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Marie - Jeunesse.

Marie-Jeunesse is a spiritual family of young people, a new community in the Catholic Church, an apostolate of welcome and evangelization of youth. It began in Quebec in 1982 at a gathering of a dozen young people with Real Lavoie, who was working at the parish church in Saint-Michel de Sillery.

Real had communicated to these young people their mission to be a generation filled with hope, fired by their natural resources of youthful strength and resilience. He had longed to see something dynamic, serious and profound to offer to youth, by youth and for youth. This was to be its beginning.

A first home for the apostolate was opened in Quebec City in 1986. Dozens of young people flocked there, some for a short visit, others to stay a while. Each time they would find themselves enlivened, transformed, healed. Youth now arrive from across Canada and the world. At the request of the bishops, Marie-Jeunesse was established in two more dioceses, with a house in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and another in Edmundston, New Brunswick. In December 2000 a house was opened in the Reunion Islands in the Pacific. Arrangements are presently underway for a centre in Belgium.

There are also core groups of Marie-Jeunesse in dioceses where there is no house as yet. "Beautiful things are happening," says founder Lavoie of the continual growth and changes. "This is not human work, but the Holy Spirit's."

The name Marie-Jeunesse was discovered as a gift and a call. These youth were to become Mary's family, her heart, her hands, her smile, her listening, her tenderness toward youth. The primary mission of Marie-Jeunesse is simply to be there for the beauty and joy of God, to show forth that beauty and joy, to point to heaven! The young people become aware of their missionary vocation in the world, the new evangelists envisioned by the Holy Father.

The fuel for this life is prayer: prayer with the Rosary, Eucharistic adoration, Holy Mass. Mary is welcomed as mother, teacher and model to be imitated. A house of Marie-Jeunesse is a school of life, of prayer, of love. Several hundred young people make a year's promise of chastity at the fall retreat. They offer their affections and sexuality to Mary's care so they can grow in purity and respect for the body.

The young people generally range from fifteen to thirty years of age. There are some bilingual members. Some come for a while to share the community life in activities such as sports, prayer and work. Others make a commitment to a year of discernment and formation, une Annee Pentecote, which is accredited by the seminary of Sherbrooke. They will experience and participate in community activities of manual work, office work, cooking, the arts and music, group animation, et cetera. Most importantly, they receive a solid formation in Catholic life, in theology, liturgy, sacraments and prayer; above all, in the experience of Christian community. Some young people have decided to consecrate their whole life to God with Marie-Jeunesse.

Frederick Lelin, 22 years old from Martinique, writes; "Jesus came to find me by the sweetness and the tenderness of his mother. What child can resist the supplications of his mother? Not me, in any case!

"I replied 'yes' to the call of Jesus through Mary in accepting to come to Marie-Jeunesse, to live the whole gospel with Mary. My life, in the course of this year, has changed completely. To love and to make Jesus loved is now my work, my vocation."

To contact the community: Write Marie-Jeunesse, 319 rue Queen, Lennoxville, Quebec, J1M 1K8, Tel.: 819-820-1500, Fax: 810-820-1737, Email:, Website:
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Title Annotation:catholic organization
Author:Wilson, Ann
Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:May 1, 2002
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