The path of Claire’s conversion sur le chemin de convserion de Claire

Thursday 18 February 2016

The path of Claire’s conversion

Claire cam to l’Arche thirty years ago coming from a psychiatric hospital where she had been for six years after her mother’s death. She had lived from her childhood to the age of twenty-four on a barge with her mother , her father-in-law and brother who were boat people. Claire cam, marked by her disability but also by family difficulties which she would often talk about. In order to find peace, she needed to be plunged into anew bath of love. She would express her aggression with a lot of aggression, a constant need for attention towards her, but with as much intensity she knew how to be compassionate, please others and be faithful in her friendships. She needed this new Love from Jesus in order to find peace. She needed to be joined by her sisters and brothers, in different states of life, who would enter into direct communion with her wounded heart.

It was hard to speak about Jesus to Claire when she was preparing her First Holy Communion.’ Ah!’ She would say’ Jesus is like all the other men I met on my mother’s barge!’ Our best ’spiritual efforts were cut short. On her family barge Claire had experienced all sorts of adventures that don’t necessarily fit in with a Christian life. She was very wounded on an affective and moral level by her former life, and she was prevented from seeing how life would be better. It was hard to speak to Claire about Jesus. And yet, gradually, the fraternal life with men and women, mutual respect, evangelical life changed her life. Claire came to know other ways of being between men and women than she had known on the barge. Prayer, her relationship with her godfather, the priest, allowed Claire to gradually change the image she had of men. Wome who were at ease with their choice of life helped her to change the feminine image. They were women faithful in the sacrament of marriage, faithful to Jesus in daily life and so they helped her renew the perception she had of herself. Now, fater a Christian education, Jesus is ’someone’ for Claire. Mary, Jesus’ Mummy is also important for her.

Claire had been able to discover the mystery of Jesus present in the relationships she lived in the Christian community. When Jesus is welcomed in faith , he can reveal Himself in life. What is revealed to the poor is also something that can be revealed to a young assistant in search of his or her way in life.The community allows Claire to live a relationship with God, sometimes even before being able to make this explicit. It is through confidence, by waling with this new love that the surrender and confidence of Claire comes about.

She discovers anew way of situation herself amongst sisters and brothers. This welcome one for another reveals the face of Christ and the mystery of human life given by God. Very gently, Claire is evolving towards a pacification of her life. For sure, not everything is yet resolved. However, the depth of her heart that has been awoken in Claire has her go beyond these moments of crises and struggle. Now Claire knows how to discern between what is deepest in her heart which brings her joy and peace and what is superficial and disturbs her and which doesn’t necessarily bring her a lasting happiness? We are moving forward.

In a very gentle manner, the gift of God comes and attenuates the suffering in the poor. It is still manifested but there is already a consolation. Jesus’ mystery has us understand what is lived in the heart of the poor. God’s Word enlightens this life of welcome fore ach other It becomes alive and enlightens so as to place words on the Life which is given in the poor ’who achieve in their flesh what is lacking in the suffering of Christ for his Body the Church.’ The sacramental life nourishes each one and brings cohesion into the community of the poor. Claire has accomplished a real discovery of who Jesus is. He is ’someone’ for her.

Claire knows Jesus from the inside, and when we pray Mary with her, her little face lights up and then we enter into the mystery of her heart, that is, silence.

It is very moving to have been a witness of Claire’s path. In her great poverty she let herself be enlightened by God Himself. The practice of the Sacraments of the Church has gradually transformed her. Someone, Invisible, instructed her from the inside. Claire went into herself in a heart to heart in the Eucharist, helped by the Living Word of God the Holy Spirit spoke to her heart. Everything deepen within herself. If we speak to Marty with her, this finds a deep echo in her heart. If we speak about how Jesus sufered, she understands.Claire herself had suffered a lot. The Divine Person have gradually revealed thems elves to her.