ABOUT US Marie Balavenne Year March 2016 August 2017

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A woman for today’s world - Marie Balavenne

On Sunday 5 February 2017, boys and girls of St Paul’s parish at Nanterre, a town situated in the west outskirts of Paris, gathered at the chaplaincy for a time of reflection: young people of the working-class areas. I am in charge of a group of 11-12 year olds; on that day, some 12-13 year olds also joined us. We viewed the slide-show on Marie Balavenne. Sister Françoise had come to help us technically.

The 13 young people, present, showed great interest in Marie Balavenne’s personality: a woman deceased a long time ago but who has been much talked about ever since; a woman who herself was poor and who loved the poor, a Woman who had gone through many difficulties but had managed to face up to them. The young people were astonished to see how the Congregation had developed throughout the world. When Cameroon was mentioned, two of them said that they were natives of the country. Reflection on the corporal and spiritual works of Mercy drew their attention to what constitutes the essential of Christian life: love of God and love of one’s neighbor.

They seem to have welcomed what they were taught on the day. On the occasion, they realized how the Gospel can be put into practice. This happened over three hundred years ago, but is still relevant today. The young have understood this: they can see that injustice still exists nowadays and even within their own school. What is happening in the world does not leave them indifferent.

I think that we have enabled them to hope that it is possible to transform the world through love.

Odile DHS – Published on 6/02/2017

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

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