They know me

Walter Hostel welcomes one hundred and fifty children with disabilities. The home is run by Catholic sisters in the Don Bosco complex in Masvingo. Sr Maria described to a group of us on a visit last week how many of the children come from poor families who cannot pay anything for their keep. Some parents are so embarrassed by their poverty that they simply leave the children at the gate without a word.

holy-bibleSome children live with such disabilities that they soil themselves  continually and the laundry room has to do a wash four times a day  The sisters have a chicken and gardening project to try to meet the wages of the eight workers, but it is never enough. They used to have a donor in Switzerland but he had a stroke and the money ceased to come.

Sr Maria told us all this in a cheerful matter of fact way without a hint of how difficult it must be nor did she appeal to us to “find donors.” She was happy to do something to cheer the children’s lives as they often met with disregard and coldness at home and they loved coming to the hostel after the school holidays. We had a tour of the buildings – basic and colourless but spotless.

I was thinking of Maria when reading this Sunday’s words of Jesus, “The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice.” She is one of those who are in tune with what Jesus is trying to do in our suffering world. She has few resources but she is quietly responding to the real needs of fragile people. They need food and warmth and they also need acceptance and love. The sisters just get on with it and trust that they will manage somehow. And they do.

I have lived in a world of projects and budgets and funding and worries about shortfalls. I was quite moved to see a place where there is no such security. This is not to say they are not alert to any who can help. But they do not give up because “the funding has dried up.” This extra push is according to the mind of the Good Shepherd. This “going against” the desire for security may sound like madness, like irresponsibility. But it is what the Resurrection of Jesus is all about.

It seemed like crazy for Paul to take on the gentile world and travel ceaselessly, meeting opposition everywhere. But he did. That same crazy spirit inspires many today and it goes all against our culture of insurance, health and safety regulations, etc. These all have their place. But the courage to set out without knowing where resources will come from, as the sisters and staff of Walter Hostel do, is a sign and a star lighting up our over cautious world.

17 April 2016                          Easter Sunday 4C

Acts 13:14 43-52                    Rev 7: 9 …17                          John 10:27-30

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