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Monday, 24 March 2014 22:21

In Swizerland, in Cressier

Landeron, Cressier, are names which are dear to the heart of the Sisters of Charity. In fact, it is after her return from Germany that Jeanne-Antide arrives in Landeron on the 24th June 1797. She will remain there till the 15th August, and during these few weeks she will go to Cressier to look after the parish priest. It was also in Cressier that Mgr. de Chaffoy and some French priests lived and took refuge in this region situated between the Two Lakes.   

In 1891, the Sisters of Charity are called to Cressier to run the village hospice and since 1943, Jeanne-Antide Centre. It was there that the sisters of Switzerland spent their time as postulants before going to    Besançon. The centre becomes later a small boarding school for young girls where they could learn the language and house skills.   .

In 1973, the house is transformed and refurbished for the elderly sisters. We are actually 14 sisters who live in fraternity and in daily mutual love without forgetting the important gestures of forgiveness. Our day is divided in times of prayer, small daily works without forgetting to play scrabble! Those who can, meet together daily to knit jerseys, blankets and children’s clothes. Recently, we offered all our work to the homeless and to the mothers in difficulty.  In the community we never fail to celebrate the feasts because a friendly environment contributes also to create a fraternal climate.      

In a world where old age and vulnerability are often depreciated, we want to be witnesses of hope. The sick and the bedridden sisters are well cared for by our two sisters who are nurses by profession, and the entire community surrounds them with love. They are accompanied by great tenderness until their demise.   

The Word of God tells us: « Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. » (Heb. 10, 23-24) Yes, when we listen, meditate, pray and share daily the Word of God, it stimulates us    and helps us to look lovingly at our neighbour. This can become a challenge for him.  

So, one  Sunday morning, just after mass, an eighteen year old man announces his visit to our house on the following Thursday.   He therefore arrived punctually, and together we sat down around a table to share a good snack. We even talked very simply about our life and he expressed his future projects. It was a marvellous and brotherly exchange. He promised us another visit! We keep this young man in our prayer and all those whom we encounter in our village.   

Cressier is a village rich in vineyards and Jeanne-Antide Centre is at the foot of a hill where nature is marvellous. We are socially integrated in the village and parish activities and we don’t fail to participate as much as possible in the various activities organised during the different times of the year. In the parish, a sister is a member of the ecumenical chaplaincy of the home for the elderly and participates in the weekly masses and the worship organised for the residents. Another sister visits the elderly persons and distributes Holy Communion to them. Every Thursday, another sister directs a group of volunteers at the “Space of Solidarities” in the city of Neuchâtel, some kilometres away from Cressier. We welcome those who come to visit us and we often share our meal with the sisters’ families and friends. 

Cressier and Le Landeron, are two parishes with only one priest who even says mass once weekly in Jeanne-Antide centre.  On the other days, other priests who are friends of the centre come regularly to say Mass and several persons from the village join us too. This spiritual nourishment helps us in our daily life which isn’t always easy due to old age problems.

Yes, let’s be attentive to each other and maintain a joyful and a hopeful heart. Community life is rich and we are aware that we are privileged. To God all the glory! 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sr Paule-Thérèse Noirjean  soc

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