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An Ecumenical Religious Community in Paris

In the centre of Paris, a community of 20 sisters belonging to four different Congregations, an ecumenical venture, an exciting adventure.

Missioning of the Sisters

This new community is now in its sixth month.

One of the members, Hanna, writes:"It is no small thing to pack up and move outside one’s own Congregation. It is not really "outside" but not "inside" either. So we must learn to accept each other with our differences and allow ourselves to be moulded by these differences, as we strive for a new and more open form of religious life.

We are all marked personally and as members of a particular Congregation by our own set of customs and it is not easy to change, especially in our later years. At the heart of this experience is the desire for unity, not conformity to rules. The house could be called "The House of Unity" and we build it day by day with what we are, but more importantly with the Lord who calls us to live of his LIFE.

Each of us has some form of ministry. I am involved in adult literacy in the local parish, teaching French to five Algerian women and one Russian.

Little by little, we are organising our life around times of spiritual and liturgical sharing. We have to find ways of praying together in which each one finds what she needs and feels spiritually at home. This means letting go of some of what we lived and practised in our own Congregation.

One of the Anglican Deaconnesses came to Mass with me one morning. At Communion time, she remained in her seat but when I returned after receiving Communion, she took my hands as if she wanted to share the Body of Christ with me. I found this very moving.

On Thursday evenings, the Deaconesses go to their community in Versailles to celebrate the Lord’s Supper and they invited me to join them. Their chapel is magnificent and the celebation was beautiful, very like our Mass. I really felt the presence of the Lord among us. Of course, the separation is always there and it cannot be wiped out at a stroke, but the Lord creates the unity that we cannot achieve and his Word sustains us.

This is just a glimpse of our new intercongregational, ecumenical life in Paris. It reminds me of a song that I love which says that we can speak different languages and still be understood by everyone.

We are in this place, three sisters of Marie Auxiliatrice, delighted to live this adventure which we entrust to your prayers.

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