JRS volunteers in Greece reveal themselves

Who are you?

• My name is Amans Estivals, a 21-year-old Frenchman, who has studied political science for three years. I have been surrounded by Jesuits, in the EYM (Eucharistic Youth Movement) for 12 years: a very beautiful experience.

• I am Corentin Capelle, 23 years old, from Belgium. I know the Jesuits because my parents are part of the CLC (Christian Life Community.) My parents are very generous: for two years we have been receiving refugees in our home, including an “unaccompanied minor” who is part of the family. I did a retreat in a Jesuit center which led me to a Parisian association - also Jesuit - INIGO. It prepares volunteers for international projects.

• My name is Chiraz Haddad, 21 years old, from the Paris area, with Algerian (my mother) and Lebanese (my father) origins. I studied applied foreign languages at the Catholic Institute of Paris where they offer a one-year degree in international solidarity. My internship here is part of that.

• My name is Mariam Ammann and I am 19 years old. My mother is Egyptian and my father is partly Lebanese and partly German. I wanted to take a break from studying... which became longer than I expected because I had to wait for one year due to Covid.


Left to right: Amans Estivals, Corentin Capelle, Chiraz Haddad and Mariam Ammann.

What have you learned at JRS-Greece?

I didn’t learn so much about welcoming migrants - I had been doing that during the formation session - but rather about the importance of caring. I’m talking here about human kindness. In people who have been through very hard stuff, you find very beautiful things. I also learned that you can have all the ambition in the world, but you cannot change everything in a few seconds: you do what you can!

It’s a leap into the heart of reality, into the experience of refugees. You learn by sharing with them. Then, what strikes me is that the children as well as the adults have an extraordinary resilience, a strength to move forward despite all the obstacles: it makes me grow. Finally, without means or money, they have a great sense of hospitality. “The essential is invisible to the eye,” the Little Prince said.

I was struck by the solidarity found in this Jesuit centre and with the religious organisations. All the people I have met here have this willingness to give without any return. People come here to give: I find it a beautiful way to live religion. The experience of living with people like that is very rich. I have also learned a lot about migrants and that the important thing is to express my solidarity with them, to give them what I can.

I felt - this is something we know but that I had never touched so closely - how unfair the world is nowadays. When you work with people who don’t count in the eyes of society, who are mistreated, you feel overwhelmed when you see how little you can do. But I have seen that these people never lose hope: that is extraordinary!


In Victoria Square.

And what else?

I have an idea: to start a sports project with migrants, especially adult men. JRS has focused a lot on women and children - who are the most vulnerable - but we realize that the men are bored... and when they are bored...

This one-year experience will change me; it will affect my vision and my actions. For the moment, the important thing is to be present for these people who need someone on their side.

Personal attention is the best thing you can do, to see them as brothers and sisters, to see them as equal to you.

What strikes me is the trust that the migrants show us. In Victoria Square, they put their babies in our arms and go to buy what their family needs. There is a strong connection between them and us and it is fantastic!

Share this Post:
Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

Related Posts: