April-May-June Issue

Summary

Together, let’s move forward

Editorial - To Go from I to We – Marie-Paule Sanfaçon, m.i.c.

A Canoer’s Recipe – Suzanne Labelle, m.i.c.

Life raises questions to each and every one of us. Does it have meaning? If not, we might as well leave it at that! If it does, it is good to consider it as a great and beautiful adventure, a canoe trip maybe! Where will it take us? How can we find out?

Wouldn’t it be a good idea to try to arouse a new interest in these questions among the nonbelievers around us? During meetings with friends or relatives, when there is a pause in the middle of more or less serious or frivolous conversations, what if we dared to ask these questions? Where do we come from? Where will we go after life? We should listen to the answers first, then make a few suggestions...

The One Who Amazes – Marie Nadia Noel, m.i.c. et Ghislaine Parent, m.i.c.

Comparing Japanese culture and Christianity is not easy. You have to grope your way to find it. Yet in the very heart of a pandemic that destabilizes and questions everything, our God continues to come closer, to reveal that he is the one who amazes us. Yes, the Spirit of God continues to work everywhere in the world. He arrived in the land of the Rising Sun long before we did.

Religions are an integral part of Japan’s culture. The many temples and shrines in the streets of its cities, however, mask a reality that we find
difficult to grasp. For there are not two but several religions which cohabit, divide into different currents and influence each other.

Surviving the Long Night of the 500 Years – Maurice Demers

It was in the 1990s that Quebecers really woke up to the issue of indigenous rights, first with the Oka crisis and then with the international echoes of the Zapatista struggle in Mexico. A greater respect for indigenous peoples was then shown, leading, among other things, to the historic Peace of the Braves agreement reached in 2002 between Quebec and the Cree. But one does not emerge unscathed from the colonialism suffered by the indigenous people during the last five centuries... The trauma of the residential schools is still fully perceptible in many First Nations communities.

Like a Mustard Seed – Micheline Marcoux, m.i.c.

Of fragile health, but strong in her faith and hope in God, young Delia humbly carries in her heart an intuition that will lead her on new paths. From a childhood dream in which wheat was transformed into heads of children from all walks of life, from her reading of missionary magazines in the family attic, or from the visits of missionaries to her home town, the seed of her religious and missionary vocation took root and bore fruit in its time.

Her search for God’s will in her life was not without hesitation and suffering. In 1883, she had a decisive spiritual experience:

One evening... it seemed to me that Our Lord was telling me that I should later found a Congregation of women for foreign missions, and work to found a similar Society for men, a Foreign Mission Seminary on the model of the one in Paris...

IN FOCUS | 100 Years in the Service of the Gospel

The Centennial of the Society of Foreign Missions – Éric Desautels

The centennial of the Priests of the Foreign Missions of Quebec certainly deserves to be underlined and remembered. They played a fundamental role in the growth of the apostolic flame in Canada. However, setting up a Foreign Mission Seminary was a difficult and long term task. In 1889, Cardinal Giovanni Simeoni, who was responsible for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome, met with the Archbishop of Montreal, Monsignor Édouard-Charles Fabre, to discuss the project. He did the same with the Archbishop of Quebec, Cardinal Elzéar-Alexandre Taschereau, the following year. At the same time, the Apostolic Delegate in Canada, Cardinal Diomede Falconio, also reflected on the possibility of setting up such a seminary and extending the Canadian contribution in the world. The bishops of the time, however, had some misgivings. In 1914, Delia Tétreault obtained the authorization of Bishop Paul Bruchési to promote the founding of a Foreign Mission Seminary. The idea gradually gained ground.

An Exchange that Continues – Paulette Gagné, m.i.c.

Sister Delia knew that priests were needed to bring the help of the sacraments to the Sisters and to assist each other in the mission of Jesus Christ. From the very beginning, Father L.A. Lapierre was appointed chaplain at our Mother House and since then, how many PME priests have worked with the MIC during the wars in China, Cuba, Asia, Latin America, helping each other in different ways.

At the novitiate in Pont-Viau, from its beginning, many of the PME have helped in the formation of young religious, future missionaries! They came to enkindle these young people, to give them the thirst to leave and proclaim the Good News in faraway countries. What great missionary feasts have enriched our two Institutes, praying and reflecting together! In the Philippines, a Sister trained the cooks of the Canadian priests so that they could prepare dishes for them, especially good fudge. How much encouragement on both sides has allowed many to keep on going during the wars that cut off all connections between countries!

In this jubilee year of their foundation, we want to thank these missionaries with a heart of fire for their precious and faithful collaboration

A Family Resemblance in Harmony with the Mission – Lucie Gagné, m.i.c.

 The Society of Foreign Missions, in my humble opinion as a MIC, could be like a family tune harmonized with the mission, springing from a heart as big as the world vibrating to the harmonics of Marian thanksgiving. This attractive melody, sung oftentimes by our Venerable  Foundress Delia Tétreault, gradually infiltrated like an earworm into the heart of the Bishops’ Conference of French-speaking Canada which decided in 1921 to found the Society of Foreign Missions.

It has been 100 years this year that its members, priests and lay people, have been at the service of the Gospel under various skies, always anxious to take the risk of meeting in the service of the Gospel.

Collaboration between PME and MIC – Marie Josèphe Simard, m.i.c.

Talking about collaboration between PME and MIC goes back a long way. In fact, we could say that it began with the founding of the PME. Later, the missionary commitment, which placed us in the same countries and dioceses, gave rise to many pastoral and social collaborations.

It is in the fall of 2018 that the new Council of the MIC Province of Canada became aware of the diminishing number of members as well as of the aging of the Sisters and of the administrative burden that this implies while we have no new members in the country. Canada being the place of foundation of the Institute, we remain the mother province for the Sisters coming from the different countries where we work. Of course, there is a good succession in most of these countries and if our companions come to Canada it is for the mission and not to take care of us as we grow older.

Consequently, it is with courage and determination that the Province set up a committee, made up of lay people and religious Sisters, to reflect on our future as an aging community group.

Words of the MIC Superior General – Delia Regidor, m.i.c.

My heartfelt congratulations to the members of the Quebec Foreign Missions Society as you celebrate the 100th jubilee of your foundation. The
theme you have chosen, TO RUN THE RISK OF THE ENCOUNTER AT THE SERVICE OF THE GOSPEL (1921-2021) reflects your true missionary identity. In your 100 years of missionary presence in many regions of the world, especially in the Philippines and in other mission countries where the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception have been your partners, we have witnessed your rich history of encounter with the people at the service of the Gospel. You have taken risks to travel hills and mountains to come together with people and to witness and proclaim God’s love.

A Democracy in Peril... Young People Get Involved – Monique Fortier, m.i.c.

November 9: One hundred and five members of Congress, out of one hundred and thirty, vote for the removal of Mr. Martin Vizcarra, Transitional President of the Republic of Peru, because of moral incapacity. He replaced the president elected in 2019, Mr. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. The latter resigned following an accusation of corruption. Mr. Vizcarra is himself under investigation for a corruption offence. Mr. Manuel Merino, Speaker of Parliament, replaced him and was sworn in on November 10.

Peru is already in economic crisis due to the pandemic. A large part of the population believes that Mr. Vizcarra was managing the pandemic under the best of circumstances. His dismissal had the effect of a bomb in the population. Several experts see this dismissal as a constitutional offence. The court will have to decide within a few days.

The Present of the Future – Natalie Gendron

The COVID-19 pandemic has restricted much of our freedom. Yes, the daily efforts, the very schedules that it imposed on us, that it created
in us! New efforts in the face of a new reality more than ever shared by the most and least fortunate, but which were nevertheless neighbors.

It is the dawn of a new enlightened community which is getting active. The sea was calm, now it is awakening! The other, our neighbor, is becoming more and more important. An intention... of survival, almost as centered as selfishness, this time brings us to this new generation in need; our own. For my own well-being, I need the well-being of others.

I Am Here For You – Carole Guévin

Having followed various training courses that prepared me to accompany lonely and sick people, I decided to become involved as a worker in rural areas with a vulnerable clientele living in difficult situations. Strangely, two years earlier, while I was at the church in the municipality of Yamaska, a poster had caught my attention: it was the advertisement of a position that corresponded to my personality, my work experience and my personal aspirations. A community worker, a real wink from Mother Delia!

TO GO FROM I TO WE

In my younger days, my father often sang Quebec folklore to us, among others: Envoyons d’l’avant, nos gens (“Let’s go ahead, folks”). Work was difficult and this song rekindled the ardour of the raftsmen. The magazines of 2020 encouraged us to revive hope in order to live better through the pandemic; the winter magazine offered a star named hope to stand firm. Today, we are together to move forward. Pope Francis encourages us to move from I to we, because we are in the same boat and we are all called to row together, a dream of fraternity and social friendship

There is an African proverb that says: Alone we go faster, together we go further. In canoeing and kayaking, synchronization is a key element to win the race, isn’t it? The more teammates are sensitive to each other, the greater the strength. Synergy makes it possible to row, to go further. In other words, the greater the strength, the greater the chances of succeeding in synchronization. Let’s create this synergy between us to overcome the obstacles that stand in our way and give strength to this universal desire for humanity.

At the beginning of the last century, Venerable Delia Tétreault understood the importance of this synergy to work with one heart in the service of the Gospel. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, she supported the Bishops of the Canadian Church in the possibility of founding a seminary for foreign missions. Today we are happy to mark the centenary of this foundation by sharing some testimonies of a mission shared together.

In any journey, the important thing is to believe in the goal we want to reach, whether there is a pandemic or difficulties to face, we must move forward, join hands and walk together beyond divisions, racial or political conflicts. God is always at work! To walk according to our convictions, to cling to our dreams despite the social pressures that we may be subjected to from all sides. Say like Carole Guévin: I am here for you! Sowing joy and hope on the path of life. This is what the Priests of the Foreign Missions and the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception try to live every day in the mission that God has in store for them.

Together, we are in solidarity with one another to make our today the work of God.

Marie-Paule Sanfaçon, m.i.c.

The Team

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