From Chiampino airport in Rome we flew to Beauvais, about 90 km away from Paris. Or otherwise, from 36 degrees Celsius, as measured that day in Rome, to around 23 degrees in France. Our summer clothes were not appropriate at all.
On planes it is evermore difficult to escape marketing offers
Two hour flight by Ryanair was quite enough. We were crowded like sardines, with promotions every five minutes delivered through the speakers; lottery tickets, food, perfume and cosmetics. You can buy everything on the plane. This is the way low cost airlines operate; you pay less, but in return you are forced to listen to their commercials. You might not be able to escape the advertisements, but on the end it is still worth it.
Important contact in France
If we were still anxious two days prior to our departure from Rome on how or what we shall be doing in France, all pieces got together nicely in the last minutes. Aina (responsible for Uliva house of Community Il Chicco) sent us a contact of her friend Micaelle from Ark community in Beauvais.
Ark in Beauvais
We were escorted by Micaelle as she came up at the airport, drove us into the community and catered for dinner. Micaelle lives in Beauvais Ark community for five years and is currently responsible for one of the two houses inhabited by eight people with intellectual disabilities and three assistants.
I will write more on this community in one of the following contributions as it can very easily happen that we will spent a month or two here. Yes, again the Ark. Apparently God has a plan to teach us more in these communities.
And as we are speaking of learning, Silva and me would like to stay a while in this community to be able to learn some French. This will be very helpful for our later visits in France and Switzerland.
Slovenian Catholic Mission in Chatillon
Another problem got solved quite smoothly. Before leaving Italy, we contacted the Slovenian Catholic Mission in Paris (Chatillon). This is a Catholic hostel, which had played in the past (and still has today) an extremely important role in the life of Slovenians living there.
Do you believe in coincidence?
I talked to Dr. Zvone Štrubelj by phone, who in addition to many other duties, is currently a priest of Slovenian parish in Chatillon and formally responsible for this hostel.
And what an interesting conversation that was!
When I presented myself and briefly described our journey and the Operando, he already knew about it. Not because he would know the matter, but because only one day before the house hosted the Jesuit Marko Pavlič, with whom we jointly entered the Jesuit novitiate in Genoa.
Somebody is making our way forward
Zvone said that Marko was telling him abut Operando and the whole idea behind it. We were so surprised as it was all a great coincidence (of course if you believe in coincidences).
Just like God was preparing our way in advance to be accommodated, to have a little time to get organised and to adapt to new circumstances. Mr Zvone kindly accepted us to the house where we are staying the next few days.
Nobody can claim that God isn’t always a few steps ahead of us!
Generations of Slovenians in Paris
Only a word or two about the Catholic mission in Chatillon. This cute house with many rooms and a private chapel, is still the center of Slovenian parish in this part of Paris, although in recent years, interest for it has somewhat subsided.God is always two steps ahead of us! Click To Tweet
The reason might be the fact that the third generation of Slovenians living here are already strongly integrated into French society and young people do not feel such a strong need to maintain contacts with the Slovenian Christian community.
Peaceful and friendly neighborhood
Nevertheless, the hostel remains open and accepts newcomers, visitors, students, and others who are staying for shorter or longer time in Paris.
The building is set slightly outside the city center, but the tram stop is very closeby, so it is still very convenient. Not to mention the friendly and quiet neighborhood, away from the hustle and bustle of Paris. We’re very grateful for this opportunity and glad that we can share it with you.
As mentioned above, now we have some time to connect with some of the people with whom we contacted before coming to France. We met Mrs Astrid in the community Il Chicco in Rome, where she was on holiday. A Frenchwoman who lives and works in Paris.
She sent us contacts of two different communities. The first is called Lazare (Lazarus) and accepts the homeless and help them find work and better living conditions. Other is called Simon de Cyrene (Simon of Cyrene), which helps physically disabled people after accidents and serious injuries.
It is not yet clear whether the communities will respond, however we wish to be able to share with you the life of these organizations as well.
Thank you for your financial support that you sent us during this time. It is through them that our path is easier and open to communities to which money is also sent. Every euro means a lot!
We are barely waiting to show you how live God is also in France, especially among the smallest, marginalized and powerless. Operando.
P.S. As always, you are invited to comment and share the post with your friends on social networks or via email.
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