Je me souviens

Friday, November 13

My maiden name is Veautour.

My Meme (my great-grandmother) immigrated to Worcester county as a teenager and while (as I understand it) she was grateful to escape her native fishing village and troubled father, she was deeply proud of her French-Canadian heritage.

She spoke the language until she died, and close to seven years after her passing, my greatest educational feat would come in speaking her first language fluently, while spending a semester in Luxemboug.

“Je me souviens” is french for “I remember.”  It’s the official motto of Quebec and it’s a reference to a critical turning point in a signature battle in Canada’s early history.

Today, as I walk by the humble alter at the top of our stairs that I’ve set up in honor of those who’ve gone before us, who I believe watch over us, I am drawn to the picture of my Meme and I all I can hear is, “Je me souviens.”

It is not until very late in the day that I learn about the devastation in Paris – the hate that has gutted far too many families,  destroyed far too many souls, obliterated far too much light…and what I remember is that words can start to heal.

And sometimes, to find true healing, it’s best to rely on the words that have passed the test of time.

And so, on this day, my gift to my Meme, and yours, and all grandchildren, and all mothers and fathers, all sons and daughters, all families everywhere, are the words of The Peace Prayer:

Let us pray that strength and courage abundant be given to all who work for a world of reason and understanding;

That the good that lies in every man’s heart may day by day be magnified;

That men will come to see more clearly not that which divides them, but that which unites them;

That each hour may bring us closer to a final victory, not of nation over nation, but of men over his own errors and weaknesses;

That the true spirit of mankind – its joy, its beauty, its hope, may live among us;

That the blessings of peace be ours – the peace to build and grow, to live in harmony and sympathy with others, and to plan for a future with confidence.

Today, I will remember love and peace – because the world is in desperate need of both – and I know all I can do is let it begin with me and share with you.


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