Thanks to your support, 9 homeless people hosted at the Perichaux center of the association dePaul du 15ème in Paris were able to participate in the Fratello World Day of the Poor festival in November 2019.
In spite of their life situations and difficulties, this trip and this meeting were an opportunity to experience real highlights such as recharging one's batteries of Faith, Hope and Love to heal faults and frailties.
After 2 preparation sessions with the supervising teams, the group left by train, each of the 9 persons being equipped with a small luggage for the 4 days of travel and accommodation.
Let's listen to them:
Anna : "I thank you all for your support for our little pilgrimage to Lourdes with Fratello: in thought, in prayer, financially ... You have allowed us to live four "extra-ordinary" days, far from the misery of the streets of Paris. »
Known by Depaul for 3 years, in mental suffering and with an alcohol addiction, Anna has been living on the streets of Paris for a long time. At the beginning of 2019 she decided to change her life and started a detoxification follow-up. Withdrawal and her ability to manage the treatment allowed her to participate in the Fratello pilgrimage to Lourdes in November. Rather solitary, she was the first of our group to come to the station. She told me, "Being able to go to Lourdes is already a miracle for me. She participated fully in all the demonstrations. But in the afternoons she was often tired because of her treatment and she had to go back to her room to rest. She took the time to recollect herself, to walk around town, to fill bottles with water for her street colleagues... And, for the last big closing prayer vigil, she read a prayer in Polish in front of the whole assembly. Since her return from Lourdes she has been able to access a temporary place in an emergency shelter. Paul's association continues to support her in the difficult moments that she unfortunately continues to go through.
Justin : « We had the joy of attending an exceptional performance of the parable of the Prodigal Son. Mixing biblical reality and contemporary elements, texts and songs, the show moved us greatly. Then followed testimonies that brought tears to our eyes. The three main actors told us about the hardships they went through when they arrived at the Cenacolo, a center for people who are detoxing from alcohol and drugs through the sole forces of prayer and fraternal ties. The role of the father was played by a priest who came there to rebuild himself. We too experienced intense moments of communion and fraternity with all the pilgrims during the vigils, celebrations, processions and especially with the small community that we formed with Depaul, Hiver Solidaire Notre-Dame-des-Champs and the "Sharing the Gospel" group of Sister Danièle. In spite of the incessant rains, we were illuminated by the Virgin Mary and by Saint Bernadette and we returned with the sun in our hearts.»
Andrew - Director of the association dePaul France
"Everything went well, with a lot of fraternity among the different groups, and among the members of our group, strong moments, such as the washing of the feet between the welcome and the welcoming, very joyful vigils, very dignified celebrations. The last gift for me was from Zaza, who had been welcomed at Depaul for 3 months, who had to return to the street after 3 nights in a comfortable bed. Arrived in Montparnasse, after looking for his sleeping bag and after finding his little corner of the sidewalk, he called me to see if I too had arrived home."
Thanks to you they were able to turn the page for a while on their worries and difficulties,
and live strong times together in community and cohesion.