An ad, a call:

A little distracted, I had read an ad that asked for volunteers to welcome the homeless during the winter. It was on Ash Wednesday that this call came to me with great intensity, "Mia, you must do that!" I phoned the manager who told me that she was still looking for volunteers to simply sit among people who come to the church hall, from 3 to 7 pm.

My answer: "I will go."

People entered the room where various drinks were available, as much as they wished. At 5 pm a hot meal was offered. There were about 50 to 60 people. They all served themselves and some came up a second and even a third time. I too served myself so as to eat like them and be with them. Sometimes one of them even brought me a plate!

pianiste de rueWhat more to say about those meetings?

Mostly I listened a lot. Some people told me their personal story: no work, drugs, loneliness ... There were Belgians but also "undocumented" of different nationalities. I felt good among them, among the "favorite of Jesus" as I often think. I really admired the courage and the will of these people who wanted to "get out." I was moved by the sincerity and confidence with which they shared with me their life stories. Unfortunately March 31 I went there for the last time as it closed with the end of winter. So no longer a place to spend the night but again on the street or in an abandoned building.

I think about the conference that Sister Carmen Sammut gave to the UISG (International Union of Superiors General). Did she not tell us: "What are these young people telling us, as they take drugs; sleep in the streets? ... We must create spaces of friendship ... We are sent to the periphery ... to live a lifestyle that knows how to say "that is enough."

Mia Van LooyA new little ad!

This time, it's for a "Café without beer" ... a place to receive single people, ex-prisoners, or people with drug problems ... that needed volunteers. We had our first meeting with the leaders of the project.

From little ads to the calls of God, I join according to my age and at my own pace, the "peripheries" mentioned so often by Pope Francis.

Sister Mia Van Looy, Missionary Sister of Our Lady of Africa,
Antwerp, Belgium

READ MORE : In the midst of the "poor"

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