After a whole year of intensive preparation and of uninterrupted coming and going between the organizational committee and the groups of the Friends from around the world, finally, “D Day” has arrived! On this day, July 31st 2008, the delegates of the Friends of Wisdom and the Daughters of Wisdom, hosted by different communities of the Daughters of Wisdom and families, Quebec sector, invaded the Horeb, at St-Jacques-de Montcalm in Quebec. These delegates represent 1,200 Friends from thirteen countries. At first, a certain restraint seemed proper…and then, the cacophony caused by the presence of four languages was rapidly transformed into joyful communication. It was the joy of discovery and of encounter of members of the same family!
From the start, with a twist of humour, Sr. Louise Madore, Superior General of the Daughters of Wisdom, reminded the group that this meeting was a work session, with reflection and sharing. The objectives of the meeting, mainly the identity of the Friends, were taken seriously on the preparation level, and will remain important during the session. Sr. Louise warmly thanked the Organizational Committee, stressing the exceptional work accomplished. The actual experiences during the meeting will be its most convincing proof.
After the initial welcoming and the first contacts, the twenty years of history of the Friends of Wisdom across the world were celebrated. This story covers a span from 1987 to 2007 and was presented by the different entities with “power points” adding visual support. A whole day was spent for this information. A useful tool was proposed to the participants, allowing them to take notes as the presentation progressed. They listened to each other, sharing their desires and their differences but at the same time, perceiving their similarities.
…the Friends pursue, on August 2nd, the quest for their identity. There is a group sharing time where all ask themselves: Friend of Wisdom, who are you? What desires are birthing? Are there any new emerging elements that will determine the identity of the Friend? At the end of the afternoon, the group was invited to celebrate the Face of Christ Wisdom. It was a celebration full of meaning, of communion and deep joy. A celebration that often prompted this fiery affirmation from the group: “Wisdom is our only and true light!” (Jn. 1, 9) In the hours preceding all the Friends were invited to trace either one hand or one foot on a white sheet. This served as décor for the celebration, meaning that each member answers for the Face of Christ Wisdom in the world. These were moments of contemplation where each participant could commune with Christ Wisdom and deposit in one’s heart the desire to resemble Christ more and more, and thus be a witness. This full day ended with a festive gathering in the evening. What an explosion of cultural diversity, of laughs, humour, melodies and dances. Sleep well and smooth transition toward the end of the session!
This morning, August 3rd, after a time of praise to Wisdom, the Friends are ready to start the orientation votes on the indispensable ingredients needed to describe the identity of the Friend. (The characteristics that best describe the Friend and that will be chosen by the delegates will be submitted to all the Friends across the world before the official text is written.) On the same day, in the afternoon, they dared face the future…What are the hopes? By what means can these be attained? At the end of this day, another summit was lived when the group joyfully welcomed around 110 invited guests, Daughters of Wisdom and Friends arriving from Montreal but also from as far as the Ottawa region, the Laurentians, Lanaudière… Two tables were shared, the table of the meal and the table of the Eucharist… Overflowing joy and thanksgiving is felt in these hours of abundant blessings. Wisdom is amongst us. She passes through words, songs, gestures and hearts. Everyone feels “Friend and prophet of Christ Wisdom!” A significant gesture dear to the Friends was part of this celebration, a gesture invested with their life: the remittance of the ACTS OF THE FRIENDS OF WISDOM…THEIR HISTORY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD REGROUPED IN A MAGNIFICANT WOODEN ALBUM BEARING THE PHOTO OF THE TREE PLANTED AT ST-LAURENT-SUR SÈVRE in 2003 during their pilgrimage. The name “FRIENDS OF WISDOM” written in four languages on the album cover immortalises the beginning of the bonding that will continue in the future, we hope. The climax lived through these hours of celebration conveys the profound meaning of this international meeting of the Friends: TO PROCLAIM THIS WISDOM, PASSIONATE LOVE FOR HUMANITY.
This last morning, August 4th, a prayer assembles the participants around the last element of the Friends’ mission: “Proclaiming Wisdom!” The animators gather from the delegates the focus points they want to stress or retain at the end of their deliberations. These few hours of sharing are summed up in four words: 1- formation 2- communication 3- structures 4- transmission. For the three first points, recommendations are made and retained after a clarification and debating time. Clear agreements are formulated concerning the transmission to all the Friends in the entities here represented. A time of evaluation is allowed, each participant being invited to hand out the written form before leaving. Finally, Sr. Louise Madore concludes by saying with emotion, her joy and her gratitude to the Organizational committee for their exceptional work. A powerful ovation follows. Sr. Louise then invites all the Daughters of Wisdom present to bless the Friends. “Shalom” dear Friends! May Wisdom dwell with you always!
As Friends of Wisdom, what do we ask of you today, Lord? -
LIBEROS! Men and women free of your freedom. Men and women according to your heart, men and women that go on all sides proclaiming your message of Love!”
Together, Friends and Daughters of Wisdom let us rejoice for the historical step taken at this international meeting! With mutual confidence let us loyally and gracefully pursue the road to our bonding with the charism as transmitted by the Founders, St Louis-Marie de Montfort and Blessed Marie-Louise Trichet.