PARAGUAY, Maria Fischer and Ani Souberlich •
“I want to be very clear. There is no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever for lack of housing. There are many unjust situations, but we know that God is suffering with us, experiencing them at our side. He does not abandon us,” Pope Francis said in his encounter with homeless people in Washington. “Jesus not only wanted to show solidarity with every person. He not only wanted every person to experience his companionship, his help, his love. He identified with all those who suffer, who weep, who suffer any kind of injustice. He said it clearly: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Mt. 25: 35)
Pope Francis to Homeless in Washington
May the visit to the houses of solidarity become places of pilgrimage
Over a year ago, it was good when we reached the number we wanted– one hundred houses for one hundred families in conditions of extreme poverty, who literally live on the street! We decided not to stop with 100 houses of solidarity. With the Holy Year of Mercy, Holy Father, Francis, to whom we offer these houses of solidarity as a Jubilee gift, convokes us to perform works of mercy. He wants to open a door of mercy in Rome every month, a door that symbolizes one of these works: to give food, to offer a drink, to visit prisoners, to provide lodging…
“I love the idea of joining the roofs with the Holy Year of Mercy,” said Ani Souberlich, “It revitalizes that Covenant of Solidarity by constantly keeping current ‘with voices of time,’ however, the goal is always the same and only the incentive changes for generous hearts of which there are millions all over the world.”
May the doors of mercy open in the existential periphery of needy families, doors of grace… may the visits of our families be transformed into pilgrimages, into moments of grace during this Holy Year. “That is true,” Ani answers. “The visit changed your life. It was a pilgrimage.” She is right. And it becomes a pilgrimage every time that I go on “pilgrimage” to the 100 houses on schoenstatt.org.
Luz’ smile…once again
“Luz’ smile,” the smile of this girl living in one of the houses of solidarity and who struggles to overcome an illness that keeps her from using her hands and feet has had a strong repercussion. A week ago, Ani Souberlich visited the family again. Here is her true story:
“Today it is a beautiful, sunny day so I decided to travel through my beautiful country of red-earth. I went to visit Luz; I took clothes and some food. I told her that you also sent greetings, and that you had provided some of the clothes that I took to her. She was outside, seated, talking with her parents. She approached with a vase of flowers she had made with rubber foam; they were for you and me! I explained that you were far away, but that I would take a photo and I would send it to you; then she returned to the house, and she called to me: ‘take a photo of me with this little note and send it to Maria,’ she said. Of course, I did not hesitate to do it, then she tore a little page from her little notepad and she said “when she comes give it to her.” I was touched… children are so simple…at her age, she does not understand distance, she does know you are far away… but I took it, and I told her that I would send it by mail. Her little eyes lit up when she realized that I would give it to you!
Her mother now goes house to house to look for clothes to wash in order to make money this way; she washes clothes by hand in a large basin…this the desire to better oneself, to want to get ahead, this makes it a pleasure to help. She does not have a sink to wash clothes, but she manages it in order to work, her husband made a table from tree trunks so that she can place the basin on it, and it makes it easier to wash the clothes. This week, God willing, she will consult another doctor about Luz’ legs. With the money you sent, she will have enough for the fare and the consultation, which is costly. I gave them the money some time ago, as soon as you sent it…”
Another thirteen houses under construction
Another thirteen houses are being built with the donations received, although the work is delayed because of the persistent rains that prevent taking the supplies… Just the same, everything that is needed has already been bought, since there are families that need a roof…a roof for shelter, a roof to live safely, to progress in life…
“Faith makes us know that God is at our side. God is at our side, that God is in our midst and his presence spurs us to charity. Charity is born of the call of a God, who continues to knock on our door, the door of all people, to invite us to love, to compassion, to service to one another.
Jesus keeps knocking on our doors, the doors of our lives. He doesn’t do this by magic, with special effects, with flashing lights and fireworks. Jesus keeps knocking on our door in the faces of our brothers and sisters, in the faces of our neighbors, in the faces of those at our side.”
Pope Francis to Homeless in Washington
Donation for a house is 200€ /250 US$