Letter 16

Posted November 8, 2022

Somain Jully 2022

Dear Father Gailhac,

What a joy to read your letters… and even more so, to hear you speak…! Thank you for your advice, your words of wisdom and encouragement received every day from our historian sisters, and the members of the “extended family” in Portugal. You would surely have appreciated and used the communication tools that we now have and that bring us closer to you. As true journalist-researchers, everyone is keen to follow you, to bear witness to the man, the priest, the founder, the father that you are by commenting on your life and more particularly on your spiritual life, the life in Christ that you constantly invite us to deepen. It is true that your “Story” is also our story as Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary. It catches up with us and opens us up to the life of God.

In fact, it was not so much at the novitiate that I got to know you, but by looking at our sisters, some are already in heaven as well as those who have the gift of telling your story. I am deeply touched by the encounter they have had with you. This is what helps me to grow in the spirit of faith that sustains the mission, wherever we are called in the greatest diversity of services, giving priority to the places where life needs to grow.

Your presence, your intercession, I receive as gifts, – I have had proof of this in difficult situations, particularly this year, and I thank you for it.

At this time, when we are losing many of the traces that spoke of you at the Mother House – many of your everyday and personal objects, the places where you lived with our first sisters – it is as a spoiled child, a native of Béziers, that I am tempted to react. I often heard about you from my family in my childhood, and I thought I knew you. Today, I feel I know you much better. I think you are calling us not to mistake your history for our heritage and to reflect on the value that heritage. In the future, more precious than your story is the spirit of faith to which you invite us daily.

It is strange that as you are “leaving us” I have the impression, in the confusion I feel, that I am living a greater closeness to you and thus to our sisters throughout the Institute, as well as with all those who have already joined you in heaven and who are very dear to us.

To realize and understand that you are that close to us means so much.


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