As they do each year,
the Associates from different regions
came together on the 25th March 2017
for their annual meeting at Kermaria.
« Joyful reunions for this big family celebration ! »
« All together … yes, yes, yes »
Top marks to Yves, the conductor of the orchestra who assured with ease that the day’s programme ran to time.
First the welcome, prayer in common and presentation of the groups including those who were there for the first time. Then it was down to « serious matters ».
The morning had a beautiful surprise in wait for us : Here we are, already looking forward to 2022 !
Four Sisters of the General Council were with us and proposed that we should discover the Orientations of the General Chapter 2016.
[From April 2015, Sisters and Associates had been en route towards the General Chapter of 2016. The latter finally retained four orientations :
- Go to the source to revive the gift that is in you ;
- Go out to the margins, « In so far as you did this to to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me » (Mat 25,40). It is an invitation to step outside of ourselves and our habits.
- Become a Church without frontiers. The Church is confronted by religious plurality and growing secularisation, a multitude of sects. We need to be close to the excluded, without judging, acting as Jesus did when he risked going beyond the frontiers of the Jewish religion. We also need to support small isolated Christian communities.
- Take care of our House in Common. The gap between rich and poor is growing. We should respect life, take care of the Creation and of each person. We should resist waste, simplify our lifestyle, support ecology projects.
« Go in the strength now upholding you » (Jg 6,14)
Invitéd to turn towards our neighbours, we shared our spontaneous reactions …
- The audacity of the orientations and their relevance to the world of today. We stressed their lucidity. Despite the fragilities of the Congregation, Hope is there, which goes completely against what we see in the world today.
- Conscious of the fragility of our Church, of our parishes, we need to take care of one another, do what we can, because « we are together ».
- Because we are not non-governmental agencies, let’s go to the Source, applying the Word of God in our daily lives.
- We see better now how we can be Associates. Our role is a long term one, acting as Jesus did, « honouiring his Sacred Humanity » along with the Sisters.
« To the desert with You, Jesus Christ, our Easter is accomplished »,
a beautiful song that ended this time of sharing …
In the afternoon, the weather was still beautiful ! The meeting between Sisters and Associates, strengthened our links. Our exchanges were based on certain questions :
- How did our journeying together with the Associates come about ? In the main it’s a story of meetings, at school, as friends, at work … At the heart of these meetings, we were able to put a finger on what was for each one, a certain sharing of our lives. With the Sisters that we met, we experienced the joy of welcoming each other mutually.
« In my case, after Sister Yvonne invited me, I reflected, I hesitated, not knowing what I was commiting myself to. But as I was a neighbour of the sisters, I often met them and talked with them. I was struck by their welcome, their availability, their obvious happiness. I therefore took part in a meeting of the associates and that convinced me. This choice can only confirm our faith. The Gospel sharing, the exchanges that respect each person, the prayer, all serve as reminders. We feel challenged more often by the Gospel values in how we live our daily lives. We have also exchanged with the Sisters in how they have lived their life as religious sisters. Some of their stories are worthy of the great adventurers. It’s a pity that there are no films to show to our grand-children all they have achieved and done with so little and in such difficult conditions. » (Jeanne Bridel)
- What do we like about being an Associate ? Our meetings, this free time together, strengthens us. In our exchanges we have discovered a total respect for the other. We dare to be ourselves. Benevolence, confidence, faithfulness in the good moments of life as in the times when we are tested. Knowing that we can share the pains, the joys, a project … experiences that we have been able to communicate to the Sisters.
And it was still beautiful when we came together for the Eucharist. At the beginning of the celebration the Associates’ reference booklet and the Sisters’ rule of Life were carried in procession. At the offertory procession a light carried by a Sister and and an associate was placed before the altar.
Father Stéphane Le Sonn, who had come from Finistère and who had kindly spent the day with us, presided over the celebration.
« A very beautiful day full of joy, of confidence, the day passed too quickly … a day that made think of a group of cousins : a big family happy to get together (warmth, rich exchanges).
Thank you to the Sisters for bringing us into the family. »