- Date of publication 03-05-2009 Saturday 14th February 2009, is St Valentine’s Day, the lovers feast day. Flowers, text messages, outings and kisses are all on the day’s agenda. Couples prove to one another and to those who observe them the deep love that unites them...
The African associates chose this 14th February 2009 to express the great love that unites them to Jesus Christ. What could be more natural! Wasn't it Jesus who gave the greatest proof of his love for mankind by dying on the Cross? This heart to heart with the Beloved took place during a day of recollection which began by welcoming the participants: joyful greetings, exchange of news... then a group photo to fix the theme of the day, "Union of hearts and minds in the light of the Gospel". This theme was introduced by Sister Marthe Akessé from Gagnoa helped by Sister Fidèle Zita from Hiré.
When she encountered Christ, the Samaritan Woman (John 4, 1-42) understood that God is no more in the synagogue than on the mountain. We must pray to him in spirit and in truth. He is present in the depth of our hearts. When we have found him, we are drawn to share him with others through the new commandment: "Love one another as I have loved you". (John 13, 34)
Sister Marthe concluded by saying, a real encounter with Christ gives us the strength to be missionaries, witnesses to the risen Christ. The associates, who found this theme very interesting, broke into a song of praise: "Through the love in our hearts we raise our minds to you, Lord, giving homage to the living God, sovereign Lord of time and space".
The Mass which followed the talk began with a short penitential service using 3 scripture passages:
- May the Spirit of Jesus be the spirit of my spirit and the life of my life. (Bérulle)
- Since we are living by the Spirit, let our behaviour be guided by the Spirit. (Galatians 5, 25)
- They should direct their intention... in order to have nothing in view but the accomplishment of God's will, to honour Jesus Christ, our Lord, and in union with Him. (1st Rule, Chapter 33)
After reading each passage there was a moment of silence followed by the refrain: "Spirit of Holiness". The penitential service was followed by a resolution: Listen to the inner voice of the Holy Spirit. Discover Jesus present in people and events. Re-examine one's life in the light of His life and discern the will of God. We ended with the hymn "take my heart, Lord, take my heart".
In his homily based on Genesis 3, 9-23 and Mark 8, 1-10, Father Jean Roger Gbaka, superior of the minor seminary in Gagnoa underlined the following points:"Man must know his place in order to avoid disorder. The desire to become like God caused Adam and Eve to sin;God loves His people and nourishes them along the way but he needs their participation. "How many loaves do you have?"
The questions raised by the homily led to a lively discussion with the priest at the end of Mass and between the associates at the Sisters community in Gagnoa where the meal was served. Then we looked back over the day and reminded ourselves of the importance of holding monthly meetings of associates by sector.
We gave thanks to God for this interesting meeting. Thanks to the associates in France who financed this day of recollection by the gift they made to the village of Douseba during the fifty year celebration of the Sisters of Evron in Africa.
As well as the associate meetings we also take an active part in other Congregation events such as the Final Vows of Sister Yvonne in Tiegba on 6th December 2008 and of Sister Solange in Gabia on 20th December. May God bless you all!
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