INTERNATIONAL ENCOUNTER OF THE FRIENDS OF WISDOM
Sr. Mary Chiodo, Daughter of Wisdom, United States
Friends of Wisdom came from 13 countries to walk together in the footsteps of Montfort and Marie Louise in France, July 16 to August 24, 2017. They came bringing the richness of their cultures and their journeys with Wisdom. They came seeking Wisdom. They came from their service to the poor. They came with a love of the Daughters of Wisdom with whom they collaborate in ministry. They brought their deep faith and prayer to our encounter with one another.
The Pilgrimage, organized by Sr. Chantal Rabier, Sr. Marie Laure Paillet, Nic Slaus and Pierre Marie Micheaux challenged us to be “prophets of hope in our world today – a hope anchored in our social, cultural, economic and spiritual reality.”
Each day brought us together around a shared family story in the life of Marie Louise and Montfort. We prayed and reflected at Poitiers, coming to know Marie Louise in her struggles and her persistence in birthing the Congregation of the Daughters of Wisdom. We travelled to La Rochelle to the hospital where Montfort welcomed the poor, the misfits, of which the Sisters were in charge. There in deep silence, we walked the worn wooden steps to Marie Louise’s bedroom. It is difficult to describe the silences that accompanied our trips across the Cesson Bridge, the day at Pontchateau, the cave at Mervent – silences filled with the holy and with Wisdom. At each place, the story of Montfort, his passionate preaching, love of the poor, the Cross and Mary were recounted, as well as his sufferings and disappointments. Walking the Stations of the Cross at Pontchateau brought to mind the suffering world all around us.
In the midst of our pilgrim journey, we had fun filled entertainment from the different countries, enjoyed delicious French food and formed friendships.
In the final session of the Friends of Montfort meeting, there was a plea that the Daughters of Wisdom set up an International Friends of Wisdom Committee to continue these encounters and to keep Friends in the entities linked in creative ways. Sr. Louise Madore, Superior General made a commitment to make that happen.
What do we take back home? Here are some reflections.
“I found the Wisdom that is in me by following Louis de Montfort; I believe that to befriend Wisdom is to be work with the poor.”
“Mary was always like at the cross. Now I understand her differently. She faced problems like I do. I feel I can turn to her now.”
“It gives me new spiritual commitment. To speak of the places is nice, but to come to the places changes one’s life. “
I didn’t want to come- be separated from my family- but I feel now the faith of everyone here and I go home to do the mission.”
“I did not like the poor- was afraid of them…I want to change that. I want to find wisdom, like Montfort did. How do you find wisdom?”