ABOUT US Marie Balavenne Year March 2016 August 2017
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From Notre Dame House to the “Source” House
On the 20 and 24 July 2017, two groups of Sisters residing at Notre Dame House, EHPAD, in Plestin-Les-Grèves, accompanied by two animators, had the privilege to go to the Mother House in Saint Brieuc -a town in Britanny at about 70 kilometers from Notre Dame House-, to live out a return to the sources so to speak! It was in this House, in fact, that all of them received their religious formation 75 years ago or more. Coming back to this place of their youth did not go without welling up intense emotion within them.
Indeed a true return to the Sources of the Congregation, given that, the year being dedicated to Marie Balavenne for the 350th anniversary of her birth, an “Itinerary” had been laid out in the garden to honor her existence and, throughout her life with others, the birth of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit.
Along the alleyways, inclined panels presented a beautiful illustration of what made up the successive steps of her life. A few passages of the poem “We come to the source...”, composed by Sister Madeleine Le Saux, DHS, underlined the presentations in a forceful way. It was both very simple and very beautiful! The texts and the pictures spoke of the humility of Marie Balavenne, the trials of her life, her listening attitude to the Spirit and to the poor, her constant desire to serve and to collaborate with others. Each one of these days’ pilgrims might acknowledge how deeply the words of that poem had echoed within her heart.
A wonderful sunshine brightened up the pictures, illuminated by the gold, the red and the green of the flowerbeds alongside the central path. We slowly advanced from one panel to the next, with the help either of an ambulator, a folding stool, or a wheelchair, while our animator read aloud the written words that gave a more specific description of the panel. The peace, the beauty, the simplicity of our origins touched us deeply. When the itinerary led us to the cemetery, we got a better grasp of our long history, the history which each sister, lying there, had enriched in her days.
At the end of our “Itinerary”, we enjoyed a convivial tea/coffee with the Sisters of the Mother House EHPAD. We took the road back to Notre Dame House, tired but happy.
Sr Denise Paugam. Published on 7 August 2017.