See the photos
Our treasure is Christ indeed.But he takes flesh in the history and charism of the cingregation.Archivists receive the special mission to watch over the traces of this history and to help sisters draw fron this source to live the Assumption today. It is the parable of the man who found a treasure in his field or a rare pearl that will accompany the session. For 10 days, from October 21 to 30, 2023, the Provincial Archivists will consolidate their competences (skills) and will develop a trail of work for the future. You can find some news on the website of the congregation.
Today we retain the experience that followed the opening remarks of Sr. Rekha. After a moment of personal interiorization and sharing in assembly, we perceive a community of archivists in the making. The Archives are “the sanctuary of the charism” according to Sr. Rekha. They are the living memory that challenge us and invite us to live our identity faithfully. This memory inspires us to live both the present and the future.
This second day was one of emotion, fascination and enthusiasm for the mission entrusted to us, summed up in five key words: collect, classify, conserve, communicate and counsel. We were introduced to the Archives in a creative way with talks, time for personal integration, observation, group work and sharing. We are grateful for the great work that has been done, and continues to be done, for thirty years until now, sometimes in a simple and discreet way, sometimes in an extraordinary way that we have witnessed today as we contemplate our "Sanctuary" (that of the Archives) as a meeting place between the past, the present and the future.
We went as pilgrims on the way to our roots and our own childhood, to the origins of the Congregation and of our mission. Each of us took up the conversation begun with our foundress, now called "Anne Eugenie" since we are in Lorraine, the region of her childhood. Contemplating with her eyes these vast territories that have shaped her, inspired her to see far, to breathe wide. To walk the paths of the immense park, to caress the old trees, to listen to the birds, to climb the stairs, is to enter into the intimacy of Anne Eugénie's childhood, as one approaches a spring where she herself returned to drink much later.
On Sunday, April 24, we went to Metz to visit the places of Anne Eugenie's childhood and youth: the house where she was born and the places where she lived with her family. We also went to the Cathedral of Metz, where Anne Eugenie and her mother used to pray together; then we visited the Church of St. Segolene where we found the icon and relics of St. Marie Eugenie on the main altar. At St Segolene the Eucharist was concelebrated by Father Michel, an Assumptionist, and Father Wieslaw, a Polish priest, parish priest, who welcomed us fraternally from the moment we arrived. We had a picnic in a hall where the Polish parish community gathers, a very moving and joyful moment of sharing. Then we left for Reims to visit its beautiful cathedral and we could realize why cathedrals were a source of inspiration for Anne Eugenie. On our return to Auteuil, Father Michel shared with us some notes about Marie Eugenie's faith and friendship with Father D'Alzon. At Vespers we shared our experience of this pilgrimage.
Today is a very inspiring day listening to the sharing of Sr. Veronique about the culture of Care - the patrimony of our Hands with a meaningful video clip of Kintsugi, a Japanese art of restoring the broken glass. We continue with the sharing of Celine H.P, an archivist about preservation and care for the old document and in case of disaster. More touching in the afternoon, when we learn and experience how to keep, clean and classify all the letters of Mother Marie Eugenie and the origin documents.
A new day to feel once again the immense love of God, in the paths followed by this courageous woman, woman of light, who always looks ahead of her time. This sixth day has been truly wonderful and blessed. We touch with our own hands the treasure, a history built, lived and lived over the years by Saint Mary Eugenie of Jesus. In our hearts were feelings of joy, gratitude, happiness, hope, surprise, amazement, admiration and much, much love. Entering the museum - a true sanctuary - encouraged us to always want and desire to have our "eyes fixed on Jesus Christ and the extension of his Kingdom".
Sisters Françoise and Cécile speak about the dialogue that is necessary between all the members of a province (provincial, bursar, secretary, communities...) so that life can circulate.
For the life of the Congregation to continue and to flourish, several elements come up frequently: respect and discretion, openness and dialogue, mutual trust, realism, sharing, common search for life. Be organized and focused. At the same time, patience and time are essential.
The best transmission is to try to transmit our lived experience from what we have seen, touched, heard.
A moving experience of a life (re)transmitted: Belgium gave Rwanda several photo albums and important documents from the foundations, while in the country nothing remained from before 1994.
It is like a second birth, as the sisters underline with great emotion. Thank you to Sisters Marcienne and Katrin. It is a beautiful example of a daily observation: the archives give birth and allow a family to grow.
A conviction also comes up often, expressed by an African saying: a new rope is always braided after the old one!
Technology is a useful servant. It helps in organizing and filing up documents in order to preserve them for future generations. The digital records are fragile with short life span, so there is need for a storage for the information, to ensure continuity. We experienced the importance of using digital technology in our mission as archivists. The opportunity to exercise and apply the knowledge we had learnt, demonstrated quick access of information or records, simplifying the tasks and saving time when we search a document. Digital technology is therefore a requirement for successful mission as archivists.
Annals... why should we write annals? What is their meaning? Each one was invited to write a page of annals about the two days in Lorraine in the footsteps of Marie-Eugénie. It was very interesting to note the differences and similarities of course... From there, the question: what is important for the annals? A lot of exchanges and discussions... In the end, we could sum up as follows:
Annals are neither a simple sheet of information, nor a copy of an agenda. They are an account by a sister of an experience lived in community. It is important to share the real life experience. What matters is life; to make people feel and sense the experience of this life, trying to transmit it to those who will read these annals much later
Dialogue with Marie-Eugénie... Our community of archivists had a second experience in the shrine: listening to Marie-Eugénie at this stage of the session. What is she saying to each of us? What do we say to her? Half an hour and then back to the room to share... a very powerful moment once again!
We, as “a community of Archivists’’, celebrated the anniversary of the foundation going through the footsteps of St. Marie Eugenie and our first sisters in Paris. We took a metro and reached St. Sulpice Church where our sisters listened to Fr. Combalot for the first time. We spent some time there with memories of the meeting.
Then we moved to Chapelle des Carmes, where Marie Eugenie had the encounter with Mere Augustine and Therese Emmanuel. At that point, we were happy to visit Rue Ferou on the 184th Anniversary of our Foundation. We were in silence with gratitude to God for the wonders that have happened in Assumption all throughout these years. “All comes from Jesus Christ.’’
We came to Auteuil for Lunch and a festive gathering. Then we had our concluding session at 3 PM. All of us shared our experience of living together as “a community of Archivists” using different symbols. We experienced great joy and communion, we entered the sanctuary, found the treasure, and learned to drink from the source and we are grateful.
For the festive Eucharistic celebration at 4 P.M, our neighboring Communities from Lubeck, rue des Plantes and Bondy sisters joined us. It was a Solemn gathering. Then After supper, we had the final feast with a diverse cultural program of different countries. Thus the session ended with a spirit of communion and internationality.