from a family with strong links, but little by little you learn to live and relate in another way”.
She spent three months in Cameroun where she did work experiences in the central prison and an orphanage, then it was a return to France where she worked with the emergency social services in Paris. “That only served to reinforce my drive to struggle against the misery that dehumanises and against which Christ never ceased to struggle”.
Today, Sister Nathalie Guéguen has a mission within the church. She assures several missions within the service of spiritual direction, health chaplaincy, the service of vocations and is also present to a group of young professionals. “In my mission with the diocese, I am struck by the spiritual searching of the people that I meet and by their thirst to grow in relationship with Christ”.
« Walk humbly with your God”.
This phrase has been the sister’s leitmotif since her final vows.
I don’t doubt the presence of God at my side, his call and his invitation to always continue going forwards, certain that He will always be with me, but there are moments, especially with regard to perspectives for the future and ageing congregations, where this walking can be a paschal journey.
It’s in this way that I have discovered what faith really is, that is to say believing in a God who can open up new ways. We are the awakeners, the watchmen of the signs of today. We need to dare to take new steps.”