Thank you, Lord, for the beauty and depth of this life, of sharing and friendship with those around me, and with you: we are all in your hands.
THE LITTLE Sisters of Jesus are manual workers, living in "family" groups of three or four, particularly among the poor and rejected. As "contemplatives in the world" we affirm the possibility for all to live in union with Jesus.
I remember kneeling in the chapel of our little fraternity in Yugoslavia the day I arrived: "Thank you, Lord, I'm here in Yugoslavia, to be with the people, to get to know them, share their way of life, journey in friendship". . . "Why did you come here?), A few months in a language class, and then a job, cleaning in a hospital. I was terrified. "Take this brush and come with me!" I didn't understand.
Over the following weeks 1 met with reactions of bewilderment: "Why did you conic here? Why do you do this sort of work? How could you leave your country, your home, your family? She'll not stay". . . But, a warm, welcoming smile from Teta Ana (Teta means Aunt and is a friendly way of addressing middle-aged women).
Laughing, sweeping complaining
Ana, Marija, Rezika, these were my fellow cleaners, Over the years we laughed together, and swept and complained and quarrelled and laughed again, and grew in friendship.
Marija had a daughter whom she had brought up on her own, the father having refused to marry Marija had gone away. She turned to alcohol; sometimes she came to work red-faced and blurred of speech, "Come and meet my daughter" — she was so proud of Mira and put her first in every way, making sacrifices to give her all she herself had never had.
Marija was one of the kindest people I've met. She would cheerfully do the work of others, readily forgive a harsh word, and looked after an elderly neighbour as if he were her father. "I'm weak; we all are in our family", she would say, "Pray for me, little sister". She died from alcohol at 43.
On November 1 everyone goes to the cemetery to light a candle on the graves of their families and friends. "Would you come with me?" I was surprised and touched by the invitation; why should Rezika, a 'tough' strong-minded teenager with no obvious religious belief, bother with me?
As we went round the cemetery, the sad story of her family was shared: a broken home; an affection for a father who had left her; affection and respect for a grandmother who had died . . . What goes on in human hearts beneath so many different attitudes? Weak, strong, friendly or distant, we are all searching together . . .
His love touched all of us
This is my 'mission': sharing everyday
life, the boredom, the fun, the ups and downs; seeing the dignity and sacredness of each person in God's eyes, his love which takes in the mixture of good and bad in each of us.
His love has touched us all, and I come to him each day in prayer with Ana, Rezika, Marija and so many, many other people in
When Jesus became man, he entered into life and into what is most wretched and painful, into all our sufferings as individuals and as society. That is why, when I am with Jesus in the chapel, I just pour out to him all of people's sufferings as it comes from mv heart.