ABOUT US Marie Balavenne Year March 2016 August 2017
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19 March 2016. Opening day
Bienvenue. Welcome. Bienvenida !
Yes, welcome to all of you who have come to celebrate with us the Opening of Marie Balavenne Year, on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of her birth. (lighting of “Marie Balavenne” banner) Thank you for being here this morning: You are most welcome all of you. Our special thanks to you, Mgr Moutel, for answering our invitation to preside over this celebration, accompanied by a few priests, friends of ours.
Who is this assembly composed of, this morning? First of all, the Daughters of the Holy Spirit who live in this house. A great number of them follow the celebration on TV, gathered in a hall or in their own rooms. There are also the DHS who have come from the countries in which we are present: FBH, EIW, the USA, Chile-Peru, Burkina-Faso, Cameroon, and Nigeria. You represent all the DHS who would have so much liked to be here, with us, today and with whom we are in great communion. Among them also, members of our Spiritual Family: consecrated lay women and Associates. Among us as well, lay people with whom we collaborate day by day, in our EHPAD, our medium-sized houses, in our Associations, at the Provincial House in Saint Brieuc or at the generalate in Rennes. Finally, friends of ours: religious women and men, lay persons.
We are here, all of us, to give thanks to God because of Marie Balavenne, because still today, her person, her life speaks to us and stimulates us: Marie Balavenne, a simple, humble, discreet woman who, with her companion Renée Burel, was attentive to the needs of the people around them. What did they do, both of them, except express themselves through "simple human gestures apparently without significance" (RL art 10): gathering children in their little house at Le Légué, next to Saint Brieuc, carry remedies and herbal teas to the sick, share the little they had with poorer than themselves. “They recognized in them the person of Jesus Christ and had a great respect for all” (RL art1). And the love, they were filled with, has stretched far beyond the frontiers of Brittany, which our today’s assembly bears witness to.
As we enter this celebration, how not evoke the memory of Sr Anne-Marie Couloigner, former superior general and in charge of this house, deceased last July? With other sisters and especially Sr Marie-Pierre Torlay, Anne-Marie has contributed to bringing forth the human and spiritual beautiful personality of Marie Balavenne. And how not associate with them, Sr Anne Boivineau who has given us this magnificent painting of Marie Balavenne? May this Eucharist be for all of us an occasion to show them our gratitude as well as to all the DHS, all the Consecrated lay women and the Associates who have preceded us.
United in this thanksgiving, let’s enter the celebration, and pray to the Holy Spirit! (Veni Creator)
Sister Anne-Marie Foucher, Superior general of the Congregation. 19 March 2016. Published on 24/03/2016