The International Day of Living Together in Peace takes place on May 16 each year. It was established on December 8, 2017 by the United Nations. It is devoted to living together, that is to say the acceptance of differences, respect and recognition towards others in a spirit of peace. This date was not really known to us, the Sisters of La Marsa, in Tunisia!
It was Sofia, one of the daughters of our friend Najoua from the city of Kef, in the north-west of the country, who told us about it. Sofia, 16, is the leader of a club of young Keffois aged 15 to 18 who meet regularly “to improve the state of our society and the spirit of our generation and to spread a healthy mentality in our environment “. Sofia had the idea of inviting two White Sisters from La Marsa to come and testify about our living together.
Médiatrice and Cécile responded to the invitation. It was also a great opportunity for Médiatrice to discover the city of Le Kef and especially this bond of friendship that unites us with a dozen women thanks to our sisters Josette Beyou and Françoise Bruneau who lived there for almost 40 years. Sofia calls us “auntie”!
After watching the film “All of Us” made for this International Day of May 16, 2022, the young people asked us about our lives. We were surprised to hear their questions: How did you know you wanted to be a sister? What helps you continue in your commitment? We recounted our vocational journey, our experiences of religious life in different African countries, our joys and challenges in community life… Young Christians would have asked the same questions! And at the end, a boy asked “Can boys also engage like you?”
Our friends from the Kef Reading Club came in large numbers to surround Sofia and accompany us. They themselves shared their experience of living together in peace with Josette and Françoise. When a young woman asked us what interior resource animated us, one of us spoke of her relationship with God, the pillar of her life. And Radhia added: “the smile of the children you help, it also helps you to hold on.” This is what she had seen in our two sisters.
We were aware of being in the process of continuing the link of friendship and interreligious living together begun in the 1970s in Kef between the White Sisters, Catholic Sisters from different countries and Tunisian Muslim women living in Kef. With Sofia’s request, it’s the younger generation that wants this link to continue.