A week before the celebration of the Provincial Chapter, the confreres of the Province of St Jean Baptiste of Canada gathered at the community of Quebec for a retreat of five days from Sunday 27 May to Friday 1 June 2018.
Reverend Father Alfred Couturier O.S.S.T., the retreat preacher, presented the theme: “the Covenant, the intimacy of God.” This theme enabled us to rediscover the word of God, a God who loves us unconditionally, who creates a relationship with his people, a God of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
In speaking of the effectiveness of the word of God in our lives, Father Couturier recalled the prophet Isaiah’s words: “For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” (Is 55:10-11)
This time of encountering the Lord by means of the retreat preacher’s words was for us a rich occasion of meeting between brothers and sisters, members of the charismatic family of Father Eymard. It was an occasion lived in unity and diversity, in which each one was called to live like a brother among brothers: young and old religious, the ill and healthy, among whom were two from Africa, Fathers Casimir Moukouba and Augustin Mfwankama, and members of the Aggregation of the Blessed Sacrament of Quebec (cf. Rule of Life, n. 8). This is an eloquent sign of belonging to one and the same eymardian family. All of us, focused by the same mission under the guidance of the same Holy Spirit, made the word of God a pathway for our communities (cf. Rule of Life, n.6).
This retreat renewed our energies, our passion for a Eucharistic mission, enabling each one to pursue his own ministry and live the word listened to and meditated. Since the celebration of the Memorial of the Lord is at the centre of our personal and communal life (cf. Rule of Life, n.21), we closed our annual retreat at midday with a thanksgiving mass commemorating St Justin the martyr.
We are indebted to Father Ghislain Cossette, the Provincial Superior, and to all the confreres of the Province for having welcomed us to be part of this annual retreat in Quebec.
Father Augustin Mfwankama, sss