Thanks for my long life!
First of all I want to thank the Lord for giving me such a long life with good health. Besides this, he allowed me to be born in a very Christian family. My father had a deep faith, very obedient to the Pope and he had a great love for Africa. He died in his 100th year. From my mother I received a taste for prayer. She presided every evening at family prayer; she was also very devout. With my nine brothers and sisters, we all got along very well!
At the moment of making a life-choice, it was very hard because I knew a young man. We cared a lot for each other but I knew that God was calling me! With prayer and God’s help, I made the right choice that I have never regretted. Before entering religious life, I wanted to study as a nurse and social worker, so that once I was a sister, I could leave immediately for Africa.
Missionary in Mali and Burkina Faso :
The day after my religious profession I was already in Bamako, Mali, to care for the lepers. This was exactly the position I wanted. It was at the Marchoux Institute, Center for Medical Research where about a hundred patients were being cared for. I also worked in the hospital in Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso on several occasions, as well as in Koupela in a big bush dispensary.
By 1972, Mali and Burkina Faso already had their nursing schools and medical schools. The position of nurse therefore was given to the Africans. To progress in the health field, I followed courses in preventive medicine in Renne with an African from Bobo. Then for 10 years I taught elementary and high school students and others how to live a healthy life.
Suddenly I was called back to France to look after the sick sisters who had returned from Africa. It was a shock, I had to obey! To give up my missionary life in Africa! Was it possible! Back in France definitively, I asked to make a 30 day retreat in silence, accompanied by a Jesuit priest. Thus God was able to speak to my heart.
Here in France, I cared for the sick sisters for 15 years. During my free time, I visited elderly people.
The Charismatic Renewal:
I have always loved to pray, so I have been faithful to the prayers that my Congregation offers us. I was very much helped by athe Charismatic Renewal which I knew since 1971 in France and in Africa. This helped me to pray especially to the Holy Spirit who helps us speak intimately with the Lord.
Naturally, having free time, I have a good time to pray, to deepen my faith. In the Gospel reading about the fig tree the Lord says, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith that does not hesitate, not only could you say to this fig tree to become dry and this would happen but you could even say to this mountain, arise and throw yourself into the sea, and this would also happen.” A request to the Lord made in great faith is always answered.
I loved Africa and Africans:
I loved my time in Africa. I love Africans, especially those who still live in the bush; they are joyful, religious. They live in the present, in the presence of God, they are not stressed. In Europe, do we not live too much in the future? And we worry.
Let us live in great hope and confidence. Let us entrust our future to the Lord, since he is full of mercy, tenderness and love. Then we shall be in Peace and less worried.
Sister Anne Mellerio, Paris