YESTERDAY and TODAY
On November21, 1796, feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, Marie Rivier and four of her companions had the incredible audacity to found a community in the small village of Thueyts, in the department of Ardèche, France. Together they consecrated themselves to God and to the education of youth.
"This task began at a time of persecution," says mother Rivier, "in days when hardly anyone dared declare himself a Christian." In the middle of this upheaval and confusion, a few women came together... These five young women were really poor, almost destitute. But nothing could quench the fire which burned within them. Making Jesus Christ known and loved became their whole life.
What will be the future of this very small flame of hope springing up within the Church of France immersed in the storm? The adventure towards which the burning wind of the Spirit carries the young foundation is tremendous! The fire catches very quickly! Dozens of small communities light up in the parishes, equaling as many centers of Christian education.
Who has done all this? Marie Rivier repeated it unceasingly: "Everything comes to us from the Blessed Virgin!" It is therefore upon Mary that she confers the tile of Foundress: "Yes, Mary has wanted that this house be totally dedicated her, that it bear the name of her Presentation; she is its foundress and inspiration."
In 1996 the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary celebrated the second centenary of their foundation. It was an opportunity for them and their friends to celebrate the fidelity of the Lord to this religious family which he has kept alive and united in the service of the Church despite all the upheavals of history.
At this time, some fifteen hundred women religious are present in twenty countries of the world.
In Africa: Mozambique, Senegal, Gambia, Cameroon, Burkina Faso
In North America: Canada, United States
In South America: Peru, Brazil, Ecuador
In Asia: Japan, Philippines, Indonesia
In Europe: France, England, Spain, Portugal - Continent and Island of Madeira,
Italy, Switzerland and Ireland.
In fidelity to the grace received by Marie Rivier, the apostolic spirit of the Congregation is expressed, whatever the apostolate may be, by the explicit proclamation of Jesus Christ. Rule of Life
However, the priority remains Christian education of young people through teaching. In this field particularly, an intense and fruitful collaboration exists between religious and laity.
The availability of the Sisters for the mission enables the Congregation to keep its missionary impulse. From east to west, from north to south and vice versa, exchanges have taken place. The international communities thus established, evangelize not only in words, but also through fraternal communion lived in the name of Jesus Christ. «LET US COME TOGETHER», says Marie Rivier, and walk in trust towards... TOMORROW!