Marionettes in Northern Ireland, the House of Bread

The House of Bread

My gran told me how in days gone by, there was no bread left in the country of my great, great, great grandad.
There was no more bread…and they were hungry.
And while night still hid the little town of Bethlehem, my grandad gathered all he possessed and left.
They left Bethlehem. Bethlehem, which means: the house of bread!

With his family he crossed many countries, they walked, walked, walked for many a day. They learnt and forgot many languages, their food was the bitter food of the road, and they drank from the sweet source at the road side.
And they sang a strange song:

Where has all the bread gone,
Where is peace
In the speed drunk labyrinth of walls and of roads leading nowhere
Where is life hidden?

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light,
On those who live in a land of deep shadow, a light has shone.
A new shoot will grow from the old trunk
A branch will be born from its roots.
Is 8 23 – 9.1

My gran was a wise woman, 
She did not come from the same tribe as my grandad,
She was a foreigner.
He had met her on his travels abroad.
She was so beautiful, this foreign woman.
With her foreign eyes she could see way beyond,
She discovered what others did not see.

She told me how the wolf, the big bad wolf, whom everyone fears, will live with the lamb, the gentle and innocent.
That the panther, with its ravenous hunger and shining teeth, will lie down with the kid with its little pointed horns.
How the calf and the young lion will keep company, with a little boy to lead them.
She told me how the cow and the bear, such different mothers, will share their pasture and how their young will lie down together
And then, that the lion, the powerful chief of all the animals, will eat straw like the ox with its big gentle eyes.
She told me how a child would be born,
that a young mother would bring into the world.
Is 11.6

And my great, great, great grandad, with all his family went on walking
From town to town
From village to village
The sun accompanying them by day
The moon protecting them by night
For the earth is a mother.
One night, after a long journey under a star filled sky, a little gentle breeze brought to their ears familiar sounds and a perfume they remembered from their home country, Bethlehem.
There in the silence, bread was being prepared.
A star shoots from the sky and rests over Bethlehem.
For the time had come for the young girl to give birth to her son, her first born,

She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, a manger for fodder for the animals,
because there was no room for them in the town.

And my gran was there:
She was there to welcome the gift of Life.
It all happened in Bethlehem, Bethlehem, the house of bread.
Away from noise and agitation.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light,
In the labyrinth of walls and of roads leading nowhere
bread has been found
peace has been found
In he labyrinth of walls and of roads leading nowhere
life is hidden.

This is the sign of life
A new-born baby laid in a manger.
Is 8 23 – 9.1 

 From Helene

 We would like to share with you about Little sisters Maria Susanna and Veronika Myriam’s visit to Bishopscourt, Northern Ireland , where we have our Community. They came with their new Marionette show called ‘The House of Bread’.

As during their tour in England with the story of Brother Charles they came with their two big bags which contained all they needed for their show. It was their present to the three of us, Deirdre from Ireland, Emiko from Japan and myself Helene from France, who have been living here together for a year now. Asia from Poland arrived to join us the day before the Puppeteers’ arrival.

 We chose to present the show to small groups to strengthen the links between us and as a special way to share about the Mystery of the Incarnation which is our way of life. In fact, the plainness, the freshness and the depth of this show amazed us!

 Every group was ‘cross-community’ with Protestants from different Churches and Catholics together. We could feel how everybody was touched... invited by the small boy ‘Habib’ to scan what is invisible to the eye! That means the earth receiving

‘a new-born baby in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger’

 Almost every time, at the end of the show, we were invited to go and play for another group!

 The little sisters gave their presentation several times at ‘The Mustard Seed’ a community house in the village where different groups can meet and be at ease.

  Some who frequent the house, have been addicted to alcohol... and now they meet every week to support one another in their struggle to stay sober. For the past 50 years the neighbourhood was very marginalised and still now, many people are afraid to go there .

From Emiko.

This beautiful performance helped me to go deeper into the mystery of ‘the Eucharist’ which we try to re-read in our daily life.


From Asia

  I arrived to Northern Ireland almost at the same time as Maria Susanna and Veronika Myriam, so I started my ‘new life’ here with this message of ‘The House of Bread’.

 Its simplicity and depth touched me. I have watched it many times and every time I was touched more deeply! I felt my heart longing more and more for this Bread from Bethlehem. The promise was given to me: ‘ Asia, you will not lack this Bread here’.

 From Deirdre

 As I was watched the marionettes, the young boy brought the story of the Birth of Jesus alive. His local voice with his Northern Irish accent brought the reality of what their ancestors had lived, always on the move, taking the bitter food of the road

‘Where has all the bread gone where has peace gone in the labyrinth of walls and roads drunk with haste and leading nowhere, where is the hiding place of Life ?’

 Here in Northern Ireland the verses spoken with such life touched so much of what people live here:

‘The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light on those who live in a land of deep shadow, a light has shone. A new shoot will grow from the old tree stump a branch will thrust from its roots’.

This is so true in Northern Ireland and also we can relate these words to the new beginnings of our own community. The wisdom of the grand mother, who saw beyond and discovered what others could not see. The most significant words for me were:

‘She told me how the wolf, whom everyone fears, would live with the lamb, the gentle, the innocent.’
These words express our reality: the fragile peace process, with former enemies sitting down together.

‘My child will come and seek them out to quench their thirst’