January - February - March 2020 Issue

Summary

SPIRITUAL LIFE

Yes, I dreamed! – André Gadbois

When I was twelve years old, the alley behind Bordeaux Street would transform into an ice rink or a soccer field, and it made me dream of friendship, victory and solidarity (a bit of a gang, like the Jews in the desert!). Then, I was fifteen, and the scout’s honour made me dream of a global brotherhood, an enormous campfire to sit around and celebrate the joyful march of all the boys and girls of the world. At twenty-five, I dreamed of a classless society, without slums or contempt, where every person acted as each other’s neighbour, and at forty, I dreamed of a school system in which struggling children were supported with tenderness and imagination. Now, in my sixties, I think my dreams are still a long way from being realized. Yes, I dreamed—I dreamed often of a world in which no one would have to live on their knees, except to meet the gaze of a small child who is crying, or laughing, with all his heart. And I still dream, despite today’s reality, I persist, I resist gurus. I don’t want to simply resign myself “because human beings ar creators. We don’t have to follow trends—we can turn them on their heads and belie them.”

YOUTH

God’s Inspiration in Délia’s Life – Suzanne Labelle, m.i.c.

Daughter of God the Father whose creative work is unlimited, Délia Détreault was not short of inspiration when she sought to thank him for the graces she received from him. However, for health reasons or other motives, she went from one trial to another, such as, not being accepted to the Carmelite way of life, or failing to enter another religious order, and a missed opportunity to go to Africa as a lay missionary. Throughout
her many years of dedication and involvement with the most disadvantaged, she courageously kept searching for the Will of God.

Though not entirely certain what God wanted of her, she inaugurated, with some other companions, an apostolic school for young girls wishing
to become missionaries. Then, the Holy Spirit led her further; she and her collaborators chose to live a religious life. In 1902, the first religious
missionary institute on the American continent took shape; in 1904 Pope Pius X gave it the name of: The Society of the Missionary Sisters of
the Immaculate Conception —WHAT JOY! Délia Tétreault was also the instigator of a seminary for the Foreign Missions Society in Quebec; she
updated and encouraged the pontifical works of the Propagation of the Faith and of the Holy Childhood; she established retreat houses for
women.

CULTURES AND MISSION

A Return to the Village (Part 1) – Beverly Romualdo, m.i.c., Dr Rica de los Reyes-Ancheta

There are approximately 370 million indigenous peoples spanning seventy countries worldwide.1 The Indigenous Peoples are culturally distinct individuals and societies. Their identities are linked to the land in which they live, and on which they depend on for survival. In the Philippines, the Mangyans2 of Mindoro have their own language and cultural identity. Their history has been linked with their relentless struggle to claim their ancestral lands. Even if protection has been sealed through the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples drafted on September 13, 2007,3 the slow process of addressing their clamor for their ancestral domain has been disregarded and downplayed by the local  government and politically influential lowland Filipinos.

Thus, the struggle to secure the ancestral domains of the Alangan Mangyans has become a rallying cry of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, particularly of Sr. Beverly Romualdo. Working with the members of that tribe, the Sisters have realized there was
potent ground of revival and assurance of the fulfilment of the desire for self-determination.

What I Have, I Give to You – Noëlline Rasoafara, m.i.c.

The MAHEREZA Center is a social, medical, and cultural center at the service of the human person. It is under the direction of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception and is located in a poor section of the Capital Antananarivo, Madagascar. Our motto is: As passionate
disciples of Jesus’ mission, we witness the joy of the gospel to the world. Everything we do is for the good of the people and the glory of God.

Ecology Convention-Urgent Initiatives to Be Taken – Lilia Frondosa, m.i.c.

 RSister Regina Villarte, m.i.c. Provincial Superior of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in the Philippines, requested Sr. Librada Bantilan and Sr. Lilia Frondoza to attend a National Convention of Diocesan and Religious Ecology Ministers. The convention was organized by the URGENT INITIATIVES, spearheaded by a group of different non-government organizations and Catholic Ecological Ministries implementing the Encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Si’. The conveners of URGENT INITIATIVES were: Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Father Pete Montallana and Yeb Sano of Greepeace Southeast Asia.

There were forty-five dioceses who responded out of eighty-five. There were four bishops, twenty parish priests, twenty-five religious sisters and fifty lay persons from all over Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The purpose of this convention was to hasten the healing of Mother Earth by proposing a FIVE YEAR ROAD MAP towards a CARBON-FREE PILIPINAS. The road map recommends that all families convert to the ecological values stated in Laudato Si’: Internalizing one’s interconnectedness with nature like the indigenous people practice every day, develop a simple lifestyle, etc.

The Courage of a Woman – Noëlline Rasoafara, m.i.c.

There are families who live a harmonious, happy life with all the necessary things they need for a good livelihood; meanwhile, others have to fight to survive. Sister Noëlline works in a poor district of Tsaramasay, Madagascar. Confronted with the misery of the people, she asks
herself many questions.

Bloom and Make the World Beautiful – Ruth Christine Nyalazi, m.i.c.

Each year we have the joy of welcoming candidates who feel called to the religious life in our congregation. The local MIC communities who are designated to introduce the aspirants to a new way of life realize that they have a delicate task. Having been some years in such a position, one comes to realize that it is God who works in the hearts of the aspirants. I am always amazed to see the transformation which gradually takes place in the lives of those young adults who aspire to follow Christ.

A Facet of Mission – Monique Fortier, m.i.c.

The grand missionary dream of Mother Délia, we, the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, have been living it for more than one hundred years. Throughout the years, it adapted to the changes of time, according to the needs of the peoples. In the twenty-first century, the world lives in the age of globalization. In large cities, there is a mix of cultures and modern communications have eliminated all frontiers. Where I live, the M.I.C. Province consists of two countries namely Peru and Bolivia. We are twenty-nine Sisters from six different nationalities:
Peruvian, Bolivian, Chilean, Madagascan, Haitian and Canadian; together we share fraternal life. The age range is between thirty to seventy-six
years; two postulants are in their twenties. We can say that we know about the intercultural and intergenerational realities. It is most challenging because it requires attentive listening, it demands understanding, dialogue and readiness to forgive. Another factor to consider is that our education, our ways of thinking and doing are very different.

DÉLIA-TÉTREAULT MUSEUM

Objects and Their Secret Life – Alexandre Payer

When you enter the Délia-Tétreault Museum, you are surrounded by hundreds of objects and images which have crossed the ages and oceans. In the upcoming issues of MIC Mission News, the Museum will present you some of its treasures, highlighting objects including their history and their key role in Quebec’s missionary adventure up to this day.

Before some twenty intrigued children, Sister Gratia Blanchette set up her material. It all happened in 1926, in a small parish school of Saint-Germain-de-Grantham, Quebec, Canada. Curtains drawn filtered the morning light. Somewhat unusual, the silent students were in the semi-dark room; something magical was in the air. A click was heard. A light flashed from the little wooden box set on a table near Sister Blanchette: a window onto another world suddenly appeared on the opposite wall. All eyes were on the unfolding images as they watched
and heard a distant voice explaining to them the realities of those faraway children.

ABOUT THE MICs

One Hundred Years – Yet Still Youthful! – Marie Rosette Lafortune, m.i.c.

In May 2020, our magazine Le Précurseur 1 will be celebrating its centennial. Through this publication, Délia Tétreault, our Foundress, wanted to make known the mission works of the MIC Sisters who were sent abroad. She once said: I believe that it is a God given grace to  missionaries that distance does not separate them from those they leave behind. To achieve her goal, Délia applied the new technologies of her era.

In May 1920, the first edition of Le Précurseur was introduced to the public. It became the tree from which each province of the Institute would come to gather information and discuss/share on the subject matter, thus building solidarity and a team spirit; it also enabled the Sisters to take up the different challenges that come with mission. They wove a communication network called life-giving testimonies and evangelization.

One hundred years – A breeze, no, A STRONG WIND!

On Pentecost day, a strong wind came to strengthen the apostles. Their fear was transformed into audacity. They travelled their world to proclaim the risen Christ.


One hundred years ago, the Holy Spirit, always in motion, inspired audacious Délia Tétreault to undertake something new. On May 20, 1920,
she launched the mission magazine Le Précurseur, and three years later its counterpart, MIC Mission News. She had a message to transmit and believed in the power of the press. Like a strong wind, the Sisters wholeheartedly went from villages to cities offering the magazine and sowing the Word of God. In the 1950s, Le Précurseur had more than 172,000 subscribers. In his encyclical letter, Mission of the Redeemer, Holy Pope John Paul II, confirmed presenting and promoting the missions as a key element in the pastoral activity of the Church and with this in mind he wrote: It is necessary to spread information through missionary publications and audiovisual aids. These play an important role in making known the life of the universal Church and in voicing the experiences of missionaries and of the local Churches in which they work.1 Yes, many missionary vocations stem from having read stories about the missions in those magazines; many nuns, priests and lay persons consecrated their lives to work in mission countries abroad.


Ever since its foundation, the publication of Le Précurseur/MIC Mission News has been faithful to its goal. A persevering mission that resolutely
braved all storms. So many changes occurred in the span of one hundred years; to keep our readers well informed and interested we adapted
the style and content. The editorial team, always alert and in touch with sociological and ecclesial evolutions at home and abroad has been keen in presenting some world realities.

Our publication has dealt with many humanitarian issues. Our wish has always been to confirm the work of our missionaries who, in the field,
denounce unjust conditions as well as poverty which deprive people from their human rights. We have encouraged those who partake in
ecological projects to restore our suffering planet. Above all, that which we hold dear to our heart is Christ’s message being his love for humanity. Our magazine supports “mission awareness” and we wish to keep it as our main focus.


To all our readers, we thank you for your interest and support. If we are still active after one hundred years, it is thanks to each one of you, present and past readers, who have contributed in helping us one way or another. The year 2020 will be one of gratitude, celebrating in Thanksgiving all the people who encouraged us and helped us remain faithful to Délia Tétreault’s insightful vision.

The Team

Marie-Paule Sanfaçon, Directress of publication

Originally from Quebec, Sr. Marie-Paule was a missionary in Haiti; she worked with high-school students in the field of catechesis and also in youth ministry.  She is now directress of the MIC Missionary Press.

Translator : French to English - MIC Mission News

Sr. Claudette is a former missionary in Malawi, Africa.  She also worked in the Archdioceses of San Francisco, California; Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Colombia as Archdiocesan coordinator and promoter of mission awareness activities. Within parish contexts, she coordinated religious education programs and accompanied youngsters on their faith journey.

André Gadbois, Editorial Board

Married and father of two children, André Gadbois, after several years in pastoral work, taught children with serious learning disabilities for 20 years and was school director for ten years. He has been very involved with catechumens of the Church in Montreal, and is the editor of their journal, le Sénevé.

Éric Désautel, Editorial Board

Éric Desautels is a PhD candidate in the department of

Humanities at Concordia University’s Centre for

Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture.

 

Maurice Demers, Editorial Board

Maurice Demers is an associate professor in the Department of History,

Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Sherbrooke. He is the young father of three children.

 

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