At the foot of the Aubrac mountains


At the foot of the Aubrac mountains

At the foot of the Aubrac mountains, in Malet, France – what happened on 15-17 March 2024?

At the request of a number of volunteers-hospitaliers*  last season,  some of them wanted to spend a weekend together, to get to know each other better and to deepen the meaning of their mission in the spirit of Saint Angela.

* The "hospitality" we are talking about is characterised by welcoming, listening, receiving in a spirit of kindness and openness, in the Way of St James of Compostela. 



As it was a first time, questions crossed the mind of Cédric Comello, leader and coordinator of a small team for the welcome: would there be a response? How to organise? Encouragement came in the form of enthusiastic responses, and some were sorry to hear about the dates. The ball was rolling! Without delay, Cédric Comello, in collaboration with Sister Marie-Pierre Chassaigne, proposed a timetable and a breakdown of the various services and preparations: reception, rooms, premises, badges, etc.



And 15 March arrived...

Almost everyone was there well before 5pm, the scheduled time to meet .... a good opportunity to get to know each other for the new hospitalers and admire the garden.
After refreshments and a slice of fouace (a brioche from Aveyron), it was time for installation, a time of prayer with the sisters of the community for those who wished, followed by a meal using local produce brought by everyone. We could have invited all our neighbours!

Once the services were over, we headed to the amphitheatre to watch a short film on "the Convent of Malet" directed by Daniel Borzakian, a long-standing member of the welcome house. The discussion that followed confirmed the relevance of this project, which combines the history of the site with personal accounts.
For Sister Marie-Bénédicte Moyrand, from Toulouse, who will be joining us for the season, it was a full day of discovery.

The next day was not without surprises. At the start of the morning, a short discussion between hospitaliers gave everyone the opportunity to re-read their experience: my story with Malet, what I discovered, what I give and receive, my mission as a hospitalier in a team... It was profound and rich, and could have gone on for a long time. ....Sister Marie-Pierre Chassaigne had a message for us to discover: "Being a hospitalier in the light of Saint Angela...". Tracing the life of Angela step by step, with the help of pictures and texts taken from her writings, Sister Marie-Pierre developed the fact that Angela was personally the guest of several people, while she herself gave hospitality on a large scale; the reciprocity is striking. It is now up to each of us to make our own the qualities highlighted during the presentation!



After this time of reflection and discussion, everyone put on their sports gear and prepared for walking to the church in Cambon. As the route was longer than expected the  people arrived hungry. Fortunately, a hearty picnic brought everyone back to full strength! Guided by Brigitte Julien, well known to the Ursulines, we admired the vaulted ceiling of the Romanesque church, the pillars and the frescoes as we wandered around this little jewel. Time passed too quickly: we had to get back on the road.



The late afternoon at Malet was an opportunity for informal meetings, and in the evening the group was invited to the "vaulted" room to meet Cédric Comello with Sister Marie-Pierre Chassaigne, Sister Marie-Bénédicte Moyrand and Sister Françoise Bonnaterre, to share what they desired from their journey, in complete confidence. It was a time for listening and questioning.

At the end of this busy day, it was time to get some rest, as some of us had a long way to go the next day. On Sunday morning, Lauds prayer brought together those who wished to attend, and we gathered in front of the church, in the inner courtyard, for a guided tour by Cédric Comello. Then it was time to go either to Saint Côme to the regional market or to Espalion to take part in Sunday Mass.

On the way back, Muriel's famous 'farçous' were a real treat!

We rounded off this convivial weekend with a coffee with the sisters of the Accueil fraternity, to everyone's delight.  Then it was time to say goodbye for now!

Sr Françoise Bonnaterre, Malet 2024