Servants of Mary, we express our vocation by our name:
the Holy Virgin Mary is our mother and our guide in our spiritual life.
The source place or origin of the Congregation, Notre Dame du Refuge (Our Lady of Refuge),
with the Monastery of St. Bernard, remains the welcoming centre for spiritual, social and educational needs.
Present on 4 continents, our communities
from Africa (Ivory Coast), Latin America (Argentina and Uruguay),
Asia (India) and Europe (Spain and France),
share daily life in the service of life, in fidelity to the Spirit received...
My parents had a business in the village of Orègue. They left when I was very young. I left Orègue at the age of 15. The family decided to put me in Anglet, in Saint-Anne, which is now Stella Maris, because the person in charge of the community was a good friend of my mother. I stayed in Anglet, adapting myself, sometimes with difficulty, in this Community in which I had no privileges, except for this knowledge from my mother. Without my parents, I spent a lot of time there, including holidays. I felt good there. There was already an agricultural education which later became a general education of the Education Nationale. I was trained in tailoring, which I didn't like... I had a great admiration for this community and for some of the people who lived there. They communicated to me, not by their words but by their lives, their attachment to Jesus Christ and the teaching they offered to the young people who were there.
At the age of 20, I joined the Servants of Mary, after having thought about it, but especially after having seen these people living in this Community. I said to myself "why not?
After my novitiate, I went for two and a half years to a management school in the Paris region which prepared me for teaching. And I came back to Saint-Anne... I could have gone to many other places, but my superior at the time chose to put me back at Saint-Anne as a teacher, in 1956. And I stayed there all my professional life. I was teaching a domestic course at the time. Then it progressed to a BEP in health which prepared young people for the nursing exams.
I have lived a life of giving, passing on and being attached to these young people. Above all, I naturally passed on to them the idea that, if it is possible, you must always go further. Life is not easy, prepare yourself. That was a little bit what I sowed. I helped some of them to go further than they thought they could go. That was the motive for my presence in this place.
And then I animated the chaplaincy, which was very different. I was the same person, but I manifested myself in a different way with these same young people that I could have in class.
At the time, the Basque Country was still living at a low speed in terms of training people. We had difficulty finding competent people to teach mathematics and literature. We had to look for people from outside, because in the Basque Country there weren't many young people who had already been to university. And then things gradually changed. And we ended up with teachers of mathematics, biology, everything, from the country. I saw this progression with great interest in my country.
I was headmistress of Saint Anne's for about fifteen years, until 1982. Then we decided to recruit a laywoman in 1985 and I remained a teacher until I retired in 1998. This institution was generalized and became the Stella Maris group, with a laywoman at the head of the establishment; it was so different this relation to secularism.
There must be 1200 students today, from kindergarten to higher education. It is a magnificent progression, I think. Our young people no longer need to go to Pau or Bordeaux to do a BTS. It can be done locally. The tutelage has remained the Congregation of the Servants of Mary of which I am a member. We are still in contact with many of the former students.
On 7 December 2000, I arrived here, at the Community of Bidart, at the request of my Superior General. I had never been in a parish. I had given myself a year to see if I could find my place... I have been here for 22 years.
I'm a faithful parishioner, but I'm not involved in the parish activities because I was already involved elsewhere. I am involved in the ATD Fourth World movement. I chose to get involved there because Father Joseph Wrejinsky, the founder of the movement, retraced the whole profound movement of our founder, Father Cestac.
When I retired, I didn't want to remain idle and I was looking for something close to the spirit of our Congregation. This spirit common to both, a century apart, is the same view of poverty and of the people who suffer morally, physically and materially from it. In the Servants of Mary, I have never found the idea of helping others by giving. But, as far as I am concerned, I have accompanied the poor, the destitute, by listening to them, by welcoming them to help them move forward. This is the deep spirit of the ATD Fourth World movement. We don't necessarily help others by giving, but by listening to them and making them react. We don't help them by giving, but by receiving what they have to give us, essentially a word. This movement invites people to come and speak, to give their word. To help the other, but not to replace them.
Our headquarters are in Anglet alongside the Restos du Coeur, but we're a bit on the opposite side. It's a joint action. We opened the street library, which is the main activity of the movement. We welcome children around books, to read to them and give them the opportunity to touch and love books. When parents come for food, we function to welcome children and read them stories. We have great books.
The second action of the movement is the popular university. We invite people, adults to come and prepare the popular university. We give them a theme; there are three universities in the year. The families express themselves on the theme and if some of them want to, they come to Bordeaux to meet people who have reflected on the same theme during the popular university: "health", "work", "rights". Many people miss out on their rights, for example, because they are unaware of them. About fifty people meet per region. It is interesting. They feel that they are not alone in their difficulties. We provide answers to their questions.
We are the Allies. That is, those who are in alliance with the families.
So, we also try to live with them, as close as possible. Some of them, and this is the third mission of the movement, commit themselves to live like them, for 4, 5, 10 years, in similar living conditions and as close as possible to the families, with a slightly reduced salary. They live in total service of these families; they do with them and not for them. It is to live in one's flesh a slice of life alongside the most deprived.
ATD quart-monde: Aide à Toute Détresse, it is a non-confessional movement. The door is open to anyone who wants to take care of his brother.
Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming to make that commitment. Sometimes the families don't care about what we tell them. That is a burden, a responsibility. But I do it, in the name of my faith, they are my brothers in Jesus Christ. Love of one's neighbor. This is the pure line of the Gospel.
"Behold the Handmaid of the Lord", thus was born the "yes" of a liberated woman, named Mary.
Mary's yes is Mary in my life, the one who shows me the way.
Committed to living obedience, chastity and poverty, I join Mary. The simple lifestyle of welcoming, listening, discreet presence, silence, joy, service, courage are the daily attitudes of the yes. The deployment of these human values, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, is enriched by trust in God and thanksgiving.
Mary, model of humanity, path of faith and hope,
Teach me to be faithful.
Save the heritage of the Servants of Mary...
During the year, Nora teaches at the ECORE school in Barcelona (conservation and restoration of furniture, art and heritage), a course that takes place over 4 years (paintings, murals, metal, painting techniques), and is punctuated by workshop sessions, as at Notre Dame du Refuge in Anglet, where she comes to work every summer with her team of interns.
"I met Sr. Graciela in 2008, when she was taking my classes in Barcelona. Like her, I am from Argentina, but I have been living in Catalonia for over 40 years. A real friendly bond was established between us and, at her invitation, I came to spend my summer vacations with my family at the Monastery of Saint Bernard in Anglet. This is how I discovered the Congregation of the Servants of Mary and, during my stays, a kind of spiritual relationship was created with the Sisters, but also with this unusual place; and, together, we decided to organize the conservation of the sculptures of the sites of Notre Dame du Refuge and the Monastery of Saint Bernard.
Thus, in the summer of 2018, the first on-site workshop was organized. Since then, every summer, I come to spend a few days in Anglet with a team of trainees, to work on the restoration of sculptures and other objects to be preserved. With Sr. Graciela, we decide on the works to be saved, then we work together in a dedicated room in the heart of the Gardens of Notre Dame du Refuge.
We are housed on site, which allows us to share a little of the life of the Servants of Mary, to live at their pace, especially during meals, served on French time, which, for us, used to living on Spanish time, is always a little strange! Especially dinner, served at 7pm, when the light is beautiful and the temperature milder!
Each intervention is a new adventure, a real time of sharing and a true enchantment, in this energetic site so favorable to creation. I am very happy to benefit from such a privilege and to be able, each summer, to live such a human and spiritual experience, and to participate in the safeguarding of the heritage of the Servants of Mary." (Anglet, August 2022)
"The Spirit of Home is Mother. Blessed the child who feels the charm of her love. Blessed too is the one who experiences, the joy of her presence and her tender love."
We are all blessed with the constant presence of Mary, our beloved mother. As I am greatly delighted to share my personal experience of Mary, I pray that this profound sharing will lead you all, to strengthen your faith and devotion to her.
As I recall the past, I see Mary my mother’s hand at work in everything I lived and did. As a little child, my parents made me grow in great devotion to her as they too were her great devotees. This same faith led me to be a member of a pious organization of the children named after ‘Mary’ our mother. It also helped me to choose the congregation named after’ Mother’, though I had eight of my first cousins in various congregations. It is nothing but the plan of God who chooses and calls. I still cherish the memories of the past wherein I was being prepared to become her servant which means ‘to be like her’, through my vocation I have received.
From my childhood until now, I see my beloved mother, who ever walks with me without leaving my hand, particularly in moments of turmoil and chaos. She embraces me with an unbreakable bond. She has sustained me in the vocation which is a call from her son Jesus to continue His mission. I feel greatly grateful to see mother Mary’s providential care, in my very personal life even in the small events of my daily life being saved and protected from many sorts of accidents and ailments.
Let me share with you one such a situation where in I could hear her inner voice, "I will never abandon you". In the year 2005 I was suffering from a terminal disease, I was taken to many hospitals for my recovery, with traumatic pain as I was reaching the hospital, where in I was only on drip for a month, I could see a picture of Mother Mary, in front of which I burst out in tears, uttering the words, "Mary my beloved mother did you also abandon me?". I could see her consoling presence through an inner voice, "I will never leave you my child”. Mother Mary helped me not to complain about anything in my unbearable pain and suffering. I was never alarmed or anxious even when the people around me commended, "the sister who is at her death bed…". I never consider it as my merit, but my beloved mother’s ever living presence.
Despite my infidelity and ungratefulness, Mary the beacon of life, ceaselessly stands as a burning torch in the dark moments of my life. She still loves me as her beloved daughter. May I sink in the stillness and serenity of her soothing embrace.
Dear my beloved Mother, may you constantly walk with me as it was, ever before especially in times of doubts and fright. May I ever bow down before your unfailing Love.
"We share the joys and hopes, the anxieties and the trials of the men of our time... Everything that touches Man has an echo in our hearts." (rules for living)
I. My story with the Bernardines' Convent began in 2007 (15 years already), when I came for a few days retreat. I was touched by the peace that I felt in this troubled period of my life. After analysis, several ingredients made this possible.
First of all, I would place the welcome and the accompaniment of the Sisters of the Community. I remember that in the refectory, the kindly Servant of Mary who served the meal on those days, brought me a packet of tissues. I can still see the kind looks and the discreet smiles that accompanied me throughout my stay. The prayers of the Community in the straw chapel, in particular, and the Ignatian advice of the Sr (Mother Superior at the time) gave me confidence and peace. Secondly, I would put the silence and the solitude that allowed me to refocus, to hear that inner voice that speaks to the heart, to reconnect with myself and to understand that I was not alone on the path of life.
After this unprecedented experience, many things changed and, in 2009, I came to live closer to the Sisters and the convent, because I felt called and somehow "grateful" for the love received and shared here. I was called to come and pray daily, to be nourished by the Word, to be recharged with divine energy through the Eucharist and to recharge my batteries in a natural, preserved and rural environment. I believe that I have drawn a lot throughout these years, and I am infinitely grateful to you.
Quite naturally, when I felt better, I wanted to give back, and that is how I proposed to do Home and Accompaniment, at first once a week, then twice. Then, I had the opportunity to deepen the life of Father Cestac, within the Cestac group, to help in the writing of the Charter in 2017, to reread and share the Letters to Elise, to co-animate the workshop of the Faces of Mary... The highlights at Saint Bernard are the reception, twice a week, and the cemetery.
II. My mission here (as I feel it and practice it) is:
1) to make Father Cestac, his work and the Congregation he founded better known to people who pass by. I feel called to speak to them about his great devotion to Mary, his spirit of openness, of welcoming the poorest. I explain to them that this place is a place of silence, of prayer, of renewal where one can always be welcomed for a short spiritual stop or for a retreat of a few days. I also introduce NDR when I see that they are really interested.
2) to rekindling the flame (giving a taste for life). By listening attentively, because sometimes people come to confide in me, to seek comfort, advice, prayer. And, through sharing proposals open to a wider public (supported by Sr. Annie Houssin and Sr. Arantza): lenten spiritual stop at the cemetery "Doing and undoing", since 2019; meditative walks in 2020, resumed with Sr. Arantza in spring 2022; workshops Letters to Elise and Faces of Mary, mentioned for the record since they take place in NDR.
III. My experience: I am at Mary's school.
She teaches me
I receive graces
I live sometimes in silence, sometimes in sharing, according to the will of "the Mistress of the place"; sometimes I welcome, sometimes I am welcomed.
Remember, what drew me here in 2007 was the comfort, the listening and the welcome that I received from you. This is what we have to offer today, as Father Cestac did in his time. I was looking for comfort, today I am comforting in my turn. I am grateful to you for being able to ensure, in the confidence that you give me, the welcome of all those who pass by. The welcome of visitors, of those who discover by chance, at the bend of their vegetable purchases, the welcome of those who come to pray, to rest, to recharge their batteries, sometimes of pilgrims of Saint James, of those who participate in the repair of the cemetery, in the days of recollection proposed, in the walk in the forest. This place cannot be understood without welcoming people in a precarious moral or physical situation, those who are searching, for it is indeed the spirit of Father Cestac to welcome in love. It is a place of reconstruction, of healing of hearts, a place of peace, of meeting and of silence.
I felt the call when I watched a film showing nuns taking care of orphans. In my childish mind, I thought that I had to be a nun to work in the world of children
I was drawn to the Congregation of the Servants of Mary after reading the documents (the comic strip and a vicar goes down the street) I was struck by Father Cestac's attitude towards the different situations that presented to him. His desire to restore women in society
The event that marked me the most was the first vows... I was entering into a new history with God and I said that I have a challenge: never to back down but to go all the way
I bear witness to God through the small and simple things I do, making myself close to everyone, sharing the daily life where I am, giving back the taste for life like Father Cestac. In my mission with the little ones, I make myself small
The message to young people: today's society needs consecrated people, saying yes to the Lord does not mean that I have failed in the business world! There is no need to hesitate, it is a favor that God does us by calling us to his service to witness to his love.
The question of God has always been an important question for me. I loved catechism and the call of the Lord became clear to me around the age of 10-12.
In France, in the Pas de Calais, in Harnes, there was a community of five Sisters Servants of Mary. What attracted me to them was their closeness to the modest families of the workers and their creativity with the children through the sponsorship, the summer camps... their concern for the growth of people through their joy of living.
There have been many moments of grace in my life. I will give three of them.
The first, at the age of 40, during a session on discernment, God spoke to me not at the level of understanding but at the level of the heart. This changed my way of praying and loving others.
The second is accompanying adults in the catechumenate.
The third, at the age of 64, my departure on mission for the Ivory Coast: the opening and my integration into a new culture.
Celebrating my 50 years of religious life, the Word of God that dwells in me: "How can I repay the Lord for all the good he has done me?"
A message for each of us and in every circumstance, God says to you: "Do not fear, I am with you" and with Father Cestac, the Founder of our congregation: "Do and walk and never be discouraged. Take Mary with you."
I felt the call of the Lord during an evangelization in the parish of Saint Charles Borrome, my home parish, that day, the father present asked that the young people who heard the call of the Lord go forward to receive the blessing, I went forward and everything began, of course I grew up in a Christian family, but that day was a special day.
What attracted me to the congregation of the Sisters Servants of Mary, I would say that they work in discretion, especially in their mission with great efficiency. That is what attracted me.
I have several significant events in my religious life, but I remember the meeting with the older sisters of the congregation, the visit to the source of the congregation. During my stay in France for the session in Spain.
I live the mission that has been entrusted to us, looking at the Virgin Mary our mother as a model, and try to instill in the young girls the values of a good woman for the future by trying to put the gospel into practice every day.
What I can say to the young people today, is that, life with Christ is joy and peace, also the field of the Lord is vast and there is work for all. As our good father lived by giving back the taste of life, I invite them to come and give back the taste of their lives by answering the call of Christ, in order to give in their turn, the taste of life to their brother and sister.
I was born in a small village in the Basque Country in a Christian family of seven children. Our mother wanted us to continue our studies with the Servants of Mary after the local school. It was there that the first call to religious life arrived, through the Superior of the Community. I took part in the spiritual meetings, I loved the Word of God in order to live it, to transmit it. How did she perceive it?
From 1952 to 1956 I was a student at the Aspirat du Refuge, studying at Stella Maris and Saint Anne. I did the Postulancy and Novitiate from 1956 to 1958.
I was called to go to the Pas de Calais, to a parish... I found myself in a beautiful community where I knew no one. The youngest of the sisters was at the age of my mother!
I lived there for 13 years...Catechesis, YCWB, community animation in the workplace, factory work. These commitments matured me.
After two years of training and work in the social sector in Paris, 13 years in Béarn, social work, ACO, animation of communities in a working-class environment.
All this committed life in the world could only be lived in me through fidelity to the Prayer every morning... The community prayer services...the Eucharist...Regular rereading of life with a religious...
One day, the message of Saint John passed through me, pushed me around, transformed me (1 John 4:7-16).
A rereading of this new call to leave everything for Him, only for Him.... Five years of journeying through the Solitude of Saint Bernard on weekends and during weeks. It was a reading and rereading of the work of the Blessed Father. Why there?
Why living this radicality with the Bernardines? Because they are the same Marian religious family that I loved.
35 years of my presence in this place where God has not finished His work in me...here...
"For the love of your People...of this land...your glory dwells with us" and Mary remains our Star.
Anglet, January 2021
My path first crossed with the Gardens of Refuge in 2014, shortly after my arrival in the region. As a specialised educator with a passion for agriculture and sustainable development, I was looking for a place of learning to complete an agricultural diploma.
I met Sister Françoise at the shop, who directed me to Mr Trolliet, who is in charge of services for the Congregation. Eventually, a one-year fixed-term contract was set up with support from the employment office to finance the position. After 6 intense and rich months developing a cultivation plan on 5,000 m2 in organic agriculture, I applied for a permanent contract as head of the sales outlet. I felt that “Les Jardins du Refuge” had most of the elements I was looking for in my initial project of a garden for people in social difficulty.
For about 3 years, we developed partnerships with local producers in order to widen the range of products, while at the same time making our customers aware of the richness of our work and of the regional agricultural world.
In 2019, a new mission presented to me. Sister Thérèse wish to hand over the rearing of laying hens coupled with the new "drastic" sanitary standards to be put in place, have split my working time between sales and rearing. These changes have had the good effect of bringing the whole team to discover the breeding and to get involved in "keeping watch" 365 days a year! Nothing better to strengthen team spirit, you may say... But not at all! But think again! We have known much more effective afterwards: a good coronavirus epidemic! Nothing better to test the trust and solidarity within a group. With our good will and great complementarity, we passed these complicated times with great grace, mutual support and shared laughter in the midst of the tumult. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why our team has not been renewed for some time... In any case, after the storm: calm. With the sanitary standards now in place on the livestock farm, I was invited, to my great joy, to put my "educational" skills to use. Once the possibility of welcoming the public had returned, we continued to develop a reception and educational centre within the farm.
The workshops and farm visits organised since June 2021 have been a great success and have allowed me to better understand the demands in order to refine future projects. The challenge is to open the doors of the farm in order to share our passion for the defence of human, social, agricultural and environmental values (while giving a few tips against slugs and wild weeds!). I have been working on the Congregation site for almost 7 years, in a caring environment, discreetly trying to contribute to making the world a little more beautiful every day...
Anglet, August 2021
I was called to commit myself more fully to encountering suffering people, not to leave the place of the mission received, to respond to the calls God speaks to us through encounters, through events.
He calls us to know how to remain attentive to his presence, at the heart of my life. I often say this prayer: "O you who are in my heart, let me hear your voice”.
The praying of the psalms; the word of God read every day helps me to be enlightened by Christ. Christ is our light. It is a reminder of the commitment to deepen my faith in the light of the believers of yesterday and today; by meditating on his Word, reading the testimonies of the saints. I marveled at the life of the Church Fathers in the early centuries of the Church...
Following Blessed Louis-Edouard Cestac (founder of the congregation), and many sisters, I am called to remain faithful and to be in communion in "service" with all the Servants of Mary in France and in the world (India, Argentina, Uruguay, Ivory Coast, Spain).
I see GOD close to the sick, to their families, in the caregivers... He is there in the ups and downs as a call to find his faithfulness in the face of the unknown. My vocation makes me see life being created, even where today illness seems to prevent or stop it. In the face of the frustrations and revolts that COVID generates, there is the strength of solidarity and responsibility, the call of the Spirit. "Wherever love and charity are, GOD is present! ".
"My grace is sufficient for you!"
Anglet, April 2021
I met the Servants of Mary of Anglet through the Sisters of Our Lady of Compassion, with whom I work and collaborate, because the two congregations have decided to share in Alliance a part of their way of communion.
Last year, I came for the first time to Our Lady of Refuge, to work with the MNA (non-accompanied minors) of Foyer Cestac, that keeps the name of the Father founder of the congregation, Fr. Louis Edouard Cestac, of whom the tomb is found in the site.
I was impressed to see how, around the religious community of the church and of the contemplative community of Bernardines, so many projects and different works coexist in this vast space.
Social and educative works such as the four homes for children and adolescents, the apartments for one parent mothers or fathers and their babies, the residence for old people in which live the religious and the lay people, home for differently abled adults or again a school and a college… Other ecology aspects such as the "Les Jardins du Refuge", for the cultivation and sail of agricultural products and of animal raring where work the handicapped persons… And of course, different places of prayer, of meeting and get together. Till the famous cemetery with tombs of sand on which the crosses are made of sea shells…
In this place, too close to the Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by trees and greenery, in spite of so many activities, all is peace and serenity; a feeling that is impossible not to feel when we come there.
What touches me more, it is to think that 180 years ago, in this same place, lived the first young girls saved from prostitution, welcomed by Fr. Cestac and his sister Elise, origin of the congregation of Servants of Mary. And how, since then it is always a place where the persons who are in need, find assistance with dignity. A true refuge of love and tenderness.
Anglet, August 2019.
My experience, this week of translator and interpretress among the religious women who have nothing to see with those of my childhood, all "in civil dress" living in small communities of 2, 3, or 5, not more than this, in Argentina, Ivory Coast, India, Spain and in France, gathered together here in the Mother House of their founder, it is too strong. These are the Servants of Mary, a kind of G5…
All are "social workers" in their country, they had to choose, in the light of the Gospel, the orientations for the 5 years to come. They also work in the world and for the world. They repair family disasters, they help the women in distress, they educate the children, adolescents, they nurse the sick. They pray.
In an attitude of simplicity and humility that contrast strongly with the unfolding of the forces invested in our region during this week at the occasion of the meeting of the political leaders of this world, they question the values that motivate our actions.
Anglet, August 26, 2019
Gabriela: Good morning! How are you? We are Gabriela and Guillermo, the lay people who do pastoral work of 2 colleges of Servants of Mary in Argentina. La Milagrosa and NSMG.
Guillermo: The general Chapter of the Congregation starts in few hours; it is a time of great responsibility that we are very happy and impatient to participate in it.
Gabriela: Since our arrival here, we feel the hospitality of the sisters without ceasing, attentive to all our needs… They helped us to discover their various activities and we could observe the permanent presence of their deep social commitment.
Guillermo: It is amazing to see the joy and happiness with which they do their activities, accompaniment of women with psychiatric problems, giving duties to handicapped persons, shelter and access to education for the immigrants without shelter, among others…
Gabriela: The Bernardines who toil and pray in silence are equally remarkable.
Guillermo: Everywhere, whether it is in the activities or near the persons met, one feels the spirit and the charism of Fr. Cestac.
Gabriela: This year the Sisters asked us to put together the pastoral activities of the two colleges. So, we started to meet regularly in order to know each other better.
Guillermo: Following these meetings, we stepped into a new stage, during the first semester. We then proposed to gather youth groups of both the colleges so that they meet together.
Gabriela: The youth groups are formed of students who wish to participate freely in these meetings.
Guillermo: As you can see in the video, we pray, we share our reflexions on the theme of service, we play and we take our lunch together… And we have sent an invitation for the future meetings and we pre-plan to realize a common mission for the year ending.
Gabriela: We hope to continue to weave links with these youth and as Fr. Cestac said, we try to "give to others the taste to live".
The two: Bye see you…
Notre Dame du Refuge, Anglet, August 3, 2019
It was during the Beatification of Father Cestac, on 31st May 2015, that I met the Servants of Mary; what a beautiful meeting!
At this time, I was the assistant of the General Vicar of the Diocese, Father Lionel Landart and, as professional of event management, I had the mission to organize this extraordinary ceremony in the cathedral of Bayonne. A difficult but exciting challenge, crowned by the happiness and smiling faces of the Sisters, who came from all over the world.
Since then, we haven't left each other! Neighbour of Notre Dame du Refuge, I assist them in their communication actions and the organization of their events, but also share with them, exceptional friendly parentheses!
Anglet, August 15, 2019.
Reception of mothers with malnourished children
Women's Center for out-of-school girls:
general education, sewing, cooking...
Restore the will to live
The Maria Deepthi dispensary is located in the same place as the college and the Sisters' house in Panakahalli, a village in the state of Tamil Nadu, in southern India. It serves the most vulnerable and needy population (elderly, women, children).
In 2005, the Congrgation of Servants of Mary wishes to hand over and administer the creation of the Association "Missions Père Cestac", said MPC.
It is born of the good will of persons sharing the common values and decided to join to put into action in favor of persons in vulnerable situation. "Missions Père Cestac" is a lay association. The Association presents itself through its Associative Project, which is the expression of its personality and the inspiration for its actions.
It administers 7 establishments and social services, medico social and sanitary:
at Our Lady of Refuge, Anglet (Pyrenees Atlantic)
and at Buglose (Landes)
At Konoor, Kerala (India) we have started a new mission on 2nd of October 2019. A "Day Care Centre" for senior citizens.
Many aged men and women sitting at home lonely, not listened and not cared for, will be able to find a listening heart and a helping hand in us through this mission.
Men and women irrespective of cast and religion, come and spend their time with us during the day. It is in collaboration with the laity.
The house is given by a charitable society called "Mercy Home", where we are free to use the house according to the need of the mission. Every day 20 t0 25 persons are present.
In the year 1867, a community of Servants of Mary was established in Bapaume, in the north of France, to welcome the orphans. They remained there till 2005 for the service of the children. In 1972, they merged with the Congregation of the Sisters Hospitallers of Saint Agnes. Together they would work, to fulfill the vision of their founders under new forms.
In 1994, they created the Association "Accueil et Relais", having the objective "to bring support and to be a link between the Congregation of Servants of Mary and the institutions and the service for the children and adults in difficulty, created or to be created in the region Nord-Pas-de-Calais and administered by them". By way of agreement, this association sees to delegate the responsibility of three institutions: Home for the children of Bapaume, Home for the children of "La Charmille" at Saint Catherine and the Maternal Centre "La Marelle" at Achicourt.
In the month of May 1998, the objective of the Association is modified. "Accueil et Relais" becomes administrator animator and founder of the institutions and services in the social and medico-social sector in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. In the middle of these structures, it attends to the promotion of political and pedagogical orientations of the Congregation of Servants of Mary. Simultaneously, "Accueil et Relais" becomes administrator of "Foyer Saint-Nicolas", home for the aged at Saint-Nicolas.
In the year 2003, the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence of Arras entrust to "Accueil et Relais" the administration of the Home for the Aged "Saint-Landelin" at Vaulx-Vraucourt ; in 2012, at the request of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint-Mary of Paris, the Home for the Aged Saint Peter at Villecresnes joint the Association, then the Children’s Home Asermines, founded by the Association Asermines, join in its turn, the Association "Accueil et Relais".
Today, the Servants of Mary sit always at the office, this Association of solidarity of which the mission is to create, to animate, to administer the institutions and services in the Social and medico-social sector according to the principals of its Chart of Values.
The Foundation María de Belen, functions for more of 25 years, in Goya city (a region of Corrientes), in Argentina. It is an organization of civil society, who toil to promote respect for rights and to improve the quality of the life of children, of adolescents and of families which undergo divers social and vulnerable situations, by carrying out a global work based on taking into consideration, prevention, promotion and the participation of the agents involved.
The Congregation of Servants of Mary is very much involved in the Foundation: Sr. Nidia, the president, is present daily wise and in direct contact with the team (general coordinator, coordinator of workshops, psychologist, social worker, instructor of the workshops, accountant). She is also responsible to find out funds for the Foundation, the most difficult job sometimes…
Maria Bhavan is a home that we started in the year 2006, in Santhigiri, Kerala (India) in the diocese of Palai: a home for aged women or women in distress, with a capacity of 15 places.
The Foundation Gizaide is founded in the year 1997 by the Servants of Mary of Anglet, the Caritas of the diocese of Saint Sebastian and the Congregation of Salesians, with the aim of supporting the persons with mental sickness, having difficulties and give counselling to their near ones.
Educational establishment with boarding-school (English language)
The Saint Foy School was founded by the Congregation of Servants of Mary.
Though, the religious are not physically present in the school since few years, the congregation remains active and present, so that the spirit in which the school was founded continue. The objective is to keep up the spirit, define and render live our essential values, and taking into account the realities of our world.
The school buildings are the property of the congregation, who participate in decision making regarding maintenance and renovation, in close collaboration with the OGEC and the director of the institution.
The Institution Nuestra Senora de Monte Grande was founded in 1958 by Sr. Redentor, of the Congregation of Servants of Mary, who came from France.
The class started with 8 students. In 1976, Nuestra Senora School, stood with tens of Higher Secondary out going students. It was a period of strict discipline, uniform and performance.
The school developed fast and since then, never stopped development, so much so, in the level of buildings, the number of students and the quality of its teaching.
Stella Maris was opened in the year 1871: At the request of the families who wanted to entrust the education of their little girls to the Servants of Mary, we transformed for them, the novitiates house, into boarding, in the place where the actual school building is.
The school functioned for few years under the name of Our Lady Boarding, giving education of that epoch, arts and language study had been given more importance. The Institution Stella Maris, private institution of catholic education under agreement of association with the State was then founded in 1939.
Since, Stella Maris, continue its educative mission, according to the norms of all the private educational institutions, signing with simple agreements with the State, and then agreements of associations appointing lay teachers, admitting boys and girls, updating the teaching methods to the needs of the time. Open to all, Stella Maris welcomes children from the age of two in pre-nursery class, from primary to Higher Secondary, without any distinction of social origin or religious opinions.
The Congregation of Servants of Mary ensure the guardianship of the school. The spirit that animates, founded on the Gospel, is a "Spirit of service that wants to allow each one to become the master of his/her own development".
Learning by doing
"The child is like a plant that must one day bear great fruits, but its development requires wise, intelligent and constant care."
Boarding school for middle and high school students from neighboring villages
Since its creation in 1905, La Milagrosa Institute bears the imprint of the charism of Blessed Louis-Edouard Cestac, founder in 1842 of the Congregation of the Servants of Mary, which forms the Ideology that enlightens and guides the whole educational task based on three pillars: love of Mary, love of the poor (justice) and love of work, in accordance with the Christian values left by Jesus and in a climate of freedom and charity. Today, the Servants of Mary continue their social, educational and spiritual mission in a different way, but always in the footsteps of Father Cestac...
Sentries of Hope,
the Bernardines unite with Mary on Holy Saturday,
in silence, prayer and solitude.
Community of Betania in Llavallol (prov. Buenos Aires)
Community Madre del Taragüi in Goya (prov. Corrientes)
Community Nuestra Señora del Refugio in Florencio-Varela (prov. Buenos Aires)
The farm between city and nature.
Covering 25 hectares in the heart of the city, the Jardins du Refuge have perpetuated Anglet's market gardening tradition since 1839, preserving an island of healthy greenery in a residential ocean.
Direct sale of vegetables, eggs and poultry from our social and solidarity project.
Closed on Mondays, Wednesdays, Sundays and holidays.
05 59 52 81 32 - 102 avenue de l'Abbé Cestac - ANGLET