In a world without hope, to be people full of hope
At a moment in the history of the Community we found ourselves as refugees fleeing from the conflict and civil unrest in the Low Countries. This awareness led us to respond to others in this situation. People seeking Asylum as Refugees have been our neighbours, have been in the Churches and other places where we naturally get to know people. This led us to offer hospitality and an open door. A member of the Community, trained in this regard, works for a National Agency, thus taking our presence into that situation. She deals with individual cases, gets to grips with changes in the law, campaigns for justice for displaced people and keeps us up-to-date with the changing situation.
We are alerted to the plight of so many people and pray for those who work for refugees, often cut off from family and friends.
Homelessness affects young people, older people, men, women and children. We have responded to this need it a variety of ways: joining with others in the town centre on soup runs; preparing a meal at the Night Shelter; running Cookery classes for those who are near to making that transition from street living to settled living; being on the Management Committee of a London based hostel.
Until March 2014 a member of the Community taught English as a Foreign language in prison and was also on the Chaplaincy team. This was challenging work within the prison with its very exacting culture. Thus our presence was in the prison. We were alerted to pray for all the victims of crime, prisoners and those who work in our prisons. Sadly Pauline died quite unexpectedly, but the contact we had through her keeps us aware of the needs of prisoners and the staff who care for them, and especially the needs of those prisoners from overseas with little knowledge of English.
Other Charitable Trusts
A number of the Community are involved with the work of other charitable trusts – one of which is meeting the needs of people trafficked for sexual exploitation. This particular Trust, “Medaille” was launched by a group of Religious to respond to the needs of those trafficked persons, hidden – imprisoned.
In Africa, our Sisters are living amongst some of the poorest people in the world truly on the margins. There life is precarious, conflict and instability is the lasting experience of most people. Our Sisters share their experiences with us and we are in turn inspired by the way in which they live with so many difficulties, yet find joy and hope despite the tragedies, horrors and injustice which surround them. We share their situation with many people who in turn have helped us tell others and give practical and financial help in a direct way. It is a clear way of being with those on the margins, those whose fate is rarely front page news, a clear sign of the Solidarity so evident in many ways in the world.
Listening to People
Where we have chosen to live places us in situations where the voices of those among whom we live are rarely heard and often misunderstood. Our presence in the day-to-day situations gives us a direct awareness of the hard situations in which many people find themselves. We aim to enable others to speak and act for themselves.