Mission at the margins: Traveler children

How does one do catechesis with traveler children? This encounter with Christ is an adventure born in the eyes and takes flesh in the heart. This group of children is between 7 and 12 years old, sometimes 14 and at other meetings the children are between 5 and 8 years old.

enfantcadèneThe children gather each Saturday afternoon in the beautiful chapel built by their families. To discover Christ, to listen to his words, his actions, his love for each human being attracts them. The girls have many questions about the Cadène Center (a home for the elderly and a nursing home), the “white hospital” they call it, which they can see on the long avenue des Etats Unis in Toulouse.

“Are the people there sick? Abandoned? Who visits them? We would like to see them!”

I gave some information about the institution in answer to their questions and also why it seemed to be difficult to make a real visit with the majority of them. But they showed their desire to try have this meeting of the friends of Jesus. Thus, since 2013 we go to the “white hospital” in small groups of 3 or 4 children. Their presence has been a surprise to the caregivers and shown surprise and joy on the part of those hospitalized. The little girls have quickly learned their names, their faces, their handicaps… But it seems to me that the wonder has been mutual.

“Sister,” said 10 year old Morgane, “Marie-Cath is so pretty!!!” That child spontaneously saw the beauty in the heart of the sick sister. No words, but her look and her smile!

enfantcadène1Camélia (10 years old) said, “the Sister with no teeth, when I look at her eyes, I know she is happy to see me. I take her hand… We don’t need to speak…”

According to Sandy, she would like to give joy to “rachaï” (“priest” in the Romani language) by singing the refrain to a gypsy song… and the “Rachaï” cried listening to it.

Thus we hold our visits to the little “white hospital.” “Jesus cured many sick people, He is God,” said Mélodie. “We cure a little bit by giving joy.”

Sr Dominique
Daughter of Charity