Article by Fr. David Purcell, C.Ss.R.
In August I moved to the city of Québec. I registered in a program called French as a Second Language, at the University of Laval. In English, there is a saying, “You can never teach an old dog new tricks.” But, I am already able to speak and to write a few words in French!?
My classmates are very interesting. Some students speak German, Japanese, and Chinese. Most students in the class speak Spanish. Some people come from Mexico, Columbia, Egypt, Iran, Calgary, Ontario, and the United States. As you can see, I go to class and am an old man. I return home to the Pavillon of the Holy Redeemer with my confreres and I am the youngest. Here we have hiked at Mount St. Anne.
During my sabbatical year, I am receiving a special gift. I am getting to know my brother Redemptorists who are of the French culture. In September, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Redemptorist Province of St. Anne de Beaupré. Wow! I was inspired. The French speaking Redemptorists have a very strong missionary spirit. They work hard and with a lot of determination. Their spirit of prayer is very very deep. For example, I was especially impressed by one special celebration.
During 50 years the Redemptorists sent 70 men to Vietnam.
Several Redemptorists who come from Vietnam attended our celebrations. They made a small memorial altar to the 70 Redemptorists who worked in Vietnam. They lit incense and led us in a prayer. Also, there are 3 Vietnamese students who became members of the community in Québec.
Here is my new house. Look! I brought my cross country skis to Québec City. Up to the middle of December there is not enough snow for cross country skiing. Please, pray that God would send some snow to the Québec region!
I am deeply grateful. Without the help of my brother Redemptorists, English and French, this experience would not be possible. Learning a new language has opened me up to a new world!