It is God's strength

Ceuta 2018Ceuta 2018

Two years ago we shared about a new foundation of little sisters living in Ceuta, Spain - "Africa's door to Europe." It is a Spanish territory on the northern coast of Morocco. The little sisters are living among migrants who are trying to cross the sea into Eu¬rope. Here is a recent echo:

"Moses said to the people, 'Do not be afraid, stand firm! And
see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today. Israel saw the great work the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses." (Ex14:13,31) When we hear this story of the Exodus it sounds as if it were happening today because the migrants who cross the border have an experience similar to that of the people of Israel. They stay for at least a few years in the forest in Morocco close to the Spanish border before arriving in Ceuta which is where we live. In Morocco they are without water except for the rain falling on them, and without food. To live they have to beg in the villages nearby. They must hide, they are beaten by the police, and they are hungry, thirsty, and afraid.

Each group is numerous, between 300 to 700 people, with a "leader" who enforces some order and makes life easier. Often Christians and Muslims are living together. Little by little they get organized to "strike," that is, to try to pass over the wall of barbed wire. Before starting towards the wire, they prepare themselves with a time of prayer followed by a few days of walking and fasting. If there are not too many police, they manage to go through without violence, climbing the wire mesh fence or cutting through the sheet metal wall which lets a lot of people get through until the police stop them. Once the wall is open, they go through the same experience as in the Exodus. What seemed impossible to them becomes possible. How? They all know that it is God who has opened the way for them to reach Ceuta.

"Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." (Ps129, 105) When we ask them how they manage to find the strength to live in such difficult conditions, they answer very simply: "It is God's strength."

Said, from Cameroon, wrote that phrase for us on a piece of paper and we hung it on the wall in our community room. The groups who came afterwards told us when seeing it, "That's it exactly."

The Word of God and prayer are a living source for each of them, and for us. They are the source which helps us welcome so many frailties, taking each story to the Lord.

Two weeks ago two sizeable groups crossed the barbed wire fence, 1100 people in one week. The Center for the Temporary Housing of Migrants (CETI) was overwhelmed, but we could seethat, despite their lack of space and means, the directors were doing everything possible to welcome all those young people who were arriving. They put up huge tents and multiplied the meals.
Ceuta 2018 Ceti temporary housing centerCeuta 2018 Ceti temporary housing center
We tried to remain close to the young boys who were injured and hospitalized, with broken arms or legs, or deep wounds caused by the barbed wire. We took turns to pay visits and to give them all our attention as a little sign of God's tenderness. The workers of the CETI trust us and open their hearts to us to share what they are experiencing, both the difficult and the beautiful.

The number of those leaving and crossing the sea has increased lately so that the CETI will be less crowded and more livable. On the other side of the sea, the immigrants are welcomed for three months in the different NGO's. Of course, we ask ourselves, "And then what?" With this question we put the life of each person we have known at the CETI, and all of the unknown, into the hands of our Beloved Father. Their lives remain engraved in our lives and in our prayers.