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Sessions "Picpus 2007": July 13-17


Info Sessions "Picpus 2007"

 July 13-17, 2007


Charles Chauvin    Friday, 13th July, we submerged ourselves into the Church of France and into the French Revolution, with the help of a priest of the Diocese of Besançon, an eminent historian: Charles Chauvin. He has written, among other books, “The Clergy under the trial of the Revolution”. He has been the president of the Historical Commission for the Cause of the Good Father and currently works in the cause of the Good Mother. He told us, with passion, the different stages of the Revolution: the euphoric period, the period of increasing hostility, of the rupture and reconciliation and some conclusions. We had, by linguistic groups, a guided visit of Pipcus: chapel, garden. Cemetery, Hôtel Bigot…  
    The Eucharist, at the end of the day, presided by Bernard Couronne sscc, had a character of an emotive pilgrimage, having as background the evocation of the 16 Carmelites martyr of Compiègne, whose remains lie in one of the common graves of Picpus. The introductory rite was celebrated around the well, the liturgy of the word in the chapel, in front of the painting of the Carmelites martyrs and the liturgy of the Eucharist in the area of the garden close to the cemetery.  We concluded praying the Salve Regina besides the grave of the Carmelites and with the prayer for the beatification of our Founders in front of their tomb.
    Today was been a day of heavy work for our translators, to whom we are grateful for their work. We prepare ourselves to continue our pilgrimage through the region of Poitou, which we will start tomorrow at 8 a.m.

Saint Georges-de-Noisné

    Saturday, 14th July, national day of France, we set off from Picpus towards Saint Georges-de-Noisné, by bus, early in the morning. It took several hours more that it was expected to reach our destination due to numerous hold-ups on the road.  During the time of the trip the communion and the songs of different countries were sung. When we reached the home town of the Good Mother we were received by the parish priest, the mayor and the Aymer de la Chevalerie family.
    Everything was set for lunch in the hall of the town council. We thanked the Aymer family, the parish priest, the mayor and a group of parishioners, for their welcome and good service to us.
    Immediately we celebrated the Eucharist in the Parish Church where Henriette Aymer de la Chevalerie was baptized. We started with a baptismal rite around the fountain in which the Good Mother received her Baptism. After that, the Eucharist continued its normal rhythm. Javier Álvarez-Ossorio sscc, Superior General, who presided, reminded us that baptism is not only birth but also death. The goal of the life of any Christian is to surrender tFaçade de Saint Georges-de-Noisnéo Christ, taking the risk of their lives, as Henriette Aymer, Pierre Coudrin and  Fr. Damien, the apostle of the lepers, who when they saw death face to face, discovered that life is just for giving up.
    At the end of the celebration we took pictures of the group at the plaque dedicated to the Good Mother in the façade of the restored church. Straight away we continued the pilgrimage towards the Chevalerie property, where we saw the home of Henriette.
    Finally we arrived at the Diocesan House of Poitiers where we had supper and wrapped up this happy journey. 

    Sunday, 15th July, was devoted to following the steps of the Good Father. In the morning we visited Coussay-les-Bois, his home village, where we contemplated, guided by the hand of Sr. Maïda Carlier sscc, the place where our Founder was born and, for the first time it was possible to visit the Coudrin´s family house.
    We also saw the walls of St. Martin´s Church, where the Good Father received the baptismal waters, and we celebrated the Eucharist with the congregation of the parish of Notre Dame, where the Founder, after his first mass, expCoussay-les-Boisressed his opposition to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. This  caused him to flee from his village that same day after the prayer of Vespers. Right there he started his adventure. In the homily, Javier Álvarez-Ossorio sscc made a parallelism between the parable of the Good Samaritan and the Good Father. Pierre Coudrin knew what he had to do and in the granary he discovered the reality of his people, their needs to be evangelized, he felt compassion for the needy; he discovered his fellow man. The Superior General invited us to discover as well our neighbour in our brothers in community, in brothers of other communities, of other Provinces, that need our help.
    After that Eucharist we had an appetizer with the people who had come to the celebration. We headed towards Usseau, where the parish priest, the mayor and other people were waiting to offer us lunch.
    Later on we climbed up, walking in silence, to the Motte d’Usseau where we had a time of adoration in front of the Granary. We finished this time going up, by groups, to the very place where the Good Father had the vision to found the Congregation, where he saw “what we are now”. It was the moment of most intensity in this Sunday. We went back to Poitiers for supper.

   Monday, 16th July, we followed the traces of our Founders in Poitiers. We were acquainted with the geography of this historical city, also with a panoramic view of the city. We visited the district of Montbernage, where a religious “Daughter of Wisdom” (Congregation founded by Saint Louis Mary Grignon de Monfort) filled us in with the context that surrounded the Good Father in this suburb of Poitiers where he developed his clandestine ministry, after coming here from his hiding place in the granary of la Motte d’Usseau. There he started to be called “March-a-terre”. In the chapel of Montbernage we celebrated the Eucharist, with rites of the Indian liturgy, presided by Ajith Kumar Antonydass sscc. The homily by the Superior General was an exhortation, Eucharist, with rites of the Indian liturgy, presided by Ajith Kumar Antonydass according to the readings, to be apostolic people: “Woe to us, the Congregation, if we are not apostolic! Woe to us if we forget that the Good Father was an evangelizer!” We preach because we have believed and because we feel compassion of the orphanhood in which those who do not know God are living.  He encouraged us to have an explicit evangelization, presenting Jesus alive.
    In the evening, Bernard guided us through Poitiers, pointing out the places related to the Association of the Sacred Heart and to our Founders. We ended our day visiting the Grand’Maison, where we were especially welcomed by the sisters of the community. By linguistic groups we spent time discovering the main places of this house, birthplace of our Congregation.
    The sisters offered us a fantastic dinner and later on we had a time of adoration where we renewed our religious vows in this very place where the Good Mother and the Good Father formulated their first commitments and gave birth to our religious family. A house where the foundation stone for more than two centuries has been the adoration.

    Tuesday, 17th July, after Morning Prayer we had a time of personal prayer in the Grand’Maison. Each one was invited in this special place to listen to the Founders´ message addressed to us today. 
    After that we celebrated the Eucharist, once again presided by Javier Álvarez-Ossorio sscc, who following the thread of the readings of the day, gave a message to the sisters of the community and to the participants of the Picpus Session 2007.  The sisters he encouraged to take care, as the women did of the little Moses, of the new Moses who is CFr. Javier Álvarez-Ossorio sscc with the Srs Community of Poitiershrist, the true root of our Congregation.  He questioned the participants in this pilgrimage, in which we have seen the works of God, to convert themselves not to deserve the reproaches of the Lord but kind words from him. The Episcopal Vicar of Poitiers also attended the Eucharist.
    When the mass was over the Superior General posed for a picture with the Community of the Grand’Maison. After that we had a meal and we set off for Picpus. Bernard, on behalf of the group, expressed our gratitude to the sisters for their attentions and welcome to us.