ABOUT US Marie Balavenne Year March 2016 August 2017
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EIW. A Mass of thanksgiving
On Saturday 19 March 2016 the Year of Marie Balavenne celebrating the 350th Anniversary of the birth of our foundress was launched for the whole Family of the DHS: Sisters, Associates and Secular Branch. Just over a year later, on Saturday 27 May 2017 on a beautiful sunny day, the EIW Province met in Olney where a Mass of thanksgiving was celebrated to mark the approaching end of this special Year, pending the final closure in France in August at the end of the Family Meeting in Ile Blanche.
Over 80 Sisters, Associates and Secular Branch members, friends and parishioners were present at the Mass which was celebrated in Our Lady Help of Christians and St Laurance Church, Olney. The Bishop of the Diocese of Northampton was the chief celebrant, and he was accompanied by a number of priests, known to or serving in parishes where the Sisters have convents.
Following the processional entry hymn, and words of welcome by the Provincial, members of the Marie Balavenne spiritual family presented symbols relating to the charism and mission over three centuries. A lighted candle and a bible were placed on a table in front of the altar. The Sisters presented the Rule of Life, the Associates their Book of Life, and the Secular Branch their Statutes. A large bouquet of flowers was finally placed in front of the altar to represent our harmony, diversity and the joy of the occasion.
The Bishop thanked the sisters for their ministry in the Diocese of Northampton and the other dioceses for more than a century. The theme of thanksgiving was prevalent throughout the Mass. The Sisters’ prayer was a prayer of thanks to God for all we have lived, and the hope to keep us faithful in the future to our charism especially in our openness to the poor and the marginalised. With the approach of Pentecost, we also prayed that the Holy Spirit would make us rich in love for God and for one another in our communities.
In the true tradition of the DHS hospitality in our Province, the Mass was followed by a celebratory meal held in the Olney parish centre, and this provided an occasion which we all so love, to enable us to meet old and new friends. For those who had travelled 150 miles to attend the Mass, it was soon time to begin the journey home, but everybody rejoiced in the social and spiritual experience of such a gathering. Deo gratias.
Josephine Egan DHS, EIW Province. Published on 7/07/2017