Dear friends from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America,
On behalf of all the sisters of the Infant Jesus, I am delighted to wish you a joyful Christmas, at the end of a very demanding year. Your lives and the lives of those you love and serve have been gravely affected by the pandemic: loneliness, feelings of uselessness and powerlessness, family and work relationships becoming more difficult, anxiety about tomorrow, have crept into your minds and hearts. Added to this, in some of your countries, you may be living in a context of political or fanatical violence.
However, many lights have brightened your days also: gestures of solidarity, creativity in keeping in contact, in teaching, meeting, supporting, sharing. All of these initiatives, whether they seem large or small, have strengthened the confidence and hope that good things can emerge from hardship. These are my wishes for you, your families and your commitments. These wishes echo the spirituality of Nicolas Barré who invites us never to lose Confidence and Hope in God in the difficulties of our mission in the service of others. This is what he calls Abandonment.
2021 will be marked by the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the birth of Nicolas Barré in Amiens on 21 October, 1621. We will celebrate the event but, above all, we want to live the message that he entrusted to us with great joy, courage and truth. As Christians, Christmas is the time for us to celebrate the birth of the One who comes to save us. The name Jesus means "God saves". He comes to save us here and now. He comes to save us from the destructive effects of the pandemic that slip into our spirits, our hearts and our relationships. He desires to do this with us because it is for this that our Institute was “born from the heart of God”!
At their 2019 general assembly ("chapter") the sisters unanimously decided to share their spirituality and their mission more widely with those who feel called to it. Some official commitments have been made: in France by Monique, in Singapore by Pauline, Deirdre (Ai-Leen), Rosa, Margaret and Shuquo as associates of our Institute. In Thailand, 20 people have made a commitment for one year, renewable, to live their service and their mission in the spirit of Nicolas Barré, as collaborators in his mission. Elsewhere other people are thinking about it or preparing for it, and still others find themselves more informally in networks where they exchange with and support each other. In Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal and the Czech Republic, some women are preparing to make a commitment to the Institute as religious. All this is a great source of joy and hope for us.
We had scheduled an international meeting of sisters representing all our countries in May 2021. The pandemic forced us to cancel it, since it is uncertain if the borders of some of our countries will be open by then. We remain hopeful to have these meetings in every continent as soon as the situation allows. We would like to be able to welcome, for part of our meeting, some of the people who feel committed to our spiritual family, in order to share the road travelled and to reflect on ways to continue the journey.
In the hope of being able to live a more serene year where our plans can be realised, I wish you, once again, in the name of all the sisters, a year of happiness and of confidence as we work together to make the world a better place.