Apri l- May - June Issue



(VOL. 43, No. 2 /April*May*June 2016)


Spiritual Life

To Your Health! A Worthy Toast — André Gadbois

If, in Matthew 5:3, you replace the word “blessed” with “healthy”, the results are wonderfully surprising: “Healthy are the poor... healthy are those who mourn... healthy are the merciful...”

Sin is manifest in all its destructive power in wars, in various forms of violence and abuse, in the abandonment of the most vulnerable,
and in attacks on nature.” I must admit that this bold statement made by the Bishop of Rome does not inspire me to raise a glass to good health. Pope Francis is right: his statement is accurate, true, and realistic; the media reminds us daily of this sad and disheartening reality. With time, I have become accustomed to toasting successes and celebrations. In my mind, a toast “to good health” is reserved for coronations and gold medals, for great joys and proud winners. Why is it that those who come in last place are never showered with the words “to good health”? I’ve thought long and hard about this expression and its cultural significance. Recently, I wondered if Jesus of Nazareth ever took the time to toast good health. Certainly! the response came as I read through “Laudate Si”1 and contemplated the radiant face of the author.

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Cultures and Mission

HEALTHY ITINERARIES, Paths Leading to Mission - Agathe Durand, m.i.c.

The life of a missionary is a life of “going forth”. It wasn’t until Pope Francis spoke these words that we began to integrate them into our contemporary vocabulary and our everyday lives.

The mission comes to us like a voice, asking us deep and personal questions, speaking in communion with others who have heard the same call. Doesn’t the word “mission” evoke a distant elsewhere, a journey that brings you far beyond familiar borders? Those who have taken the missionary path –in the biblical, Christian sense –know that a personal journey must be made. You must travel beyond your own prejudices about certain communities, religions, peoples, and periods of history. Visiting Jesus and his Gospel is, first and foremost, a personal journey, where you move beyond your own preferences and habits to meet the others on their own cultural terms.

Something else to consider is the feeling of cultural displacement and disorientation that the mission entails. You are constantly beckoned towards the outskirts and outer limits, to the places nobody wants to visit – unless you are particularly gifted. Our mission is to “go forth”, but the hidden implication is that we must embark on an inner journey and slowly but surely, learn to welcome all that is different.

An Invigorating Presence — Marie-Paule Sanfaçon, m.i.c.

Trou-du-Nord (“hole of the north”) is a veritable hive of activity. The little commune, situated just north of the Cap-Haïtien Diocese, opens up Haiti’s entire northern region, and was hence nicknamed “la Trouée du Nord”, meaning “gap of the north”. Because of the river, trucks passing through Trou-du-Nord are at risk of sinking or stalling, and the town’s nickname was eventually changed in honor of these sink “holes”.

This year, the MIC Sisters will be celebrating their sixtieth year at Cap-Haïtien. I have so many fond memories of my time at the commune. I can still see myself riding my motorcycle, a Honda 50, with the Good Lord in the rear basket. I used to leave early in the morning to visit the chapels, celebrate the liturgy of the Word, distribute communion and spend my Sundays with friends. The Haitians are simple, sympathetic, and philosophical people. They are close to nature and wear their hearts on their sleeves. While with them, we had such wonderful discussions about our lives. During the week, Catechism classes were carried out in public schools, and the
students were all crammed together. Some days, catechists from rural areas would come to the village and attend classes, then carry their knowledge back to the children at the chapels. Sometimes I went to visit them on my motorcycle or on horseback, winding through the narrow, rocky roads that twisted through the mountains.



A Frown Is Worth a Thousand Words — Audrey Charland

Imagine a child’s happiness as she discovers spring for the first time, watching the leaves and flowers bud and bloom as though awakened from an enchanted sleep.

Two young sisters bounced out their front door to welcome the day, covered in sunscreen and ready for adventure. Their journey took them through tree groves and bushes and muddy spring puddles. Suddenly, they stopped at the sight of a magnificent leafy plant. It was enormous! The girls leapt up in unison and ran towards their mother, who was straining to keep up with her intrepid daughters. “Mommy, can you eat this?” they asked, gesturing towards the green giant. “Yes, but...”




Romania: At a Crossroads — Émilien Roscanu

Romania is a small country in Eastern Europe, counting less than 20 million inhabitants. The country has not been under soviet control since the Romanian Revolution in 1989; nonetheless, Romania has experienced many political conflicts in the past few years. In 2012, the government announced plans to reform their health and social services systems by decreasing social benefits, reducing health insurance, and privatising hospitals. These reforms sparked controversy and raised the wrath of many Romanians, who took to the streets to protest the adoption of such drastic measures. Their protests eventually led to a retraction and the resignation of the government.


The Magic of Transformation — Interview by: Léonie Therrien, m.i.c.

Marie Valiquette is well known among the MIC Sisters. As a child, she went to school at 2900 Chemin de la Côte Ste-Catherine, in
Outremont. She attended college at 5620 Darlington Street, and in 1963 she finished her degree at Jean-de-Brébeuf College, an
all-boys school that had only just opened its doors to women. Sister Léonie Therrien was one of Marie’s teachers, and she recently had the pleasure of interviewing her former student about her experiences as a psychologist and the importance of mental health therapy.


Once a Missionary, Always a Missionary — Audrey Charland

My pen and notebook in hand, I made my way up to the third floor of Bloc A. My faulty sense of direction led me down several corridors before I finally reached my destination. Even though I was pressed for time, I had trouble quickening my pace. Everything about my new surroundings caught my attention. The moulding on the walls, the whispered voices, the peaceful ambience, the smiling faces I met along the corridors…

When I arrived, the door was ajar, and I could see Sister Thérèse Déziel reading in her armchair by the window. I wasn’t surprised to see that the room was arranged for my arrival, and an extra chair had been set aside. This first impression might seem inconsequential, but it set the tone for our meeting that day.



Healing and Happiness — Theresa Katongo, m.i.c.

The MIC Sisters are currently initiating a new mission in the Province of Our Lady of Africa. They are very conscious of the socio-political context surrounding their work, and believe that the province requires healing before happiness can be attained.

Zambia and Malawi constitute the Province of Our Lady of Africa; both countries are landlocked, making commercial imports and exports difficult. Local languages include Chinyanja in Chipata, Zambia, Chitumbuka in the north, and Chichewa in central Malawi.


The Young Samuels of Pucallpa — Ederlina Torres, m.i.c.

In 2003, the Second American Missionary Conference (CAM2) took place in Medellin, Columbia. The conference is famous for its commitment to the poor and its support for the missionary cause, and ever since, Latin Americans have been filled with fiery enthusiasm. One of their slogans is “IT’S OUR TURN TO BE MISSIONARIES!” And aren’t they right? Inspired by their momentum, Sister Ederlina, m.i.c. helps us relive the Children’s Missionary Group festival.



Live a Healthy Life

As I reflected on the theme of this issue, I thought of all the new immigrants arriving in Canada and who are being welcomed by many
families in Quebec. We could say that we are in good health because being healthy is not only watching our weight, but it is also thinking of others, being open and sharing the best we have.

I was touched by a Vietnamese’s point of view expressed on the T.V. talk show TOUT LE MONDE EN PARLE (EVERYBODY TALKS ABOUT
IT). She related how warmly she had been welcomed, upon her arrival as an immigrant, some years ago. Now well integrated in our society, she highlighted the richness of our country’s intercultural population. The “world” walks on our streets, takes the metro, lives next to us. This openness is a sign of healthiness!

As missionaries we have widened our space, we live the element of interculturalism in our hearts and in our houses. Some time ago, during a funeral service in our chapel, one of our Haitian Sisters made a reading; a lady came up to me and said: “You also have emigrants here?” Surprised, I spontaneously replied: “No.” She answered: “Why yes, she made a reading during the funeral.” Without hesitation I said: “She is our Sister!” To live fully the notion of internationality is to welcome the other wholly without reservations. One day, walking by a school yard, I saw children playing together; they were from all races and nations. They laughed, ran, expressed happiness. There were no questions of turbans, veils or headscarves. It was life in its fullest, a healthy way of life.

During His public life, Jesus of Nazareth never made a distinction in regards to the nationality of a person. He welcomed the Samaritan, responded to the request of the Canaanite woman, healed the blind from Jericho...

In the eyes of God, every single individual is precious and important; in his article, André conveys this truth. Émilien, for his part, saw his people in Romania crying out for a better life. As for the lay missionaries who are preparing to go serve abroad, they are trained in the light of being open to the people they will journey with. And what about the many little Samuels of Pucallpa?

Integration into interculturalism begins at birth. In his monologue, Fred Pellerin, a Quebec writer and storyteller, tells us very well: Let the shadows fall and let us live fully in the light. To find the positive side of each person is to find happiness; it is the magic formula to be transformed and to live a healthy life.

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.

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.

Audrey Charland, Editorial Board

Audrey Charland, a 25-year-old graduate student with a master’s degree in Religious Studies, is trying her hand at something new: first the thesis, now the news article! After studying the history of Catholic missionary nuns in India, she has joined the MIC Missionary News team as the new Communications and Development Officer. This position will allow her to take on new and exciting challenges, and put her knowledge and skills into practice.

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 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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