ABOUT US Marie Balavenne Year March 2016 August 2017
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At Breteuil, 19 March
At the very beginning of the year, our community retained the 19 March 2017 to commemorate the birthday of our Foundress, born 350 years before. We told Father Jean René, our Parish Priest, about our project. And on the first Sunday of Lent, the invitation was made to the parishioners of Breteuil, a small town in the Oise Department (Hauts of France region) where our community lives, to come and discover the life of Marie Balavenne, our Foundress.
Everything was all set at about 3pm on that Sunday… the screen already lit and ready to present the slide show on Marie Balavenne and her companions, realized by Sisters Françoise Lelièvre and Juliette Houdemont, to the forty or so women and men who were coming in. Our Sisters from Crèvecoeur Le Grand and our neighbors the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny au Mesnil Saint Firmin had also arrived.
The next day, we reread that momentous event. Like the Samaritan woman at the well of Sykar (Sunday Gospel: Jn 4:5-42): “If you knew the gift of God”. Marie Balavenne is indeed a god-given gift to us; and everything we got from the sharing that followed the viewing of the slide show, gave us a great impulse for our mission. Here are some of the reactions: “She couldn’t read, she assuredly was a woman of faith…” “We already knew a few stages of the DHS Congregation development, today you have helped us to have a better understanding of it”. “You are really Daughters of the Holy Spirit… One could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, everything was suffused by His presence.” A catechist said: “It would be great to show this to the children”.
“How has your charism evolved and what is your spirituality today?” Father Jean asked. The gift received by Marie Balavenne and the first sisters is adoration of the Triune God linked to apostolic charity. We can live this charism today because “As a Congregation, we receive the gift to live together in the Spirit of Pentecost and to participate in His Mission of love in the world, coming to understand that to live in communion with God and in solidarity with our sisters and brothers is one and the same thing” (RL 4)
On that Sunday we gave thanks to God and sang the Magnificat, inviting the participants to say with us the DHS prayer for vocations (text could be read on the screen). Each one was given a memory card. Our encounter came to an end with the pot de l’amitié while the exchanges continued…
Community of Breteuil: Hélène, Josiane, Anna, Anne-Marie. Published on 27/03/2017