I had the privilege of working as a support worker alongside the guests of Bakhita House for 18 months. It was a blessed and joyful experience, and one which was very hard for me to leave!
I wanted to try and express it in some words, (but I’m sure I wont be able to find them!) in order to thank you and encourage you all in this great and essential mission! I am sure most of you know more or less what being a support worker entails on a practical level, so I’m writing more from a personal perspective for a change!
St Josephine Bakhita came into my life a few years before I heard about Bakhita House. I was asked by a friend to play her in a little theatre about her life whilst I was living in Spain! I will never forget saying her words: ‘“Yo soy definitivamente amada, suceda lo que suceda; este gran Amor me espera. Por eso mi vida es hermosa!” – ‘I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me I am awaited by this Love. And so my life is good!’
During the time I worked in Bakhita House, these words kept coming back to me. That is the heart of what it means for me to work with these amazing women. To show them they are definitively loved and whatever may happen, their lives are beautiful, precious and worth living!
In Bakhita House, this is shown in a million different ways: in the beautiful and simple décor of the house, in the dignity and respect that each person is treated with and is asked to treat others with, in the activities and therapies organised by loving and generous volunteers, in the homemade meals prepared with so much effort and skill, in the laughter, dancing and games, and most of all in the friendships.
Pope Francis keeps reminding us to not be afraid to touch Christ in the suffering flesh of the poor. We are all poor in some way. Some of us manage to hide that fact better than others, but walking with the guests in Bakhita House, I discovered more about that mystery: just like the little child Jesus in Bethlehem, God (who is Love) is present in the poorest and most vulnerable. And there is no need for us to be afraid. In every little act of love shown to others, Jesus himself says: ‘You did it to me’. In Bakhita House, I learned about who God is and about humanity.
I think Bakhita House is a little taste of what life will be like in heaven, where love will be victorious!
Keep up the great work everyone!
This reflection was written by Aisling, a former Caritas Bakhita House support worker. If you’d like to support the work of Caritas Bakhita House, please donate here bit.ly/caritasbakhitahousedonations.