A haven of peace, of education and of renewal in a lush environment located nearby the river, this is what the Chemin Neuf community offers yearly to more than 30 students who are looking for something other than a plain student residence.
The student residence Ignace Bourget (RIB) opened its doors only in 2014, but many students have already spent one to two years in this hostel. Math student Anne Sophie, 21 years-old, chose to come here because she knew the community on the Island of Mauritius, a place her parents considered secure! She says, with a smile on her face, that she enjoys community life, the ambiance, the proposed activities, the fact that “they are always together, never alone, as it can very often happen in a more traditional student residence”. She knows what she is talking about! After spending a year in this residence, she decided to settle down elsewhere. But, missing the atmosphere and the group, she finally came back in January 2018!
Everywhere in the world, hostels for students of this community offer to young people a support frame to study, to meet with other people and to undergo periods of guidance to discover or deepen their Christian faith.
The brotherly relationships across this shared life are really the pillars of this residence. “We live together building trust, and the spiritual aspect follows: we are truly in the “Living Together” insists Clothilde Messmer, a mother to these students. As the hostel’s hostess, Clothilde is in charge of the life, the supplies and the organization along with Father Pierre-Claver Gaumon and Al Martinez.
At the beginning of the year, each student commits to a three-point community life charter: having a successful student life, learning to live together and growing in one’s spiritual life.
The study rooms on the first and second floors rest in a calm environment facing the river, promoting concentration and success for everyone.
Lionel, a civil engineering student, also from the island of Mauritius, appreciates the “power to live his faith and to study under the same roof”. The hostel has also greatly facilitated its own integration in Montreal. Indeed, Clothilde’s little attentions, the activities put up by the students and the meals they share on Mondays and Thursdays help everyone to feel welcome and integrated. “I was so touched by the surprise party organized for my birthday, even though I had been there for only three months!” exclaims Lionel.
Furthermore, two Thursdays a month, students are invited to dance parties or to more spiritual ones. This year, among other things, an experience has been created around the history of indigenous people, an Alpha journey, an initiation to prayer… Clothide, reflecting on her first winter in Quebec, has fond memories of a marshmallow campfire night held in the snow while facing the frozen river.
Finally, students can opt for two renewals weekends in the Val de Paix community house in Rawdon. Themes vary and enable students to discuss subjects such as the “Holy Spirit,” “Becoming who you are”, emotional life, how to create distance. “I like attending daily Mass, and praise nights on Monday evenings mean a great deal to me,” explains Lionel. Anne-Sophie, for her part, participates to the life of the hostel by putting up parties or joining the youth festival organizing team: she will be the OSE Festival master of ceremonies that was held Saturday, June 22.
Representing at least 12 nationalities, the RIB is also an intercultural place: a daily challenge yet filled with unparalleled richness. People from Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, Europe, and from here, all wish to open up to otherness, to get to know each other and to fraternize.
Being together, meeting each other, growing in one’s own faith, praying, having fun and attending parties, completing studies successfully, are all important elements contributing to RIB’s success: the proof… This upcoming year, only 8 spots need to be filled! A word to the wise.