The mayor of the city hosted the Council General delegation
Continuing the “International Theme Years” project, members of the Council General International’s Board of Directors, accompanied by territorial youth delegates, travelled to Colombières (Normandy), 300 km from Paris, to visit the tomb of co-founder Jules Devaux (1811-1880). The trip took place last September 11.
Upon arrival at the local cemetery, there was a warm welcome by Vincentians of the region as well as by religious and political authorities. The mayor of the city, Mrs. Catherine Viel, was honored to welcome the delegation from the Council General, highliting the illustrious son – Devaux – who is resting in this cemetery. The youth laid a bouquet of flowers on the grave, and “Amazing Grace” was sung with much emotion.
The 16th President General, Bro. Renato Lima de Oliveira, offered his thanks for the welcome and addressed the following message to those present: “We are very happy to be here. It is a great privilege to be able to visit our co-founder and first Treasurer General who was so important in the history of the SSVP. Moreover, the more we know about our origins, the better we will know how to carry out this evangelizing mission of charity and service”, emphasized Renato. The Secretary General, Marie-Françoise Salesiani-Payet, also expressed the thanks of the Council General.
After prayers and hymns in front of Devaux’s tombstone, everyone went to the Saint-Pierre church, adjacent to the cemetery, where the local religious (Father Philippe and Brother Cyril) and their parishioners led invocations and Bible readings in French and English. Afterwards, at the invitation of the mayor, a welcome cocktail was served at which time brother Hugues de Rosamel, President of the Departmental Council of Calvados, spoke about the beautiful charitable work carried out by the 15 conferences of the region.
Furthermore, brother Thierry Vialatte from Caen (former President of the Departmental Council of Calvados) donated to the Council General a very beautiful and also very old painting of the face of St. Vincent de Paul, which will be hanged at the international headquarters. It is worth noting that all these events were attended by many brothers and sisters from Colombières, Calvados, Roen and Moyaux.
Since Colombières is a very small village, the delegation stayed overnight in Arromanches-les-Bains, a historic town where the allies landed in June 1944 to liberate France from Nazi oppression. In this municipality, all prayed for peace in the world, especially at this time when wars and conflicts between nations are a sad reality on our planet.
On the way to Colombières, the delegation passed through the city of Lisieux where they visited the tomb of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, as well as that of her parents, St. Louis Martin and St. Zelie Martin. In Lisieux, they visited the chapel and basilica of St. Thérèse, followed by a fraternal lunch with representatives of the Rouen Departmental Council, including former president, sister Frederique Quevilly. In the basilica, the visitors prayed for young people, children, the elderly and families around the world.
The tomb of co-founder Pierre-Auguste Le Taillandier will be visited in February 2023 (in reference to Thematic Year 2022). The body of Jules Gossin (Thematic Year 2023), 2nd President General, will be revered in December 2023. The Project “Thematic Years” aims to deepen our knowledge of the legacy and biography of our predecessors, starting with the seven founders. However, a new phase is starting with the highlight of personalities who have been important to the history of the SSVP, such as the Presidents General. This initiative consists not only of visiting the tombs, but other initiatives: songs, film festival, special logo, spirituality articles, motivational talks, commemorative stamp and literary contest.