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Sister Marie Jasmine, autonomy first and foremost

Malvoyante, albino, a member of the congregation of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate, she dedicated her life to promoting the empowerment of children with disabilities.

"JI am visually impaired and albino. If I had not had this birth handicap in me, maybe I would not have had the joy of evolving within this institute. Now, he made me, too. " Installed in one of the meeting rooms of the regional institute of the young deaf and blind of Marseille (Irsam), Sister Marie Jasmine, voluble and available, returns on a life which she chose to dedicate to this institution.

Daughter of farmers on the island of Reunion, Marie Jasmine Dijoux was born in 1957 in a modest environment and a sibling where four of the six children are albinos. "It is very stigmatizing, by our skin color, or that of our eyes. Even more than the misunderstanding ", She asks. Mockery she wipes during childhood, Marie Jasmine draws a will: that of accessing true autonomy. "It's a real way of life. When one is disabled, one sometimes has a tendency – oneself and others around – to want the world to adapt to us. I think the opposite. What do I have in me to open myself to the world? " She asks.

This questioning will first lead to the Center de la Ressource, Irsam antenna on the island of Reunion, managed by the sisters of Mary Immaculate: "I drew from it the common life, the sense of companionship. And then the desire, both religious and educational, to give birth in each one of his best. " Marie Jasmine becomes, in college and then in high school, the first case "Inclusive education" a visually impaired child, educated in a traditional school in Saint-Denis de La Réunion.

In 1984, in Marseille, she entered the novitiate of the sisters of Mary Immaculate, not without "To have gone to see if his path could be elsewhere". But all brings her back to Irsam. Naturally, his taste for "The fight towards empowerment" leads to teaching: "I was keen to accompany my peers, to tell them: you are capable! " At the establishment Arc-en-ciel in Marseille, created one hundred and sixty years ago, she continues the work of her life. Educator, then teacher, she then became responsible for pedagogy and inclusion in the city, before assuming the direction; while, at the same time, she takes the head of her congregation.

"To teach is to give each one according to his needs, to help him to push his capacities to the maximum, so that he can bloom", She summarizes. The retreat, in 2012, does not sound the end of Sister Marie Jasmine's action. As a member of the institute's board of directors, she defends her approach to disability. "So that decisions are not only guided by the economy, but also by my founding values," launches the sexagenarian in a bright smile. Because Sister Marie Jasmine has an easy laugh. Happy, she says, for having worked for her autonomy and that of others, she admits with mischief "To feel good in his basques! " Before adding: "Still, I was leaving with some balls on my feet …"

Coralie Bonnefoy (in Marseille)



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