Our community of Arcueil, (France) founded in 1978, lives today in the multicultural and multireligious neighbourhood of “The Green Hood”. “Wherever we are sent we associate ourselves closely with the people of the locality in all simplicity.” This sentence from our Rule of Life, has without doubt influenced the Diocese and our Superiors in this choice of place of insertion.
Each of the three sisters in the community has found how to reach out, according to her talents, to the different people of the neighbourhood and, in a wider sense, to those who seem to us to be the most neglected.
ing together many people who I get to know by talking to them and listening to one or the other.
Having been a teacher, I saw the need for volunteers to accompany people arriving from abroad as they try to learn French.
As Arcueil is not far from the capital, I have been able to respond to a longstanding call: to work with the homeless people of Paris.
These collectives are places of debate and exchanges on our daily lives. They also allow us to pass on claims to the people concerned.
Yvette : As I have a good level of Spanish, I have got involved in the House of Solidarity where there is an exchange of skills and know how.
This has allowed me to get to know a lot of people and to be able to meet them in their homes when they want to. I visit everyone, whatever their origins or beliefs. This has greatly enlarged my relationships with those around us.
Based on these meetings and spurred on by our Bishop, we have been able to set up the POT (Parish Open Table). This allows us to meet one and another over a meal which the parishioners try to make as good as possible and serve themselves.
There are also knitting classes which I have taken part in for a long time. I confess however, that my tongue goes faster than my needles!
These days illness has caught up with me, but I must admit that this too has been a place of meeting and mission where I least expected it.
Having been in Africa, my desire to join a community in a multicultural area has come true in Arcueil.
The association that I take part in has set up what we call “cousins”. The idea is to accompany a person arriving in France; in this way the relationship is friendly and enriching for both parties.
On my arrival at Arcueil, Mohoua, from the Ivory Coast, became my first “cousin”. She helped me to discover the town: in this relationship we are on the same level, one teaching the other what she knows. This has given me the chance to propose this accompaniment to parishioners and neighbours.
As I am also involved in the parish, I have invited the president of an association to speak about his activities with migrants. He has also spoken at a meeting of those engaged in pastoral work with migrants and will shortly speak to those actively involved in solidarity.
Whenever possible, it makes for a good mix of population.
What is also very important and enriching, is that each one of us is involved in a different way in the neighbourhood or the town. We share and discuss our multiple and diverse relationships and engagements in community. In this way our prayer reaches out to all those people who surround us and whom we love.
The Community of Arcueil