Daily Thoughts from Jean Vanier - 3/20/09

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An Experience in Haiti

A few months ago I was invited to participate in a L’Arche training week in Haiti. What an extraordinary gift! The most powerful experience of the week was the encounter with other L’Arche assistants and the bonds formed between the Haitian and Quebec assistants. The assistants and core members of L’Arche Carrefour in Port au Prince put on a banquet for us, with Haitian music and dancing. They are poor but they taught us much about welcome and about giving without counting the cost.

I discovered that the core members in Haiti have the same gift of welcoming others and the same joie de vivre as core members have here in Quebec. They love to celebrate! I was especially moved to meet Ester, who is deaf and unable to see or speak, and to see how she entered into relationship with us. Her means of seeing is to touch people. It is not disturbing to be touched when one realizes this is her manner of communication. She is a remarkable person in her capacity to relate to people and the world around her.

My week in Haiti was very rich. I hope others will be able to have a similar experience in the coming years.

Christine Gagnon, L’Arche Agape (Gatineau)



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