“Life will always be the strongest”

“Life will always be the strongest”

It was eight years ago. On a road in Guyana, where she is staying before going to the WYD in Rio*, Sophie Morinière, 21, dies in a bus accident. The testimony of faith of his parents moved the whole of France. On the occasion of All Saints' Day, both look back on this ordeal which transformed their lives.

Do All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day have a particular resonance for you?

FM: I have always had the “coal burner’s faith”, as they say. All Saints’ Day was for me a celebration like any other. But for eight years, we have been experiencing it in a particular way. We meet to pray at the cemetery, often with friends. In my eyes, All Saints' Day takes precedence over All Souls' Day: we are certain that Sophie is in Heaven, in the happiness of the saints. November 2 seems to me to be a sadder day, more focused on disappearance, on absence.

These differences also run through the couple…

BM: Inevitably! When one is doing well, the other is doing badly. A priest, to whom I related this disturbing discrepancy, explained to me that this was part of the graces of Christian marriage.

FM: It is essential to respect in others what we experience ourselves. Why would he be different from us? Over time, the moments of great sorrow become less profound. We have better control over our emotions. For us, the first relief was to pass a year, to complete one turn of the dial…

BM: And getting over all the first times without Sophie.

FM: The first Christmas, the first ski vacation, the first Mother’s Day, her first birthday…

This ordeal, Francis, pushed you to bear witness to your faith, including in your professional environment, not really confined to devotions!

FM: HAS L’Équipe (press group he then headed, Editor’s note) , people knew about my faith, but I was pretty quiet. And overnight, colleagues spread the word: “All at the vigil this evening in Saint-Léon (15th century church arr. of Paris, Editor's note), we must go and pray for François' daughter. »And here I am live on Radio Notre-Dame. I can't hide anymore! It was also Sophie who pushed me to testify.

Nobody in your house revolted?

FM: I have the impression that our children have rather developed their spiritual lives.

BM: Perhaps because they had the example of a committed sister…

FM: But in fact, this could have confused them: “She died on the way to WYD, this world is absurd, I'm sending everything flying. » But that didn't happen.

Was God never silent?

BM: Very quickly, there is a choice to make. With or without God. If he's not with us, it's a double whammy. We tried to live this drama in faith.

FM: God may be silent, but he makes himself present through all those who reach out to us, who support us, who tell us the words we need to hear. We can say that it is chance. I prefer to see signs there!

You have two grandchildren aged two years and two months. What kind of grandparents are you?

BM: I have the weakness to think that I appreciate my status as a grandmother more than if I still had Sophie. I hear some who are worried about their free time. I want to tell them: this is life, it’s great! Our family has shrunk – I also lost my father recently – and now it's growing again. I find this incredibly powerful. Life will always be the strongest. When I have these little babies in my arms, I realize that she is precious.

What advice would you give to those like you who are going through painful grief?

BM: I know what helped me: prayer on the one hand, to keep God with me. Then, accepting to be surrounded. The first year, I was unable to be alone at home, I would cry on my friends' sofa. And there is action. At the very beginning, I couldn't make any plans. But I quickly understood that it was better for me to go back to work, to accomplish things so as to feel less gloomy.

FM: I would be careful not to give a recipe, we must respect each story, each person. But I agree with Béatrice. It's so heavy to bear, mourning! Sharing it is already lightening your burden.

* World Youth Day, which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in July 2013.

>>> Also read on lepelerin.com: Experiencing absence

Their bio

  • October 25, 1964. Birth of François.
  • June 23, 1966. Birth of Béatrice.
  • August 4, 1990. Marriage. Four children were born from their union: Sophie (1992), Juliette (1993), Paul (1996) and Matthieu (1999).
  • 2008. François takes charge of the group The Team .
  • 2012. Béatrice enrolls at the Collège des Bernardins.
  • July 17, 2013. Death of Sophie, the eldest of the siblings, at the age of 21.
  • 2015. Publication of the book And the Sky becomes familiar (Ed. Le Passeur) which relates this ordeal.
  • 2017. François becomes chairman of the management board of the Labruyère group.
  • 2018. François becomes a member of the supervisory board of Bayard, publisher of Pilgrim.

A site brings together texts in memory of Sophie: sophiemoriniere.wordpress.com

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