How to find hope after bereavement?

How to find hope after bereavement? Marie-Jo lost her only daughter, Helena, in a car accident. Helena was 18 years old. While in mourning, Marie-Jo came to Montligeon. She found comfort and, above all, hope. Read her testimony.

“Montligeon is a place of healing where to make the word hope one’s. When you are put on the cross, you need hope. Hope assures us that we’re going to meet again with our deceased ones, when we all rise again. Hope gives meaning to suffering. Faith enabled me to walk in hope. Yet, it can never be taken for granted, it entails renewing one’s “Yes!” to life on a daily basis” .


Montligeon, the shrine devoted to the bereaved

It was 1 a.m. on December 22, 2005, when the police knocked on Marie-Jo’s door to deliver the unconceivable news. Her only child and daughter, Helena had died in a car accident. “I was by myself ” she explains, “and I looked for someone to call for help. I immediately thought of a priest I’d met two months earlier in Ars, (France) during the international session for priests where I was helping on mission. He lives in Africa. We prayed together. He told me before closing our conversation that I could call him at any time if I needed to. So I did.

Thousands of miles away, after listening to Marie-Jo’s cry, the priest rose from bed and celebrated Mass for Helena’s soul. “It was the most beautiful gift to be offered for my daughter’s soul and for my Christian mother’s heart!”

During the ensuing year, Marie-Jo carried on her work with young people. Tended by friends from the parish and cared for by her godmother, she was at peace, but still in great pain. Encouraged by a close friend of hers, she made her first visit to Montligeon, “the shrine for the bereaved”. Then she signed up for a Rising Sun session (the previous name of the mourning sessions at the shrine).

From grief to hope

“I was still in denial and anger, feeling that I wasn’t a mother any longer since I no longer had a child. I wasn’t paying any attention to the other participants. I kept going back and fro from tears to listening to the lectures and going to the Eucharist. One morning, I went into the basilica. I saw the oversize Christmas crib. I took the Baby Jesus in my arms and said: ‘Mary, Joseph, I give you my child and I take Jesus into my life.'”

During the session, Marie-Jo experiences a liberation that enables her to move forward. “God tells us that we cannot carry our burden beyond our strength. It’s because He dwells within us that we can walk the path from mourning to hope.”

Surrender to hope and enrol your deceased with the spiritual Fraternity of Montligeon

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