The Centre “Mother of Mercy” is a beautiful window on our charism of proximity with the most vulnerable.
The official recognition of the opening of the Centre took place in January 2006. However, its popularity over the years is mainly due to our Sisters of Brobo, Ivory Coast, particularly to Sr. Marie Claude. She and her sisters were attentive to the fate and distress of many handicapped children they discovered in the villages, hidden most of the time when their pure and simple disappearance was not planned. “Tradition” attributed to them all possible evil powers!
On this May 28 there was great joy for everybody: the 47 children, their parents and invited guests of all horizons. Beautiful decorations, clothes cut out of the same loincloth by the children themselves and worn by young and old alike, as well as by their teachers and the majority of Moms. Indeed the parents were part of it all whether in the day’s preparation or in helping to recall the history of the Centre.
Part of the morning was devoted to the children’s performance: either handicapped in their movements, or hard of hearing, or even deaf, or partially sighted or blind. Everybody clapped heartily.
As for short speeches there were many of them. One of the mayor’s assistants thanked the community for their commitment to the handicapped children and promised some financial assistance for the Centre as soon as it would be possible. A traditional Chief thanked the Sisters and promised to be more attentive to the presence of handicapped children in the villages. Everyone expressed their gratitude.
The Bishop filled us with joy in linking this undertaking to the name of our congregation: the Daughters of Jesus. Don’t we say: “Like father, like son”, perhaps we could say: “like father, like daughter” and told of Jesus announcing his kingdom in the synagogue of Nazareth. And “his daughters” do like Jesus: they make the deaf hear, etc. I must admit I was quite moved. Despite his busy agenda, the bishop took time to dance with the delighted children. The simplicity of his attitude expressed perfectly well the Lord’s love for every person, whatever hidden or apparent their handicap. The Eucharist we celebrated earlier reminded us of this reality.
On the preceding evening we had a great concert! The young people of the parish along with the children of the Centre as well as two choirs gave us a great performance: sketches, songs, music, dancing, etc. What an atmosphere!
Finally the morning came to an end with the presentation of “diplomas” and “certificates” to one and all followed by the traditional group photograph! It was then dinner time during which a big cake was shared by all to celebrate these ten years.
A beautiful day! Yet one regret: that the population of the village did not respond as expected especially during the morning. The truth is: there is still lots to do! However, thank you, Lord for the joy of these children and that of their parents. A change of mentality is taking place here and there.
Thanks to all- those near and far- who exert a lot of effort to promote this work of mercy and in particular to our generous donors of France!
Sr. Paulette Delon, fj