On April 6 and 7, 2019, seventeen Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa went on a pilgrimage to Plouguerneau, in Brittany, France, where our first superior general Mother Marie Salomé (Renée Roudaut) grew up.
Pilgrimage on the occasion of our 150th anniversary
The Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa including the 4 sisters of the General Council, accompanied by the Missionaries of Africa, the Sisters of the Annunciation of Bobo, Chantal and Eric of the Lavigerie Family de Marseille.
Evening of Prayer with the life and thoughts of Mother Marie Salome
On Saturday evening, at the prayer vigil in the church where Marie-Renée Roudaut herself prayed, a hundred parishioners joined us including the Bishop of Quimper Laurent Dognin, and several sisters of local congregations, among them the Daughters of the Holy Spirit, those to which Marie Renée Roudaut almost joined. This very prayerful vigil was animated by Chantal of the Lavigerie Family. She opened this celebration by telling what it meant to belong to this congregation – the charism – all to all – which has become a daily food.
From a slide-show made by Françoise of the Lavigerie Family, we followed with great interest the life of Mother Marie Salome. A hymn by J. C. Gianadda, “I discovered Africa” revived our enthusiasm for Africa. We enjoyed the 150th anniversary anthem composed by Sr. Melika. “They left one morning, the Lord was calling.”
The impressive testimony of Ferroudja Chabane, in which much simplicity, a deep search for God’s will in her journey, touched more than one person.
Then followed—a hymn: My Father, I surrender to you, a time of prayer with spontaneous intentions, an Our Father, the hymn “Our Lady of Africa, Mother of Jesus.” And this closed the celebration.
Pilgrimage from the house of Marie Renée Roudaut to the church of Plouguerneau
On Sunday, we went to the house where Marie-Renée had lived from the age of 10. A plaque on the wooden gate of the property informed us:
Here, lived from 1858 to 1871
the Reverend Mother Marie Salomé
born Marie Renée Roudaut (1847 – 1930)
Superior General of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa
Moving into the property, we found that the house itself had been restored, but we admired the old fountain, the well, the place for the animals – all still there from that era.
Following our sisters Marie José Blain and Carmen Sammut, we gathered before the plaque for a prayer of thanksgiving and intercession.
From there, we walked (4 km) to the church of Plouguerneau for the Eucharistic celebration presided by the bishop of Quimper, Laurent Dognin. Four MAfr and 5 diocesan priests, 3 deacons, an assembly of about 400 people filled the whole church; a numerous and dynamic choir brought their full collaboration to this festival.
Sister Carmen Sammut was invited to begin the Eucharistic celebration with a word of welcome.
At the end of the celebration, the bishop repeated his deep joy but also the discovery he made of Mother Marie Salome. Until then, he had not known of her existence.
We shared a glass of friendship in the courtyard under a beautiful sun (the sky was with us throughout these two days despite the bad predictions) This brought together the many parishioners, visibly happy for this missionary experience.
We were touched by a hymn in Breton, sung by the organizers. We asked for the translation: “To the faith of our fathers, we will remain faithful! We people of Brittany, we will always keep the faith of our ancestors. Under our banners, we will always gather for the faith of our ancestors. “
Thanks to you Beatrix, Francoise, Remy and Chantal, from the Lavigerie family of Paris and Nantes, for having led the way to give thanks to the country of Mother Marie Salome.
Thanks to everyone: members of the Lavigerie Family, members of the Parish Council who have worked behind the scenes to serve us; priests of the sector wanting to know better the one we were celebrating; the choir and the organizers. And we do not forget Laurent, the parish secretary who throughout these two days has been our attentive, considerate and faithful driver.
Long live Mother Marie Salome who may one day take her place among the Breton saints with the Venerable Dom Michel Le Nobletz, revered throughout the region.
Refreshed by this marvelous time and revived by our missionary unity, the road continues for each of us in an “All to You” on a daily basis, in our various commitments.
Lord, may you be praised for this Living Water that quenches our thirst!
Sr. Nicole Robion, Sceaux, France