After spending several years in a community in the south of France, I arrived at the Mother House in 2007, where I live with the elderly sisters at St. Joseph’s community. A new period of my life started, certainly the last one.
After a “hyperactive” life, I was a little afraid to no longer have activities and to live in slow motion. Since the first days, I realized that I was really wrong!
We are a community of 35-40 Sisters who are from 75 to 100 years old, coming from the mission “ad gentes” or from a mission at the Mother House.
I immediately began to teach French to foreign Sisters, and after a time of adjustment, here I found dynamism and simplicity, characteristics of our communities of the Daughters of Charity.
From the early morning, two or three sisters go to the welcome office of the Chapel to welcome and listen to the people who desire to speak with us. Other Sisters receive the intentions of the Mass or are engaged by answering phone calls. Many Sisters wrap medals in plastic baggies, which daily reach the entire world. Other Sisters answer the many letters.
However, the major service of our Community of elderly sisters remains prayer. Community encounters, prayer time and the office of prayer in our little chapel mark our lives. We have the possibility to be connected to the main chapel in order to be united, through the prayer, with the pilgrims.
Liturgical or community celebrations are an opportunity for beautiful celebrations and joyful and fraternal meetings. The celebrations of the jubilees of the Sisters, 60 or 70 years of fidelity to their vocation, are a marvelous testimony of love over time.
In addition, don’t think that we don’t move! An annual trip is organized where the great majority of the Sisters participate: visiting, eating out, shared joy…
Moments of community relaxation bring the news of the day transmitted by the radio, television or internet. A library is available and we have the opportunity to profit from the presentations given to the Sisters of the Mother House. The visits from the Sisters allow us to know the news from the countries from which they arrive. Everything is interesting and allows us to stay connected with the world and pray for it.
Finally, once a week we participate in a “memory” workshop in order to maintain this so precious and fragile skill of our age. We also have the possibility to do soft gymnastics for the relaxation of our joints that bear the brunt of years!
My testimony would be incomplete if I didn’t speak about our sick Sisters, or those disabled because of their age. With what attentiveness, delicacy and proficiency we are treated by our Sisters who are nurses!
As you can see, nothing is missing in our community of elderly Sisters. It’s a haven of peace, where we can live the last years of our lives in fraternal charity, that prepares us for the great encounter with Christ whom we have served in the poor.
A Sister from the Community of Saint Joseph