The Brothers and La Mennais associates really wanted to celebrate Christmas close to the poor around us – so many forms of poverty. The Pilipino people have a special devotion for the Infant Jesus – the Santo Niño. First a 3-hour recollection with our 75 Elementary pupils scholars of the La Mennais, followed by a very active Christmas party with songs, dances and games… and small Christmas gifts. Our young Brother Mamerto was in charge, with our Associates. These scholars are particularly chosen because they are too poor to even finish their Elementary schooling. The Elementary pupils of St. Mary’s International school in Tokyo are giving us that beautiful gift every year.
The parents of these scholars also had their Christmas recollection one week later. Plenty of sharing and tears!!!
Then “Barber Day” – free haircut for more than 180 inmates at the Provincial Jail. Haircuts in the morning and prayer session in the afternoon. The prayer was supposed to last only one hour, but the active and warm participation of the inmates made it almost two hours. They seemed to enjoy it very much. Br. Claude was in charge of that activity with the Associates. After the prayer and an abundant snack, the spokesperson of the prisoners, the ‘chief’ as he is called, told us: ‘At Christmas time, we receive many gifts, but only the La Mennais Brothers make us pray! It is the best Christmas visit we had in this prison, and we are very grateful.”
Three days after, it was the turn of the prisoners’ children to have their little Christmas party – prayer with a long time for sharing their sad experiences, sand of course sharing of gifts. Each Associate had prepared 9 gifts for the children. Our Postulant also joined that activity and he came back deeply moved by what the children had shared. ‘Together we prayed with much hope’, he said.
Br. Claude Beauchesne