June-July-August 2014 Issue


July-August-September 2014 Issue



(VOL. 41, No. 3 /July*August*September 2014)


Spiritual Life


In order to know what is real, we have to pause and reflect. Silence constantly invites us to reflect 

I had a special date with an incredible friend; we were to meet on the wharf of a small lake at the foot of a mountain. To get there I had to walk the narrow paths that zigzagged through the forest of pine trees. I walked at a brisk pace; my companions were the sun,  long-tailed tits and nuthatches. I was high-spirited because I was looking forward to meeting this friend. Suddenly, a vast clearing
appeared before my eyes and my buddy was already on the wharf waiting for me. I should have known because this incredible friend of mine called ‘SILENCE’ always hastens to be first. To have access to that which is ‘real’ I needed to have a date with ‘SILENCE’.
Today’s ferocious materialistic society keeps inventing means to conceal that which is genuine; it distracts us and keeps us away from the real, the durable. My friend ‘SILENCE’ welcomed me with open arms and empty hands. Without doubt the heart was true, was genuine. We sat at the end of the wharf and I listened... though no words were uttered. I should have known it would be that way because my friend is unassuming. However, ‘SILENCE’...

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Cultures and Mission

EMERGING MYSTERIOUSLY — Agathe Durand, m.i.c.

During these summer months, let us pause awhile to express silence in words—its probing experience, its beauty, its necessity, its fruitfulness. In Quebec, Canada, we will not quickly forget the long, rigorous winter of 2013-14. The freezing weather and the thick
carpet of snow covering the hardened soil of both city and countryside were part and parcel of the season; the cold solidity added
to the stillness that lasted for weeks and months seemed too long, but then in mid-April signs of springtime appeared. Like a freshly painted tapestry, grasses began to rise up out of the earth, fronds of fern unfolded, bright faced tulips and daffodils heralded the advent of the season, brilliant colors returned to the land as if by miracle. Beauty unfolded in absolute silence. Today, I will make of this my parable.

Upon returning to my homeland, after twenty-five years of missionary work abroad, I felt there was something in Quebec which I would describe as a “winter of the Christian faith”. The familiar faith culture of my origins seemed to have disappeared under the cloak of shame, of indifference, and under the threat of being ridiculed had become icy cold. As I came in contact with this reality, I wanted
to discover its inhospitable climate, equip myself to brave the bad weather and its biting cold. My missionary heart had to experience the silence of change which hopefully time and confidence would bring about fruitfulness. Would springtime appear in the long run?




In our own way, we can all be everyday heroes. Whether we be an astrophysicist who unveils the nature of the heavenly bodies, or a single mother who must combine work and family duties, or a missionary abroad who teaches young needy children, heroism is more common than we think. But what exactly is heroism? It is to exhibit great courage and bravery. Whether on a large or smaller scale, courage is within our capacity. Thanks to this virtue we become the echo of our beliefs, the echo of our deep convictions and our dearest values. Heroism has no boundaries and it does not calculate. However, when we are attentive it can be observed. Thanks to our inner incentive, our vibrations are captured by others and passed on; thus the echo is heard and is perpetuated.

We all know some everyday heroes; we could put a name to their faces. They are powerful examples of courage. A parent who gives the total gift of self for the livelihood of the family or a volunteer in a soup kitchen will not necessarily find their names in history books, but they will leave behind a legacy that will have repercussions and will be transmitted from person to person, from generation to  generation.




The SEEDS That Made a DIFFERENCE — Monette Ouellette, m.i.c.

January 12, 2014, the Archdiocese of Vancouver, British Columbia, highlighted in a ceremony of Thanksgiving the end of 160 years of missionary work performed by two religious congregations: The Cenacle Sisters and the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. Archbishop Michael J. Miller,c.s.b., offered the Thanksgiving Mass at the Holy Rosary Cathedral and with gratitude mentioned the legacy the Sisters have left behind.

In May 1921, the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception took up an important adventure. At that time, Msgr. T. Casey, bishop of the Diocese, approached Mother Délia Tétreault, our Foundress, asking her if she could send some Sisters to help the numerous Chinese immigrants who had come to work on the construction site of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Worn-out, sick, neglected by a society still exhibiting colonial attitudes, help was needed for these workers. The first four MIC Sisters that arrived in Vancouver had many challenges. Humbly and resolutely they set up their quarters in a poor neighborhood and began by visiting the population in homes and hospitals. Health and education issues were enormous. At first, they set up a small dispensary in their own little house.
The following year, in 1922 a center was opened on Keefer Street and was known as the “Oriental Home” for the Chinese, mostly single men suffering from various illnesses. On the same street another building was rented, it served as school and eighty seven young Chinese came to study.

Two years later, the demands were so great that the Sisters moved to a larger house on Campbell Avenue; then a little further on Albert Street, two dispensaries were set up. In 1927, Saint Joseph Oriental Hospital, the first of its kind, opened its doors and in 1932 a section of the Hospital was reserved for treating patients with tuberculosis. 


The Echo of my Silence — Pierre Lacroix

As a mailman, Pierre Lacroix walked the streets for thirty-three years. He soaked up the sunshine, the rain, the snow, felt the wind and the breeze, he breathed the fresh air. His work required concentration, but he loved the solitude and the freedom as well as the silence that surrounded him.

In my childhood years, my parents frequently went to Church and I liked going with them—there, I could find quietness and be still. As a young adult, I would get on my bike and cycle to the Botanical Garden where I could enjoy peace and silence. I also moved away from the city to the countryside where I could find tranquility. Silence always attracted me.


I was not talkative but I married a loquacious woman. Of course, at the beginning she found I was an introvert. Since we truly wanted our marriage to be a success, we took sessions together and I sincerely believe that silence also helped us to grow as a couple; it opened my ears so that I could welcome all that my spouse, Claudette, had to tell me. This wife of mine is a marvelous woman... she understands my need of silence and even goes as far as wearing earphones to prevent the radio from disturbing my meditation. We are a sports oriented family. With Claudette and my two sons, I went swimming, bicycling, and skiing. We love to breathe-in the fresh air
of the wide open spaces; we admire the beauty and peace that is offered to us so generously. As my sons became older, they
stopped travelling with us, but Claudette and I continue our journey.


A Silent and Loving Presence  — Michelle Paquette, m.i.c.

Hong Kong is a city situated on China’s Continental south coast. In 1842, a treaty was signed with Britain—Hong Kong thus became a British colony for a period of 155 years. In 1997, a transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong took place. This ‘handover’ marked the end of  British rule in Hong Kong. The city became the first special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China under the principle of “one country, two systems”. Its population of 7,100,000, with approximately 6,405 hab/km2, gives the impression the city is held in a clamp. Everything circulates around the economy which is known as the most liberal in the world. Hong Kong is known as the world’s leading international financial and commercial centers.

Our missionary life sometimes takes us by surprise. Having worked many years in South America and then as Secretary General of our Institute for a few more years, I was at a point where I felt a change was needed. Blessed with good health, physical energy, plus a good dose of experience and faith, all the elements were present to begin a new project. In a spirit of prayer and discernment this need
for change was gradually transformed into a profound desire to do God’s Will. My third mandate was ending when I asked for an assignment ‘ad extra”. I was signing a blank check—when, how, where... Go to the land I will show you.1 The lapse of time between the request and the response taught me silence, patience, and readiness.



An Intergenerational Meeting — Jacqueline Brage, m.i.c.

Originally from Cuba, Sr. Jacqueline dynamically takes part in the missionary movement of the Church. At the parish of St. Gregory the Great, located on Marquette Street in Montreal, Quebec, she is called upon to journey with teen agers, young adults and newly arrived immigrants. Parents invite Sr. Jacqueline to accompany the youth during their years of searching. It is with all her heart and creativity that she organized an activity for “parents-teenagers”.

For over fifty years in mission countries, they worked laboriously with very little means, they instilled the Spirit of Jesus in the hearts of people and now the Sisters come back to their origins where their religious missionary life began. The place where their training took place—the MIC novitiate located at Pont-Viau, Laval, Quebec now welcomes them back for a well deserved rest. There are many MIC
missionaries here. Recently, a group of seven young people between the ages of 14 and 18 from St. Gregory the Great parish had
an enriching experience with the missionaries. These youngsters who are highschool and college students were all born in Canada but their parents were immigrants from Guatemala, Mexico, and other Latin American countries except one mother who is a Quebecer.
When the proposal of visiting the elderly Sisters came up, the seven teenagers expressed great interest and enthusiasm. The fact that geographically they are miles away from their grandparents, they feel the importance of having a grandmother or grandfather and they have a desire to be closer to them. In Latin American countries, the elderly have a central place in the family circle—this is a cherished value which is passed on to the children at a very early age.


Mission - Passion for Jesus and His People — Marie-Paule Sanfaçon, m.i.c.


In his first Apostolic Exhortation: The Joy of the Gospel 1, Pope Francis defines the missionary as follows: A true missionary, who never ceases to be a disciple, knows that Jesus walks with him, speaks to him, breathes with him, works with him. He senses Jesus alive with him in the midst of the missionary enterprise. Unless we see him present at the heart of our missionary commitment, our enthusiasm  soon wanes and we are no longer sure of what it is that we are handing on; we lack vigor and passion. A person who is not convinced, who is not enthused, certain, and in love will convince nobody.

By these modest commitments, performed in the name of our Faith, we hope to be witnesses of the Good News and bring about Christian justice in the lives of those peoples who are oppressed and deprived of their freedom. Thus, as Pope Francis tells us - by so
doing we will know the missionary joy of sharing life with God’s faithful people as we strive to light a fire in the heart of the world.3 [1-2-3 POPE FRANCIS, Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel – Mediaspaul, 2013 – Chapter 5, No. 266, 271]



Summer 2014

Know How to Listen

Why speak about listening when actually we should be ‘entering into silence’? Silence sends a message—it can be negative or positive.
What sentiment is hidden when a person is silent? Sulkiness, anger, contempt, respect, wisdom, reflection, interiority, all these are modes of inner consciousness that are important to be listened to. The message needs to be clarified; I must understand what is going on within my own self in order to better understand the other. But that is not obvious, particularly in today’s noisy, loud, hyper active societies. So many words, so many statements are but resounding cymbals. Silence qualified as golden has become a very rare pearl.

To be silent or to take time for silence is to endorse a state full of wisdom that is not beyond our reach. More than ever noise has become a nuisance; thus the necessity of leaving the city life behind to find the countryside where fresh air not only regenerates the lungs but offers us
the chance to have  a spiritual experience and to reflect on the meaning of life with all its implications. Let us think: how many people are rejected because they are not heard? How many heroes have been forgotten over the years? (ref: Émilien’s text) How often the media presents us an array of world-wide unjust situations, yet the human family continues journeying with life’s wounded ones. The missionary heart looks from within to take-on the eyes of Jesus and see the world as He does, thus becoming the echo of the silent ones.

During His earthly life, Jesus often withdrew to a solitary place to pray to His Father and He invites us to do the same. Take time to be in touch with the indwelling Holy One, confide all the issues of your life and of the world to this Radiant Presence. The French author, Yves Duteuil tells us: Silence is solitude, it is a mirror that reflects who I am, it is a pause during the turmoil.1 Being able to listen to the murmur of the Source deep within us, is it not a way to be one’s own therapist?

The articles in this issue offer you moments of inner reflection on the power of Life; savor some precious time with the authors— Sr. Agathe and Sr. Michelle who experienced the silence of being
uprooted. Without any further delay let us go with André and meet our great friend—SILENCE. 1 DUTEIL, Yves, La petite musique du silence, éd. Médiaspaul, 2014, p. 31

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 and Provincial Superior of the MIC Canadian Province.


Carole Guévin, Direction's assistant

Assistant Director of the MIC Missionary Press, Carole lived in Nicaragua and Lebanon as a lay missionary.


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.

Louisa Nicole, M.I.C., Editorial Board

Sr. Louisa was a missionary in Japan.  She is currently involved in the Chronic Pain Self-Management Program as a master trainer and workshop facilitator under the direction of McGill University Health Center.  She also gives time in spiritual accompaniment according to the Ignatian Pedagogy, teaches adult catechesis, and journeys with the AsMIC of Granby, Quebec.

Léonie Therrien, M.I.C., Editorial Board

Occupation: She is a member of the editorial team for the missionary magazine Le Précurseur/MIC Mission News. She is also responsible for a group of MIC Associates (ASMIC).

Experiences: Educator; youth group animator as well as animating groups of Associates; member of an intercommunity mission animation team.

Emilien Roscanu, Editorial Board                                                                            

Emilien Roscanu is a CEGEP student who is currently studying humanities. History and politics are his passion as well as the arts scene and dramatic art.  Dedicated to his community, he is a young man who also loves debating ideas.                                                                                                                     


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