At the request of the Prefecture and in partnership with the Red Cross, the “Œuvre du Berceau de Saint Vincent de Paul” welcomed Ukrainians displaced by war and has been doing so since March 19. This response, coming on the feast of Saint Joseph, must have been a nod from the Lord. In his birthplace, Saint Vincent must have also rejoiced at the arrival of these people.
The Red Cross is working hard to organize, welcome and accompany these families. Volunteers are at the service of the reception: cleaning, arranging rooms, supervising the play area, cooking… One of them told us that he is happy doing what he loves! Another said that putting oneself at the service of others gives warmth to the heart! Indeed, those who are in poverty situations evangelize us!
While waiting for these families, we set up a place of meditation with icons and prepared towels embroidered in the Ukrainian style.
The first group of about fifty people, including twenty children, arrived. Just a few days earlier, a business firm sent chocolates in large quantities; it was a great joy for the families to find these chocolates when they arrived in their rooms. For us, this is a sign that Providence encourages us to offer hospitality.
Since then another group has arrived. Currently we are giving a home to 84 people including 38 children. Despite the language barrier, we manage to understand each other and to relate. We are witnesses of the outpouring of generosity elicited by these arrivals. Many people offer to bring donations (toys for children, clothes, hygiene products, etc.) and to be volunteers. We contemplate the smiles of the children and the mothers. “God be blessed” as Saint Vincent would say!
A partnership with the Vincent de Paul school complex is also being set up: the students of the hairdressing section will offer haircuts to those who wish to have them, the boarding students will come and play with young persons and infants, other schoolchildren will bring old bikes or scooters. A certain number Ukrainian children will be welcomed in the classes.