On the outskirts of Namur, the capital of Wallonia (the French-speaking part of Belgium), above the hills overlooking the River Meuse, you will find “La Pairelle”, a Centre for Ignatian Spirituality.
Since 1999, the Sisters of Saint Andrew have been part of the Spiritual Centre of La Pairelle, collaborating in the mission of the Centre with the community of Jesuits and a team of laypeople. At the moment, Alice, Clara and Anna-Carin are the sisters taking on this mission. Come and see our community in Béthanie, the old farmhouse of La Pairelle.
Together with the leadership team, we use all the different colours of the Ignatian spirituality which is at the heart of our lives: for times of formation, spiritual retreats, sessions, etc. You can see the programme of La Pairelle here.
“Helping souls”, to use the expression of Saint Ignatius, involves a special and delicate attention to the needs of each of our guests. That is why spiritual direction is a large part of our mission.
Life in the Centre isn’t only about leading sessions. A team of salaried personnel and volunteers are responsible for most of the running of the guest house, but there are still quite a few little tasks taken on by the two resident communities, that of the Jesuits and that of the sisters. That gives a homely feel to the house: the beauty of the chapels, the flowers, the garden, the liturgy, not to forget being available in case of emergencies when the reception is closed, etc. In those different ways, we play our part in the life of the Centre.
We also have our own community life: a life of hospitality, of sharing, of prayer, of keeping in contact with the other communities of the Sisters of Saint Andrew through visits and sending news. As well as this, we have some involvement in projects outside the Centre, linked to pastoral health care, the CVX (Communitiy of Christian Life) and the Ignatian Family.
A very precious friendship has been built up with the L’Arche Community in Namur, who have been coming to Bethany every Thursday for a number of years to hold their weekly “bread workshop”.