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Associates…. Meetings "like a visitation"
The objective of our meeting was that we, Associates of the daughters of the Holy Spirit of Belgium, Hauts de France and the Daughters of the Holy Spirit of the communities of this region, in this Pentecost Monday: in the Spirit of Pentecost, to visit and meet witnesses. So, on June 4, 2017, we gathered at 9:30 am at the Carmel de Fouquières-les-Béthune.
Our first witness was Jean-Pierre. Jean-Pierre has the distinction of being part of "L'oeuvre des Charitables". The history of this brotherhood begins in 1188, when an epidemic of plague devastated the region: nobody wanted to bury the dead anymore. It was then that Saint-Eloi appeared in a dream to Gauthier and Germon, two blacksmiths, telling them to found "a Karitas" (a charity). Encouraged by the various civil and religious personalities, they founded the brotherhood of the Charitable. Their task was to welcome the sick and to bury the dead without distinction. Subsequently, during the war 14-18, at the front of Lorette where there were 600,000 dead, they buried people day and night! Equality before death is a basic principle of religions as well as of our democratic societies. Nevertheless, this equality is rarely effective and money is often an unavoidable obstacle. Today the "Charitable" continue their work in the region: in the different cemeteries, the quarters of the indigents are evident!
In the exchange that followed, it was easy and comforting to remember our First sisters who, too, have taken up the challenge of poverty and traced new humanitarian paths.
We then joined the Carmelite community for the midday prayer. Then a real fraternal sharing of a picnic and especially a nice exchange -some had not seen each other for a long time...
New testimony: meeting with the Carmelites. A slide show presented the strengths of their spirituality, their way of living together and their presence in the world. From our different questions and their questions about our choice of Associates, we saw the differences in our vocations; our similarities also emerged, which are rooted in the strength of the call to draw from the same Source, to follow Christ who turns us towards our brothers.
A great prayer of thanksgiving presided by Michel Thiry, deacon, expressed our joy and presented to the Lord the riches and fractures of our world that we also entrusted to Mary, "the woman totally given over to the Spirit". Beautiful and rich day, "like a visitation" which has revitalized us and sent back to where we live.
The Associates and Sister Monique Leroy. Published on 19/06/2017