We have recently retired and our hours are less overloaded; we are looking for a new rhythm of life to give God His whole place in our personal, couple and family life (with our children and their families). We still and always need to be encouraged, advised, nurtured ... to try to bring, as a couple, a luminous testimony in our environment.
Long before I became a lay associate, I was involved in the parish: Catechism in Lyon, then in Tarbes and Le Mans; then, subsequently, and as needed, I participated in the liturgical team, the pastoral animation team, in the catechumenate, in the sepulchral team, in the distribution of the parish bulletin. Also, I have volunteered at the St Vincent de Paul company for ten years.
For his part, Philippe benefited from a solid religious education as a child and was always inclined to help or accompany the little ones. This is witnessed by his participation in holiday stays for the disabled, then his commitment to the association "Foyer Notre-Dame des sans-abris" (Lyon), the school support sessions for children in difficulty, the commitment to defend life from start to end (Alliance Vita). For Philippe, St. Francis is a very modern saint: he has a great respect for creation. His lifestyle is based on a great sobriety, on attention to the weakest and the poor. Finally, he loves the Muslims to whom he wishes to bring the truth of Jesus Christ, through the concrete actions of his life and the teaching of our Lord, of which St. Francis testified in all his radicalism. Everything our world needs today!
As for me, at the beginning, I committed myself rather out of duty, to respond to needs (which led me to engage at times in a service that did not suit my personality at all ... since then I have learned to discern and to know to say no!) Deepening my faith little by little (catechumenate followed by the sacrament of confirmation in 1993; diocesan formation), then discovering Franciscan spirituality and uttering my promise, made me realize that it is Christ that I serve first through these services, I respond to His love with the love of neighbour in which God is mysteriously present, and which with very simple means I can bring joy, hope, peace.
In this, the FMSC fraternity which encourages fraternal life, the life of prayer, formation, daily mission - is a support. In particular, the fraternity of five lay associates that meets monthly from May 2021 (thanks to the COVID pandemic): Praying together and supporting each other in prayer, sharing our experience trying to identify God's pedagogy in our lives, to deepen Franciscan spirituality; all this contributes to knowing ourselves better, to become truly sisters and brothers in Christ, and to leave strengthened and joyful.
The bond with the community of the sisters is an essential element: we find them with joy to celebrate Franciscan feasts, Holy Mass during the week or on Sundays; we join in their prayers for more particular intentions, for example for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Father Gregorio Fioravanti, our Founder. At the house, many signs remind us of our belonging to the great Franciscan family, and what this implies for us: the Tau, the Franciscan crown, the cross of San Damiano, a statuette of St. Francis in our place dedicated to prayer, the image of Father Gregory ...
St. Francis is there, and he invites us to praise, to be ever more determined to follow Christ with perseverance, fidelity, trust and grace. This is not easy! It is a struggle, and a work to be resumed every day, a desire to grow in the intimacy of God to be constantly vivified, a consent to abandonment to do what pleases God to accomplish, in me and for me" (St. Francis).