Anjou Vert: Permaculture with the nuns

For the first four months I chose to live full time according to chapter 6 (education and ecological spirituality) of the Encyclical Laudato Si' by working in the parish. But, in the background, there are two chapters to be spoken about: chapter 4 (integral ecology) and chapter 5 (some lines of orientation and action). This is how the Anjou Vert series was born, which seeks to bear witness to the initiatives of Catholics around integral ecology... in Anjou!

Let me take you to the Sisters Servants of the Poor of Jeanne Delannoue, in Saint-Hilaire-Saint-Florent. Little Sisters of Joy, full of Love and tenderness. 

Enjoy this Anjou Vert article !

The Order of Saint Jeanne Delannoue.

Saint Jeanne Delannoue was born in 1666 in Saumur where she lived until she was 70 years old during the reign of Louis XIV. She founded a congregation which today brings together 350 sisters in France, Madagascar, Indonesia and Mali. 

She was canonised in 1947 and recognised as a saint in 1982 by John Paul II. 

Jeanne was originally a merchant who was looking for financial security and lived in fear of poverty. An encounter will turn her life upside down ... Françoise Souchet gave her a message of the Holy Spirit: Jeanne will become the mother of the poor. She is radically converted and spends her life welcoming the poor into her home and living among them. A network of charity is gradually created around her and about forty sisters during her life will join her. She was supported in her action by Father Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, but also by the artisans of Saumur. She had at heart to entrust herself constantly to the hands of God, to pray every day to draw strength from him and to be available to the Holy Spirit. She truly developed a spirituality of the poor. For her, to put the most destitute first is to join Christ as a little child and Christ in his destitution on the cross.

The congregation is marked by a great internationality which is its strength. Today in France the sisters are present in 9 dioceses and 16 communities. Thus the charism of Saint Jeanne Delannoue is expressed in the mission of the sisters wherever they are by a simple, prayerful and attentive presence among the inhabitants of their neighbourhood, community and parish. They participate in pastoral work, catechesis, visit the sick, animate prison chaplaincies, accompany bereaved families, are present for migrants in the North. They are also at the service of their congregation and carry out their many missions thanks to the volunteers who join them in their services.

Article written by Jeanne Comte for God Save The Green for The Anjou Vert series !


Missionary Sisters: from Madagascar to France.

Sisters Scholastica and Marie-Adrienne came straight from the island of Madagascar. A country where people are connected to the earth. "This relationship to the earth is linked to our culture," confides Sister Marie-Adrienne to me. Once we set foot in France, it's a change of scenery: a new way of life! And above all, a new way of working the land. The seasons and the climate are very different from those of Madagascar. You have to learn everything, try everything, and learning about culture in France has involved many failures: "But that's how you learn" laughs the sisters.

After a few years of study, the sisters moved to a new house. "From my window I could see a lifeless, unused floor. It was dry and free of insects". Sister Marie-Adrienne initiated this project, not without having asked the permission of the Mother Superior beforehand . For a year, she and Sister Scholastica made a compost and nourished the soil. A year of hard work before looking at life again! Today, the sisters enjoy their permaculture garden, so flourishing and fruitful.

Taking care of the Common House: a mission of the congregation.

"Docile to the Spirit, let us weave together universal Fraternity and Solidarity to take care of the Common House" is the decision of the General Chapter of the sisters held in 2017. Seeing the degradation of our planet and all that our society is currently experiencing, the Congregation has committed itself to act to preserve and safeguard the Common House. During this General Chapter, each of the sisters of Jeanne Delannoue was invited to deepen the encyclical of Pope Francis "Laudato Si' ". It is also a question of questioning themselves, personally and in groups, on the actions to be taken to live the encyclical concretely. The sisters commit themselves to continue raising awareness in schools, neighbourhoods, houses and other structures .

"Every little effort can help change the world" -Laudato Si'.

A garden where everything is connected.

Well ahead of their time, the sisters were delighted with the arrival of Laudato Si'. This encyclical really strengthened their commitment. To act in the heart of the vegetable garden is to take care of the Earth and to be in direct contact with God. The image is as beautiful as its meaning: cultivating, praying, giving thanks... and sharing!

 "It gives me pleasure to share the fruits of the garden with my older sisters, so that they too can eat good things. This vegetable garden is about pleasure, health and sharing" - Sister Marie-Adrienne

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