Anthony visits La Tour St. Joseph
I will forever be grateful for the grace of being part of the day of 26 Little Sisters of the Poor taking their final vows.
(Profession perpetuelle) at the Chapel of La Tour St. Joseph, St Pern Village in the north of France where their Mother House is based. It was a day of real joy, peace and deep emotions all wrapped together in true Love (agape love). The Little Sister on Gate Duty at La Tour who is Spanish and spoke French (all the Sisters do speak French) gave me a warm welcome at around 8.30 a.m. and insisted that if I am not having breakfast I should try some of their own made delicious cookies. Sr Agnes appeared at the Gate house shortly. In our special French/English language struggle it transpired that a brother Tom from USA was to show me around and lunch was also planned. I was still maintaining I will be ok by myself when Mother Gerald arrived and had the final word because everything had been taken care of she kindly insisted. Mother Gerard Patricia then pointed the Mother House to me, both buildings for those in formation and the Chapel before leading me to the serene Crypt containing the tomb of St Jeanne Jugan. The opportunity to be alone to pray in the quiet Crypt was a once in a life time experience for me. When I emerged from the Crypt, Sr Agnes and Brother Tom were already waiting for me and I was delighted in seeing them with their smiles and upbeat spirit. A Little Sister now studying in Rome also joined us and was recalling her days in La Tour on the farm with the animals which she missed. After chatting a bit more we proceeded to the Chapel and took our seats for the Mass. The fantastic choir started the entrance song. The Entrance procession followed with Priest con-celebrants, four bishops, and the Cardinal who was the chief celebrant. It was one of those sacred moments and you could feel the goose pimples as one joined the choir in singing from the heart. The thought that the moment had finally arrived was overwhelming. Mass was easy to follow and unique as always, even if part was in French. I observed every single Little Sister as they approached the altar in groups of six to make their vows of chastity, poverty, obedience and hospitality. It was very powerful and moving to see such love, humility and grace in these young sisters as their gentle voices repeated those vows. After Mass we all proceeded to the Hall to hear Mother General announce the Homes where the Sisters will be taking up their new assignments. That only happened after the welcome address by the Mother General was repeated in French, English, Korean and Spanish. It was a very exciting moment filled with clapping, whistling, happy faces, with the families as we learned of the various interesting destinations all over the world. During that time it was also lovely to meet and chat with some of the sisters personally who all ranged from bubbly and outgoing to very calm but all very friendly. We were all treated to a wonderful lunch and afterwards I went back to the magnificent Chapel to pray. Although we had none of those Sisters posted to Jersey, we have been blessed with those who are still inspiring us all after many years as this year did see 50th, 70th and 75th (just in a couple of months) anniversaries in Jersey.