In 2017, in the joyful spirit of the great international gathering of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit Family to mark the end of the “Year of Marie Balavenne”, Sister Helena UGORJI, a Nigerian, was sent to Ile Blanche – the welcome centre at Locquirec in Brittany, France – to live with the community the call heard by all that day: “Together, with others, witnesses to the Love that changes the world”.
For five years, Helena was part of this movement, taking part in the mission of welcome at Ile Blanche and accompanying a group of teenagers linked to the parish of Plestin-les-Grèves. She was then able to review this experience during a year of training at the Centre Sèvres in Paris. This last year was very rich, she says, and ended with the writing of a paper on the theme: The Kingdom of God is here, very close to you…
Helena returns to Nigeria at the end of the month. At Ile Blanche, on 18 June, the time came to say goodbye, expressed during the Sunday Eucharist and experienced in communion with all our sisters from Nigeria, Cameroon and Burkina-Faso. The usual congregation was there, as well as a small delegation of teenagers from Plestin-les-Grèves, who had come with their parents to thank Helena for her support. Helena offered a warm thank you for all she has received over the years, and sang a conviction of Faith that has lit her path: My Father planned it all. She concluded with an invitation to all: Let yourself be led by the Spirit, and fearlessly take up his call… The convivial time that followed was a wonderful opportunity for friendship, as the Friends of the Ile Blanche like to create on every occasion.
The community will continue its journey among French sisters. But one of the calls of the 2021 General Chapter remains: Let us move forward in an international and intergenerational dynamic. In a strengthened fraternity, let’s open up more to the whole Congregation, which is undergoing profound change: it’s time to make a transition.
Thank you to Helena and Emiola. Their presence in our community over the past years has stimulated us in this direction, and continues to do so. Here and there, we remain united and in solidarity.
“Linked to those whom God associates with us… let us be led by the Spirit…”.
The Ile Blanche community. Published on 20 June 2023