French Community at St Teresa Parish
by Veronique Caffrey
The parish of Saint Teresa of Avila is and has been a very special place for the French speaking community represented by the CCFC (Communauté Catholique Francophone de Chicago)! About 12 years ago a couple of French mothers were seeking religious education for their children and were searching for a parish in Chicago to welcome them. We met with Father John Hoffman at St. Teresa and we were welcomed right away! What a joy and a blessing! We started to have our catechism classes in the old building of what was the school. I think we went in all the free space possible, not always the safest places but we were just thankful to be there! We met in the old offices, the Montessori school, the parish center, and the actual education center. I remember our meeting in the old convent and saying prayers in the little chapel that was there. The parish of St. Teresa always made us feel at home.
Lots of children went back to France or moved to other countries with memories of St. Teresa in their hearts, which they will keep wherever they are and for their lives as the place they received Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation. We had French speaking priests helping us all these years, Father Bideri, Father Pascal, Father Toussaint, Father Gauthier, Father Iovane, Father Paul, Father Timothy…. They were with us for short times or longer and were able to also be part of St. Teresa of Avila. For them also it has also been a special place.
We are so grateful to all of the American priests and especially Father Frank who we met and all the community of St. Teresa who might have looked at us like strangers but always with smiles and the desire to welcome us. It has been a place where friendships were created between very different cultures with a common love for Christ. We are now part of the parish and are able to share our love for Christ, to live our Faith, all of this because of the open mindedness and community spirit of St Teresa. We will be forever thankful.