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FROM JOAN
 

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Notes from November 2006
         On they who also serve

Sr. Edmee is about 84 years old.  Her memory is not so good--maybe Alzheimers.  Her right hand has a very bad tremor--maybe Parkinsons.  She usually doesn't go very far away from the temporary convent, because in April she was hit by a motorcycle while trying to help some little kids cross the street.  She had to rest in bed for about 6 weeks.  She usually spends her days praying, sweeping, washing dishes, and re-arranging things is the dining room. 

(One of the sisters had bought an egg to give me for supper for my birthday.  She had placed it on the kitchen table so that the cook could find it.  For some reason, Sr. Edmee put it behind the coffee cups--where we found it the next morning.)
 
In addition to the 8 Sisters, 9 pensioners (live-in students), cook, lab technician, laundry lady, and Andre, we now have two little girls living with us. 
 

Stephanie, age 5, is the niece of Miss Ninote, the lab technician.  Anita, age 7, is the daughter of the former guardian Andre, who was injured when the big gate fell on him in early August and is now paralyzed from the waist down.  His welfare is now the responsibility of the Sisters--as is the welfare and education of his daughter Anita.

Of course, Stephanie and Anita have more energy and free time that most of us, so they are usually looking for someone to entertain them.  Since the rest of us are busy, that someone is usually Sr. Edmee. 

Each one of the little girls takes one of Sr. Edmee's hands and leads her to their make-believe classroom (where she is the student) or their make-believe beauty salon (where she is the client).

 

 

Pere Ronel, in his sessions with the catechists, says that whatever our vocation, we should do it for God to the best of our ability--priest, sister, teacher, mechanic, nurse, spouse.

They also serve who only sit with the children.

 

Henri is a tailor in Bombard.  He is nearly blind, so I am not sure how he is able to sew in his dark little house.  He is also a former catechist for St. Francois. 

When it is possible, I try to accompany the sisters in Bombard when they visit the sick or home-bound to pray and bring communion.  Henri is one of the people we visit.  However, at his house, he is the one who reads the gospel for the day, and then explains it to us. 

They also serve who only sit and sew.


 During my 5 week stay in Bombard in August, a little girl named Posline would come in raggedy clothes every day to get the food scraps the Sisters put in a bucket outside the kitchen.  She would carry the bucket and scraps to a big female hog tied to a tree behind the convent.  Then she would return the empty bucket with a smile, telling me that the pig was getting really big...very true, because the pig was pregnant.
 
It took me a few days to understand the situation.  The pig did not belong to the Sisters, but to Madame Lorenz, one of the elders of the church who has a little shop near the church where she sells, rice, beans, sugar, and spaghetti.  Posline was not her granddaughter, but a little girl Madame Lorenz had taken in from a very poor family.  The family could not afford enough food to feed Poseline and their other children, so they had *given* Posline to Madame Lorenz to help with the shop and the pig.  In exchange, Madame Lorenz would take care of Posline and make sure she went to church and school.  What was amazing to me was that Posline was always smiling, always giving a cheerful greeting.  Perhaps because she had a job feeding the pig, and a meal and a bed every night. 

They also serve who are joyful because they realize their blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving, Joan

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