28 August 1923… 28 August 2023!

On this last Monday in August, in Saint-Brieuc – in Brittany, France – the communities of the Mother House, the older sisters and some residents of the “Jeanne Guernion” retirement home, gathered around SISTER DENISE DURAND to give thanks on HER HUNDRED YEAR ANNIVERSARY.

In his homily, Father Gérard Nicole, who celebrated the mass, said: “You have been led by the evidence: God exists and you have met him!”

Sister Denise was born in the village of La Méaugon, near St Brieuc in the Côtes d’Armor département, to a mother from the Finistère département in Brittany and a father from Nevers in central France. It was while learning to sew that Sister Denise met the Daughters of the Holy Spirit and decided to become a nun. Her father refused: “When you come of age, you can do what you like. In the meantime, you’ll go to work”. At 20, Sister Denise made her religious profession. She became an educator for children in great difficulty and was sent to the Pyrenees, to Oloron Sainte-Marie. Her mother, who had never left her native Brittany, was astonished: “What could she have done to be sent there?”

Gérard Nicole ended his homily by saying: “Sister Denise, it’s obvious: God loved you and you loved him”. At the end of the mass, the African sisters, who had been visiting the Mother House in August, surrounded Sister Denise and shared their joy with her by dancing and singing. It was a wonderful gift!

Today, Sister Denise lives in the “Jeanne Guernion House”. She welcomes everyone who comes to visit her with great humour, always happy: “Everyone is nice to me! I’m lucky to be here“. Her mission at the heart of the world continues, quietly, but with great delicacy and humility…

By Pascale JUDIC, coordinator of the Sœurs aînées retirement home community.
Published on 31 August 2023