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News inserted on 17/09/2019

A memorable meeting in Lyon

A memorable meeting at 41, chemin du Signal, Lyon

between the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Name of Mary

and the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary,

Wednesday 15 May 2019

Last century:   On the death of Mother Marie Denyse in April 1903, Sister Marie Louis Chanel who had just left for the missions six days earlier was recalled from Port Said (Egypt), and arrived at Ste Foy on 5 May.  She was in charge of the novitiate during the First World War.

When war was declared on 3 August 1914, the seven German novices at Ste Foy were taken to a detention camp until they were able to return to their families in January 1915.

One of them, Sister Marie Athanase (born Suzanne Merz on August 19, 1889 in Irsch, Rhineland) returned to the novitiate at Ste Foy-lès-Lyon after the armistice. After profession on March 25, 1920, she was sent to Boston, USA, as her visa for mission in the South Solomons was delayed. Her perpetual profession was in Bedford on September 9, 1926. She was then sent to Sydney, Australia, where Sister spent many years serving. She died on February 11, 1979.

In 1920, the others founded a diocesan congregation in Germany: The Missionary Sisters of the Holy Name of Mary. But they never forgot that their first sisters were SMSM novices, and they put this photo of the house at 41 chemin du Signal opposite the photos of the first six sisters in the book on their congregation. 

SMSM SistersToday:

Accompanied by Father Bernd KORDES, sm, thirty Missionary Sisters of the Holy Name of Mary came from Germany to visit significant places around Lyon: Thiers where the German novices were held in detention, then the house at Ste Foy where Sr Georgeanne Marie Donovan, SMSM Congregational Leader, and Sr Euphrasie Mukamana, Regional, welcomed them. They were interested in seeing the whole house from basement to attic. On the notice board they observed the names of Sisters Anne Marie and Margarete Woeste whose sister, Mechtilde, member of their congregation, was unable to make the trip to Lyon.

Together around the Eucharistic table and then the community table, exchanging stories of the journeys of our congregations, and gifts, the time to say goodbye came all too quickly!

We hope there will be other occasions for our two congregations to meet.  And that the joy we saw on everyone’s face will live into the future.

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