An Interview of Marité Langlois by the editor.
Marité, who joined Madonna House in 1951, is 86 years old. She still works part-time doing office work, the kind of work she had been doing for many years, and she also helps out in the laundry. Marité is gentle and gracious to everyone.
What are some of your joys at this time of your life?
I enjoy people, friendships, being able to reach out to others. I experience other people’s love, and I enjoy the younger staff and the many guests who come to Madonna House.
My life is pretty simple these days. I don’t go out much, but I enjoy my Madonna House family, the guests, and sitting outside when the weather is nice, and I enjoy the beauties of nature. I also enjoy reading and playing games, especially cards.
What are some of the crosses of old age in general and in Madonna House?
You begin to lose your faculties. Your physical and mental abilities gradually deteriorate, and you have more aches and pains. You lose some of your capacity to contribute to the common good of the MH family.
You forget things, you lose things, you make mistakes. This affects others as well as yourself.
You need more time to do anything. And with anything you do, you need to really concentrate, and then you have to go back and fix your mistakes. Life is more challenging in some ways.
It’s hard to see all this happening and you don’t have any control over it. You know it’s God’s will for you and that he doesn’t hold it against you that you are not as productive as you used to be, but still it’s hard.
The loss of hearing is a big handicap. At the dinner table I can’t hear what people are saying. That’s hard on other people as well as myself. I don’t like to keep asking people to repeat.
But I am grateful to have as much mental capacity as I have.
What are some of the blessings of your old age?
I think I’m more loving, more tolerant of others than I used to be. I don’t know how true this is, but hopefully, I am improving.
I am more accepting of myself, of situations, and of others. I am more at peace with God, with myself, and with life.
Knowing that I’m getting closer to heaven. Our destiny is to be with God. Knowing that my value is not in production but in being a child of God. Knowing that God loves me and accepts me as I am and that he is giving me the graces I need to carry the cross.
Can you tell us anything about your prayer life?
Ever since I joined Madonna House over 60 years ago, I have followed the regular prayer routine of our way of life: morning prayer, spiritual reading, vespers, Mass. Other than that, I meditate, and I spend time before the Blessed Sacrament every day.
I just follow the routine of the Madonna House way of life and try to do God’s will. I find peace and consolation in saying short, repetitive prayers. The Jesus Prayer says it all. "Lord, Jesus, Christ, be merciful to me, a sinner."
The biggest thing is depending on God’s mercy. The biggest thing I can do is place all my trust in the Lord. I love St. Faustina’s simple prayer, "Jesus, I trust in you."
Do you have any advice for someone approaching old age?
I’m not an expert; I’m still learning. Little by little, I am learning to surrender to whatever God asks of me. This struggle has been ongoing my whole life: learning to be obedient to his will, to love my brothers and sisters, to forgive and not hold a grudge. Our journey of conversion continues.
I’d say to someone: try to realize that you’re in God’s hands all the time, even when you don’t feel it. He’s taking care of you. And try not to agitate too much because God knows best.
I keep struggling like everyone else to surrender. At times I feel rebellious. I wouldn’t recommend that!
And try to be honest with yourself. God loves us as we are. He accepts us as we are, and we need to do the same.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t need to use the sacraments. I will keep going to confession, receiving communion, and going to my spiritual director until it’s time to meet God face to face.
The biggest thing is to trust that God is taking care of things and that he loves us.
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