by Sisters Adrienne Kapela, Justine Mokoko, and Dorothée Nseya, SNDdeN
“Today here, tomorrow there, the whole earth is the Lord’s
and a Sister of Notre Dame is at home anywhere,” said St. Julie Billiart.
Sisters Adrienne Kapela, Dorothée Nseya and Justine Mokoko entrust to God their missionary adventure from the Congo-Kinshasa Province to life in ministry and community in the Province of Belgium South/France.
LIFE IN MINISTRY
We belong to the parish of St. Julie Billiart of Ressontois, France, a parish which includes 25 villages. Our pastor, Father Geoffroy de Lestrange, although 70 years old, is a dynamic pastor. We, three Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Adrienne, Dorothée and Justine realize that we have a special ministry as a praying, contemplative and active presence, a community continuing to welcome in Cuvilly itself, participants in pastoral service and also living links for the mission with all the villages in the area. Sr. Claudine Dumbi, SNDdeN has also joined our community. She serves in an education ministry as a professor of agricultural studies at the school in the neighboring village of Orvillers-Sorel.
In these times of an almost de-Christianized society, we recognize the importance of prayer. We value a deepening of our spiritual life in personal and community prayer. On First Friday of each month, we pray together in the Chapel of St. Julie for all intentions confided to our community. We have the privilege of celebrating daily with our parishioners in our convent chapel a Eucharistic liturgy for the needs of our world.
COMMUNITY OF WELCOME
The chapel of St. Julie is open to everyone. We welcome visitors into the home of St. Julie to learn about her mission and our Congregation. We receive catechetical and youth groups from other parishes into our community home where we speak to them about our foundress and their lives and involvement as Christians. Each month, the Foi et Lumière group (Faith and Light) of handicapped persons and their supporters (founded by Marie-Hélèn Mathieu and Jean Vanier) meet with us in community. Every three months, the Amis de Sainte Julie (Friends of St. Julie) meet in our community home in order to renew their apostolic spirit. We greet the groups of pilgrims who come to visit this place of our Notre Dame heritage. Recently, we welcomed teachers and students from Notre Dame Catholic College in Liverpool. In April, we will open our home to couples who are preparing for marriage.
We are involved in ministry with many educational and pastoral groups such as a writers’ committee for the diocesan newspaper, assistants in the parish secretariat, catechists, ministers of funeral and burials rites, the sick, individuals who live alone, Catholic Aid and charismatic groups, and different diocesan and evangelization teams. Each Friday, we work with women who knit baby blankets which a French doctor, connected with an Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) brings to Sénégal, Africa. We respond to many other needs, especially to young people over fifteen years old who abandon or neglect their Catholic faith after receiving the sacraments. We are solicitous for many young people by assisting other parishes with retreats in preparation for their entrance into the Catholic Church. This parish ministry is certainly life-giving.
LINKS WITH THE VILLAGES
Each Saturday, we accompany the pastor to the celebration of Eucharistic liturgies in different villages where we become the choir. This music ministry enables us to enter in contact with the people! We participate also in organized activities in these villages: concerts, feasts, weddings, etc.
The Leadership Team and the Sisters of Belgium-South/France Province have been so encouraging and helpful in our cross-cultural transition from Africa to Europe! We thank the Congregation for the prayerful support that you continue to give us.
Source: Volume IV, Number 1 of Notre Dame International, April 2018