“Jubilate, shout for joy, and sow this joy!” This was the common thread of the feast of the Province of St John the Baptist on Sunday 23 August at the Mother House in Ploërmel. 140 participants, Brothers -including 11 Brother Jubilarians present-, lay people and families of the Brother Jubilarians lived this day of great joy during which the young people of the Estival Association and other families and friends joined the celebration. Brothers from England, Italy, Philippines, Haiti, Polynesia, and West Africa were also happy to be present. Bro Vincent Ssekate, the Assistant General in charge of the Province was unable to travel given the context of Covid-19 lockdown. He sent a written message emphasising how joy is a source of blessing. Of course, the photographs of the day clearly show the reality of preventive actions related to the Coronavirus Pandemic – each one wore a mask and kept the social distance as required – but this only increased the heat of the scorching sunshine! Happy new year to everyone!

Open air meetings in bright sunshine.

«Sowing the joy»

This meeting marks the start of the new year for all and the Province has chosen to live the theme of the year proposed by the General Council to the whole congregation.

Presentation by Bro Yannick, Provincial.

“Joy promised, offered, deep in Christ, from the source of the Word of God”. Bro Yannick Houssay, Provincial introduced the presentation followed by Bro Jean-Paul Peuzé, 1st assistant.

Bro Jean-Paul Peuzé, 1st Assistant commented on the year theme.

“The Gospel of the Visitation of Mary will guide us throughout the three years. Following the General Chapter, it invites us to open new pages. And this joy is that of the Gospel. Will we be able to share this joy with children, youth and adults?”
A time of meditation animated by Bro Jean-Yves Hamon and Bernadette Petton nourished the reflection with artistic reproductions including paintings of Arcabas highlighting the Visitation and the song of Mary: «Magnificat!»

20 Brother jubilarians honoured – 11 were present.

Bro Jean PELU, 96 years old: “80 years ago I entered the Novitiate of the Brothers! “.

Distinguished honour to the deans: 80 years of religious life for the Bros Jean PELU and René JAIN: they are Oak Jubilarians! As usual, the Brothers who have lived 50 years of religious life, the Golden  Jubilarians, are especially celebrated.

Word of thanksgiving from Brothers Claude GREGOIRE, on the left, and Jacques BOSSINOT, Golden Jubilarians.

This year, Brothers Jacques BOISSINOT, Claude GREGOIRE, Michel GOUGEON and Gilles LE GOFF are at the forefront. However, the latter two could not be present, but a contact by skype gave rise to a nice exchange with Bro Michel Gougeon and the Scholasticate community of Manila, Philippines.

Special feature of these 4 Brothers: they were or are marked by their sending as missionaries, especially Africa, Asia, Oceania and Europe. Images and presentation of their journeys by the Bros André Guerlais, Michel Bouvais and Pierre Orain showed the realities of their experiences in all latitudes, sent in the name of the Gospel.

Bro André GUERLAIS during the presentation -full of African sayings- of Bro Jacques BOISSINOT’s life.

Let us name all the Jubilarians:

50 years — Brothers Jacques BOISSINOT, Michel GOUGEON, Claude GREGOIRE, and Gilles LE GOFF

60 years – Brothers Pierre COUROUSSE, Claude LAUNAY, Joseph LE GOFF, Yves PICHON, Louis PIROT, François QUEMENEUR, Auguste RICHARD

70 years – Brothers Jean FROHARD, Albert LE CAPITAINE, Gabriel L’HOSTIS, Hervé PERON, André PRIGENT

75 years – Brother André EVEN, René LE COZ

80 years – Brother René JAIN, Jean PELU

Vows and commitments

The 11 Brother Jubilarians renewed their religious vows in the presence of Bro Jean-Paul Peuzé, 1st Assistant.

The 11 Brother Jubilarians renewed their religious vows during the celebration presided over by Father. Thierry FELIX, assisted by Father André and the Deacon Yves Le Gal.

Father André, Father. Thierry FELIX and Deacon Yves LE GAL.

“For you, who am I ? You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” The Gospel text of St Matthew gave Father Thierry the opportunity to emphasise how Christ wants to invite the disciples to leave known places to go to other countries and unknown realities. It is the Spirit who makes us say Abba, Father! Let us be joyful. Let us overcome obstacles. His love precedes us every day.”

Renewal of the commitment of Mennaisian lay associates, LAM.

In their turn, in front of the 1st Assistant, Brother Jean-Paul Peuzé, the 11 Lay Associates present renewed their commitment to live in the spirit of the Mennaisian Family. They will meet this year in particular to write a charter of reference that strengthens their itinerary and challenges others.

With the Educational Network and the Mennaisian Family

This year’s theme is also available for schools and for the whole educational La Mennais network, Mennaisian associations and Fraternities.

Two dynamic video tools were made in Auray, the site of the great founding retreat of 1820. The first one is for the whole Mennaisian Family, produced by the Coordinating Committee of the Mennaisian Family.

The Coordinating Commission of the Mennaisian Family.

Watch the video below :

General Message Video

The other, made by the Tutelle team, is aimed at the educational teams – teachers and staff – of the 76 schools.

The Tutelle team of the Educational Network LA MENNAIS France.

Watch the video below

Tutelle Video

Note that the Tutelle team has now left Vannes and joined the Mother House. We will have the opportunity to present these new realities shortly.

3 Creations made

+ A song «Sowers of joy». «In the school where you are, be a sower, a sower of joy». This Summer, Brother Pascal MALNOE wrote a song based on this year’s theme. The music was written by Brother James HAYES and performed for the first time.

+ A new book: “Jean-Marie de la Mennais – Journal of a founder”. It has just come out of the printing press! Produced in the framework of the Bicentenary at the request of the General Council of the congregation, it is signed by Brothers Jean-Pierre LE REST and Louis Balanant.  Mr.Michel Tanguy participated in its production. It will soon be released. We will come back to it.

Bro Jean-Pierre LE REST signs here an unpublished pocket book on Jean-Marie de la Mennais, fruit of a work of several months.

+ A booklet entitled «Praying Mary with Jean-Marie de la Mennais», produced by the Rev. Brother Hervé ZAMOR, Superior General, has already been distributed. We shall talk about that as well.

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