ADVENT a time of HOPE against all the odds at SAMOENS.
This is our experience as we are put into a second lockdown in the village of Samoens- a popular mid-mountain ski resort.We sisters in Samoens entered this second period of restrictions less abruptly than the first, but none the less find it difficult. We have almost begun to live like a Carmelite enclosed community while continuing our active mission here.Throughout this time of the pandemic our Diocese of Annecy has sent us special texts to enrich our daily prayer.
When Sr Tessy arrived in Samoen our priest Fr Bruno Hebert entrusted her with the small missionary groups or fraternities to give them spiritual and pastoral support with on going formation. It provided us with a fresh start to animate and renew each other as we met to share friendship and prayerful too.However the arrival of this terrible corona virus, interupted our nourishing exchanges by preventing us meeting together. Due to the pandemic we could no longer have close contact with each other.
Somehow we have to find a new way to support each other especially in these times of physical isolation: But how? Send a text?
Perhaps that seemed too complicated for some groups. Some of them like to open the Bible and pray with it. Others, less familiar with the Bible, ask for help and suggestions. This request could be done by phone. After giving some references, a light could be lit for some individually as they reflected and prayed with the Gospel text. This new way of communicating enabled us to bond even more to each other. It is a new experience for me to listen to them, to encourage them, to pray for and be with them for their own individual concerns albeit at a physical distance. To pray together for a friend or a relative whom they have not seen for some time. This became lika prayer chain for all the members of our parish fraternities and beyond our local area. In this way our prayer and friendship grew and led to different exchanges, news and local information shared to support one another. This became more relevent when concerns arose about the illness of one of their own taken into hospital too quickly and unaccompanied due to the virus. It has been so sad not to be able to visit loved ones in hospital with limited news of their condition.
In our mountain parish we form a large body as seven previous parishes have been joined together as one. We are now a united group of seven churches under the care of the same Pastor Fr. Bruno. All this we carry before the Lord, in our hour of daily worship followed by vespers.Sister Anne continues to be busy in the parish office Ouf ! she says, “ Will we soon be able to go out to our parishoners?” Days pass quickly. Sr. Anne answers the phone to listen to people asking for Masses, and then register them on the parish register to be celebrated. It is a mission of deep listening to the cries of those who have lost loved ones. It is also a time to comfort those who are distressed by the husband or wife who has died so suddenly away from home and family to support them. Sr. Anne also deals with all the other mail that comes through the parish mail box.
Even if we are compelled to live our lives like Carrmalites Sr. Anne makes a point of doing physical exercises or cycling to keep fit or the joints will age and become rusty!
As Samoens is a ski resort we have lots of snow and very cold weather. Sometimes I look through our kitchen window at the big snowflakes falling. I see the village square with piles of snow. When the children come out of school they make snow balls and have fun with each other. They do not feel the cold like us, so I try to be childlike and with gratitude to be as « simple as these little children»
At this time of pandemic we in our delegation of France and the whole world are going through a challenging time in our history. Let us support each other with confident prayer to our Blessed Mother the Virgin Mary.
Sr Tessy and Sr Anne-Chantal