Within the context of the canonical visit, the French Associates were invited by Sister Roselys, General Councillar, to an Assembly of the Associates. The small number of 12 associates and 2 sisters, Maria and Annie, allowed for physical distancing in Bethany hall. It was raining a lot outside, but inside there were happy faces behind the masks, happy to see each other again, to reflect on the future of the Associates in France, in communion with those from other entities.
We placed our day in the hands of the Lord with a prayer prepared by Sister Roselys.
She then showed us the presentations prepared by the Associates from different entities for the Chapter that was held in July 2019. Out of that came the wish to know each other better and to move forward together, on an international level, in Tenderness and Mercy in the footsteps of Angélique and her companions.
Sister Maria retraced the road that the Associates and Friends in France have travelled since their beginnings in 2000, following the pioneers in the Province of Canada. Starting with 3 couples and 2 sisters, the family has grown to 80 Associates of which 37 have made commitments. There are very few that leave but age and illness force some to maintain unity through their thoughts and prayers which is so precious to our 4 extended regions.
Jean-Claude and Marie-Annick shared what they lived at the Chapter where they gave their testimony along with that of Guy from Canada.
After a short break, Jean-Claude shared the hopes that were expressed by the 3 associates present at the Chapter, followed by Sister Roselys’ presentation of the final Orientations.
Marie-Annick showed us a presentation of the Associates and Friends in France, a nice mixture of lived experience in Tenderness and Mercy in connection with the Sisters.
The time came for our picnic, held in a pleasant atmosphere, and with a surprise visit from Sister Anne accompanied by Sister Martine.
Back in session, we freely discussed the Orientations, rich reflections that will help us build relations with the Associates in the other entities.
Jean-Claude led a Liturgy of the Word, with the Sunday readings. “The Lord gives us what is best and cherishes his vineyard, and we are the “plants” from whom he awaits good fruit.”
We left feeling happy that we are living the same Charism of Tenderness and Mercy wherever we are.
Jean-Claude and Marie-Annick are planning to go to each of the extended regions of France so they can give their testimony and hear suggestions of how to set up an international team.