TOTUS TUUS MARIA: All yours Mary … We share with you our experience of this month of May with Mary, Our Lady and the International Day of Living Together in Peace!
Mary at the heart of our fraternity
It all started on April 29. We met for the Eucharist in honor of Our Lady of Africa at home in Hydra with our brothers the Missionaries of Africa, the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Ouagadougou, the Sisters of the Annunciation of Bobo-Dioulasso, the Sisters of Marie Reparatrice of Uganda–members of our sister congregations present here in Algiers. We prayed especially for our future young sisters The evening was extended by a festive meal and a joyful sharing. On Saturday April 30, it was at the basilica that we honored our Lady. The Rosary, the Eucharist and the meal briought us together in the diocese with the four bishops of Algeria.
We experienced with joy the celebration of the first communion of a child of the parish. I had the joy of preparing him for this sacrament with a “little spiritual retreat”. What a joy to see the light on his face. We took a long time to celebrate with the whole parish community.
We were almost 200 people to make our diocesan pilgrimage to Tibhirine at the Notre Dame de l’Atlas monastery. In a good mood, we left early in the morning. After a moment of prayer at the tombs of our blessed brother martyrs, we met for a sharing on the experience of the celebration of the Canonization of Brother Charles and the fruits of the diocesan part of the Synod on synodality. It was with the eucharist of thanksgiving for the episcopal service of Bishop Paul DESFARGES that we closed this day.
Marie de Nazareth our missionary model: the canonization of St Charles de Foucauld, a brother from our country in Algeria.
We were in joy and in communion with the Universal Church on May 15 during the canonization of Brother Charles of Jesus as well as 9 other saints from various parts of the globe. A group of some members of our little Church represented us in Rome. The Algerian government had delegated the president of the High Islamic Council to represent them. In Algeria, several celebrations and events marked this celebration: retreat, recollection, reflection… The same day, about thirty people gathered at El Meniaa where the tomb of Brother Charles is located to pray and give thanks to God. In Algiers, it was at the diocesan house that we met to follow the celebration live from Rome, then to share the meal and finally conclude the day with the Eucharist.
Marie our model of dialogue
May 7 was the big Marian day at the basilica. More than 200 people arrived at the basilica early in the morning. At 9:30 a.m., this long-awaited day began (two years of parenthesis due to COVID 19) with the reception of officials by the rector and the vicar general of the archdiocese. Then it was the psalmody of the Koranic sura Mariam. Then place was given to the speakers of the round table to address the theme:
Mary, sign of living together.
Thanks to a seasoned archaeologist, we discovered how much the Algerian subsoil is full of great Christian remains. One of the latest is the ancient basilica discovered in central Algiers during the development of the metro tunnel. Dr. BIBI presented to us the need to enter into a true culture of dialogue in Algeria. Mrs. Asma NOUIRA of the Islamo-Christian Research Group (GRIC) presented the Virgin Mary as a meeting figure in the popular Muslim faith. We discovered with her the beautiful tradition that continues in La Goulette: a procession with the Virgin on the occasion of the feast of the Assumption. Finally, the experience of a member of the “Ribat Essalam” group developed the interest of the dialogue of life in hope. This 7th Islamic-Christian Marian Day was the occasion for a moment of gathering between Christians and Muslims around Mary in serenity and joy. The traditional “Couscous Marial” was served and tasted in a joyful mood. We ended the day with a soothing concert of instrumental music.
Mary Our Lady of Africa…our protector and our guide!
Personally, during the month of April (3 zoom sessions) I had the pleasure of sharing with our pre-postulants in Nairobi and Sr Akeza the story of Our Lady of Africa (Virgin and basilica). What a joy to present the missions of this place of worship and history, the mission that I live as MSOLA in collaboration with our brothers and other lay people. Their questions put me in front of the following question: Missionary Sisters of OUR LADY OF AFRICA, what is the place of Mary in my personal life? In our community lives? I also accepted the invitation to collaborate with our sister Agnès Nouyrigat (France) by sharing on how the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Africa is recognized and honored here. In doing so, I feel committed to living from Mary and making her loved.
Sr Valérie KABORE community of Hydra in Algers (Algieria)