Chronic “Bridges and Confluences” (4)

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Chronic “Bridges and Confluences” (4)
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Bridges and Confluences, It is finished?

pontsconfluencesThe seminar Bridges and Confluences has come to an end, but does that mean it is finished? The seminar seems to be opening a door that will never be closed. These last days have been intensive for the participants. They were invited on Thursday to each express the challenge they were faced with. Each opened up to the others in sincerity and in truth. All the topics where covered with simplicity, a great richness of this meeting. The great symbolism of the last day was the joining together of two clothes, a gesture that represented the coming together of two water currents to continue flowing as one river, to symbolize the confluence, just like  the Rhone and the Saône, haven met at Lyon, continue as one river. Each participant received a cross made from the Akans (Ivory Coast and Ghana) ancient weighing measures and a small lighted candle that had been previously placed on the tombs of our two founders: Mgr de Marion Brésillac and Father Augustin Planque.

The evaluation of this seminar highlighted the richness brought by the facilitators. There were regrettable moments such as not having enough time to deepen one or two particular point.. There were varieties in the different days due to several outings. There is no doubt that the experience must be repeated, not only with confreres with 30 – 40 years of ordinations, but also with young confreres with a few years of ordination. This was a first experience that can serve as a learning process for future seminars. Sincere thanks to the organizers, the facilitators, and translators. They a made this formation period interesting and nourishing, Thank you also to the Superior of the house, Pierre Richaud, Fabiene, the lay house keeper and the entire community of 150 House who worked hard to make the stay convivial and memorable. The 150 community has proved that it is an international house for all SMAs. The confreres at the International Media Centre, Ghislain and Joseph were also very helpful during this period.

Keeping with good Irish tradition we all after supper on Friday for a social and fraternal evening. Each one was able to either sing a song or say a poem. The ambiance was so warm that some participants promised to return very soon. Yes, return back to us soon to maintain the SMA international fraternity a living sign of the Good News. The photo album Friday

Gérard Sagnol, sma

Pilgrimage to Ars


One of the high places of pilgrimage for the clergy is Ars, the place of the holy Curé (parish priest). The day of the 13th of July was dedicated to a pilgrimage to Ars in programme of Bridges and Confluences. A charming and smiling nun welcomed us to the pilgrimage ground. With impressive simplicity, the nun guided us to discover the Saint Cure of Ars, the church he built, expended, the saint’s house that is now transformed into a museum. We visited him bedroom, his study, his liturgical vestments that were gorgeously decorated paradoxically different to the simple poor clothes and shoes he wore. A 15 minutes video completed the presentations on the saint consumed by mercy. It is said that he spent hours confessing the multitude of people coming from France and elsewhere. The rest of the morning time was spent on meditation, visitation, taste moments of solitudes and latter on share all this with a confrere. We latter on met at the Providence, (restaurant) for lunch.
In the afternoon, the Parish Priest and Rector of the basilica gave a talk on the Curé of Ars with great sincerity, not hiding the human weaknesses that helped the Cure on the path of holiness. After a time of solitary silence, we met for group sharing on the Saint and on ourselves.
The day ended with a colorful evening, lighted blue sky with clouds. Tomorrow is 14th July. Our day will once again be busy. The evening time will be free to allow us to participate on the festivities of fireworks.

Photo Album of the day on Monday, July 13

Gérard Sagnol,sma

Strengthening our shoulders

pont confluenceA major awareness that has emerged during this Bridges and Confluences encounter since last week is that we are building on the shoulders of our predecessors from the Founder, Mgr.  De Marion Bresillac, Frs. Augustine Planque,  Borghero, Bishop Pellet and others.

The complementary part of this interdependence and transmission of charism of the Society is also the consciousness that our shoulders must also be available to carry the younger generation from Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. Hence, the need to have healthy and strong shoulders that others can climb on in order to continue the mission entrusted by the Lord through the Church to our Founder and faithfully handed over to us…It is in the light of this awareness and commitment to passing on the baton of passion for mission that the programme of this week is tailored around holistic self care, physically, spiritually, Psycho-sexually.

The morning session on Monday was on physical care. Dr. Beatrice MENARD, a member of the Fraternite Laics Missionaires (the lay missionary group affiliated to Lyon Province) helped participants with a better understanding of the importance of healthy living which according to her involves, healthy diet, regular exercise, healthy relationship and healthy sleep….The important managing stress effectively. Avoiding sugar, salt, tobacco, drinking a lot of water and eating five different kinds of fruits a day helps us to remain healthy and same with healthy social life and interactions. Breathing exercises,  Yoga and similar stress managing techniques contribute positively to health.

The afternoon session was on psycho spiritual health care. Emphasis was laid on how to indentify, own and manage our stress. This includes having a positive image of God trusting Him as the one leading our lives..There was the possibility for those who wanted to acquire some basic techniques in stress management to attend a workshops given by Tom and Dermot

Basil Soyoyé, sma 

Sunday was quite loaded for the participants at “Bidges and Confluences” seminar. 


As early as 8h30 AM, we were on our way to the small village of Saint-Hugues de Chartreuse, to discover the small Church superbly decorated by creations of Arcabas. The paintings are depicting the history of the people of God. The art is a real journey into the Bible with works exclusively created for the chapel. (You can visit the official site of the Chapel for more on Arcabas arts). We had to wait for the end of the Mass before having access to that place of Sacred Arts. However, the beauty of the landscape, added to the fine weather made our waiting easy and light.

After admiration and contemplation, the participants discovered the specialties of the region in the   restaurant called “âtre fleuri”. This enabled us to learn that « myrtille » in French is translated as  blueberry in English and not as blackberry ! The meal was ended with singing in Gaelic and yorouba to express our thanks to  Fr. Pierre Richaud (Superior of SMA House, 150), who carefully organized the day rich is discovery.

After our meal, we proceeded to the museum of the Grande Chartreuse (monastery) without been able to approach the monks who vowed solitude, in spite of the existence of strong links between the Grande Chartreuse and the SMA. The monks have made a commitment to pray for SMA missionaries throughout their lives, until death.

The day concluded with the Sunday Eucharistic celebration in the Parish of Sainte-Anne sur Gervonde, the Church where Mgr Paul Pellet, (second Superior General of the Society of African Missions) is buried. The Mass was followed by a small reception organized by the parishioners. We returned to SMA House 150 at 08h00 PM, just on time to allow football fans watch the finals of the European Cup. Courage, the session continues on Monday….

The photo album Sunday

Gérard Sagnol, sma

 From the museum to the cartieres 

musee pc

This Saturday was dedicated to the world of communication. In the morning, Celine the guide and animator of the African Museum, gave us a quick historical overview of the African Missions Museum.

From a simple display board of diverse artefacts, it became a true museumfilled with classified, listed and objects displayed, following a well-studied scenography. This museum has become a means through which the SMA shows forth the wonders and riches of the African world.The presentation continued with to the visit of the museum and its store. The store is under the care of Pierre Boutin, who, together with two specialists, list the objects, clean, restores and tidies them up to attain the optimal conditions of preservation.

The SMA Media Center took over in the afternoon to tell us the role it plays in the internationality of the SMA and its function as the SMA window on social media and the web. Ghislain Inai, who is a member of the media center team, introduced a new tool called the SMANETFAMILY, which is a private data base for all SMA members; it is this tool that will enable a wider sharing of data and documents amongst members.

We ended the day at the Cartieres where we went to meet the larger SMA family. We were well received by the community which is made up of three of our SMA fathers, three religious sisters of the Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Heart and two families who reside in the community with the fathers. Present that evening were about twenty other sisters of the same congregation who had come for the congregations General Chapter taking place in the house, as well as a delegation of the Our Lady of Apostles Sisters and a couple from the Fraternity of Lay Missionaries.

After an hour of Adoration which is in line with the charism of the Sacred Heart Sisters, we had Vespers together and a slide show. Supper was shared as well as festive songs from Ireland (in Gaelic) and Italy, with the guitar accompaniment. The African Drum and other instruments gave the younger ones rythme to show forth their skills with exorbitant body sways.

Photo Album of the day on Saturday, July 9





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