“Three Saturdays a month, in the afternoon, we spend two hours in tutoring children from this village which is almost abandoned.
We work with two members of the community of Saint Egidio, which we were told upon arrival that “this is a school of peace.” Bénédicte cares for children from CE1 and CE2 (basic courses) and Aline those of CP1 and CP2 (preparatory courses). This phrase, “it is a school of peace” has marked us so much that today we realize that these children really need peace. Sometimes they fight one another to express their need for affection, as their great-grandparents were quarantined in the village because of their disease. There is a woman who spoke, saying, “it’s better when you’re here,” simply because these children who find it difficult to live together, fight and that is a disorder. Gradually the children get used to being together. We are very impressed by some families who, despite their living situation, radiate joy. They are happy to welcome us during the visits that we sometimes make before starting classes. We feel at home and we discover in them the face of Jesus. Through it all, we enjoy and we receive more than we give.
It’s the same thing in our experience with patients at the hospital. Among Muslims as well as Christians, we are welcome. We further find out how God’s salvation in Jesus is for everyone. It embodies the “all to all” of Cardinal Lavigerie. It’s one Saturday a month, but our joy is great. Thanks be to God, to the congregation and to all the people who make these experiences possible.” Bénédicte, novice of D.R.Congo
“Early in my ministry at the chaplaincy, giving catechesis was a challenge for me. Not only had I never done that before, but also there were 70 young people between 11 and 14 years. Quickly, I realized that catechists are prophets today and for me it was a place of true witness. I tried to give catechesis in a brief, clear and interesting way as advised Cardinal Lavigerie (see “Wind future” p. 18). I had the joy of discovering that by giving myself to these young people, I receive much more from them. I was edified by the simplicity of their faith, their spontaneity and openness in sharing that I have seen especially during the diocesan pilgrimage of young people to Dingasso (place of Marian worship not far from Bobo) in which we had the opportunity to participate. We just celebrated baptisms and confirmations for the youth with whom we work every Saturday afternoon. I have a desire in my heart that God will make of these young people his light to the world and witnesses of his love.” Magdalena, novice of Poland.
“Catechesis that I give to young students at the St Vincent de Paul chaplaincy for the youth of our parish is an opportunity to approach the people of Burkina Faso. I am with students who are preparing for baptism and first communion. Through my ministry, I feel I belong to the Church-family and I contribute to witness that God is Love. It is always a joy for the whole Church to welcome new members. I thank God for giving me this opportunity to share my faith with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Together let us pray that their faith will bear much fruit in our world.” Aurélie, novice of Burundi.
“The novitiate community has entrusted me with the apostolate of catechesis in the chaplaincy of young people. I am touched by their desire to be Christians, their conviction. I am happy to share with them when we meet before or at the end of catechesis. They love to share about their life, ask questions and ask for witnesses. There are those who come from Muslim families who decided themselves to convert. On May 16, we had 316 confirmed 19 of whom were in my class. During Mass, when I looked at them, smiling, I felt joy and I said “thank you” to God who gave me this opportunity to be with them.” Goreth, novice of Burundi.
Noviciat, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso