My Mission in Samoens, Haute Savoie, France
I have been in the community of Samoens for over a year now with Sr. Anne Chantal and Sr. Monique Muffat. I am engaged in parish pastoral care, especially with the small missionary fraternities mentioned below. Our parish is named after Blessed Ponce. The parish stretches from Mieussy in the northeast to Sixt Fer-à-Cheval in the southeast and includes the seven Catholic communities and their seven bell towers, that is seven smaller parishes in the area that follows the valley route all along to the Giffre water torrent for 32 km.
In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI called for "a rediscovery in the life of the Church of the Divine Word, a source of constant renewal" and he expressed the hope that, "it will become ever more at the heart of all ecclesial activity".
Our Diocese of Annecy, in 2012 at the Synod Assembly took the decision to promote the birth and development of:"Little Missionary Fraternities"
During these meetings we are invited to breathe the joy of the Gospel, the joy of believing, the joy of loving and the joy of serving! It depends on each and every one of us: so let us not be "extinguishers" but servants who hold and reveal their lamps lit with the oil of joy!
We have lived almost a year in our little missionary fraternity, where we have met with people who hold preciously in their hearts the joy of the Gospel. During these meetings we have journeyed together as we listened to and shared the Word. We have also shared our sorrows and joys and so a special bond has been forged between us.
For me, the year was a blessing while full of challenges and new experiences as I met new people with different experiences from mine. With the missionary fraternities I shared and lived quality moments, enriched by the life and sharing of these people. Deep in their hearts there is a true thirst for God! We have 7 fraternity groups starting from: Mieussy, Taninges, Verchaix, La Rivière -Renverse, Morillon, Samoen, and Sixt-Fer à Cheval.
We meet regularly to share the Word of God. Last year we took the Gospel of St. John and this year we will base our sharing on the Acts of the Apostles. Recently, we had a Mass of thanksgiving for all the fraternities of the whole valley. I would like to share with you our witness story.
As St. John Marie Vianney says: Prayer is for our soul what water is to the earth. This is not a historical or intellectual discovery of the Bible, it is not an explanation of the text, but a time to share how the Word touches and guides each of us in our daily lives. Anyone present may freely share their thoughts and feelings and this inspires the other participants to follow suit. Through the intervention of the Holy Spirit the fruits of our meetings are numerous.
During these months, we have seen an increase in our trust in God and in each other with a subtle change in our way of being. In the joy and enthusiasm of listening to our brothers and sisters, the flame of faith ignites our hearts, while we search how to live it out in the reality of our lives. We are tempted to say that just like the Easter Candle or even in the image of the Olympic Torch, the Word of the Gospel shared in our communities rekindles in us what is sometimes a flickering flame.
As a result, our attitude becomes missionary, because the Word nourishes and strengthens us while it allows us to be more attentive to others and gives us the audacity to proclaim the Gospel in our daily lives and our families. These meetings allow us to forge more fraternal bonds between us without judgment of any kind. They also push us to pay more attention to the outside world and to remind us that every human being is also on the journey of faith and is loved by God. As we gather, we experience a real pleasure in meeting our group members. It is a time of pause in our lives; a time when we live our faith in a more laid-back rational way. We allow our rational selves to be guided by the Word of God. It is also a joy to observe that, the Lord who rains his rain on the good and the wicked, also fills us with his benevolence by shining his sun on all the members of the group, regardless of our different stages of closeness to the Word. ...
At the beginning of the year, I was asked to give an account of my missionary life in Africa. I shared my experiences in Senegal and in Congo Brazzaville. This year we organized the rice bowl with the children of the parish. The money received from rice bowl was sent to Congo Brazzaville to help our mission to the poor, pay school fees for poor and orphaned children, to buy 3 bikes for young people who have to go far to college, provide uniforms, school supplies, as well as buying food for the elderly.
A big "THANK YOU” to all who participated at the parish of Blessed Ponce in Samoens.
My sincere thanks to Sr. Pauline and the Council, the Delegation and my Community for all the help I received. Sr. Tessy THEKKEDATH
photos of children who received the help