Paris: A house to live in

on 29 Sep, 2022
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París (France), 09/29/2022, Sr. Véronique Margron, RCF, editorial del domingo 25 de septiembre de 2022.- Can we live together? From different cultures, religions, ages, socio-cultural backgrounds, can we not only live together but also recognise and love diversity. This is a political issue if ever there was one, the art of the city.

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of inaugurating, with many others, a house of life.

In the heart of Paris, my congregation had a large house with beautiful gardens. But a question was nagging at me, despite all the life and the virtue of hospitality that was displayed there. The house was deteriorating and would no longer allow us to think about its durability, and the weight of the years was weighing on the sisters. After many discussions, reflections and consultations, we decided on an enormous project. We had to close a school, leave the house, look for and hope to find the best solutions for each sister and undertake colossal work to open another house, and perhaps the same one. All this was not done without tears, without fatigue, without pain, without fear, and also in the depths of the covid, and it could probably not have been otherwise. But today, thanks to all our partners, Habitat et Humanisme, the builder, the architects and the artists, this new house is here. For life, for meetings, for mutual recognition, for mutual help. Nothing magical. Just the minuscule everyday life where links and support are built, always fragile but real. A house where the young and the old, children and older sisters alike, just enjoy living, smiling, talking, listening and laughing.

Welcoming the most vulnerable, precarious families, people who are too isolated was and remains a strong mission in religious life. To be present to those to whom Christ made himself close, by his steps, his word, his cross. To share something of one's inner peace, to offer it to lives that are so battered by circumstances and sometimes by exodus from the ends of the earth, is a great opportunity. Not to keep to oneself the joy that comes from God, without exuberance or discourse.

This is the mission of the sisters who live in this intergenerational house today. To be above all a benevolent and welcoming presence. With the difficulties, the tiredness and the temperaments of some or others. There again, nothing exceptional. But what holds the thread of life together. No longer being sorry or in a world that is only hostile or indifferent. But nothing spectacular or heroic.

Living together. With each other, not in each other. And if possible with each other, respectfully. This House, like many others today of inclusive, shared housing, is a witness that our societies can be built differently than on conflict, contempt, competition or every man for himself.

If you are passing by, go through the door. It is called “Maison St Charles”, in the 15th arrondissement of Paris.