ON THE RED ISLAND
A marvelous Love story !
In 1957, as a result of the encyclical “ Fidei Donum ” (gift of faith) of Pope Pius XII, the Congregation of the Daughters of the Holy Virgin felt “ responsible for the coming of the kingdom of God ” and after several years of reflection, consulting, advice, prayer, a unanimous and firm decision was taken in August 1960.
Madagascar is the first chosen place for the first missionary foundation. The Fathers of Notre Dame de la Salette welcome the services of the “ Daughters of the Holy Virgin ”. Since 1943, bonds existed between these two Congregations. At the time of aerial bombing in the zone of Rennes station, the Sisters had received the hospitality at the Fathers of Notre Dame de la Salette, at a few kilometres from the town.
It is through a very simple relationship of correspondence between the children from Saint Michael’ school in Rennes, held by the “ Daughters of the Holy Virgin ”, and the Madagascan children of Mandoto where a Breton missionary, Father Hamon, lived, that the call to the missionary life took shape.
Father Hamon wrote in May 1960: “ Here, in Mandoto, religious Sisters are needed … If the Daughters of the Holy Virgin could make an act of Faith and Hope by sending three or four Sisters in Mission ! ”
The seed takes root … !
The time of departure had come. On August 31st 1961, three pioneers : Sisters Marie-Renée Delin, Marie-Paule Bazin and Blandine Royer leave Rennes.
A few important stopping places : Lisieux, Nevers, Paray-le-Monial, Hautecombe. On September 5th, the trio boarded in Marseille. 20 days of travelling and the joy to accost at Tamatave. On October 1961, they arrive at Mandoto, where they are warmly welcomed.
The small plant grows !
In 1965, Two young Madagascan girls : Edwidge, Gilberte take off to France for a formation to religious life. Marie-Rose joins them a few months later.
In November 1967: opening of a community in Ankazomiriotra by Mary-Edwige, first Madagascan Sister.
In 1968, the small tree grows. Gilberte and Marie-Rose, come back to their country after their first profession. Following the General Chapter, a “ Regional ” is nominated, the Daughters of the Holy Virgin take the name of “ Fraternité Notre-Dame”. On June 20th 1969, the blessing of the formation house takes place in Antsirabe.
1971: already 10 years of presence !
1972: disturbing and perturbed year !
The Big Island lives an irreversible turning point, a socialist revolution : the upheaval of mentalities , the “ malgachisation ” of teaching.
The foreigners ask themselves the question of their presence : stay or leave ?
1973: in this difficult situation, the first three Madagascan Sisters take their final vows.
Up to 1985, the small group strengthens its foundations. The mission of the Fraternity Notre-Dame ‘ Sisters establishes its bases.
1990: when the Sisters of the Fraternity Notre-Dame join the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Madagascan Sisters were 24 in number !
In Faith and Trust, they dare answering missionary calls.
To be there… because Christ is there.
To be there… presence of the Church.
with the children, women and the sick…
by daily sharing in the bush.
Antsirabe, Mandoto, Ankazomiriotra, Soavina, Antananarivo, Ranomafana, Ambatolahy, Morano.
Mission with the children:
… teaching, catechesis,
… with young girls and women,