From the moment we learned that Pope Francis was going to visit our country, we mobilized; starting with the government, the diocese, all the parishes, the movements and various groups ... well, everywhere we went there was only one word on the mouth "Pope Francis".
As Mauritius is a multi-religious country, the joy of all was palpable for this preparation. Everyone was looking forward to this visit. And as it coincided with the feast of Blessed Jacques Désiré Laval (Apostle of Mauritius) on September 9, the fervor was twofold. For each year all the Mauritians go with great joy to the tomb of the Blessed Jacques, especially the day before, as well as the pilgrims coming from the neighboring islands.
For us Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, it was another opportunity to gather together to pray with others and share our happiness to welcome the Holy Father. For this occasion Sr Sylviane, fmm, in collaboration with a specially composed team, has prepared a booklet to help us live this waiting time spiritually. This book is entitled "DISIP MISIONER KOUMA PER LAVAL EK PAP FRANÇOIS". We were invited to gather in our parishes, neighborhoods or movements to read and reflect together on this booklet. Here is an excerpt from the introduction: "As the Pope invites us to live an extraordinary missionary month in October 2019 and that our Cardinal has invited us to enter more into our vocation as baptized-missionary, these meetings are an opportunity to discover our true vocation. These can be done in family, in parish, in the movements and services, but insist that they are "out", that is to say, that the groups privilege meetings with those of whom the Church has moved away ...”
In our different FMM communities on the island, we are used to meeting with small groups of 'Lectio Divina' in the neighborhood. So, we met several evenings for a month before the Pope's visit, to prepare our hearts for this extraordinary event. What was beautiful was that some Hindu friends or others of religious denominations joined us! Also following the request of the "Commission for Justice and Peace" of the Diocese, 100,000 trees were planted throughout the territory of Mauritius to mark this great event: the visit of Pope Francis in our country.
And the long-awaited day arrived. September 9, 2019!
It was necessary to leave the house very early in the morning to go to Port Louis where the monument of Marie Reine de la Paix is located. This is where the pope was to celebrate Mass. We welcomed him as a "Pilgrim of Peace". It was an unforgettable day!
Suzelle Marie and Celina Palmeira, fmm