Last year, Madeleine Sophie gave us a gift. A few days after celebrating the 25th May, the Sister-Headmistress of the Chalet School called me to meet a family. I saw them coming through the courtyard, accompanied by another Sister; their stay would only be for a short time, a few months at most…Their names and their language reminded us of exotic, legendary places. But there was nothing more real and tangible than their own history and what they had lived through. There was no place for questions, whys and wherefores. There was only one thing to do: to welcome them, to open the door of the school and of our hearts to them.
Their faces expressed many things simultaneously: joy and uncertainty, anxiety and calm, distress and hope.
Every time I saw them, my curiosity and surprise were unavoidable; it was impossible to ask them or tell them anything. We could only communicate with a look and a smile (this is what would have happened with Philippine on the Mission.)
One RSCJ, just by way of invitation, said, they need to learn our language and there is no one to teach them. Yes, it is true, the Lord only asks us to say, "Let it be done", and the rest will follow.
A place was arranged, near the chapel, as well as the timetable for the classes. And wow! They taught me a lot; I learned how to be like a big sister and an aunt at the same time. By sharing their memories, I was present at their family parties, I tasted their food, I got to know their city, their love story, I admired their culture; we played, we laughed and we sang together, I listened to their dreams and hopes. I was able to be there for them in moments of sadness when they remembered those who were left at home; and when anguish and anxiety overwhelmed them. They taught me to value freedom.
They arrived when my heart had been going through a deep barrenness, but they brought about something new: sharing the language of love with people on the move. I don't think they will stay for a short time as the Sister said; they will stay forever in our lives, even when it is their turn to reach new frontiers.
Teacher, Colegio Chalet-Perú