‘All Sisters of the Same Family’: Reconciled and United

‘All Sisters of the Same Family’: Reconciled and United

‘All Sisters of the Same Family’: Reconciled and United

‘All Sisters of the Same Family’: Reconciled and United

‘All Sisters of the Same Family’: Reconciled and United

‘All Sisters of the Same Family’: Reconciled and United

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By Sr Élodie Comoy, Province Communications Manager, Province of Europe-BFMN

On June 27, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the reunification of our two historic congregations, Our Lady of Charity and Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd. Ten years working to unite it from a canonical and civil point of view. “It is not a Congregation that has disappeared, as Sister Anne Marie emphasizes, but the members of a family who have found each other, and are responding to the emergencies of the mission.”

Here we share with you an interview carried out with Sr Magdalena Franciscus, Europe-BFMN Province Leader, and Sister Anne Marie Klosptein.

Where are we, ten years later?

[Sr Magdalena] For me, life unfolds as if we had always been together, I don’t see what is different; we are all sisters of the same family, with common spiritual roots, the same origin, the same charism, and the same mission. Today, I live in a community of sisters, two of whom come from Our Lady of Charity and I don’t even think about it, I don’t know “who is who“.

[Sister Anne Marie] Sr Magdalena carried out the journey of enrichment very well and knew how to prepare for our arrival. She gave us responsibilities very quickly, which led to a rapid integration. We were welcomed with a lot of openness. Giving pride of place to Caen as the source of Our Lady of Charity also helped in our integration. The two branches of the family have come together, and this is perfectly shown by what has become of the communities and administrative structures.

What has this changed?

[Sr Magdalena] I say more openly that the congregation was founded by St. John Eudes and that Mary Euphrasia founded during her lifetime the contemplative sisters, the generalate and 130 monasteries throughout the world, but that in founding the generalate she modified articles of the government of the congregation which became the congregation Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd. We say more clearly that our spirituality comes from St John Eudes and we have come to know him much better. I clearly explain our history to the novices and insist on our origin, which in no way lessens St Mary Euphrasia. We must refer to the spirituality of St John Eudes, which is not yet sufficiently developed and made well known.

[Sister Anne Marie] Sr Marie Françoise Le Brizault who was Congregational Leader of Our Lady of Charity in 2014 had always sought this reunification; she did much to achieve it. She knew that it would expand the boundaries of Our Lady of Charity. We became even more aware of the richness of interculturality and the difficulty of truly understanding other cultures. We were touched by the concern for the mission, which is still very much alive, despite our advancing age.

What initial assessment can be drawn from this?

[Sr Magdalena] In my opinion, it has been positive for the whole of the Europe-BFMN Province. This does not mean that some sisters haven’t experienced suffering, since despite everything life was not the same. We did a lot to prepare for this reunification in order to get to know each other, to value each other, and to respect each other’s wishes when it comes to appointments. We have been greatly enriched by the sisters from Our Lady of Charity able to take on responsibilities, as embodied so well by our Province Leader Sr Marie Luc Bailly.

[Sister Anne Marie] For me, it is very positive, because this reunification has allowed us to share our richness. I am very happy to see how the sisters in the province have discovered St John Eudes and made a link between his theology and the passion that St Mary Euphrasia had to extend our common mission to the ends of the Earth. In my opinion, the reunification has already been celebrated during the inauguration of the new reliquary in Angers. This space of communion symbolizes this reunification, because the relics of our founders are present together, accompanied by our blesseds.

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