A light in the street

The word went around as soon as it was morning: Nour died last night!

She had been carried off by the flu…

Nour was a woman from Madagascar, with no fixed address, about fifty years old. She had settled up against the outer wall of the train station, surrounded by cardboard boxes, a mattress, and at least five open umbrellas, all of which together served her for a house.

The police and several organizations had multiple times offered to relocate her to a home for women but she had always refused. People passing by often found her smiling. We had occasionally shared some food with her, even as we wondered how she was managing to make a living.

Joji, a Little Brother of the Gospel who prowls the streets at night with one of the organizations, informed us that there would be a memorial gathering at the spot where she used to live. We went, and there where her “house” had stood we found bouquets of flowers, a photo, vigil candles: there were at least 30 or 40 people present.

We introduced ourselves, and began chatting with the others. A person in a wheelchair, also with no fixed address, told us he had known her for years. When she once trusted someone, she would dare to share about personal matters, and go for a shower. Once, he had seen her give her scarf to another person who was cold. Another time, it had been her blanket. He introduced us to another person with no home, an African man who used to act as a kind of bodyguard for her at night , to ensure that nothing bad happened to her.

We returned home deeply moved. For many, Nour’s presence had changed their ideas about homeless people: this woman had managed to bring together persons who would never have had the opportunity to meet or appreciate each other before, and create friendship and solidarity among them… Thank you Nour!

Spring has come early this year: we rejoice to see daffodils blooming, and snowdrops, and crocuses…Yes, life is returning, reminding us all of the road to Life and resurrection. In this year which has seen so much sorrow come to so many countries and people, we need to believe in it more than ever.

L.Srs. Myriam-Charlotte with Anne-Francine, Ghislaine, and Louise-Marthe