Oct. 12 – Opening of the 200th Anniversary as Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambéry
The members of the Extended Council were led to recall the history of our Congregation which began its existence in 1646, in villages in the Auvergne region of central France. It quickly grew by leaps and bounds, in spite of many hardships, to the flourishing community it is today. An enactment of this early history of the Congregation by some sisters during the prayer assisted all to journey to the very origin of the Congregation and visibly touched everyone in the meeting hall.
Having recollected the growth and expansion that took place in different phases since 1812, when the Chambéry congregation was established, Sr. Sally proclaimed: “With great joy and deep gratitude to God and all of our sisters and associates who have gone before us, it is our privilege to open the 200th Anniversary Year of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambéry.” The assembly rose on their feet in applause welcoming these words with jubilation.
Reflecting on our diminishing presence in France it was clear that the Province of France, together with the General Council, is considering how to keep the vitality of our presence alive in France. A new house has been built in Jacob Bellecombette, with a view to the future. It will be a residence for some of the sisters at the present time and later, when the sisters will no longer need it, it will be converted to a residence for university students.
This day, which included a reflection on our history and moments of joyful celebration, moved all present to think how we can continue to make a difference as we live the mission of Christ.
October 12, 2011 marks the opening of the bicentenary celebration of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery. In 1812, the Sisters, who had traveled from Lyon, France to the Savoy region, were established as an independent Congregation with Mother St. John Marcoux as their first superior.
Sisters who are gathered in Rome for the Extended Council opened the day with a prayer service that recalled the foundation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in LePuy by Father Jean-Pierre Medaille SJ, the six women who made up this first group, the persecution of religious congregations during the French Revolution and the sisters who were martyred; the brave refounding in 1808 in Lyon, and the foundation of the Chambery Congregation in 1812.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery will be celebrating their bicentenary throughout the world, where Sisters live and minister. The bicentenary closes in October, 2012 in Chambery, France.
By Sr. Dolores Lahr
To download the Opening Address (full text): click here.
To look at the photos of the Opening of the Bicentenary: click here.
To look at the photos of the Mass of the Opening: click here.
To watch to the videos of October 12: click here.