Jean Devriésère R.I.P.

Society of the Missionaries of Africa

Father Emmanuel Lengaigne, Provincial Delegate of the sector of France,
informs you of the return to the Lord of Father

Jean Devriésère

on 13 April 2022 in Bry-sur-Marne,  France
at the age of 96 years, of which 69 years of missionary life
in Burkina Faso, Malawi, Ireland, Great Britain and France .

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.

Download here the announcement of Father Jean Devriésère’s death

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Stations of creation

Stations of creation

Way of the cross, organised by “Via Aurelia Pilgrims”

Since the Season of Creation (2021), several neighbouring religious communities of the Via Aurelia have been walking together in the spirit of the synod.

Our group “Pilgrims of the Via Aurelia”, composed of the Marist Sisters, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the Missionaries of Africa, organized a Way of the Cross under the theme of Laudato Si.

On Friday, April 8, about a hundred people from the congregations that live in the neighbourhood, or who joined from other parts of Rome, participated in the prayer of the 7 Stations of Creation. Four vessels signifying the 4 elements: Wind, Fire, Water, Earth accompanied us on our way to the cross.

The photos give you a glimpse of our lived experience. You can also download the prayer of the stations of creation.

We wish you a good journey towards Easter!

Roma cura Roma, The project

Roma Cura Roma, The project

Via Aurelia Pilgrims participating in
‘ROMA CURA ROMA – TUTTA MIA LA CITTA’

The Municipality of Rome organised a clean-up of Rome on 9 April 2022. Among the 457 groups and initiatives registered throughout the city of Rome, we, the “Via Aurelia Pilgrims”, were officially involved: https://romacura.roma.it/partecipanti/via-aurelia-pilgrims/

At 9:30 a.m., while we were still gathering all the members of our communities, a police car from the municipality stopped next to us and asked us if we were ready to start the work.

We were 24 volunteers from three communities, Marist Sisters, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and Missionaries of Africa. Coming from 5 continents, South America, North America, Africa, Asia and Europe, some are students and others work in different functions in Rome.

An old lady stopped with her dog and helped us to clean the path. Other pedestrians were surprised to see us cutting the grass, scraping the ground, sweeping the road, they passed by in silence; others were grateful and encouraged us to continue. “That’s great! Finally, something is done”, I heard a woman saying to me in Italian.

For two hours, we cleaned the path to the metro station and also the stairs nearby. At the end, we counted about 15 bags filled with either plastic, paper, glass bottles or cut plants and herbs. Everything that was compostable, we took to the compost in the garden.

At the end of the work, we were very happy to be able to contribute to the beautification of the city of Rome and to make our small contribution to the care for our common home, as the encyclical letter Laudato Si invites us.

Via Aurelia Pilgrims

Growing old whit our elders, French-speaking confreres

Meeting of French-speaking confreres in charge of elderly communities

Four days of sharing, four days trying to learn and understand, and finally, four days of facing up to our individual responsibilities. This is the feeling that remained with me after this meeting in Rome between the various superiors of retirement homes in the province. And what did we learn? … solutions? … methods? … new ideas? None of this, except the observation that no two retirement homes are alike, no model is ideal, our elderly confreres are all different, and none of them ages according to the rules, but they all deserve respect and recognition for all they have achieved in their long missionary lives out in their missionary territory. It is also true that each one of them still feels they are missionaries and will be missionaries until they “return to” the Father, even though it is the same Father that each one of them has made known in their own way and who has always supported them throughout their lives. But can we speak of ” returning to… “?

This is why all our discussions were marked by respect, even affection, but never by certainty. This is perhaps also why Gérard Chabanon let us talk a lot without looking at his watch, because in the end we all came to this slightly guilty realisation: if our elderly confreres each have problems – and they do – it is we, the people in charge, who feel them the most. 

That is why this meeting has been so important. It has allowed us to assume our responsibilities in a new light, thanks to the sharing of our fears and doubts, and sometimes our disillusionment, to our informal meetings which are often more fruitful than the common meetings themselves, to the common prayer in which our elderly confreres have pride of place and finally to our poverty, which is a source of infinite richness. The Superiors of the Society in Rome did not get it wrong, as they did everything to welcome and thank us; but none of them ventured to give us the slightest advice and it was much better that way. On the plane back to Paris and to “my” community, I felt a little disoriented but happy and at peace. I felt much more “responsible” since I discovered that I would no longer have to accompany elderly confreres but rather in union with all the confreres in charge of retirement homes in the province, we would have to grow old together with our “old people” just as our novice masters had tried to grow with us. This is perhaps the only conclusion that, unconsciously, we came to seek in Rome, a source of hope and comfort.

Clément Forestier

 

Growing old with our elders, English-speaking confreres

Meeting of English-speaking confreres in charge of elderly communities

This meeting was held in Rome from Sunday 6th March to Friday 11th March 2022 and was hosted by the Provincial, Gerard Chabanon, and the Assistant Provincial, Georges Jacques.

Unlike previous meetings there was no outside invited speaker or animator.  This had not always proved to be beneficial.  Instead, the meeting would proceed at the pace and in the interests of those present with guidance from Gerard and Georges.

We met on Monday morning for a recollection led by Francis Barnes in which he reminded us that, especially in old age, we come to realise more fully our total dependence on others but above all on God.  The Nunc Dimitus of Simeon in the temple reminds us the peace and beauty of “letting go” and placing the past, the future and all in the hands of the Lord.

Frank led our Eucharist that day and on other days we celebrated together in the chapel of the Uganda Martyrs. It was a special moment to pray for those entrusted to our care.

In the afternoon we began our sharing on the different experiences we are living which would take us through until lunchtime on Tuesday.  There was no hurry and each was allowed time to present their report.  It is clear that the setup of our houses differs in each country.  In the Netherlands and in Germany there are opportunities for collaboration with other organisations, lay and religious.  In Ireland and in the UK this is more difficult.  However, our confreres are the same and the joys and challenges of caring are the same. It was clear that we are all happy in our ministry and enjoy what we have been asked to do.

On Tuesday we spent time, with the help of videos, discussing the signs, causes and effects of dementia which is on the increase everywhere.  This led to a discussion on the importance of every confrere having in place all the legal paperwork needed when one is seriously ill or has died. The decision when to move a confrere from our care to more professional care is a delicate one.

A special mention was made of those living outside community and our duty of pastoral care for them.

On Wednesday time was given to our life in community and how to energise and motivate our communities. Clearly our community and personal prayer is the mainstay of our life together and is well practised everywhere.  It was noted that visiting individuals is an important role of the one in charge and listening to them and their life stories.  Outings and community games are a way of drawing us together and relaxing.  Special mention was made of inviting confreres to write their memoirs, which is not only therapeutic but which can also contribute to the archives of the Society.

The group put relaxing into practice on Thursday by taking a day out together.  We visited the church of Cardinal Lavigerie, Basilica di S. Agnese.  His name and crest are clearly to be seen in the church.  The church stands above the smallest catacombs in Rome and we were able to visit them with the help of an excellent guide.  In the evening we joined the community for the Eucharist and after supper the tradional serata romana.

In conclusion the meeting was one of the most relaxed and positive I have attended.  There were no solutions or striking ways forward but an open and honest sharing of the joys and challenges of our ministry.

We thank Gerard and Georges for their support and their encouragement clearly felt throughout the meeting.  And finally, of course, we thank the community of the generalate for their warm and fraternal welcome.

Jozef de Beeker

Didier SAWADOGO, Provincial of PAO

Official Communication

After consultation, dialogue and with the consent of his Council,
Father Stanley LUBUNGO, Superior General, has appointed:

Father Didier SAWADOGO
Provincial of PAO

for a first mandate starting on 1st July 2022.

 

Rome, 5th April 2022
André-L. Simonart,
Secretary General.

Christian MULENGA, Provincial of SAP

Official Communication

After consultation, dialogue and with the consent of his Council,
Father Stanley LUBUNGO, Superior General, has appointed:

Father Christian MULENGA
Provincial of SAP

for a first mandate starting on 1st July 2022.

Rome, 5th April 2022
André-L. Simonart,
Secretary General.