25/08/2022 | Communities

The testimony of Sr. Marie-Christine Jean, Daughter of the Cross... 

In November and December 2019, I was sent to Argentina, to the community of Boulogne, with Sisters Blanca and Karina. I worked with the editorial team of the VIA project. This team consisted of 2 Sisters of ND Compassion (Rafaella and Silvina), 2 Servants of Mary (Cristina and Alicia) and Sr. Karina. Of this team, 3 of them are now part of the coordination team.

I keep 2 important points from this experience:

At my first meeting, I didn't know anyone, except for Karina. I was pleasantly surprised, because it was a convivial time of reunion. I had the impression that I had known them for a long time, like Daughters of the Cross who were meeting again. There were no longer Sisters from this or that Congregation, but Sisters from the same family! The family is growing!

The 2nd point that I remember is an issue of the Alliance. These 5 Sisters who met regularly for this project are the youngest in their Congregation in Argentina. I quickly felt a complicity, a fraternity between them. Above all, it is a place where they could meet between Sisters of the same generation, to share questions and challenges. This place is essential for the life of the youngest Sisters, especially when they are alone in a continent.

  • The VIA team

It is made up of 13 people, with is the coordination team, previously mentioned, and the referents of each country (country of origin and mission).

The mission locations are on 3 continents: South America (Argentina and Peru), Africa (Cameroon and Ivory Coast) and India.

  • The objectives

To offer a mission space for people who seek to live in solidarity and build a more just society. To provide support to local organizations and social assistance to vulnerable populations.

  • The necessary conditions and commitments between the volunteer and VIA

Administrative, health, financial, human..., with a mutual agreement.

  • The process in 3 phases

- Before the stay: getting to know the volunteer, preparation, face-to-face and video-conference training

- During: accompaniment, follow-up...

- After: evaluation, review, continuation with one of the Congregations of the Alliance...

Today, there are 7 applications, including 3 young Spaniards who are already in Peru, since the beginning of August, 2 young French women in Argentina, since the end of July, and 2 others (one Spanish and one French) who will leave in September. To be clearer, let's see concretely how it happened for 2 of them: Pilar, Spanish, living in Brittany, and Charlotte, French in the Basque Country.

Pilar, who had already had an experience of volunteering with the Sisters of ND Compassion, repeated her request. Charlotte, a nurse at the Servants of Mary EHPAD, learned about VIA from a resident Sister. Both of them wrote to the coordination team to express their request and their motivation. They contacted me and came to my community in Pessac, for a first time of face-to-face training. It was a day to get to know each other better (personalities, talents, expectations...), from videos on volunteering, on the mission sites. It allowed them to address their doubts, fears, reactions to suffering. It was a time to free up their words. There was then a time in video, to settle the administrative questions, then another with the community which will welcome them and, finally, a celebration of sending which will close this time of preparation. During their stay, they can be accompanied by a local person and/or a member of the team. On their return, a time of review is planned, with a testimony of the place where they went and publication on the websites. It will be possible for them to consider a path to follow with this or that Congregation, according to their desire.

Sr. Marie-Christine Jean, La Puye, le 2/08/2022

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