april-may-june Issue

Summary

SPIRITUAL LIFE

Madelinot Fisherman and His Captain – André Gadbois

I recently met a man who earned a living for himself and his family as a fisherman, a real miserable trade, he writes in his book, Histoires d’astheure et d’en premier. This proud and happy Madelinot, Claude F. Bourgeois, had practiced this trade since the sixties, just as his father had before him, in the same difficult conditions.

This happy man never seemed to doubt or lose confidence or to have given up, even though his boat, the Marie-Annick, sank during a major storm. He confided in God: Like many humans on Earth, I believed that by my will I would invent, in my own way, the secrets of freedom. You had to teach me that You alone master the waves. I wanted to be your captain and make you my sailor.

In his book, Claude Bourgeois writes: Because I never know today what will happen to me tomorrow, in You, God, I put my hope; You, my Captain (God), you know all of my needs. And if the storm breaks loose and comes to shake my boat, come back again, Captain, soothe your sailor’s heart.

CULTURES AND MISSION

Japan, a Country to Discover – Ghislaine Parent, m.i.c.

Japan is an island in East Asia; it is located in the Pacific Ocean between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan. In 2018, the total population in Japan was estimated at 128 million people while Tokyo, its capital, counted 13 million. Japan, a fascinating country, has a rich history and culture. It is a land of contrast with a variety of colors where the East meets the West. Today, its population is ageing and birth rate is low.

Migration policy is strict notwithstanding the urgent need for a greater workforce.  The country lacks personnel in many fields especially in health care for the elderly, in aid for the younger children, in agriculture, and in the building industry. Recently, the government indicated it would introduce a bill allowing workers to come from abroad. The candidates would have to submit to certain demands, such as having some knowledge of the Japanese language in order to live their daily lives without being constrained in their way of communicating. Those who would master the language and be better qualified would benefit to live longer in Japan and would be authorized to come with their families.

YOUTH

Class of Its Own – Suzanne Lachapelle

To integrate new students coming from abroad is not so easy. The teacher must juggle multiple levels of children who speak different languages all in the same classroom. A lack of the French knowledge inhibits their integration. We could maybe compare the work of these teachers to that of those who, years back, taught in a rural one-classroom school; but today, the system is more complex.

Integration and learning a new language is not easy. We expect from these new comers a degree of flexibility and adaptation out of the ordinary, but we must be realistic. Let us hope that they will persevere notwithstanding the obstacles and difficulties they meet along the way and that they will become responsible citizens capable of contributing to the advancement of our society.

The Fantasies of God in Délia’s Life – Suzanne Labelle, m.i.c.

In His creative or fanciful ways, God inspires some of his own creatures to be personally imaginative or original. Hagiographers give us multiple examples. Among others, St. Teresa of Avila once said to a young Carmelite nun who wanted to forbid any entertaining comments during recreation time: It is bad enough to be stupid by nature without trying to be stupid by grace.

Without doubt, the Holy Spirit of God inspires thoughtful gems to those who are close to Him and hear Him. In turn, they know how to enliven their own statements which at times can be witty, or considered as food for thought. Mother Délia, our Foundress, provided us with such examples. For her, as well as for many Christians, charity was vital. In her letters and conversations, she often underscored the importance of charity in community life.

IN FOCUS: HEAD INTO THE UNKNOWN

From Mountains to the Jungle (Part 2) – Audrey Charland

This experience was an opportunity for me to see a glimpse into all the efforts and sacrifices the missionaries made and, from another angle, what immigrants must live through. It takes a lot of resilience and openness to adapt and put roots down in an unfamiliar place. It takes a lot of patience and love to get used to new customs, dialect and the whims of a climate. Nonetheless, I imagine we always find a way to grow and enrich a new environment in our togetherness. Now, in my head and in my heart, I carry a little piece of the mysterious Peru.

An Incredibla Journey—An Amazing Grace – Cecilia Hong, m.i.c.

Fountain of Love and Life (FLL) is a Chinese Catholic evangelization multi-media which was founded in Toronto, Ontario, in 2004 by Mr. Paul Yeung — a man of great vision and zeal. Over the years, this ministry has spread across the globe and has done wonders. At a retreat, which I gave in Mississauga, Ontario, I met Deacon Paul Ma who spoke about his incredible faith journey and through the FLL T.V. channel draws people to God through Scripture. His story reveals that when God calls, He never gives up!

From Breadwinner to Religious Life – Melanie B. Delfin, m.i.c.

I am the eldest in a family of eight children: three boys and five girls. I grew up on a farm because my parents were farmers. After my primary and secondary studies I pursued my collegiate degree at the Colegio de la Purisima Conception, Roxas City, Province of Capiz on the island of Panay, in the Western Visayas of the Philippines Archipelago.

As the eldest child, I was the family’s breadwinner.  I knew that if someday I decided to embrace religious life it would not be easy for me and the consequences would affect my brothers and sisters. In 1988, after my college education, I could not find work in the Philippines; therefore, I went abroad to Bahrein. Three years later I had to leave on account of the gulf war in Kuwait. Back in Manila, Philippines, I found work in one of the big shopping malls at SM Northpoint. The income was not enough to pay for my siblings’ studies, so I left for Brunei . Again, I did not stay long due to the unjust treatment to the Filipino workers.

Head Into the Unknown…to Move Forward – Éric Desautels

Thinking back, the desire to head into the unknown takes different forms for many people. Yet I do not think my travel experiences are too different from the missionaries who went abroad in their youth. Those journeys helped them progress and marked an important moment in their lives. I believe that one of the greatest riches of meeting the OTHER is in confronting and comparing our own values and knowledge, while questioning one’s own certainties. The beauty of traveling, meeting people, seeing landscapes and historical monuments—contributes in arming us against the prejudices and stereotypes we hear in our everyday lives. As we approach the summer season and vacation time, the insights we receive from our traveling, their meaning  

ABOUT THE MICs

Souvenirs of Africa – Doris Twyman, m.i.c.

Sometimes, at night time, Africa comes back to my mind; I recall the majestic bright moonlights, the sounds of the tom-toms and of the crying hyenas, or the chickens’ desperate cackling upon seeing a serpent infiltrating itself in the henhouse. In the evening, before retiring for the night, I would often walk outside while humming the French song: La paix du soir vient sur la terre. La paix du soir vient dans nos coeurs. (Evening peace, come on this earth. Evening peace, come in our hearts.)

As I go over the story of my life, I thank God for my grace-filled missionary life; the souvenirs remain ever present in my memory. Currently, I work at the office — Cause of Délia Tétreault. One day, I hope, she will be beatified for having led us on unknown paths where we met people of different nationalities and cultures, where we learned to be opened, and to adapt ourselves to their ways of living while welcoming their cultural originality.

A Choice – TO MOVE ON

On certain roads, roundabouts are built to reduce speed; they allow U-turns and drivers to choose the direction they need to take. In our lives, should we not have some roundabouts to examine and to reflect on our life’s journey... have I really taken the right road? If yes, then I must not hesitate and MOVE ON.

I imagine that all the people who walk to find a refuge in a host country must have   seriously reflected before leaving everything they have acquired behind, and this, without guarantee of success. They move on without knowing what is in store for them. Many of them certainly experience stressful worries and ask themselves: Have I taken the right decision? Will I regret it? Though they may be close to their goal, the last stage of their journey is the most difficult because it is life risking. However, the hope of a better tomorrow is stronger than fear and they are ready to overcome all obstacles.

Life often challenges us to move on. Sr. Melanie, in the Philippines, questioned her choice before deciding what was best for her. Deacon Paul Ma, hesitated before moving on in response to God’s call. It often happens in our personal life that we must stop to reflect before pursuing the chosen road. Many obstacles can come our way which can slow down our walk: sickness, joblessness, failure, — but not to forget, the Lord is always present to help us move on. Like Peter, like the adulteress woman and the daughter of Jairus who all thought they were at a dead-end — but no, the Lord gave them a helping hand to move on. Didn’t the Madelinot fisherman have a good reason to call Him his Captain?

With confidence, let us move on without fear because we are never alone. The Lord is there, walking with us, moving us on at our roundabouts.

The Team

Marie-Paule Sanfaçon, Directress of publication

Originally from Quebec, Sr. Marie-Paule was a missionary in Haiti; she worked with high-school students in the field of catechesis and also in youth ministry.  She is now directress of the MIC Missionary Press.

Translator : French to English - MIC Mission News

Sr. Claudette is a former missionary in Malawi, Africa.  She also worked in the Archdioceses of San Francisco, California; Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Colombia as Archdiocesan coordinator and promoter of mission awareness activities. Within parish contexts, she coordinated religious education programs and accompanied youngsters on their faith journey.

André Gadbois, Editorial Board

Married and father of two children, André Gadbois, after several years in pastoral work, taught children with serious learning disabilities for 20 years and was school director for ten years. He has been very involved with catechumens of the Church in Montreal, and is the editor of their journal, le Sénevé.

Audrey Charland, Editorial Board

Audrey Charland, a 25-year-old graduate student with a master’s degree in Religious Studies, is trying her hand at something new: first the thesis, now the news article! After studying the history of Catholic missionary nuns in India, she has joined the MIC Missionary News team as the new Communications and Development Officer. This position will allow her to take on new and exciting challenges, and put her knowledge and skills into practice.

 

Éric Désautel, Editorial Board

Éric Desautels is a PhD candidate in the department of

Humanities at Concordia University’s Centre for

Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture.

 

Maurice Demers, Editorial Board

Maurice Demers is an associate professor in the Department of History,

Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Sherbrooke. He is the young father of three children.

 

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