In 1923, the Congregation of the Holy Spirit was asked by the archdiocese of Paris to take over the management of the Orphelins Apprentis d’Auteuil foundation. The congregation appointed Fr. Daniel Brottier to manage and give new impetus to this institution, which then had seventy children. 19 November 2023 marks the centenary of the arrival of the first Spiritans at Apprentis d’Auteuil.
Through this centenary, Apprentis d’Auteuil wish to remember all the Spiritans – more than 700 – who gave their lives and contributed to educating and instilling the Spirit of the Gospel over time within the work of Auteuil.
The celebration of 100 years of trust between the Spiritans and the foundation will take place officially between 16 November 2023 and the national pilgrimage to Lourdes in October 2024.
This year of celebration will make it possible to:
- Highlight the mutual contributions of Spiritans and Apprentis d’Auteuil over the years;
- Deepen the Spiritan charism at work in the spirituality and mission of the foundation;
- To present the Congregation of the Holy Spirit and its mission today;
- Deepen the educational project and pastoral orientation in the light of this centenary.
This celebration will also coincide with the foundation’s 30 years of commitment to international cooperation, at the initiative of daring Spiritans and with the support of the Board of Directors of Apprentis d’Auteuil. Thirty years of commitment to solidarity and mutual enrichment with partners at the service of the most vulnerable children, in particular with Spiritan associations and educational works.
On Thursday 16 November, around 300 guests, young people and adults from all regions of the foundation as well as guests from the Spiritan family, gathered at the Apprentis d’Auteuil headquarters for a day of celebration. A celebration that was shared with everyone thanks to a live broadcast to all 400 establishments.The day began with the opening mass presided over by Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Spiritan, Archbishop of Bangui and former chaplain at Apprentis d’Auteuil, in the Sainte Thérèse chapel. It was an opportunity to launch this centenary year with joy, to entrust it to the Lord, and to give thanks for all that has been experienced over the last 100 years! Young and old alike.
In the afternoon, Cardinal Nzapalainga gave a talk based on his experience during the civil war in the Central African Republic and with young people at the foundation. The theme of the discussion was “Roads to peace”. It was a privileged moment to hear the testimony of our Confrere Mgr Dieudonné, an extraordinary agent of peace! Young people and adults from Apprentis d’Auteuil also shared their visions and experiences. We were also delighted to welcome our Superior General, Fr. Alain Mayama and our Confrere Fr. Serge Evina, a Spiritan on a mission in Cameroon working with the most vulnerable young people, in partnership with the foundation.
The evening ended with a dinner with the young people of the Ile de France region and a lively conversation about the challenges and joys of sowing peace at the heart of our establishments.
(Videos of these events can be viewed on the Apprentis d’Auteuil YouTube channel).
Photo © Besnard/Apprentis Auteuil
Marc Whelan, CSSp