How many angry and discouraged people from the margins of society are there in France, who are willing to put themselves and hundreds of innocent people to death?
A country hit hard
Indeed, Nice again touched all of France, as Paris had recently. Talking with local French people, they openly express fear and worries, although I am personally surprised by their tolerance towards immigrants, who with great difficulties confluence with French society.
Parisians are open and kind
And I am surprised about the relaxed state of mind and infatuation of the local Muslims. They do not feel any pressure by the society, and rightly so.
I wonder how would Slovenians react to, for example, seeing a tourist worker, a Muslim, which day after such an attack in Slovenia, would play loud Arabic music in his ‘bike taxi’ and invite passers-by to be transported from one end of town to another?
Parisians are not burdened by these kind of sights and continue to live their lives, which is more or less open and accepting of everyone, even be a different one.
We are staying at Chatillon
We were informed by the Ark community in Beauvais that we could be staying there from September on. Currently it is vacation time in France and many members of the community will also be staying at various holiday destinations. Even though we wished to, it will probably be to late for us in September, since we’ll most likely be alredy staying in Spain at that time.Children without a home, amid pomp and glamour. Click To Tweet
This is a reason for us to keep staying in Chatillon, where we were kindly offered the opportunity to stay as long as we would need. Of course, during this time we did not stay still at all. Contrary, our week was full of activities and new plans.
p. Jean Philippe Chauveau
In Paris, precisely in Bois de Boulogne (Boulogne woods), there is a well known priest p. Jean Philippe Chauveau. You might know about him from reading an incredible book called Priest among prostitutes. Recently he has also visited Slovenia back in February this year.
A camper – an oasis of peace
They call him Padre (father) in Paris and his mission is a special one. At nights, he is spending his time in his camper van, where he offers shelter and support for all drug addicts, homeless and prostitutes, which can be found in abundance in these “woods”. An oasis of peace, as they say.
Holy medals and chocolate
Each Monday, a group of his volunteers (more than 150) would go out on the streets and distribute religious medals and chocolate among people. Medals are for keeping spirit strong, chocolate is for joy. Simple acts, attentive and no condemnation.
His achievements are well known. With a help of p. Philippe, many prostitutes already found a way out of the vicious circle of addiction towards brighter, free and a decent life.
Recently in Paris, we visited his association called Magdalene. They organize a number of activities to help people on the margins of society, especially prostitutes. Center was not operational at the time being, but we were lucky enough to meet Jessica at the door.
Since we do not speak French, we spoke in Spanish, which I have almost totally forgotten after all these years. However, we soon realized that words can flow in any case when it comes to something important. 🙂
I explained her our mission to visit various European communities and voluntary organizations, spend some time there working as volunteers, writing about it on the blog and collecting funds for them at the same time.
We might head into the woods as well
She told us that she is well acquainted with p. Jean Philippe and that she is also a collaborator at Magdalene activities, specifically, she helps Bois de Boulogne girls in the process of getting back to normal society again.
Jessica has promised us to find someone who speaks English and can present their projects. If this is a God’s will, we might be joining some of their activities for a while as well. In any case, we would be glad to be able to meet p. Jean Philippe.
Things that hurt
We were touched by another situation. We met with Mrs Astrid that we mentioned earlier in our previous post. We first saw her in the Ark community in Rome and we kept in touch with her ever-since.
She invited us to dinner in the center of Paris, where among other things, we discussed various charities in this city.
Then we were strolling along the river Seine in a nice cool night walk. Life on the streets was lively, full of youth and full of energy. But something stood out from the rest…
Homeless children in the heart of wealthy Europe
On the streets of Paris there were so many homeless people, in fact whole families and many homeless children, who were there all alone, so that we simply could not ignore this sight.
Of course, you may face beggars and homeless during daylight. Close to Paris tourist sights you can see many tents where people live without proper home and a decent life.
All this is of course difficult to accept, but the kids at night, even without parents nearby, all alone, seeing them on populated streets full of tourists how they wrap themselves in old blankets and sleep on torn yogis, without any pillow.
We can start by praying
You can imagine how they observe the happy faces of other passers-by from their beds, observing their happier peers with ice creams and in safe hands of their mom and dads. Although shocking and incomprehensible, yet these kind of sights are another confirmation for our decision to travel.
We have not seen any person who would offer help to those children, offer them a shelter or approach them in any other way. In any case, we can at least share our prayer with you. At last we all have a chance to connect with them in our spirits for a start.
We certainly hope that in the coming weeks we will be in touch with some of the organizations that specifically deal with homeless children and their families. We hope we’re not the only ones touched by their miserable condition.
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