Maria Garvey
Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Bringing Jean to mind in this moment brings to mind walking together through the streets of Trosly or doing the dishes together in Le Val Fleuri or standing together in a church at the heart of West Belfast. Always a quality of presence and deep listening that allows people to know that they matter, remember who they are beyond their limiting stories and labels and 'BE' who they are truly called to be in a world that is often distracted by all the 'doing'. Remembering Jean and L'Arche always reminds me of Jesus and the disciples on the road to Emmaus. I see Jean as someone who has accompanied all of us, at one time or another on the journey of life and the call of L'Arche as one of faithful companionship and friendship - no matter what! These, days my journey has called me out beyond our community into the highways and byways of our fractured city to a people paralysed by hopelessness and their unmet longing for Love. I pray that I can be to them who Jean has been to me. That I may be a friend, accompanying them to places we would rather not go, listening deeply to their hearts and revealing that, no matter what, they matter and that their lives, exactly as they are, generate a love that transforms, my heart of stone to a heart of flesh day after day. I am deeply grateful for their companionship. Who would I be without them and without L'Arche for growing this upside down logic in me? From the highways and byways of Belfast and beyond - Thank you Jean and Thank you L'Arche for being a real school of the heart.