Thérèse-Marie Potelle, rscm
The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary in Béziers together with our lay friends from the Extended Family have just participated in the European Heritage Days. As part of this event and at the request of the town hall, we opened the chapel of the Mother House of our Institute to visitors from Béziers and the surrounding area. This commitment required a good deal of organisation but gave us the wonderful experience of new encounters. About a hundred people discovered our chapel, as an architectural heritage of the 20th century, but also as the foundation place of the Congregation.
As families, couples or friends, everyone was happy to abide by the health measures required by the town hall and verified by Claudia’s competent smartphone.
Some people remembered with emotion their time at the SCM boarding school and wanted to see the changes made to the chapel to meet the needs of our time. But many did not know Jean Gailhac or Appollonie; Gladys took on the task of introducing them to our founders. Heather, in the relics room, gave them an insight into the lives of Father Gailhac and Mr and Mrs Cure in the 19th century through the objects on display.
Bernadette told them about our mission around the world written on the wall “May all have life”. Many sisters have tried to live it, yesterday and today, as shown by the wear and tear of the white staircase and the gushing of the spring in the courtyard.
Welcomed by Marie Paule, young and old ventured down to the crypt where our founders are buried. All completed the visit by crossing the sanctuary where Françoise showed them the works of the sculptor Serge Santucci.
Impressed and pleased, they all appreciated the visit and some of them expressed this in the guest book and by buying souvenirs to keep a record of their visit. The “beautiful team” was tired but happy to have been able to organise themselves to respond favourably and with pleasure to the 2021 European Heritage Days – an experience that could be repeated next year, according to the head of the Heritage Commission of the city of Béziers.