Catherine Remise: Wisdom Sought, Found and Shared
Catherine Remise of Paris, France, found in Scientology the wisdom she had searched for, and a personal mission and true home in the West African nation of Mali.
In her pursuit of truth, Catherine Remise looked to the East.
Yet a yearlong stay in India and several years traveling through every country from her native France to Japan left her disappointed.
“I still had an unquenched thirst for spiritual freedom and to truly understand life,” says Remise.
After searching afar for wisdom, it was, ironically, back in Paris in July 1983 that Remise finally found the truth she was looking for—when a friend introduced her to Scientology.
“My understanding of others and life, my ability to create and be causative, the certainty that I will survive no matter what, confidence in my own immortality—this is what I have gained. How can I express how much this means to me?” she says.
For most of the next two decades, Remise studied Scientology, held a staff position at the Church of Scientology of Paris, and later served as a volunteer on Church humanitarian programs.
Then in the summer of 2006, the course of Remise’s life took an abrupt turn—southward to Africa. A small group in the French-speaking West African nation of Mali contacted European Scientology headquarters in Copenhagen requesting seminars in Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Study Technology and Remise was asked to go.
“When I was asked to go to Mali, the oddest thing took place. I felt a special affinity pulling me there,” says Remise.
Remise describes those first weeks in the country as magical. She fell in love with the people and the culture—a unique blend of North African Arabic and traditional Western African beliefs and practices.
“The welcome I received moved me more than I can say. The people I trained were so appreciative and wanted me to come back to stay,” she says.
Which is exactly what she did. Remise and her husband Claude moved to Bamako, the capital of Mali, where they established a Scientology group called the Maliane Association whose motto is “Open the Doors of Knowledge.”
Remise is committed to improving conditions in this Western African nation.
“Mali is one of the poorest countries on Earth. Graft and corruption is rife. Development funds rarely reach the people—they live in desperate need and eventually too many simply give up, concluding that only the dishonest prosper,” she says.
“Most Malians are so severely undernourished they have no resistance to disease,” says Remise. “It gets to the point you begin to expect the worst—when someone has not shown up as expected, he may well have died. To make matters worse, education standards are so low, students cannot master basic language or vocational skills needed to change their lot. All of this promotes an attitude of no hope—no future for many in the country.”
But despite their hardships, Remise has found the people of Mali very spiritual, open and welcoming of new ideas. They instantly grasp the wisdom of Scientology.
The Remises devised a four-pronged program: L. Ron Hubbard Study Technology to raise the level of literacy; The Way to Happiness, a nonreligious, common-sense morale code to combat apathy and corruption; the Scientology Volunteer Ministers program to provide practical know-how to improve conditions; and Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health to overcome spiritual barriers to survival and restore the will to live.
The couple and their team of volunteers travel throughout the country providing seminars.
Their help extends further at the grassroots level through the people they train. Case in point, the elderly man who traveled 50 kilometers to attend a Dianetics Seminar at the Maliane Association in Bamako in 2009. He had learned about Dianetics from an itinerant bookseller who had a copy of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health by L. Ron Hubbard. After learning at the seminar to apply Dianetics techniques, for the past two years he has provided Dianetics counseling to the people of his village.
While continuing to concentrate on Mali, the Remises also reach out to countries throughout North and Western Africa, from Algeria to the Congo and Senegal to Nigeria. They are changing lives with The Way to Happiness correspondence courses—witness the testimonial sent in by one of the students on completing his study of the booklet:
“We always believed we would never have the opportunity to live our lives as we wanted and desired,” he wrote. “We lived from one frustration to the next, trouble sticking to us like skin. Now we have made the decision to be happy here and now. That is why I am creating a better future, rather than simply hoping to have a better life with no means to make it happen. I thank God for how well this is going. I feel serene—I have an inner calm. I have confidence in myself. Let us maintain the momentum and continue this work. I wish you all the happiness in the world.”
Focused on helping others, Remise says what she has gained in return is priceless.
“I take great personal pride in what I am doing,” says Remise. “Knowledge is not something to keep for yourself—it is something to use and share.”
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