ABOUT US Marie Balavenne Year March 2016 August 2017

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Cameroon. Opening

"Marie Balavenne, God sowed in you a seed of imperishable love. Marie Balavenne, God sowed in you a seed that bears fruit in plenty”. -Song composed by Sister Germé Bava-.

On 2 April 2016, we celebrated the opening of Marie Balavenne Year in the vice-province of Cameroon. The Eucharist was presided over by Fr Gilbert Damba Wana, vicar general of Maroua-Mokolo diocese in Christ-Savior church, surrounded by a few priests and Christians of the diocese and of the surrounding area. Out of the midst of the assembly, our thanksgiving rose up in honor of Marie Balavenne; it was the first time that some participants had ever heard of her. In the evening before the great event, we pondered on the poem “O Marie Balavenne” -composed by Sr Bertine Bayang-, a poem which led us to re-discover her human and spiritual qualities.

In her opening word, Sr Pauline Maïsenso, our vice-provincial, underlined the spiritual attitudes of the one whose birthday we were celebrating. On the other hand, the celebrant invited us to mirror the life and charism of Marie Balavenne within our missionary insertions, “a humble woman whose life was imbued with the Gospel, a woman-prophet who took the new paths the Holy Spirit inspired her to”. At the offering, various symbols were brought forward: cereals symbolizing the small seed Marie Balavenne planted in the Breton soil and which bore fruit in abundance throughout the world; a representation of the “House of charity”, House of God, “House in which the women who will be received shall have to be filled with charity”, house of the poor; a globe symbolizing the world with its diverse cultures and peoples, and also symbolizing our belonging to an international Congregation; a dove symbolizing simplicity, purity and availability to the Holy Spirit.

Before the final blessing, we listened to the testimonies of Sr Monique Gabana, the very first African Daughter of the Holy Spirit, and Mrs. Marguerite Maïgonra, the very first Cameroonian lay associate. Both of them expressed their deep inner joy to walk in the following of Christ in the footsteps of Marie Balavenne, a woman of great humility. Then Sr Pauline handed on signets to those in leadership in our different communities and to the Associates who were present, signets they will bring to those who had not been able to come: together, we said the prayer to Marie Balavenne -composed by Sr Justride Bessiri-, and finally we sang the poem I had myself composed in honor of Marie Balavenne:  “Lord, in your immense love, you chose Marie Balavenne. Open to the Spirit who inspires us to bear witness to you, may her humility be ours”.

After the mass, all the participants were invited to gather at the vice-provincial house for a get-together. The event has deeply marked our Unit as Spiritual Family; each one had done her utmost for the success of such a beautiful feast, eager to make of it a testimony of joy and unity. " Thank you, Marie Balavenne, for giving us the opportunity to express our gratitude to God for working so many wonders within our lives and within our Church. "

Bernadette MASSA, DHSPublished on 14/04/2016

Filles du Saint-Esprit 15 bd. Sebastopol 35101 Rennes Cedex 2 France

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