What began as a small gesture of aid by our Sisters to a suffering people in Chile has spread like fire, the fire that Jesus came to light on earth.
The present situation
All over the world, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Here in Chile, the situation has been exacerbated by the arrival of a cold winter with rain and strong winds, and not to mention the unemployment that has afflicted us since October and November 2019, causing famine, especially in the most vulnerable sectors.
Moved by the Spirit of Jesus, who was so sensitive to suffering people, we are all looking for a way to respond to the needs of the victims of this pandemic that is affecting both our health and our society: the sick and the isolated elderly , the unemployed, and all those who experience hunger on a daily basis. To be able to do something we need the love, the daring and the creativity that come from the Spirit.
“The time has come“ to intensify our fraternal life through prayer, dialogue, discernment and above all through mutual help. The latter allows each Sister to participate in concrete action, according to her possibilities and with others but it is always done in the name of the whole community.
A gesture of solidarity
In both Chillán and Santiago, we have joined other groups in the commune and in the parish to organize an “olla común” or “common pot”.
In Chillán, this has been a very beautiful experience. With friends from our town, we thought of organizing something small, simple but necessary, but the project somehow just took off. Our small project of a pot- luck meal was originally intended to be for around 20 people from the area around our chapel. This is a well-known and historic idea in Chile. Somehow, our project inspired others and then others. First it was our pastor who thought of taking it up a parish level – a large parish with more than 60,000 people.
The fire of solidarity is lit
More and more people then joined in, motivated both by hunger and solidarity. In view of this, it became necessary to coordinate our efforts and hold meetings. The military of the area offered to cook. The presidents of the Neighbourhood Councils came with their lists of people in need, and the Municipality offered to pay for the gas for the two large kitchens lent by the Army. The staff of the parish radio coordinates and receives donations.
Now, the project belongs to everyone! Whoever has potatoes, onions, lentils, tomatoes, apples, or money, contributes. At noon, a member of each registered family comes with their pot, and the food is given to them. Everything is shared and, in the end, there is enough for everyone and still plenty to go round.
The fire of charity burns throughout the land
On the first day of the common pot, 300 lunches were made. During the second week it went up to 400 until currently, 800 lunches are delivered, from Monday to Friday, thanks to the collaboration and solidarity of all. The most difficult thing is maintaining the necessary number of volunteers to go to the homes of the sick and the elderly with the lunches, especially on days of heavy rain and cold.
It is incredible how a small gesture of solidarity can arouse the desire in others to share both their person and what they have. It is a bit like the “fire that Jesus came to light on earth”. It spreads without limit.
We can live the multiplication of the loaves every day,
when there is faith and love
for our brothers and sisters.
Srs Noëlle Voisin and Louise Robidoux dj