Sister Bibiane reports from Fribourg, Suisse, where since 2016, she has been part of a team of pastoral visitors to the Home des Chênes in the Parish where our community is located. This Home currently accommodates 83 elderly people from all over the canton of Fribourg. Here is her story:
One day, the pastoral worker, responsible for our group, suggested that I start a gospel sharing group within the Home for the residents who would like it. Indeed, she was aware that I was already participating in a group the “Gospel at Home” in Fribourg.
What are these “Gospel at Home” groups? These are small neighborhood groups that meet once a month, since 2011, using the booklet that bears the same name, in order to rediscover the Word of God in continuous reading. This year, the Gospel according to Matthew is offered.
The moment of astonishment, of surprise passed, after having spoken of this project to the Lord in my prayer, it was a call to open the space of my tent… I welcomed it and, with the other visitors, we offered it to each resident. From the start, about ten people, sometimes more, come once a month to listen, share and rediscover the Word of God.
After this first year, the visitors asked the participants to share their experience. Here are some echoes…
“I am very happy to participate in these meetings. They make sure that I understand what is being shared. We can ask our questions and we receive encouraging answers.”
“These meetings bring me closer to Christ and allow me to better understand his message in order to live it every day.”
“For me, the most important thing is that these encounters bring us close, yes, really close, closer to each other and closer to God.”
“These encounters are beautiful. I like the fact that the texts are repeated several times. It stays with me afterwards.”
“It is a radically new experience for me, which confronts me directly with the texts of the Gospels. I am amazed by the richness and variety of these texts and I discover that their message is addressed to each of us today and challenges us personally.”
For my part, I am touched by the in-depth sharing of these people. As we shared the Word on “Jesus meek and humble of heart who invites us to come to him, all of us who are struggling,” one of them shared that it is the loneliness that weighs on her the most at home….
This experience gives meaning to my weekly visits. It prepares us together for the great Encounter with the Risen One towards which we are journeying.
Yes, the Word of God is for us “today.” It is well written: “At that time…” It is the time of Jesus, of course, but it is ours too.
Sr. Bibiane Cattin, Fribourg / Switzerland