Multicolour! This was the meeting of pilgrims in the footsteps of Gabriel Deshayes during the two-day anniversary on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd September at Saint-Laurent sur Sèvre.
They closed the year marking the 250th anniversary of Father Deshayes’ birth. The Sisters, Brothers and Fathers of the different Congregations having been founded, co-founded, re-founded or accompanied by this tireless apostle were also surrounded by many lay people including the members of the Association of Friends of Gabriel Deshayes and those of the Pastoral Care of the Deaf of the Dioceses of Vannes, Nantes, Luzon. Participants also came from countries such as India, Italy, Belgium, Spain, and many regions in France.
Fraternal, memorable and moving. This anniversary day had begun the day before with the projection of the sensitive film entitled “Marin Heurtin” -realized in 2014- and listening to testimonies of deaf and blind people.
The presentation of historical slideshows and the exhibition on this endearing figure animated the appointment of Saturday which ended with a prayer vigil for vocations.
Father Olivier Marie, Provincial of the Montfortain Missionaries, opened the next day with a presentation of the figure of Father Deshayes at St Laurent.
This Sunday, the colours of the scarves of the participants were not enough to stop the rain (!) But gave a festive air to the meeting. “We look at his life and see the work of Christ. Why does he not act so strongly in ours? Asked Bishop Centène, Bishop of Vannes, at the opening of the Eucharistic celebration.
He recalled the dates that marked this Jubilee year: 17th September, 2017 at Sainte Anne d’Auray; 3rd and 6th December, 2017 at Beignon; 18th June at Auray and the high point on this Sunday.
“Gabriel Deshayes experienced a society without God, which leads to a society against man,” said Bishop Centène.
Calling upon his listeners to follow Gabriel Deshayes’ footsteps, he invited them to “be a missionary, immersing oneself in Christ and acting in the first place around him”. “Faithful to God and open to others, his life had been marked by faithfulness, service and selflessness. “
A celebration at the tomb of Father Deshayes – recently endowed with a description – allowed us to recall his itinerary, his pragmatic sense of action and his spiritual depth.
The Deaf Pastoral Group offered a plaque bearing the image of the Father to be placed on the tomb and guided a specific time, while the whole day was lived through animators practising sign language.
As the day went by, each pilgrim received a prayer bookmark, a pen and a votive bearing the image of Father Deshayes.
Missionary, builder, entrepreneur, social priest, close to jobseekers, prisoners, sick, with special attention to the deaf – he opened 10 institutions – Father Deshayes marked the hearts of people and today, in the world, many of them continue their work knowing that thousands benefit.
Born in Beignon, Parish priest of Auray for 16 years, he was from 1821 to 1841 Superior of the Montfortian Congregations: Brothers of St Gabriel, Sisters of Wisdom, Montfortains at St Laurent-sur-Sèvre.
Brothers Claude Marsaud and Christian Bizon, Brothers of St. Gabriel, coordinated these Deshayes days with the help of an inter-congregations committee and associations. Several Brothers of Christian instruction also contributed to this day in various ways: the Brothers François Jaffrey, Claude Launay, and Joseph Le Goff.
+ Testament of Gabriel Deshayes addressed to women and men, members of congregations with which he was related:“In my eyes, the congregations are of equal interest to me, I ask them to be united together and to support each other.”
The Organizing Committee for Dioceses, Congregations and the Friends of Gabriel Deshayes hopes to continue many projects following this anniversary: the cause of beatification of Gabriel Deshayes, publication projects and other meetings.
+ Personalities present during the Eucharistic celebration of 23rd September.
Bishop Raymond Centène, Bishop of Vannes – excused: Bishop François Jacolin, Bishop of Luçon and Mgr Jean-Paul James, Bishop of Nantes, Fr.Jean Borderon, Parish priest of Montfort sur Evre-, Fr.Jean Bondu, Vicar General of Luçon, Fr. Jean-Yves Le Saux, Vicar General of the Diocese of Vannes, Fr. Jean-Paul Russeil, Vicar General of the Diocese of Poitiers, Fr. Adrien Collet, President of the Association of Friends of Gabriel Deshayes, Fr. Gaétan Lucas , Parish priest of Auray, Fr. Marco Pasinato, General Councilor of the Montfortain Missionaries, Fr. Olivier Maire, Superior of the Montfortian Missionaries, Brother John Kallarackal, Superior General of the Brothers of St Gabriel accompanied by the Brothers Pratap and James, Assistants, Bro. Faustino Besa Gil, Spanish Superior of the Brothers of St. Gabriel with 2 Brothers of Spain and 5 Laity , Bros. Louis Séité and Thierry Beauplet, Provincial and Deputy Provincial of the Brothers of Christian Instruction, La Mennais, Ploërmel, Sr. Louise Madoré, former Superior General of the Daughters of Wisdom representing Sr. Rani Kurian, Superior General, Sr. Isabelle Retailleau, General Councillor ,Daughters of Wisdom, Sr. Marie-Françoise Vivien, Provincial France Daughters of Wisdom, Sr.Marie-Thérèse Chaillou, Superior General of the Sisters of St-Gildas-des-Bois, Sr. Dominique Guérin, Louise Mallet, Catherine Broche, General Councillors of the Sisters of St-Gildas-des-Bois, Sr Jeanne d’Arc Kantiono, Councillor of the Sisters of St. Mary of Torfou, Sr. Mary of Carmel and Sr. Jacqueline of the Sisters of the Guardian Angel of Montauban, Sr. Martine Guichard, Provincial of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of St. Jacut, Sr. Nadia Brianceau, s Ours of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary of Mormaison, Sr Marie-Thérèse Morinière, former prayer of the Carmel Apostolic of the Sisters of Bethlehem of Nantes, descendants of the family of Fr. Deshayes, Mr. Guy-Marie Maudet, Mayor of St -Laurent-sur-Sèvre ..
More than twenty Brothers of Christian instruction were present on this anniversary Sunday.
Texts and photos of the article : Michel Tanguy – Information Director – Brothers of Christian Instruction, La Mennais. Other photos copyrights : see below the pictures.