Young people and Sisters, with Saint Jeanne-Antide, ‘Call to sow hope and build peace’.

This is the message for the year 2024 from Pope Francis for the 61st World Day of Prayer for Vocations. This message became our own as we spent a day walking, sharing and socialising with the young people at Sancey.

The radiant sun rose to announce God’s presence.
The blue sky lit up our path.
The birds sang in praise of creation
The murmur of the stream soothed our hearts.
The green of the forest filled our hearts with hope:
That of youth, life and harmony.
And what wonderful surprise awaited us?
God was there, he is always there for each of us.

Young people and sisters, we met in Besançon on 18 May to set off for Sancey. We started the day with a warm welcome from the sisters of the community. As the sun was shining that morning, we immediately headed for the grottes de la Baume.

Motivated, we really enjoyed this itinerant walk. It gave us a chance to chat and meet new people. We had the joy of experiencing moments of happiness in the company of our fellow travellers. It was extremely beautiful and meaningful.

The young people were filled with joy and admiration as they contemplated God’s work in the vicinity of the grotto. They were delighted to learn more about the history of the grotto from a history and geography teacher who joined us. And also about the relationship with Jeanne Antide during the French Revolution.

On the way back, despite the muddy road, we made good progress. We were moved as we walked along the path, which reminded us that Jeanne-Antide also crossed small paths hidden beneath the snow, in less than favourable weather conditions.

‘I walked alone at night, in summer and winter, through forests, mountains, valleys, through snow, ice and rain; going in God’s name, nothing untoward happened to me’.

It was essential to visit the birthplace of Saint Jeanne-Antide. Our visit was guided by Sr Marie Nicole, who was able to answer the young people’s questions.

The day went by too quickly. We met again in the chapel of Jeanne Antide to listen to the testimony of Sr Elisabeth, who had recently arrived from Indonesia. Then we took a little time to share and express our feelings and impressions of the day. Here are the expressions of the young people:

‘I really enjoyed the day, it was incredible’.

‘I really enjoyed the day, it allowed me to concentrate on myself and on God’.

‘I really enjoyed the day, I got to meet new people’.

‘It was a good experience because I was able to see and experience in real life the things I had heard’. ‘Thanks to the sisters for their good humour’.

The day ended with a time of prayer in the presence of some parishioners at the Basilica of Sancey. We turned to the Lord to express our gratitude for his love, for our vocation, for everything we had experienced together during the day, and we still remember the angels in the basilica who helped us pray. It was a wonderful experience!