“When we have nothing, we discover that God is all we need”, stated Sister Gilberte Bussières, CND, during her conference before an attentive audience at Maison Jésus-Marie, in Longueuil, in April.
Coming to meet her “neighbors” in heart and mind, Sister Gilberte spoke about the events related to her abduction and her 58 days of captivity in utter destitution, with her two unfortunate companions. Explaining in great detail the first moments of this abduction around 11 PM, on April 4, 2014, Sister Gilberte experienced the agony of a first night in captivity, in a nightgown, without shoes, and alone among seven armed men in a car that had been stolen from the mission where she was living.
Worried and in shock, she took refuge in prayer by often repeating Psalm 15 and in surrendering herself to God’s plan. It was only during a necessary stop by the kidnappers that she realized she was not alone in living these same painful events. The two Italian priests abducted the same night from a mission not too far from hers, had discovered her existence and had negotiated with the kidnappers so that she could end up in the same car as theirs. The rest of the journey, although very stressful, was somewhat more reassuring.
Living in complete destitution
Their arrival at a Nigerian camp during the afternoon was another shock for them. Apart from the fact that they had nothing to shelter them, as a welcome gift, they received a 10 kilo bag of Nigerian spaghetti, some tomato paste and a container of water which smelled and tasted like oil.“ We then became aware that we would be there for a long time.”
Even though everything could have led to discouragement, Sister Gilberte kept the faith. “We did not wish for this situation. We could not change it. It was up to us to change our attitude in the face of it”, she repeated to her companions in captivity. They succeeded, little by little, by getting organized from the first night and by seeking shelter under the trees. However, those who talk about living under the trees might be surprised by the colonies of black ants, snakes and other critters… “We had a lot of difficulty sleeping at night”, she said while pointing out that they had named their place of misfortune “the Inn of a Thousand Stars”!
Their first days were dedicated to the pure and simple organization of their lives. They marked out a trail in the forest in 50 metre increments, so that they could take daily walks despite the fact that two of them had no shoes. “We shared the Word of God during our daily 8 to 10 kilometre walks.”