The month of December was an effervescent month at the hospital in Pontalier (Doubs - France) : in fact the announcement of the future closing down of the Community by the Congregation, provoked emotion and reactions.
The last three sisters : Martha, Yvonne and Marie-Madeleine leave their communitiy to join the community of the sisters in the Maison de Retraite (Retirement Home) at Besançon, St. Ferjeux.
The last religious community leaves the region of Haute-Doubs, Forestier… No more presence of Religious life in a region where, of course as elsewhere the Priests are on a decreassing scale.
But beyond the question which this departure puts up let us rather look at the role that this community, this Congregation has played along so many years…. And centuries….since the sisters’ presence -- hospitalars, who became Sisters of Charityi in the year 2000- mark an imprint of over 300 years
312 years duriing which the sisters have consecrated all their life towards the sick – administration kitchen – orphanage – pharmacy – chapel - … the sisters held for several years a very discreet role but oh ! so very important. They assured :
- Welcoming families in the mortuary room
- The daily and Sunday Litiurgy in the Chapel
- Looking after the keeping up of the Chapel
- The presence in the équip of the sacresty and beside sick persons,
- The preparation for the sacrements
- The mission of the daily prayer for the sick and for the world
They knew how to welcome everyone in their community, everyone could pop in, stop, talk, have a cup of coffee or share a meal..
This is the daily living : « What you do to the least of my little ones, it is to me that you do it» Mt 25
Why leave? Without arriving to the end of one’s energy, it is better to pass on the relay to christians who will ensure certain services which the sisters held : that is also church and evangelisation.
As for the sisters, their mission as Sisters continues : praying for the world in general and for vocations in particular, witnessing that God calls also today to his service and to the service of the new poor, or to the impoverished of our Society, and helping in the house as much as their health and age permit.
It is always hard tohave to close a community, to quit some friends, a mission but as the priest declared in the homily : “OBEDIENCE MAKES US FREE”. The sisters have known how to witness to the christians who questioned this departure, by this affirmation. Sr Louisette Duriaux