It can be acknowledging the person gifted with positive attitudes, who can listen attentively and for a long time, who knows how to encourage the tiny seed beginning to sprout, the spark ready to burst into flame. It can be trusting the child, the youth, and inviting them to go forward. It can be identifying and acknowledging the disinterested gesture. During our time of prayer, it can be as simple as letting God fill our heart with compassion and tenderness. And, following in Jesus’ footsteps, it is also extending a hand to the one who has fallen.
In our communities of the Cameroons, we have reflected lengthily on the signs of humanization as recommended by the 2010 general chapter. We have thus been able to notice the evolution taking place in our hearts and attitudes as we lived the different experiences.
The community of Postulants often visited a village of poor and destitute people in the forested wilderness. They always gave us a warm welcome accompanied with dances and songs. Some of the women voiced their concern in connection with the lack of water and the numerous illnesses especially among the children. How helpless you can feel when faced with such situations! Finally, Marie-Thérèse Banaméa asked : “What can you do at your level?”. After much discussion and sharing, they came up with the following suggestions: getting together, supporting one another, helping one another, even clubbing together in cases of illness, accident, and other misfortune. These experiences have permitted us to grasp their desire for good relationships, their capacity to humanize degrading situations, to improve their lot and not yield to fatalism. This has become a real challenge for us!
In Riverview (Moncton, NB), I witnessed, among the laity as well as among the sisters, the joys of life, the ever-growing friendship, the stealthy and cautious acts of thoughtfulness, the playful teasing, the small services given, the visits from one building to another, and so on…. The numerous activities arouse both the interest and commitment of the residents. One of the sisters even admits having discovered entirely new talents. Here, great importance is given to universal friendliness so as to build the NOW together.
Even when you are well advanced in years, it is gratifying to « choose life ».