By Sr. Pascal-Marie Promme, SNDdeN Translated by Sr. Evelyn McKenna, SNDdeN
In the Charleroi Region, in Thuin, Belgium, for many years the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have carried on their Mission. From its origins in 1964, the large house, Les Pins Verts (Green Pines), near the Bois du grand bon Dieu (“Woods of the great good God”) was set aside to welcome camps for young people in order that they may benefit from a holy environment.
Our Sisters live in the small house, formerly occupied by the caretaker. In 2007, our Congolese Sisters came to continue the Mission which had become too heavy for our Belgian Sisters. Sisters Albertine Nsoki and Virginie Makengo, SNDdeN, with the help of lay personnel, prepare all materials, oversee the property with much care a lot of heart. In the course of any guest visits, by their quiet presence , filled with goodness and kindness, the Sisters give witness as daughters of St. Julie Billiart. In this house, during vacation time, multiple activities follow one after the other in a 10-day camps for Scouts.
These groups of about 50 young people, coming from disadvantaged milieux, are independent. The management staff insure that there is everything necessary for carrying out the diverse activities. Some few technical annoyances are good opportunities to deepen relationships with the occupants of the house. Besides the welcoming of young people, on weekends, the house opens up the possibility for adults to celebrate family occasions/feasts: Baptisms, anniversaries…etc. Verdant surroundings enrich the stay of adults for formation sessions.
A group of archeologists from the free University of Brussels benefit from the infrastructure of the house to carry out excavations in the “Bois du grand bon Dieu”.