Zoom on the exhibition "Cribs of the world"
Testimonies of the Congregational
Spirituality Centre team
As is the custom every year, the Congregational Spirituality Centre organizes an exhibition of cribs given by communities from different countries all around the world.
This year, we chose to work on the theme “Migrants-Refugees”, a crucial topic. Our inspiration came, after the Gospel, from the message of the Pope Francis for the world day of migrants and refugees 2018. Our common work has been inspired by four key words which appear in his speech: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.
This exhibition permitted to gather the different entities present on the site of Angers in a common project. We could rely on the help and the participation of the Good Shepherd Museum (associates and volunteers), the different communities of Sisters, including the Sisters of the International Community who accompanied people and the employees of the Guesthouse who supported us by welcoming the visitors.
The work of the Sisters from Rhuma community provided a concrete complement to the exhibition thanks to a PowerPoint presentation which shows the implication of the Sisters from BFMN Province with the migrants. This gave the opportunity to raise awareness avoir the work of the Sisters and the involvement of the Congregation with the migrants and refugees at a global level.
As I was a newcomer in the Spirituality Centre, I was happy to associate in this project with all the team.
To succeed it was important to work in collaboration. Our different ideas and competencies were our richness: Anne-Laure for the communication, Gaëtan for the logistic, the installation of the room and all his ideas and challenges to motivate the team, and Sarah to make the link with the Museum. Srs. Denise and Irma, who were at the initiative of the exhibition, achieved the scenography (choice of the cribs’ layout, the material used, the pictures printed, etc.) and Sr. Theresa and I participated to the implementation and as everyone, we accompanied visitors.
Sr. Noreen was also present. She supported the team in spite of her busy schedule due to her upcoming move.
As time went by, each one brought his own ideas in a spirit of fraternity and respect of each other. I think that we were all proud of the result few days before the opening. Thanks to the communication campaign, a lot of Medias came to film a news report or to interview the sisters of the team. It gave the exhibition a large visibility.
In order to keep alive the team spirit, Gaëtan, Sarah and Anne-Laure drew a graph indicating the visitors’ evolution with goals to reach and the reward associated!
I am very grateful to God for this opportunity to discover the richness of each member of our team and to build bonds of friendship with each one. The words of our Pope are so true: “Contact with others leads to discovering their ‘secret’, to being open to them in order to welcome their valid aspects and thus contribute to knowing each one better.”
The reflection, the realization and the guided visits of the exhibition “Cribs of the world” on the theme “the Migrants” enabled me to enter deeply into the mystery of Incarnation, to marvel and be grateful to God. God becomes incarnate only in our religion. He takes flesh, becomes human and lives our life. He even becomes migrant leaving his country, wandering, being thirsty and hungry, scared, like so many men and women all around the world today. God accompanies and supports them. He gives them hope and life through the good Samaritans of today, these people who welcome, protect, stimulate and help them. Our Congregation made a stand regarding the migrants in order to welcome, host and accompany them in the whole world.
This year I participated for the 3rd time in the organization of the exhibition “Cribs of the world”. Despite the repetitiveness of the event, the experience has been totally different this time because for the first time we worked as a team. We thought, designed and realized the project together from A to Z, based on the competencies and main strength of each one. We worked on an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust, by drawing on the capacities and the availabilities of all the team members.
I can say that we had positive results at different levels. Team building has never been stronger and the exhibition is experiencing great success with more than 1600 visitors! (800 visitors in 2016).
As the African proverb says: “Alone we go faster but together we go further”.
I had only worked for six months at the Good Shepherd Motherhouse when I was asked to participate in the installation of cribs. During one afternoon I moved many boxes alone without knowing what was inside and without any explanation of the project.
When the Sisters opened the boxes and started talking about the stories of the different cribs and the theme of the exhibition I understood the coherence with their mission. I thought that the project was really amazing and I took part in it with enthusiasm.
Thus, with Anne-Laure and Sarah from the Spirituality Centre, we committed ourselves to the project, working with the Sisters on the organization, the technical installation, with good communication and motivation. The goals were to summon as many people as possible in order to reward the whole team who spent time creating this exhibition and to make known the Sisters of our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd and the Museum.
This team project enabled me to know the Sisters, understand their mission around the world and work with my colleagues in a good spirit.
We are ready to improve the exhibition for next year thanks to a critical analysis of what we have done and I hope that we will receive new cribs from other countries where the Sisters are settled. Our team work was also a rich experience and we will not wait until next Christmas to create other great projects.
The organization of the exhibition “Cribs of the world” enabled me once more to contemplate “God among us”, the Word who became flesh and lives in us.
With the help and the energy that the Holy Spirit brings us, we were invited to feel the presence of Jesus in our migrants and refugees brothers.
The reflection and the preparation were very special experiences. We tried to live the 4 key words of Pope Francis for the migrants: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate. I felt that the whole team was carried by these four words, which not only changed the work, but also our way of welcoming visitors.
With God’s grace, we participated to raise awareness about a part of the humanity who suffers and who is currently vulnerable. God desires that together, at our level, we participate in the construction of the “common house”, thank you!
I had the opportunity to show the exhibition to two groups of visitors after the guided tour of the Museum. After being immersed in the history and the mission of the Congregation from the origins during more than an hour, the visitors appreciated to terminate their discovery with traditional and diversified cribs highlighting the internationality of the Congregation. They could spot the local specificity of each crib (the polar bear in the Canadian crib, the “maté” carried by an Uruguayan character, etc.)
I noticed that the PowerPoint, realized by Sr. Annie Golas, on the 40 migrants hosted in Nazareth property, highly interested the visitors. Natural continuation of the permanent exhibition of the Museum, the presentation promotes a concrete action of the Congregation in Angers and raises public awareness on migrant issues.
I also accompanied some individual visitors. It was a real pleasure to see how much the exhibition pleased children and adults.
It was also the opportunity to implicate the volunteers and more broadly all the Museum team to make this event a success.
The team work on the exhibition “Cribs of the world” in the Good Shepherd Museum was precious, inspiring and fruitful. It invited us to build a new team of Spirituality Centre sharing our wisdom and creativity.
This year I appreciated the theme “the Migrants”. In reality, Jesus Himself was a migrant from His birth with His Holy Family.
Welcoming and accompanying adults and children in their diversity, particularly I was deeply touched by the presence of a joyous young mum carrying a 3 month baby on her breasts with other two children.
What of crib fascinates the visitors? Most probably - whether they are conscious of it or not- they got the Christmas message: Emmanuel, God is with us. Indeed, God is among us as a little one at the lowest place.
I am convinced that this exhibition contributed to awaken the visitors’ concern about the social hot issue as the migrants and to support them in solidarity beyond all borders.