Part of our history: From Longueuil on the outskirts of Montreal

Claude and Stephanie with a neighbourClaude and Stephanie with a neighbour

In our ‘Block’ there are eight flats and we are very close, fairly close or not very close to these seven families!

As everywhere in our country it is not always easy to build up links with the neighbours. Many want to hold on preciously to their ‘individuality’ and in our neighbourhood it is the same story. Where we live is both homely and lively and I would say ‘like Nazareth’. Ordinary folk struggle with the difficulties of life and appreciate its beauty. There are lots of children too and we can join in their games and fun through the window!

Everybody giving a hand!Everybody giving a hand!

There is however another side to our area. I accompanied a near neighbour to the Centre where food is distributed and discovered so many sad faces. It was obvious from their clothing and attitudes that they were struggling to make ends meet.

Full house!Full house!

My big question is how can we draw close to these people and offer them our friendship? Claude and Gwendolyn have got to know some of the families from Afghanistan who are quite numerous in our street. We hope it can be easier for them to face the upward struggle of adapting to another culture and language when supported by a little friendship.

Jacqueline and Claude are in close contact with a family we have known for some time; both parents are blind as well as three of the seven children. They give a hand sowing, cooking and go with them for medical appointments.

It is good to have time to listen!It is good to have time to listen!

I also know several families with small children. The mums need someone to confide in as their husbands are often away. For the children it is so important to have another adult who takes a real interest in them.

Every Tuesday Gwendolyn joins a group of voluntary helpers from our street to sort and clean vegetables and fruit that they can share. It is a great occasion to meet up and to get to know one another better.

 Thankyou Jacqueline for looking at my homework! Thankyou Jacqueline for looking at my homework!

Jacqueline has long been a friend to Isabelle who has severe disabilities and who now lives in a L'Arche community of Jean Vanier. She has also got to know other residents there and can give a hand where needed.

We also have a garden and Little sisters and other gardener friends have helped me with the harvesting!

Yes, our life here is above all about taking every little opportunity to build up Community.