See the photos here
"Returning to the source to prepare for change" (General Chapter 2018). Three years ago we experienced the great event of the unification of the two Provinces in France, in the dynamic of the merger of the Augustinian Sisters of Notre-Dame de Paris with the Religious of the Assumption, and we were happy to have a session on our common source, the figure of Saint Augustine. An "elder brother" confronted with issues that are relevant to today's world. The "Doctor of Love" who invites us to search ever more deeply for the One who is the Source of brotherly love. The One whose heart and wide vision Marie-Eugénie admired.
Two days immersed in his sermons and theology gave each of us something to recharge our batteries and even "redeem the time", when we are all experiencing that "the times are bad"! (cf Sermon 147)
Some testimonials from the participants
I was happy to be able to continue to get to know Saint Augustine better thanks to this session. I saw him with new eyes and I understand even more how much he can help us to live in our time, and to love it as Marie-Eugénie asks. And this thought of Marie-Eugénie associated with that of Saint Augustine delights me, because she had a great esteem for him. This session also allowed me to meet up with sisters I hadn't seen for a long time. At provincial level, I think it could be interesting to work on different themes, drawing parallels between the thoughts of Saint Augustine and those of Marie Eugénie.
Augustine and ... the confluence? This image will remind participants in the Augustine session that the contribution of each participant was invaluable, as Sr Anne emphasised in her introduction. From project to realisation, from technique to welcome, from prayer to reflection, from meetings to sharing, both face-to-face and by videoconference, each one has received and given. It was good to be together with Augustine, who faced difficult times and the enigma of evil... and allowed himself to be transformed. A brother among brothers, like an elder brother in the faith, at the school of Love.
Sr Bernadette D.
Many thanks and warm congratulations for the quality of the contributions appreciated by the small group that we made by videoconference. We shared a lot with each other.
Sr Odette, Madeleine, Véronique and Jean-Philippe from Arras
I really enjoyed these two days spent getting to know Augustine, Doctor of Love, better. We came to "drink from the spring", to renew ourselves together. I appreciated the reflection on the times: "Be the change you want to see in the world" (Ghandi). Give me reasons to hope...
Prayer is not easy: it requires us to sharpen our eyes of faith: "Run and I will carry you". Augustine's views on the question of evil encourage me to live this phrase from the Rule of Life on community life: "Aware of their own sinfulness, they strive to look at others with a new heart each morning". I would like to thank our three speakers who, each in their own way, have nourished us abundantly throughout this weekend.
Here's what I'm keeping to live by:
Times are difficult, oh YES!
Times will be :
- What I am,
- What we are.
There is no other Remedy or Strengthener!
In this session, what struck me most was how much the "bad times" of St Augustine's time and our own, even if the reasons are not the same, can be sources of pessimism about the future of our Humanity. They require us to renew our Faith and Hope so that we can continue to build "The City of God" and the Kingdom as Christ proposes it to us! It's a conversion of outlook and of heart that we must constantly take up again and pursue, knowing that God's faithfulness to his plan of love and salvation is always at work!
It's a joy to drink from the same source, by returning to St Augustine from this angle: "Times are bad, times are difficult, we repeat everywhere. Let's live well and the times will be good".
I really appreciated the teaching provided by our sisters Bernadette and Thérèse-Agnès, both in terms of their contributions and their reflections on our times and our own history.
It was a plunge into the texts, little known to me but rich in teaching, which marked the path of conversion in Augustine's life. "Views on the question of Evil" by Brother Hugues Vermès (Premonstratensian) still needs to be explored in greater depth, as it was so dense. Retaking this session in community helped us to assimilate it even more... Thank you to the organisers of this session and to the Auteuil community for welcoming us.