Bruxelles, Peterbos

Peterbos, a few of our 18 blocks!Peterbos, a few of our 18 blocks!

Our neighbourhood of Peterbos on the outskirts of Bruxelles is made up of 18 blocks, all social housing.

Two artists were employed to personnalise the different entrances and to make them more attractive. Each landing is painted another colour and those living there were invited to work with the artists to make a mosaic using the tones of their landing.

In these mosaics we see a reflection, ‘a parable’ of our life here.

Red speaks to us of  the hospitality of Sirene and her family who are Syriaque Orthodox. Their friendship is heart warming and the door of their house always open wide.

Dominique with her co-workers in the kitchenDominique with her co-workers in the kitchen

Little sister Dominique and her work compagnons were sacked recently as their company lost its contract. Little sister Chantal with others who worked at the Central Station was made redundant. We experienced incertitude, not knowing what tomorrow would bring. The shock of close downs and of redundancies, the reality of being on the dole, adapting to new places of work, the insecurity of temporary work and poor work conditions… these are all realities we share both here and elsewhere. Grey is the dominant colour.

Young people have expressed their desire to share our community life. Could we call it a blue road which is the colour of the Little sisters?  

The Peterbos CommunityThe Peterbos Community

Violet expresses so many tears shed and wiped together:

Madeleine who has lost all hope of recovering her sight, even just a little,

Sylie whose treatment for cancer is becoming ever harder to bear,

Jef who cannot make ends meet. He is alone to look after his children and feels overwhelmed by their expectations.

Sunshine yellow beams out the joy and simplicity of the children and the solitude of the elderly is reflected is the brown’s.

Green speaks of the strength oaf life, of tenderness and hope despite everything.

Jokete is so happy when her children come for the weekend. After a time in psychiatric hospital she drawas strength and life from being a mother.

Saffron yellow expresses the bonds that unite us with our Muslim brothers and sisters, bonds of discrete friendshipwhich bring joy.

Walking retreat with Br Charles' spiritual familyWalking retreat with Br Charles' spiritual family

The orange shades bring to mind the spiritual family of Brother Charles.We have prepared together several walking retreats with young adults who are searching to deepen their faith in daily life, drawing on the writings and charism of the of the Community of the Little sisters.

The mosaiques also speak to us about our neighbourhood parties where everybody is invited to bring their colour (food, cakes, national dishes, games and jumble.) And then our community itself is a mosaique, a place of welcome, a place to taste and build up what we are called on to live together in community with our neighbours.