april-may-june-2015 Issue



(VOL. 42, No. 2 /April*May*June 2015)


Spiritual Life

Building Bridges — André Gadbois

It’s quite a challenge to build a bridge linking two river banks; yet, isn’t it a goal in life to unite, to bring together? The existence of a bridge brings about new activities and recreates reality.

A few days ago I accidentally met Christiane, a long lost friend of our twenties. After a warm hug, I asked her, “What’s new?” Her reply was simply, “Nothing! Tired, weary… always on the verge of crying; a retirement that is boring… Hard times persist and friends are rare. She spoke to me of Jean-Marc whom she met; he was a lost soul on the street who is  disinterested in life. Of course, there is nothing new here because people fear those who spent some time in prison. In bygone days we would sit around a campfire and we would wish upon a star, but nowadays heavy teardrops blur the hopes and dreams of many. Nothing new, always the same old story—broken promises, torn contracts, the rich becoming richer and the poor begging on their knees. No bridge between the two… sometimes we can only find a narrow rope bridge on which it is impossible to pause and contemplate the river for any length of time.

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He Worked Marvels for Me... - Suzanne Gervais, AsMIC

The theme “WHAT’S NEW?” invites us to tell a story that is out of the ordinary. It tells about the course of a recovery which could be termed as exceptional, or perhaps as miraculous. Nothing led Nicole Gravel, an associate of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, to imagine that an infection could take such proportions to the point it would require six months hospitalization of which one month was in the intensive care unit. During that particular month, the medical team came to realize that SOMEONE, somewhere, was watching over this patient; not only was she receiving transfusions, dialysis, oxygen, but she was also intubated and force-fed.



Springtime Renewal — Émilien Roscanu

Springtime is that period of year which symbolizes renewal. As the days become longer, darkness gives way to light, snow melts away and green grass appears; the cold wind of the north is transformed into a light warm breeze. Then, the first buds begin to open and soon tender green leaves adorn the trees. The animal kingdom equally takes part in the change. Migratory birds return from their wintering grounds in the south to their breeding grounds in the north, while other mammals awaken from their long months of torpor. We cannot be indifferent to nature’s renewal which unfolds before our eyes. This period of year should inspire us; why stand there as spectators when life all around us breathes new life? This season is a perfect time to question ourselves, see what changes can be brought about—personally as well as collectively.



What's New

Innovative Projects - Estelle Fontaine, M.I.C.

A missionary in Madagascar from 1966 to 2010, Sr. Estelle served in the teaching field. In 1972, when the revolution broke out, she was principal at Morondova  College; she soon realized that the Madagascans had the capacity to take over their own schools. She understood that she had to find another mission field.

Through my contacts with our students’ parents, many of whom were struggling with conjugal and family problems I saw the importance of pursuing my mission via a professional
outreach program for adults. After my studies in psychology, I felt called to serve at the Permanent Adult Education Centre, located in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. For a period of thirty-two years, I worked with Madagascan animators, building effective human resources in the light of identity, spirituality, communication. Plus, the program also included
leadership, human resource management, and conflict resolution. These well prepared animators have become missionary disciples; they continue to offer the training program in  various regions of the Big Island to groups of parents, teachers, business leaders, directors of companies and associations. They also reach out to religious who are in formation, to seminarians and to university students.


What's in Store for Us at Tak Oi School ? - Rosetti Lau M.I.C.

“Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”

The whole Tak Oi School community has undergone a grace-filled event in 2014, which set it on a renewed path in God’s Eternal Loving Plan. Tak Oi was founded and is managed by the MIC Sisters since 1970; the school has been serving young girls of age from 12 to 18 in an area called Tsz Wan Shan, which literally means the Mountain of Mercy Cloud in Chinese.

Thanks to the passion and great effort of the pioneer MICs, teachers and staff, the school is deeply filled with the Christian Spirit, especially the Gospel values of Love and Truth, which are chosen to be the school motto. Thus, even though the percentage of Catholic students has always been very low (16 Catholics among 816 students in the current school year),  formation of young girls in the spirit of Christ is always the first priority.


Facing the Mirror - Louisa Nicole, M.I.C.

I always loved the Outspoken Old Medea— an entertainment column which appeared in the RND Review. One time it spoke about the ‘back side of an embroidery design’. You know  what that means? The back side of an embroidered fabric is not always lovely to look at but without it, could there be a right side to admire? When I look at myself in the mirror and
see my wrinkles I like to think that I am seeing the back side of my face. Is it impossible to turn it on the right side?

On my mother’s side of the family, my uncles and aunts had big noses. With wisdom my mother would say, “A big nose does not disfigure a pretty face.” Although I never really liked  ‘big noses’ and that I rejoice having been spared from that heritage, I tried to see what was hidden above and under it: fantastic bright eyes sparkling with intelligence, or simply  beautiful because of their gentle appearance full of goodness; a beaming gracious smile with impeccable teeth. We must learn to look beyond what first attracts our attention. And what if the wrinkles would also be hiding an unsuspected beauty!



Newness - At Every Turn - Clémence Trudel, M.I.C.

Every year, on my birthday, I ask myself: What will this year bring me that will be new? Using Pope Francis’ expression, I will make “a pilgrimage in reverse”  where every change or new beginning in my life appears to be a twinkling star.

Remembering my happy childhood years: in the calm and wide open spaces of Abitibi countryside, located in Western Quebec, I recall running joyfully in the fields during the summer months, playing various games in the winter, attending the country-road primary school, going to Church for Sunday Mass.


Discovering New Realities - Ditma Luz Trocio, M.I.C.

For many years, mission “ad extra” kept me physically absent from my homeland, except for occasional brief visits. Recently, I was called to return permanently; once settled, I realized many changes had taken place over the years, my eyes were opened to new realities.

How often do we stop to think that friends, family and community members will not always be there for us? Upon my return to the Philippines I felt the loss of those I once had in my life and with whom I had shared so much. They are now resting in Peace; as for me, I must learn from their absence.

Looking at the other side, I see that a drastic transformation has taken place in the make-up of our Novitiate and Postulate. Through the Inter-Provincial collaboration, the younger  generation of MIC Sisters in formation, comes not only from the Philippines but also from Africa, and Vietnam. It’s a new scenario to which I am adjusting; the interaction is most enriching as we learn from each other.



One more step

When the editorial team came together to reflect on a theme for this issue, we were far from thinking that “WHAT’S NEW?” would be so disturbing.

The event of September 11, 2001 and the one that has recently occurred on January 7, 2015 have shaken our lives and peace has  been perturbed. We wonder what the future holds for us. Why all these violent acts?

Why not respect freedom of thought and ways of doing things differently? Domination and power are instincts which break down relationships and these keep the world under tension. Is this because of a misunderstanding of religious messages? Pope Francis  reminds us, “God is not Catholic.” God belongs to all of us and what He wants is love and respect for each person.

In his message, delivered on World Day of Peace, January 1, 2015, Pope Francis states, “Since we are by nature relational beings,  meant to find fulfillment through interpersonal relationships inspired by justice and love, it is fundamental for our human development that our dignity, freedom and autonomy be acknowledged and respected.” The Pope’s message tells us—THAT’S WHAT’S NEW! We are called to take a positive outlook in order to discover the goodness that lies deep in each heart; we are invited to build bridges between people, between cultures. The articles in this issue reveal how we can become all things to all people. We have the ability to discover WHAT’S NEW at every turn; we can help people take their own destiny in hand and rejoice with all peoples who take steps towards  democratization while others, as a people of God, take on various responsibilities. What else is new? It is to faithfully give thanks to  our Creator who gave us a heart for loving and wisdom to understand that ONLY LOVE can change the face of our world. The articles  herein remind us that to build a better ‘today’ we need to have a positive outlook, be respectful toward the other, and be an instrument of peace. That’s what it means to take one more step.

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.

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