Official Inauguration of the EHPAD of the Grande Bretèche

on 11 Oct, 2023
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Tours (France), 10/11/2023, Sr. Rosario A. Garcés del Castillo.- On Monday, October 2nd, 2023 at 11 a.m. in the presence of the authorities of the Department, the City of Tours, the Regional Health Agency, the president and the Board of Admintration, the Director General of the Leopold Foundation Bellan, the staff of the EHPAD and of the Congregation, we gathered in the Auditorium for the official opening of the EHPAD de la Grande Bretèche.

We present to you the words that Sr. Véronique Margron, provincial superior, addressed to the assembly. There is also a video of this ceremony and some photos.

Dear Sisters and Friends,

I'm delighted to welcome you to our home this morning. This house is very special for my congregation. It symbolizes the unity of the more than 30 countries where we are present, and of all the sisters across 4 continents. It is full of memories, stories and life. Thank you for coming here today.

The congregation decided on this project almost 10 years ago, right here, by a vote of delegates from all the countries where we are present. To decide on the transformation of the House so that it can continue to be what it was made to be: the House of the sisters, wherever they come from, but also that of many others, open to the city and far beyond, especially now through the EHPAD and the senior residence. It was a difficult vote, so dear is this place to us, and any change is a risk that leads to the unknown. The project that has taken shape over the years is all the more essential and far-reaching for the entire congregation. Today, our House would like to reflect what breathe at the heart of our religious life: human concern in favor of others, especially the most fragile; modestly as much as truly supporting the lives of women and men in distress, in precariousness, waiting.

Ante todo, quiero dar las gracias de todo corazón a las hermanas de la Casa. Durante casi 10 años, viven en medio de un trabajo incesante para hacer posible la construcción del EHPAD y ahora de la residencia senior. Hemos aprovechado la ocasión para dar una renovación a la cara de toda La Bretèche, para hacerla más bonita y moderna, al menos eso espero. Lo verán con la nueva capilla en el corazón de la capilla histórica, la zona del museo, el taller de nuestra escultora, sor Marie Séraphie, y la renovación del jardín de invierno, el auditorio donde nos encontramos, sin olvidar el magnífico nuevo archivo general. Nuestro más sincero agradecimiento a las hermanas de la Casa, incluidas aquellas que se convirtieron en las primeras residentes del EHPAD y aceptaron este viaje, quizás corto en distancia pero muy real en nuestros corazones. Gracias también a los empleados que nos han acompañado en estos viajes de trashumancia y siguen haciéndolo.

First and foremost, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the sisters of the House. For almost 10 years now, they have been carrying out incessant work to make possible the construction of the EHPAD (Establecimient d’Hébergement pour Personnes agés dependentes) and now the senior residence. We've taken the opportunity to give the whole of La Bretèche a facelift in terms of beauty and modernity - or so I hope. You'll see this with the new chapel in the heart of the historic chapel, the museum area, the studio of our sculptor, sr Marie Séraphie, or the renovation of the winter garden, the auditorium where we are, not forgetting the magnificent new general archives. Our charm thanks to the sisters of the House, including those who became the first residents of the EHPAD and agreed to this journey, short in distance but real in heart. Thanks also to the employees who have accompanied us on these transhumances and continue to do so.

Thank you to the government departments, both here in Tours and at the Ministry of Health. A special welcome to Sally Scanzi, whom I'm delighted to see again today. You have been with us through the many stages we had to go through to have our nursing beds recognized as EHPAD beds, the first steps towards today's EHPAD. Without you, nothing would have been possible. Thank you to the department's services, its presidents, and the town's elected representatives and services for the successive permits we applied for. Without the understanding, interest, thoroughness and support of many of you this morning, none of this would have been possible. This project, like all projects, is above all a matter of human encounters. I believe that all of us, each in our own way, have contributed to a common good: that of active concern for the most vulnerable, so that they can be welcomed, accompanied and cared for, while respecting their individuality and beliefs.

Thank you to our architects - I salute Bruno Le Moal - artists, project managers, consultants and all the teams and craftsmen who have worked on this House and continue to do so. I'll mention just two names, if you'll forgive me: Lucie Cruchet, our orchestra conductor for all our projects, and of course Xavier Pats, the congregation's advisor, and tireless worker on all our projects.
Finally, thanks to the Foundation Leopold Bellan. Here too, it was a meeting with Mr. Riteau that proved decisive. In the Foundation and its teams, we have found a committed, reliable and competent partner, especially attentive to our wishes, to our reality, to that of this very special home, to our fears and questions, to our desires - including those concerning our 24 sisters who were the pioneers of the EHPAD. We're delighted to be living this adventure with you, Mr. Lainé and all the teams, at head office and here. Over the years, I've been able to measure just how much we share the same passion, the one that has guided the sisters' footsteps throughout their lives: attention to the minuscule, that of care, education, sharing, respect, listening, support, as close to the person as possible. A tiny capital letter, immense, that is each person. Where dignity and humanity are simply protected, defended and promoted. Here in the EHPAD that we have the joy of inaugurating today, I am sure that together we will ensure that neither dignity nor the feeling of dignity, so essential to a meaningful existence, can be trampled underfoot.

That recognition of the other as a subject, even in his or her most precarious physical and cognitive state, is at the heart of ordinary practice. As far back as the 1960s, sociologist Erving Goffman spoke of the "desecration of personality" as an invasion of patients' privacy. Allow me, Mr. Lainé, Mr. Llorens, Mrs. Barbe and your teams, to expect and hope that this place of life will demonstrate its infinite consideration for each and every one of its patients, in the smallest of ways, according to the guiding principle of the Foundation, against all desecration.

Thank you to all of you, Sr. Véronique Margron, provincial Superior of France. La Grande Bretèche, October 2, 2023.