On February 15, 2024, Josselin and Lena celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary, sharing with us the highs and lows of their marital journey. Their experience becomes a living metaphor for life together, marked by bright moments and challenges. At every stage of this adventure, they remained faithful to the Lord, demonstrating the importance of placing God at the center of their relationship.

On this February 15, 2024, we celebrate our 55th wedding anniversary, a day of joy and thanksgiving!

We both hail from Martinique and are the eldest in large families. We have three children, two daughters, and a son, as well as three grandchildren, some living in Martinique and others in mainland France. I, Josselin, started working at the age of 15 at Pont et Chaussés as an apprentice mechanic, while Lena worked as a bookstore saleswoman. We met at a young age, became engaged after the majority age, and got married after my military service in Guyane.

We won’t say it’s been 55 years of unbroken sunshine and joy without any worries. Neither will we claim it’s been 55 years of constant rain, deluge, storm, and hurricane. In fact, married life is like the weather, like the sky, well-known to us in Martinique. A passing cloud, a good shower, and 5, 10 minutes later, the sun takes over, and life continues thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Through reflection, we realized the importance of these cloudy moments in a relationship. Similar to the earth, they are useful for soil fertility and seeding. But unlike the earth, for fruitful variations, the couple must have the cross of Christ planted at the center. It’s a crucial point in the covenant of the couple with God. The presence of Christ in our marriage allowed us to welcome the seed in our hearts, ensuring that the Word of God is at the center of our mutual love. That’s what we want to testify to: our love anchored and sealed in God’s love, symbolized by our wedding rings. God makes a covenant with His people!

Our first challenging experience during our engagement was the separation during my 16-month military service in Guyane. With God’s grace, we overcame all obstacles and remained faithful to our commitment. The Lord placed people on our path who guided, advised, and testified to the joy of living in a Christ-centered relationship.

This was decisive for our future, and our presence together testifies to it today. After our marriage, I, Josselin, went to France in 1970 for a year of training in Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. I left my wife with our one-year-old eldest daughter and pregnant with the second, whom I saw five months after her birth.

In our daily lives, we also experienced God’s mercy and kindness, especially in those moments. Throughout these years, we faced various challenges, always clinging to Christ through prayer, the sacrament of reconciliation, and the Eucharist. This strengthened our faith in Jesus.

Embarking on the path of married life, we were like a child accompanied by parents learning to walk, with hesitations, stumbles, and inevitable falls. But we always found a hand to help us get up and continue with a bit more confidence, remaining vigilant to obstacles. The Lord took care of us, and we carried within us the phrase “move forward in deep waters.”

In 1996, we experienced the CANA Week at the Foyer de Charité, leading us on a new path, a Chemin Neuf (New Way)! A path of perpetual newness following Christ in our marriage, family, and relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. But this commitment to follow Him was not always well understood by our loved ones; following Christ is also this!

The deeper we go with Him, the more we discover our poverty, but we are happy to be in the service of His Church. To strengthen ourselves, we underwent a training cycle in 2008 and the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius in 2011 (30 days).

In 2011, the community sent us on a mission to the farthest reaches of the earth, to the Foyer de Charité in Mauritius! This was an opportunity to experience the greatness of God’s love for His people. Our five years there were a beautiful experience on all levels, evolving in mutual respect and adjusting daily to the will of the Lord.

Today, we thank you, Lord, for reminding us: “It is not you who chose me, but I who chose you. I appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.” After several missions in community houses, since 2019, we have been in a neighborhood fraternity in our own home in Fort-de-France.

Lord, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, allow us to continue witnessing your love in faith and to pursue our daily conversion. We are grateful for allowing us to build a family and walk with You in humility, faith, perseverance in the service of Your Church.