With young people: glimpses of commitments

Marie-Madeleine and I, Juliette, both from the community of Noisy-le-Grand, a town about twenty kilometres from Paris, were invited to take part on 24 and 25 June in two days organised by the Ensemble Scolaire Françoise Cabrini, a private Catholic school under contract, which caters for pupils from nursery school to higher education.

The day included a time of reflection on “COMMITMENT” for all pupils in 6ème and 5ème. The morning began with the film “Sacerdoce”, and in the afternoon various witnesses from different organisations were invited to talk about their commitments: Saint Vincent de Paul, the Red Cross, Secours Catholique, the Lions Club, ATD Fourth World, the fire brigade, the gendarmes, religious life, etc. The students asked the following questions: What is your name? What is your commitment? Why did you choose it? What do you get out of it? And finally, they were given a riddle. For 10 minutes, each guest welcomed 10 pupils and the groups followed one another, the 6ème pupils on the first day and the 5ème the next.
Marie Madeleine spoke on both days about religious life and I, Juliette, on the 2nd day about Secours Catholique.

Marie-Madeleine.  “I began by pointing out that, like marriage, celibacy and the priesthood, religious life is a state of life. What makes it special is that, in response to a call, the commitment is based on the consecration to God of one’s whole life in prayer, sharing and self-giving within an institute which, for me and Juliette, is the Congregation of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit. We live as a community, linked to other communities both near and far. One of the rules of our daily conduct is: “Let ourselves be led by the Spirit, in love of God and of others”. Having been involved in teaching and catering, I’m also involved in the Church… In the parish of Noisy, I receive a lot of people: catechumens, young people in charge of chaplaincies… and always trying to understand the Word of God in our everyday lives. I’ve given several facts to young people… and their astonishment surprised me!  I was also surprised to hear a young person say on leaving: “In every person I meet there is goodness, there is life, there is God”.

Juliette. “I spoke to the young people about the local, national and international dimension of Secours Catholique. In Noisy, we are five volunteers who organise three afternoons of – telephone helpline, – parent-child helpline on Wednesday afternoons, – social helpline by appointment to understand people’s situations and help them with procedures (town hall, social workers, medical aid, financial aid, etc.). Once a month, we celebrate the birthdays of children whose families are supported by Secours Catholique. Young people from the second, first and final years of secondary school and from the parish chaplaincy come to spend the afternoon with the children, playing games and having a snack.
Finally, I asked them: “If you had to present Secours Catholique, what would you say?”  Their answers reflected the most concrete expression of the self-sacrifice that Secours Catholique provides: “It means enabling people to live” “It means helping their children, supporting them, encouraging them” “It means enabling them to live a civic life” “It means a free welcome, open to all” “It means accepting others who are different” “Everyone has a place” “It means recognising God in everyone”.

Many young people were welcoming and interested… Few knew about Religious Life.
A film called “CABRINI” has just been released about the life of this woman – whose name the college bears – who responded to the needs of her time and founded a congregation! Wouldn’t this be a very good time to reflect again on COMMITMENT? Our best wishes for fruitful projects for the “mission” of this establishment!

The Noisy-le-Grand community. Published on 3 July 2024