Fraternal Meeting at Menton

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Fraternal Meeting at Menton
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 menton2Inter-Congregations SMA – OLA – MCSC 

The people concerned in the missionary activities on 27-30 décembre 2019. From Monday evening to Thursday morning, the SMA-NDA-MCSC session meeting was held in Menton. About twenty participants represented the diversity of the Missionary Family of African Missions: France, Martinique, Poland, India, African countries from Benin and Togo by Nigeria in Congo…

its international dimension, with a beautiful openness to difference and diversity, on the eve of the new year 2020…

After Nantes, it was Menton who was designated as a place of reunion. This choice was guided by the common interest, the desire expressed by many of us, to know better the history of our respective missionary congregations SMA-NDA-MCSC, for a more effective collaboration on the ground, in Europe as in Africa.

We had two and a half days of meeting, relaxing, conviviality, sharing, reflection on the missionary future of our family … and brotherhood … an intense time of mutual discovery of our common background specific to the Missionary Family born of the inspiration of Bishop Brasillac… We invited Father Gilles Babinet and Sr Sylvie Flamand, authors of the book on the history of MCS-C, to give us their discovery of the Munet sisters and their family from Lyon, and to give us their own testimony … Monsignor Jean Bonsfils, sma, emeritus in residence in Nice, also paid us his visit to share a meal and express his friendly attachment. The visit to the community of the elderly, in their relaxation room, provided a beautiful experience of missionary communion between the old and the new…menton1

We were staying between the House of the Virgin (historic place and birthplace of the MCSC Foundation) and The Home,a small hotel belonging to thevery welcoming And close Missionaries of the Sisters of Menton.

The program was punctuated by the talk – testimony on the discovery of this little-known page that is the founding of the MCSC in 1922, presented by Father Gilles Babinet, sma and Sr Sylvie Flamand, mcs-c … as well as by the visit to the city in the footsteps of the Munet Sisters who left an impact on the city of Menton: from the Hotel de l’Europe and the Louvre Hotel transformed at the time into hospitals for the care of African soldiers wounded in war … where the adventure with Africa began on the French Riviera, for the two secular daughters of Lyon. This unexpected contact and attachment to Africa, fueled by the meeting of Senegalese gunners during the first World War, paid off: the idea of working and devoting themselves to the service of the entire peoples of Africa …

The proposal of the pilgrimage to the suspended cemetery of Trabuqer, marked by silence and prayer on the graves of the Senegalese gunners, touched us greatly.

The perfect African cuisine has also received many congratulations…

Small history of these meetings:

menton3The idea for these meetings has been around since 2009/2010: Strasbourg (several times) – Paris – Nantes – Chaponost – Nantes – Menton… These meetings began with the arrival of several African SMA fathers in Europe who felt the need to meet with each other to exchange their experience of mission in France. For the past four years, the OLA sisters (founded by Father Auguste Planque – co-founder of the SMA with Bishop Melchior de Bresillac), have been invited to join and since 2017/2018 also the Sisters of Menton (MCS-C founded by Alice and Marie-Thérèse Munet, originally from Lyon, with the help of Father Jean-Marie Chabert,4thSMA General known for the creation of the African Museum in Lyon and the extension of the SMA to Poland in 1931).

In our view, it is desirable to continue them in the future, with the aim of strengthening the family spirit and promoting together a reflection on the mission. The meeting of Menton testifies to a beautiful formula of living relaxation and training-informationin a very good balance between pleasure and useful. The wish has been expressed to be of interest to as many of our members as possible.

Father Joseph Hardy, former General SMA, remembers, not without emotion, our visit to his home in Sucé-sur-Erdre when we met in Nantes last year… as a pilgrimage near the old “monuments” of the mission. It encourages us to continue these initiatives to reawaken the great vitality of our missionary institutes …

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