100th Anniversary’s Opening Address by Sr. Christine Danel, our Superior General

Here we are on February 4, 2021! This day marks the opening of the 100th Anniversary celebrations of the Xaviere Sisters Community.

On February 4, 1921, Claire Monestès, joined by Léonie Fabre, took private vows in the presence of Father Eymieu, sj, in the chapel of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Cenacle in Marseilles. Claire Monestès, like Jacob after his dream in Genesis 28:16, later interpreted this event as the moment of foundation of the Xaviere Community! The grace of beginnings is discreet and humble, often hidden from our eyes. Good does not make noise.

Since then, the Xaviere Community has been growing in size and, hopefully, in wisdom and grace! Even if it remains small, fragile, our order is nonetheless very much alive and joyful, serving in the three continents where our communities are present today!

This one-hundred-year anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on our history and go back to our roots to draw from them. God has given us the gift of the Xaviere Community and of Claire Monestès. She was a foundress almost in spite of herself and yet nothing would have happened without her. All the women who joined her also contributed to incarnate this gift of the Spirit in lives, hearts, communities, and missions throughout the ages. The subsequent Congregational Leaders, in particular Marie Henriette Callet and Marie Guillet, were committed in fostering a strong human and spiritual formation, grounded in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola.

« Missionaries because contemplatives », as Marie Henriette Callet used to say, with an open view of the world, the xaviere sisters seek to discover the traces of God at work in all things.
The challenge is to learn to recognize the hues of the Spirit and to hear his music of « sheer silence » at play within every human heart and in all creation. And in so doing, we attune ourselves to the Spirit’s music, and through his inspiration we play a song of freedom, gentleness, and consolation for all who will hear it.

Celebrating a jubilee means actualizing the gift for today. This act of discernment compels us to be sensitive to the cries and sufferings of the people and of the earth. This means keeping our ears and hearts open so we can hear and respond to these calls by making ourselves present and by taking action, in our own way, without fear, with determination and confidence.
Yes, our world is complex, the stakes are high and combine several crises ranging from health (in particular with the Covid-19 virus which has turned our lives upside down) to politics, the environment and the Church.
Our God is involved in our suffering world and loves it to the point of dwelling in it. He yearns to engage with us and searches for worshipers and friends to live with him as witnesses of hope and of the Gospel.

We wish to celebrate this anniversary with joy, simplicity, and gratitude for all the good we have received in order to love and serve in all things! May this jubilee be an opportunity to meet and share with all of you, friends, members of our families, and associates!

In February, each community and region will organize celebrations to mark the opening of the jubilee. We will close the year with the feast of All Saints’ Day on the occasion of the gathering of the French Ignatian religious communities and movements in Marseilles, our place of foundation. Before that, we hope to see many of you at our gathering in Lourdes this summer (July 31-August 2) whose theme is « Reaching To the Sources of Joy ». We will celebrate together the One who invites us to follow his steps!

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