You call us today to follow you; by following you we become witnesses”.

Throughout the day, on Sunday August 26, about 200 participants attended the Feast of St-Jean Baptist Province (France-England) .

15 Brother Jubilarians, whose years of religious life add up to about 1000years were honoured, whereas two new Mennaisian Lay People made their public commitment.

The texts of the Chapter were received in communities and by the Lay people. Bro Louis Séité, Brother provincial, commented on several drawings of the document on the theme of calling.

“We are called upon to go forth into a new year and the return could be beautiful” immediately said Bro Louis Séité, Brother Provincial.

During this launch of the year, the theme chosen by the Congregation was described: “calling disciples”. After the presentation of  Bro Hervé Zamor’s video about this theme, three verbs were commented upon: to go forth, to look and to call.

The testimonies of Brothers and several Lay People nourished the reflection on “calling”.

Marie – Christine Antoine and Bro Olivier Migot’s address.

One after the other, Bro Michel Bouvais, superior of the community of the Mother House, Marie-Christine Antoine, an associate lay woman, in liaison with the community of Rennes and Bro Olivier Migot, Superior of the community in the same town, François Péron, in charge of “La Mennais infanthood” and member of the tutelage team, and Bleuenn Gautier, a volunteer, coming back after two years in the educational center “Notre-Dame des Anges”–CENA- in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, … each one reacted with their own sensibility about this theme of the year.

François Péron’s testimony.

Some underlined words during these testimonies:

“+ Calling comes by standing closer to people who allow each one to speak. We do not necessarily have to do something more but to give and to share sense together.

+ Who to call? – When to call?-And how to call?

Bleuenn Gautier’s address, after two years of voluntary service in Haiti.

+ Let us not live an informal fraternity – in connection with the young people living in co-location with us? What do we have to show by  our brotherly and community life?

+ In our fraternity meetings, we take time to listen to each other and to share deeply our lives.

+ To be a Brother, that is life; and a passion can be translated into a job and  perhaps a way of life. Why a few or no young people on this way? Together let us dare to propose, let us propose our family: as Mennaisian Brothers or Mennaisian Lay people.

+ Fraternity  is what I lived. To be a volunteer is what we are and not what we do. For me, this has been to serve the poorest – not always materially but also by lack of benchmarks.

I am concerned with two issues: how is the La Mennais Network present to the poorest and how to remain connected with all the age brackets? To develop teams of young Mennaisians, to learn to live fraternity and to create links with students after high school is to allow other paths.”

Bro Vincent Ssekate, Assistant general also addressed the assembly.

During his address, Bro. Ssekate Vincent, the Assistant, informed the Brothers that he would stay in the Province for several weeks!

“Our responsibility is shared in the educational mission to children and young people. We have a charismatic heritage of 200 years; let us invent new spaces of authentic fraternity, let us look for dynamic ways to fully live this reality of  the Mennaisian family, let us go where the Spirit leads us.”

The presentation of each of the 15 Jubilarians especially those who celebrated 50 years of religious life – Bros Alain CELTON, Claude GICQUEL, Gérard FEREY, and Yvon MOBIHAN – helped to discover and remember the milestones that marked out these decades of religious life: families, schools, communities, Brothers, colleagues, links, commitments, missions abroad … with a large number of anecdotes and in a friendly atmosphere.

Renewal of the Jubilarians’ vows.

The Jubilarians present during the celebration. In the foreground, from left to right: Bros Bernard Joliveau, Alban Le Corre, F. Christophe Guégan, Parish priest of Ploërmel, Bros Jean Malo, Gérard Feray, Claude Gicquel. 2nd row, from left to right: Bros Julien Bidart, Vincent Ssekate, Assistant, Yvon Mobihan and Alain Celton.

Here are the Jubilarians for this year:

50 years: Bros Alain CELTON, Claude GICQUEL, Gérard FEREY, Yvon MOBIHAN.

60 years: Bros Julien BIDARD, Bernard JOLIVEAU, Alban LE CORRE, Jean Malo, Yves NEDELEC.

70 years: Bros Francis MENARD, René PENIGUEL.

75 years: Bros Henri GOBIN, Michel JAMOIS, Hubert ORE and Joseph VIDELO.

They renewed their vows during the celebration. Bro Yves Moqué, who died two years ago, was also remembered.

12 Lay Mennaisians were present and of these Bernadette and Ronan Petton made their first commitment during the celebration.
Every “Associated Lay member” (ALM) renewed his commitment to live the Gospel and to work in the Church, being inspired by Jean-Marie de la Mennais’ charism.

The group of the Lay Mennaisian Associates with Bros Yannick Houssay, Vincent Ssekate, and Louis Séité.

Bernadette and Ronan Petton – In the foreground during their commitment, surrounded by other Lay associates.

Bro Yannick Houssay, from now on, will be the  one responsible for accompanying  the group of ALM of the province. The ALM are going to meet on the 12th and 13th October 2018 and on the 29th and the 30th March 2019.

A Meal and ameeting punctuated the afternoon in the Mother House community’s gardens and park that are well maintained by the community and the Mother House personnel .

Before entering the chapel, in the inner courtyard.

The candle bearers in the chapel choir. The animation of the songs and the musical part was catered for by Bernard Le Roy, -in the foreground- with the help of Bros Alain Josselin, James Hayes and Régis Lefrère.

“A new chapel to live in”
“The new infanthood of the chapel is the sign of renewal of our heart,
” said Fr. Christophe Guégan, Parish priest of Ploërmel. “Our true sanctuary is our heart. The walls of the church allow stained glass windows to let in the light of God, but when darkness persists it is from within that the light springs. “.

The celebrant also blessed the Way of the Cross of the chapel and every station received a candle with the colours of the bicentenary. The blessing of this Sunday is  a milestone in the history of this Chapel.

After 1854: the consecration, in 1890: the refitting of the secondary altars; in 1960: works on the floor and the decoration, 2018 is marked by the renovation of part of the stained-glass windows, the working upon of the foundations and the vaults and a new enhancement of the pillars.                                                      

New events for this year 2018-2019 : An exceptional calendar for this year.

A vocational weekend for young people is scheduled for November,

the Christmas session for the Brothers will have as a theme: ” discovering the Breton catholic writers who marked the XIX and the XX century “,

The Provincial Chapter is schedules for February,

A Bicentennial Congress  will take place on the 17th, 18th and 19th May 2019 at Ploërmel

Whereas an event will surely be announced around the date of June 6, 2019, day of the 200 anniversary of the foundation of the Congregation.

Many meetings are scheduled for this year of the Bicentenary.

New pages to be written. 600 pages will be written in the Bicentenary folder received by the Province during the General Chapter. Every school, community, educational center and groups will be invited to send echoes of these pages written during this year …

And also, the new “solidarity” calendar of 2019 has been published. It serves to finance missionary projects linked to Assific, the association of solidarity of the La Mennais educational Network. The realisation of the calendar is followed by Bro. Louis Le Guichet. This calendar is available at the  Province secretariat in Vannes.