On the Centenary year of the foundation of the Institute of Missionary Catechist of the Sacred Heart (MCS-C) “in the footsteps of Alice and Marie Thérèse Munet“, roads led to Saint Martin Catholic Church Lamure-Sur-Azergues this Sunday 9th October, for a thanksgiving mass and a pilgrimage to a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of All Graces at the hamlet of Panissière, at the top of the
hill, on the “Crêts.”
The Mass that was graced by Archbishop emeritus of the archdiocese of Niamey, Mgr. Michel Cartatéguy, concelebrated by Frs. Eric Aka, Vice-provincial superior of Lyon Province, Yves Tchogli, rector of LES CARTIÈRES -Chaponost, and Fr. Élysée Koffi Banouakon, in charge of Missionary activities for the province of Lyon, was attended by the Missionary Catechist Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Including the newly elected superior Sr. Andréa Batcho and the former Superior Sr. Sylvie Flamand.
The liturgy in the church whose bell tower and the choir date from 1828 had a touch of inculturation from the decoration of the altar and the ambo with African fabrics made for the centenary celebrations to hymns in mina, Yoruba, and french as well as offertory procession with a basket of fruits.
The local community exhibited its virtue of patience after mass to watch a PowerPoint presentation of the missionary work of the sisters followed by the history of the congregation of the MCS-C.
The congregation was treated to a glass of friendship after the vote of thanks from Sr. Sylvie Flamand, which led to the second part of the program at the town hall, where food was served.
If this venue was chosen, it was in view of a pilgrimage to the little chapel dedicated to Our Lady of All Graces at the hamlet of Panissière, at the top of the hill, on the “Crêts,” that was in ruins and bought by Alice Munet who transformed it into a chapel in 1909 with an imposing statue of the blessed virgin Mary. A crowned head, a serene face, a replica of the Virgin of Fourvière stands almost 4 meters high as opposed to that of Fourvière which measures 5 m 60 in height.
For nearly thirty years, the house of Panissière was transformed into a convent where the sisters came to refresh themselves between two missions.
In 1966, wishing to be closer to Lyon, they moved to St. Didier au Mt. d’Or and sold the premises of Panissiére to the Rural Family House, already a tenant since 1958. The chapel lost its former character with its ritual of processions and illuminations, in particular every September 8 for the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin.
Thus today, although it is privately owned, this building has a public vocation because of its religious, patrimonial, and architectural values. Besides, isn’t it engraved on the steps of the porch:
“To our Mother,
protect our town and our hamlet
Give our families peace and our land fertility.
Bless the course and the end of life and all that will pass here”.
By Dominic Wabwireh,SMA