Log-book: September 2003

  Family reunion An unexpected agreement 
  At the village market 
  French Bibliography  Archives of Partenia 




The Bible

Special Edition

Family reunion

In a small village of France, my cousin was celebrating her fiftieth year in a religious order. She came from Jerusalem where she had spent more than forty years working in a hospital. Her large family insisted that the event be celebrated with dignity. Everyone there, young and old, make it a point of honour to be a practising Catholic.  fête de famille

église du village The celebration in the church of the village inaugurated the festivities. The younger generation was in charge of the activities. At the beginning of the mass, it came to my mind that I should not make a sermon. Would it not be better to ask my cousin to say a word? After the Gospel had been proclaimed, I asked her to come to the microphone. I expected her to refuse but she accepted willingly and gave a beautiful testimony of her faith in front of all her family gathered there. 

When I asked her what had been more precious for her during her fifty years in a religious order, she answered: " it is to have been loved by God and to have experienced his fidelity throughout the years ".

It was impossible for me not to ask her about the Palestinians: " how did you live through the split between these two peoples? ". " It is painful, even in my own community. And I saw the sufferings of the Palestinians and the injustice they are victim of on a daily basis ". You could hear a pin drop in the assembly.  le mur

In the community centre, refreshments and different meals prepared by the families had been placed on a large table. Everyone helped himself or herself. Everything was done with simplicity. This togetherness felt good.






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An unexpected agreement
sans-papiers de Lille The committee for the illegal refugees of Lille has invited me to visit those that were on their 56-day of a hunger strike, especially those who were in serious condition at the hospital. It was during a heat wave. 
I was greeted at the station and immediately led to the Job Opportunities Centre (Bourse du travail). Under the tents, groups of strangers from different nationalities were lying there, exhausted and much thinner. Some women were also there. I insisted on speaking with each man and each woman, and tried to encourage them. They smiled and applauded me when I was saying: " once your status is regularized, it will be time for celebration. Do not forget to invite me when you are out of bed so I can see you on your own two legs ".

The visit of the hospitals in the area was very tiring. I shook hands with young people speaking mostly with their eyes. I see desperation in them.  une fois regularisé

Surprise: I was invited to attend a meeting organized by the Prefect of the area. I rushed out of the hospital to attend this meeting in company of the rector of the mosque of Lille and the auxiliary bishop. The Prefect asked to end the hunger strike. In return he will kindly re-examine the files so that the regularization can be done in the months to come.
I left to go back to the hospitals to announce the good news to the illegal refugees. This announcement is incredible good news to them. Many of them cry out of joy. In the departments, doctors and nursing staff are happy and relieved. The hunger strike will come to an end.



At the village market

In company of my nephew and my great-nephew, I went of the market to buy a few things. We stopped in front of a stand with sweat suits and sportswear. The young salesman was a coloured man. He looked at me carefully. I felt his hesitation but did nothing to help him out.  promendade

After a moment, he firmly held out his hand to me saying: ' I know you ". He was visibly happy to have recognized me. I congratulated him. I learned he was Pakistani.
" I know what you do for foreigners, he told me, and I appreciate your attention to everyone ".

il prend tout son temps These unexpected words brought to my mind the attitude of Jesus. When he meets someone along the way, he takes his time to be with that person. He gives that person time so that the person can change and recognize him. He leaves the group to be present to that person. 

Does he not invite us to adopt the same attitude? " What you will do to one of these children who are my brothers ". Jesus does not say what you do for " the crowd " but to " one " of these children.
The young Pakistani was still looking at me. He was totally absorbed in making me a gift. A gift that I gave to my little nephew.