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Life of the communities

Emmaüs 53

2- in France - Date of publication 03-11-2010
L’Abbé Pierre, Father Laizé… These 2 priests became aware of the misery around them and consecrated their lives to improving the lot of the victims of social exclusion and the marginalised. They were influential in my joining Emmaus. Each week, for the past 21 years, I go to work with the companions where they live.

Over 21 years working and collaborating with Emmaus

When the first 3 companions arrived at the former Rex cinema in Laval I went to see them: "If you need any help, I am available."

The immediate response was: "Not tomorrow but immediately!"

A couple, whose eldest child was in charge of the Emmaus Community in Chambéry, were working there. Thanks to them I quickly learnt the work of recuperation and they communicated the Emmaus spirit to me.

The space became too small and Father Laizé, with the help of his devoted collaborators, bought the buildings at the "Chevalière" farm. Soon afterwards these first volunteers left Laval and went each week to Villiers-Charlemagne.

From the beginning I was part of the group that looked after the clothes, household linen and furniture.

A typical day

- In the sales room we remove the objects that haven't been sold.

- Stock up with newly arrived material, being careful to use only clothes that are likely to be sold or sent to Burkina Faso.

- Material that cannot be sold is put into bags and taken to Retritex in Pontivy: a centre for the recycling of textiles; 100 tons a year.

- Sorting out the containers of household linen, sheets, towels, stockings and socks...

- Folding, putting away.

Same task for baby clothes.

- Preparing the material to send to Burkina Faso.

In 2002, 4 containers left for Burkina. This material makes it possible for our partner SEMUS to equip 2 chemists and 2 shops in Yako and Ouahigouya, to cover 75% of transport costs, to create and finance several associations: groups of men, women in the villages, the welcome centre in Yako, workshops for sewing, garages... all of which are expected to become self sufficient as quickly as possible.

This collaboration has spread since 1996 and is now linked to the communities in Fougères and Alençon.


We have presented our work to the pupils in various schools: St Joseph in Meslay du Maine, Lycée Rochefeuille in Mayenne using a film made in Burkina Faso.

The pupils from the Lycée Avesnières in Laval spent a day with the community.

Leisure activities

Intercommunity leisure activities

  • Bowls contests organised by the communities in Cholet, Le Mans, and Essarts.
  • Fishing contest in Bougival.
  • Fishing contest at Villiers-Charlemagne, where about 50 local fishermen put on a great performance.

Community leisure activities

  • Several activities are on offer: visiting the Zoo at Doué la Fontaine, the Renaud concert, the Bigard show, football matches.
  • The caravans installed throughout the season at St Denis du Maine were never empty.
  • Festive meals, especially at Christmas.

Blessed are those who have the possibility of forming deep friendships through the generous service of their brothers and sisters.


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2- in France - Date of publication 06-28-2010
A celebration of religious life was held at the parish of Saint Pierre/Saint Vénérand in Laval the 30th and 31st January 2010.
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