France: Letters to Marie Poussepin

on 22 Apr, 2020
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Francia, 21/04/2020.- Since centuries, the letter has been a means of communication that allows us to shorten distances, encourage reflection and serenely express what is often not said verbally. During this Year of Grace, the Sisters of the Province of France have promoted the initiative of sharing some letters written by themselves and addressed to Marie Poussepin. Here are some of them. If you wish to participate in this initiative and share your letter to Marie Poussepin, you can forward it to the address of the Commission of the Year of Grace: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tell me, Marie Poussepin...

« We will make no distinction of country or of birth; but we will prefer those who have a great desire to consecrate themselves entirely to the service of God…» (R 58).
Tell me Marie Poussepin, were you a visionary when you wrote these lines in your « Rule of Sainville?
Did you have a glimpse of your sisters, your daughters leaving France to answer the call from Iraq, from Colombia?
Did you have a glimpse of your sisters, your daughters of today - Iraqis, Latin Americans, Africans, Indians…in so many countries of the world?
The French Revolution did not succeed in destroying you and making your work disappear...
After a few years of dispersion, a “small remnant,” of sixteen of your sisters, your daughters, met together again at Janville, giving the signal for a new beginning, at the hour when France was so much in need of sisters of charity...
I did not know you, but I recognized you...
I recognized you in your sisters, in your daughters, giving themselves up for the service of the sick, in the hospital of Mortagne au Perche, real sisters of charity!
Since my childhood, having dreamt of becoming a nurse, in your sisters, in your daughters, I recognized you…and I came “to live and die for the service of the Church in the exercise of charity…”
In the land of exile, you supported me, encouraged me and I heard you say to me:
“You are far from your house... you are never out of the sight of your God... He is here as He is everywhere else, and you will find Him as easily as in your house, if you seek Him with the same fidelity.” (RG)
Today, from France only a “small remnant!” ...
But what does it matter if the grain sown in the fertile furrows of Beauce germinates, grows and bears fruit under other skies…as true sisters of charity…?
“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” (Jn 12:24).

Rettel, 03/31/2020
Sr. Michel de la Présentation

To Marie Poussepin

Dear Marie Poussepin,
Would you like that we thank together the One whose full Light you share; the One, who, about sixty years back made us meet with each other through the small book “L’ouvrière de la Providence” (The handmaid of Providence). What the author of this small booklet reminded me about you, touched me at the very depths, to the point of saying: “It is through this religious family that I desire to commit my life to follow Christ.”
Sixty years after, like a “drop on the edge of a bucket,” a “grain of sand brought back on the beach by the ocean,” I am also, in spite of appearances, a member of this family brought about by your dynamism in the heart of the Church.
You taught me, I believe, to face the roughness of events, to “dwell” on them and to confront them, to let them speak what went to the heart, to the depths, as an urge to clear a path there, my path among others, to the peripheries, path in which I always was accompanied in the deepest core of my being by Him whom you name “Providence,” even in the midst of tempests, misunderstandings, doubts and revolts. But have you not known these pathways where you walked counting on the “fidelity of your God” whose “handmaid” you perceived yourself to be in a society which has nothing to envy at the wickedness of our present world? The worker of a time, in the history of a time, the social organization of the time and the hopes and cries of men and women of the time: Leaving for Providence the calls of the moment that did not depend on you.
Your “face” always accompanied me, spoke to me, called me forth, often questioned me; as well as your rules on a path, the form of which contrasts with your wishes for fraternity and community. In spite of appearances, the crucial moments of structural choices were always made in a clear dialogue with trust in those who had authority at that stage. And you, you know it!Approaching the end of the voyage, I can only thank for the road travelled: its richness, joys, progresses and human victories; but also its fragilities, limitations and its personal and collective sin.
In all simplicity pouring this drop of water in the wine of the chalice, I make this prayer: “As this water mixes with the wine for the sacrament of the Covenant, may we be united to the divinity of the One who shared our humanity.”
See you in the perfect Light,

Limoges, 03/01/2020
Jeanne Marie Pagnoux (born on october 14, 1939)