64 years of presence in Morocco

How many Little Sisters during the 64 years? Surely more than a hundred!

First steps in Casablanca 
After a first request from Morocco, in 1921, for a foundation by the Little Sisters of the Assumption, it was at the request of the Salesian Fathers that the project ultimately took shape. In July 1946 it was decided at a General Chapter to open a community there. 
On the 26th of December, the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation welcomed the first Little Sister, (Mother Marguerite de Jésus) who was followed on the 5th January 1947 by Sr Tarcisius de Jesus and Sr Ambroise du Sacré Coeur. This first community was accommodated in the basement of a villa. 
The sisters placed themselves at the service of the people of the Maarif area who were mostly persons of Italian, Portuguese or Spanish origin. The sisters wished to make contact gradually with the Moroccans who lived in the neighbourhood. 
In 1949 the house was extended and a chapel was built. It was inaugurated on the 8th of January 1950, when four new sisters arrived. 
Intense activity 
In 1949, in the old Medina, the clinic known as the ’Ferme Blanche’ was opened for the Muslim families. There was great activity there with nursing treatment, and education in hygiene and health care. From the beginning the sisters set themselves to learn Arabic. 
In 1956 the country celebrated its independence and the sisters joined in the general rejoicing. In Morocco at that time, factory closures resulted in unemployment and an exodus of Europeans (50% of the French who were there left). As a result, there was less and less domiciliary care to be done by the sisters. The sisters worked in the public health system, in the dispensary and trained Moroccans who would later take on responsibilities. 
During this time, the house was extended by the construction of premises for the social service: classes for knitting, sewing etc. The sisters also participated in the catechetical programme organised for the young people form the Christian families who had remained in the country. 
A new community 
Some years later, the house had become too large for the sisters. In order to live closer to the poorest, in fidelity to their vocation and in response to the calls from the Council and the Church, the Little Sisters decided to move house. 
1971 saw their arrival at no. 25, rue de L’Atlas. In addition to being present with the families of the locality, the sisters joined the official health structures. Sister Aliette worked as a paediatric nurse in the Moulay Youssef hospital. In 1981, Sister Lyette took over from here there while Sister Françoise, also a nurse, was hired as a teacher in the nursing school and later worked in the schools run by the ECAM (Catholic Education in Morocco), at Charles de Foucauld and Aïn Sebaa. 
From 1989, Sr Marie Madeleine worked with the association known as ’Solidarité Féminine’ founded by a Moroccan woman and a Prado sister. 
This centre receives single mothers and their children with the aim of helping them to be re-integrated into ordinary social life. 
During that time, in Rabat: 
In memory of their daughter who died at the age of twenty, some benefactors placed a fully-organised house at the disposition of the Little Sisters. On the 12th of April 1951 Mother Marguerite de Jésus, foundress of the community at Casablanca, welcomed the first two sisters who were soon joined by three, and then five, others. 
They quickly devoted themselves to domiciliary nursing care, literacy work, sewing classes, a library etc. 
When the sisters left, this first house became a cultural centre, ’La Source’, with a large library for Muslim researchers. Father Jacques Levrat (Fidei Donum), a nephew of five LSA, was one of the founders of this centre. 
Another community was formed in 1974 in the Kebibat neighbourhood. The sisters were employed by the official Moroccan public health structures, and worked in dispensaries, principally in mother and child care and with tuberculosis patients. 
The final years in Casablanca 
The personnel in the community at the rue de l’Atlas changed several times, but they continued the commitments that were always considered to be a priority: 
–  in collaboration with Moroccans in associations run by the people of the country such as ’Bienfaisance musulmane’ (Muslim charity) (Srs Marie Annick and Sr Elisabeth), ’Heure Joyeuse’¸ (Joyful Hour) (Sr Maria), INSAF (National Institute for Assistance to Women) (Sr Antoinette) and other associations that devoted themselves to social affairs, health and the advancement of women. 
–  in collaboration with the multi-cultural diocesan Church present in Casablanca: catechetics for the adult migrants, the Christian Movement for Retired Persons, Caritas and other activities. 
How many Little Sisters during the 64 years? Surely more than a hundred! 
In 2010, the Little Sisters left Morocco. At the same time, the community in Tunis was transformed in a project for an inter-Assumption and international community. 
Thus the mission continues...
From notes by Sr Madeleine Rémond (archivist of the Congregation) 


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