Women Without Frontiers
The Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, a congregation founded in 1902 by Délia Tétreault, celebrated in 2002 its centenary. The project of writing the history of the MIC was entrusted to Chantal Gauthier. In this book, she brings readers the wonderful story of one hundred years of this community, which has more than 1,500 members working in 17 countries and 225 houses.
Given a reality teeming with details, the historian has beautifully described the career of the foundress and the paradoxical nature of the early years, when some of the sisters were sent on mission while others worked at recruiting postulants and missionary animation in Quebec. It is amazing to note how unprepared the first missionaries were for their arrival in Asia or Africa. The chapter on the transformation of community structures and the apostolic spirit is enlightening, while the two chapters devoted to recruitment and religious life are simply captivating. The final chapters, describing the MIC's education, healthcare, social, and evangelical works, are full of new information that reveals thousands of "discreet actions of which one finds no trace in the archives." As readers will discover, although the first missionaries had little preparation, those who have been working since the 1960s stand out for the variety of their expertise and the active role that they played in forming today's missionaries. Readers will discover in this account numerous examples of boldness and initiative.
Chantal Gauthier ends her account on an optimistic note. As the MIC community has become an international one, the sisters see the future with serenity, since they have truly become women without frontiers.
Micheline DUMONT, historian
Chantal Gauthier has a doctorate in history from the Université de Montréal and Université Blaise-Pascal (Clermont-Ferrand). She has received a number of research grants both in Canada and in Europe, and has more than ten years of experience in studying religious communities and the missionary phenomenon. In 2003, wishing to share her passion for history and heritage, she formed a partnership with France Lord to found Pirogue Communications, a social-sciences research and writing firm.
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