july-august-september 2015 Issue



(VOL. 42, No. 3 /July*August*September 2015)


Spiritual Life

Keep Hope Alive — André Gadbois

God is with us always, whether with Bishops united in a synod or with families searching for meaning in their perturbed life, we could say that He walks our journey with us.

I am not a vinyl record dealer nor am I an antique dealer but my wife and I possess dozens of old fashioned records; we have a three speed vinyl record player, and some antique Quebec furniture. I still love to listen to those LP records which contributed in fashioning my soul and my personality. Many songs written in the seventies have left their impact in the minds and hearts of people; for example, John Littleton’s song: AMEN, or I SEEK HIS FACE in which a question is asked—You are the Body of Christ, You are the Blood of Christ, therefore what have you done with HIM?... Recently, I was led to think about the upcoming Synod of Bishops—the theme of which will be THE FAMILY. It all happened at a funeral service in a Catholic Church. Approximately eighty people attended Margo’s funeral, a 90 year old lady, and a member of my spouse’s family. There were couples and there were families the majority of whom did not  resemble THE model extolled by the Catholic Church. At communion time, almost everyone got up and went to receive the Body of Christ.

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Cultures and Mission

Malawi and Zambia—50 years of independence

In the year 2014, some seventeen African countries celebrated their 50th Anniversary of Independence. Among them were: Malawi, where the MIC Sisters have been working since 1948 and Zambia, where we have been present to the population since 1954. Numerous celebrations took place even though many wondered if there were reasons to celebrate. Though much has been achieved in the areas of education, health care, agriculture, communication and transportation, there is still much poverty in rural areas. Unemployment is high and three-fourths of the population lives with less than $1.47 CAN a day. Forty-six percent of the population is less than fifteen years of age. Freedom of the press and of speech are major benefits rarely found in Africa at large, and even if some change has occurred in this respect, there is still a Ref: Info-MIC long way to go before they truly become democratic countries.

In the Province of Our Lady of Africa, there are currently nine Canadian Sisters, seven African professed Sisters and thirteen African scholastics. Sr. Jacintha Henry, from Tanzania, has been a missionary at our Good Hope School in Hong Kong and has been teaching English for the past ten years. Since a few years, English speaking postulants and novices receive their training in Baguio, Philippines. Though optimistic in light of their future, the Sisters of the African Province must do with a lack of personnel due to the fact that seven scholastics and three professed Sisters are pursuing their studies.



Family Communion — Émilien Roscanu

The family, a fundamental pillar of humanity, is a concept in constant evolution. It is difficult to grasp the extent of its meaning as  different types of families occur in a wide variety of settings. Does family only mean sharing bonds with individuals? What is needed to make a family? What are its characteristics? What obstacles families come across in a society that is in constant evolution? These are the questions that have guided my reflection on a millennial concept which today is being redefined.

The family is a sacred unit where communion, sharing, and fraternity take place. To have a family is a challenge. Individuals, who are considered as relatives living together and sharing whatever they have, are above all human beings. Dissension can take place in such a mix of people who look alike but are totally different. The family is made up of acquaintances whom we do not choose, and cannot get rid of when complications arise. We do not choose our parents, we must learn to live with them and their qualities, but also with their faults, and that is a challenge.

To have friends is very different from having a family. The relationship is different. A friendly relationship is based on affinities,  common interests, shared life situations. As for a family, it is based on kinship, on blood line or similar bonds which are created between persons but not necessarily affiliated by consanguinity. Someone can be accepted in the family circle if that person decides
to contribute and be integrated. Links that are woven in a family are profound and intimate.


Roots of The Past

A Spontaneous Outreach - Marie-Paule Sanfaçon, M.I.C.

At all times, Délia Tétreault was open and she welcomed lay people to take part in our mission works. Particularly in Quebec, sewing circles were set up under the leadership of a nun; ladies would come and sew liturgical vestments. Still today, though participation differs from former years, many lay missionaries offer their precious collaboration in various mission fields. Below is an extract of how it was in the early 20th century.

Nowadays, there is much talk about apostolic works. All around us, the pressing needs are being felt. Not only do we talk about it but we deal with the issues. The tasks are intensifying and increasing. Lay people who enroll in associations are given an apostolate according to their talents and capacities. It is great that we have come to understand that a missionary apostolate is not exclusively reserved to members of the clergy and to religious communities. There is an apostolate suitable for all Christians.



Women from Here and Abroad - Huguette Turcotte, M.I.C.

A faithful spiritual daughter of our Foundress, Délia Tétreault, Sr. Huguette Turcotte visited many countries as a journalist. Many
women crossed her path and she was deeply touched by them. She discovered one true fact—they were
all women of heart.

People who know me will not be surprised that I chose to speak to you about my encounters with WOMEN ABROAD... women from every parts of the world—Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. Through my experience with these women I have come to realize that
although they are different from us... they are also very much like us. Whether her face is hidden in a dark chador with only her eyes visible, as was the custom agent who verified my passport in Malaysia, or whether she is a Zambian mother who at six in the morning, with her baby securely wrapped on her back, is out in the corn fields hoeing, or like an indigenous Otavalo weaving a poncho in a small town of Ecuador, or a woman guiding a Chinese junk in a port of China, each of these women is a MOTHER, a SISTER, a GRANDMOTHER, a LIFE BEARER, a WOMAN OF HEART. Like you and me, she is hungry, she is cold, she is sick, she is tired, she suffers, she laughs, she cries, she loves. Like all women, her life is a gift to all those who surround her; she is a gift to her village, to her city, to her country, to humanity.


Moved By Compassion - Gisèle Leduc M.I.C.

She is a woman of experience and benevolence. Sister Gisèle was general bursar for eighteen years and today she is a missionary in
Africa. Competent in her field of work she willingly helps others and the Foundation Mnjale. She listens to her heart and has but one dream: assist the grandmothers who are the care givers of the AIDS orphans.

Thérèse Bourque Lambert, a courageous grandmother from West Hill, located in the vicinity of Notre Dame de Graces, Montreal, was deeply touched by the AIDS pandemic ravaging Sub-Saharan African countries. She decided to extend a helping hand to the  grandmothers who are the caregivers of the AIDS orphans. She began working with the Stephen Lewis Foundation and with fellow senior citizens raised funds providing muchneeded aid; but Thérèse always felt she could do more. In 2007, she approached a friend Roger Roome who was posted to Lilongwe, Malawi; he worked for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). She asked him if he knew of a local area that she and some friends and families could support as a project independent of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. After a long and minute research, the village of Mnjale was to be the beneficiary. With the help of Melissa Banda,  responsible in channeling the donations, the Mnjale Foundation was born. This village is forty five minutes from Lilongwe, the Capital City of Malawi and it is surrounded by many other villages and four main centers.


My Spiritual Family, Same Roots… Same Sap, Jocelyne Dallaire, AsMIC

The KEYS1 and CRC2 jointly organized a day of reflection on the theme: TOGETHER, RISK THE FUTURE. The event took place last
October, in Montreal, under the patronage of Cardinal Gerald C. Lacroix. It was an uplifting and profound experience for all those
who participated.

The conferences and discussions were a true source of renewal for all the participants; among them were a large number of associates, spiritual mentors, members of general and provincial councils from different religious institutes. As associates to the
spiritual family of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, we drew from this source of ideas and varied life experiences to prepare ourselves for a presentation we were to give at the Sisters’ Provincial Chapter in November 2014. Two challenges were before us: We were to present the history of our roots and explain the expression ‘stowing’ (i.e. lay and consecrated persons are stowed together in a spiritual family in the name of Jesus Christ. As such, both sides are securely fastened together but operate autonomously.)



Fruits of the Mission in Taiwan - Huguette Chapdelaine, M.I.C.

Reading through the MIC Chronicles of Guanshi, we discover that Pope Francis’ leitmotif, “Come out of yourselves and go forth...” was actually taking place in Taiwan in the nineteen fifties. An intuition emerged, progressed and bore fruits. The long road travelled since the arrival of the missionaries is an event which today the Church of Taiwan is celebrating.

The Church of Guanshi, Taiwan is rejoicing! It is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the MIC Sisters’ arrival in the small agricultural city whose population is 30,000 inhabitants, Chinese and Aboriginals. When they first arrived, Christianity was in its embryonic stage. The leaven produced fervent members who are celebrating the arrival of the missionaries.

In 1954, the Jesuit Fathers and the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception came to Guanshi to sow the Word of God. Today, Msgr. John Baptiste Lee, Bishop of the Diocese, takes this opportunity to thank all the missionaries who at one time left their countries
and took up the challenge of learning the Mandarin language in order to reach out to the families, the poor, the sick. He added: Our hearts overflow with gratitude when we think of the first missionaries who made so many generous sacrifices; without them, we would not be here.

The early beginnings of the mission were committed to providing child care; the Sisters opened a kindergarten and met with families. These pioneers had to adjust to the country’s weather, earthquakes, and devastating typhoons. The island’s constant humidity was an everyday challenge.


A Child’s Dream (from a Japanese Version), Monique Cloutier M.I.C.

At Koriyama’s school in Japan, the teachers decided to illustrate for the children the life of Délia Tétreault. With the eyes of her  Japanese culture, the artist, Miwako Otomo, depicted Délia in a marvelous way. Below is an extract which you can communicate to your young ones.

Délia as a child
One hundred and fifty years ago, in a small town called Marieville, in the Province of Quebec, in Canada, a beautiful little blond girl
was born and baptized. As a child, Délia loved to look at the wheat fields which stretched as far as the horizon; perhaps the lovely blue sky and the large fields were so much in harmony with the pure heart of Délia that she felt attracted by their beauty. In the spring, Délia sang hymns of praise to God which echoed through the luscious green fields.

In early summer, the eyes of Délia marveled before the ripe spikelets of wheat which seemed to bow in prayer. Délia wondered: who is living way out there, beyond these wheat fields? I would want to meet those people and talk to them.



The family : Issus and Challenges

This Fall Season, the second session of the Synod on the Family is taking place in Rome. Such a worldwide assembly raises hope on
issues and challenges that need to be addressed and dealt with. In our contemporary world, the concept of family has expanded: there are the nuclear families, the single-parent families, the blended families and the same sex families.

A Synod seeking answers for the happiness of all, but not granting permissiveness without limits… Pope Francis desires a Church that is opened, that listens to the needs of people. He knows that today to have a family is an adventure which must be embraced in a humane way, with understanding and love. He sees that the bond of brotherhood that is formed in the family between brothers and sisters is necessary for our world. This is also true for other entities which consider themselves as families; we think in terms of spiritual families, members of various associations. How often we hear a group that is happy to be together, say: We are family!

This word echoes—the ideal happiness, mutual understanding and reciprocity; but it also calls for tolerance. Our Foundress Délia Tétreault would say: The family spirit is fraternal charity in all its perfection. It’s a day by day exercise in life’s concrete situation.

Family life is not easy with its material demands, children’s education and life’s unexpected surprises. Mary and Joseph did not always
understand Jesus’ behavior. Three days after they found him in the Temple he said to them: “Why did you look for me? Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Father’s house? Mary, His mother, treasured all these things in her heart” (Lk 2:46.51). The person will always be a mystery to the other and even to one’s own self. This is the reason why understanding and tolerance are so important to assure each person’s happiness.

In this issue, the focus is on Families written in plural because we wish to offer a reflection on the quality of our commitment towards
biological and spiritual families. Let us remember the Synod in our prayers.

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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