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Do you know Monalisa, a cure for loneliness?

Is this the famous painting of the Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo da Vinci? No, it is a major French citizen movement: National Mobilization against the Social Isolation of the Aged

The French “Mouvement Chrétien des Retraités” (MCR) was a signatory of the National Charter Monalisa in 2014 with 40 other associations.

Within Monalisa, the citizens ' teams made up of members of all tendencies have the common cause of the struggle against the loneliness of the elderly. They are stakeholders in values such as the singularity of each person, openness to others, the sense of altruism, the selfless support of elderly visited.

The teams aim to create a link in their immediate environment and to improve the quality of life of the elderly through listening, friendship, support in General.

In a local team of the MCR attached to the Diocese of Côtes-d'Armor (Brittany) was born a citizen team Monalisa.

  • in what spirit was this team able to see the light of day?
  • how did it get started?
  • how does the Monalisa citizen team work?


1 – in what spirit was this team able to see the light of day?

This team works to create a link with the isolated elderly, to make their lives softer. This is a need of the society not new, but which has seriously increased in recent years. We are witnessing an acceleration of the aging of the elderly, all of whose consequences are not borne by the public authorities. Loneliness affects 27% of the 75 years and older ; there are 1.5 million of people aged + 75 years isolated socially, that is, they are not approached by any association, it is huge!

It is therefore in conscience that the team set out to bring wellness to isolated elderly people. Note that this is fully in the context of the Catholic action of which our Movement is the vector.

2 – How did it get started?

It was able to get started thanks to Monalisa, acronym which means, in French, national mobilization against the isolation of older people. Monalisa is a national system dating from 2013, initiated by the Government of the time. The founding Charter was signed in the presence of the Minister of the City, Youth and Sports and Mrs Laurence Rossignol, Secretary of State responsible for the Family, the Elderly and Autonomy, by secular, charitable and confessional associations invited to engage in this system.

This is what the national MCR did; This commitment allows to approve the creation of Monalisa citizen teams in all dioceses.

The Monalisa objective is to make sure that all the territory in its every nook and cranny is covered by teams Monalisa-from associations or citizens-able to visit the isolated elderly people. This presupposes that these stakeholders are working together on the ground and are considering shared actions. Therefore Monalisa is organized on three very complementary levels: national, departmental and local.

The Monalisa principle is enshrined in the law on the adaptation of the society to aging of 28 December 2015, it is a great advance, a recognition of what is done on the ground, with prospects of financing for certain actions. Already, training courses  for the accompaniment of the elderly, listening courses, took place which the Breton team was able to benefit, thus making it more professional.

3 – How does the Monalisa citizen team work?

This team was recognized as "Monalisa citizen team" on January 22, 2016. It is made up of 9 people, one of whom is Coordinator. Please note that a team can be made up of 4 people.

A citizens ' team means that they will be available to any older person without mentioning their Christian identity. This is more than a the citizen team: evangelization is done through a testimony that goes through a presence and acts.

It was a young retiree woman who came up with the idea of visiting isolated seniors. The Monalisa device has fallen very much timely...

The isolated elderly are reported to him by the local team of the MCR, and also by the CCAS (Municipal Social Action Center ) of two Breton cities with whom a partnership has been established. The official launch on the local level was done by press conference at the Town Hall of Binic. Posters and flyers have been distributed.

A volunteer Charter has been signed that retracing the rights and obligations of the movement and volunteers.

In a team project drafted and negotiated together, the team defined its scope of intervention in the field, its mode of intervention (in pairs), its role (at first, listening, caring, accompanying) the rhythm of its visits (1 per week for 1 hour/1h30). She also wished that the team would report every month and a half in writing and exchange on what had been experienced and the difficulties.

I will end with a quote of Pope Francis in an interview with the newspaper la Croix.

For him, " The duty of Christianity for Europe is service ."  Well, Monalisa fully responds to this duty of service to which every Christian must consent especially when it comes to caring for fragility.



Rosita Carpier