Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Amazing Aachen

23 May : Sr. Claudia took us inside, showed us a study room that had been converted into a bed room with beds for me and Fr. Susai. We were offered coffee and snacks. Then Sr. Claudia showed us every corner of the house, and taught us how to use each item... and we were given a key to the main door of the house too, so that we can go out and come in at any time! It is then dawned on me that, Sr. Claudia was alone in the house, and all the other sisters had gone out for some meeting two days ago. We celebrated mass at 6.00 p.m and then we prepared some dinner, and I helped her with the dishes after the dinner was over. Claudia had been in India in early nineties. During the next days she was very much interested in knowing more about West Bengal, about Raiganj, about the projects we do here, and how our programs benefit people. She was involved with various spiritual ministries besides working in a hospital for almost ten hours each day. And how does she travel each day to the hospital-- a distance of ten kilometers? Just by bicycle! I am edified... and me and my staff should learn from her, what it means by hard work! She leaves early at 6.00 a.m for some Spiritual Exercises in the parish, comes by 8.00, rushes through her breakfast, and leaves by 8.45 to reach the Hospital, and there she works till 6.00 p.m. and then travels back by bicycle and reaches at 7.15, has a wash, goes through mails, goes for prayer, takes her dinner and does other personal readings.... it is late at night before she hits the bed. Amazing for a woman in her late 40s?!
On 24th Ms. Tawa Caspers and Mr. Muller came to visit us as planned. And they were with us throughout the day. We took time off from our discussions, and went for a visit to the Cathedral in Aachen, surrounded by market places, touched the hot springs sprouting from the ground, and had a pizza for lunch. We did not use the tickets provided by Sr. Claudia for sight seeing in order to save the money for the sisters, and we used the car of Mr. Muller.
The sisters who had gone for the meeting returned along with two other sisters in the late evening of 24th.
On 25th morning, we had a grand mass with Sr. Maria playing the guitar. We had good breakfast intersperced with plenty of laughter and fun. By then it was time for us to leave. Sr. Claudia reached us by car to the Station and placed us carefully in the train. We said "Good Bye" to this amazing old city called Aachen, which still has the scars of bombings of the Second World War left on many of its buildings.

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