By accompanying migrants I have learned to let go and
be guided by the beauty that lies in every human being: there is a diamond in the
heart of each person. I tell this to my migrants too. I tell them that they
have a diamond that no one can take away from them. I tell them it is their
deepest nature, and they can decide whether to show it or not. My job is to let
the light in.
One of the exercises I do is to help them name the
facets of their diamond: connectedness - service - joy - outrage - caring -
hope - advocacy - humour - creativity... I see precious and shining stones in
my encounters with migrants, and I also see migrants who start to live again:
they start to dream and to help their fellow detainees, offering them comfort.
They learn to pray and to review their day (using the Ignatian Examen); they
learn to be fully present, and sometimes not... until they receive a letter
from the refugee department informing them of the decision, which is often that
they have to return to their country. This letter is like a sword of Damocles
hanging over their heads during the detention period, which can last up to five
The farewells are therefore made with mixed feelings.
Deep friendships have grown, and often they end with a lot of disappointment.
Then the only words of comfort I can offer them are, “Know that you are not
alone and that at the other end of the world, in Belgium, someone cares for you”.
spirituality has taught me to be grateful, to share joy, to go to the frontiers
where people are vulnerable, to be gently guided by a compass that indicates
where I can find inner comfort. In this sense, JRS is above all a project of
hope, and I am very grateful to be part of it.