Sisters of Saint Joseph of Annecy

ADVENT a time of HOPE against all the odds at SAMOENS.

This is our experience as we are put into a second lockdown in the village of Samoens- a popular mid-mountain ski resort.We sisters in Samoens entered this second period of restrictions less abruptly than the first, but none the less find it difficult. We have almost begun to live like a Carmelite enclosed community while continuing our  active mission here.Throughout this time of the pandemic our  Diocese  of Annecy has sent us  special texts to enrich our daily prayer.

When Sr Tessy arrived in Samoen our priest  Fr Bruno Hebert entrusted her with the small missionary  groups or fraternities  to give them  spiritual and pastoral support  with on going formation.  It provided  us with a fresh start to animate and  renew each other as we met to share friendship and  prayerful  too.However the arrival of  this  terrible corona virus, interupted our nourishing exchanges by preventing us meeting together.  Due to the pandemic we could no longer  have close contact with each other.

Somehow we have to find a new way to support each other  especially in these times of  physical isolation: But how? Send a text?

Perhaps  that seemed too complicated for some groups. Some of them  like to open the Bible and pray with it. Others, less familiar with the Bible, ask for help and suggestions. This request  could be done by phone.  After giving some references, a light could be lit for some individually as they reflected and prayed  with the Gospel text. This new way of communicating enabled  us to bond even more  to each other.  It  is a new experience for me  to listen to them, to encourage them, to pray for  and be with them  for their own individual concerns albeit at a physical distance. To pray together for a friend or a  relative whom they have not  seen for some time.  This became lika prayer chain for  all the members of our parish  fraternities  and beyond  our local area.   In this way our prayer and friendship grew and led to different exchanges,  news and local information shared  to support one another.  This  became more relevent when concerns arose  about  the illness of one of their own  taken into hospital too quickly and unaccompanied  due to the virus.  It has been so sad not to be able to visit loved ones in hospital with  limited news of their condition.

In  our mountain parish we form a large  body as seven previous parishes  have been joined  together as one.  We are now a  united group of seven  churches under the care of the same Pastor  Fr. Bruno. All this we carry before the Lord, in our hour of daily worship followed by vespers.Sister Anne  continues to be busy in the parish office Ouf ! she says, “ Will we soon  be able to go out to our parishoners?”  Days pass quickly.  Sr. Anne  answers  the phone  to listen to people  asking  for Masses, and then register them on the parish  register  to be celebrated.  It is a mission  of deep listening to the cries of those who have lost  loved ones. It is also a time to comfort those who are distressed by the husband or wife who has died so suddenly away from  home and family to support them.  Sr. Anne also deals with all the other  mail that comes through the parish mail box. 

Even if we are compelled to live our lives like Carrmalites Sr. Anne makes a point of doing physical exercises or cycling to keep fit or the joints will age and become rusty!

As Samoens is a ski resort we have lots of snow and very cold weather.  Sometimes I look through our kitchen window at the big snowflakes falling.  I see the village square with  piles of snow.  When the children come out of school they make  snow balls  and have fun with each other.  They do not feel the cold like us, so  I try to be childlike and with gratitude to be as « simple as these little children»

At this time of pandemic we in our delegation of France and the whole world are going through a challenging time in our history. Let us support each other with confident prayer  to our Blessed Mother the Virgin Mary.

Sr Tessy and Sr Anne-Chantal