Just finished helping a man in my building to register on-line for a family Doctor. He said he didn’t have the patience to do it himself. It is these kinds of things that I find myself doing in the building where I live. Sometimes it is as simple as picking up a few groceries or changing a light bulb. Other times it involves doing a bit of pastoral ministry and talking about forgiveness with a man who spent most of his life working on merchant ships. For the sake of the common good, I offered to lock the laundry room door every night at 10:00 pm just to keep the noise down and prevent conflicts with the tenants who are unaware of how they affect others when they do their laundry at all hours of the night. I like to think of my ministry here as one of presence. To be available for the unexpected time someone needs to be listened to or helped with something.
This building is run by a charitable organization that was built for people of lower income who are over 50 years of age. Most of the people here live alone in a bachelor apartment. Two years ago, they built an adjacent building for people over 75 years of age. Their rent includes a main meal five days a week.
What I like about my building is that there is a real community spirit. This is fostered through the activity room where a full time worker prepares two main meals a week and one breakfast as well as facilitating a variety of activities along with the tenants’ group, “Les Joyeux Retraités”. There is a common balcony, sitting rooms, hair salon, computer room, exercise and game room and lots of place to sit outside and chat.
Sister Gisèle Landry and I moved into this building over three years ago, each in our own bachelor apartment. Together we share stories about the joys and difficulties of the other tenants and the latest sscj news here in Canada and elsewhere. Gisèle is a great story teller and has many fond memories of her time in Cameroon. We feel that we can contribute and be present in a meaningful way to the many people here who come from diverse backgrounds and are frequently confronted with difficult challenges. The stories that are shared are often rich and inspiring.
Laura Reitsma sscj