Dolores Aleixandre

When I knew that it would fall to me to introduce you, three Biblical figures came into my mind, three women, of course!

The first one is Sarah, wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac.  You love to laugh and to make others laugh!  You laugh at yourself, you laugh at situations.  Like Sarah, you hole yourself up behind the curtain of the Scriptures, and the Word to which you listen deeply brings forth your communicative laughter.  God is “the One who makes you laugh”. This explains why you do not seek to attach importance to your University degrees nor to your long experience as a biblical scholar.  You say that you are not a high-flying theologian … but in fact one needs erudition in order to attain such simplicity!  Your sense of humour enables you to be daring in your efforts to bring to great numbers of people the flavour of the biblical stories and their subversive force.  In that you are a true child of Madeleine-Sophie Barat, foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, who never missed an opportunity to highlight the comical aspect of situations.  She was the daughter of a wine grower and she loved good wine.  When you want to explain your work you introduce yourself as one of the attendants who, at Cana, had the privilege of knowing where the good wine came from, and of serving it freely to the wedding guests.

Whether you write or whether you speak, your language is simple and concrete, abounding in word play and in subtle little allusions to events in the modern world.  One of our sisters who had the task of translating you, used to admit: “I quake when I have to translate her!  It is impossible to do a word for word translation because her language sparkles!” Thank you to your courageous translators!

But there is more.   In you there is also much of the Syro-Phoenician woman who, in order to save her daughter from the clutches of a demon, dared to approach Jesus and even to defy him.   For her, as for you, no-one can be excluded from the force of the life and the healing that Jesus offers.  In the face of Jesus’ resistance, this woman humbly became a teacher.  She held on tenaciously like a little terrier when it was a question of giving life and giving it in abundance.  You are from this same race when you choose to go and live among the poorest of the poor, in a Caritas hostel for destitute families and for refugees.  You give them your friendship, your listening ear and your treasure of biblical stories which are such welcome aids in the work of binding up so many wounds and injustices that have been suffered.  You are from this same race when you create new paths for those who come to you to have a time of spiritual retreat based on the Exercises of St. Ignatius.  Just as the serving girl at Cana revealed the depth of the heart of Jesus, you enable many people to discover the burning joy in their hearts that are bowled over by the Word of Scripture.

Finally, dear Dolores, like the Dearly Beloved in the Song of Songs, you have never ceased to search for the one whom your heart loves.  And you find him, in the whisper after the silence, in the shade of the Word, hidden in the crack in the rock.  For us, Religious of the Sacred Heart, and undoubtedly also for many others, you show the way in a life in which contemplation transforms life into action, an action of thanksgiving.  “Dark-eyed” lover, you take with you all those who desire, in their hearts set on fire by the Word, the birth of a transformed world.

A huge thank you to you!

This was how Claire Castaing rscj (Provincial of the Province of Belgium-France-Netherlands) introduced Dolores Aleixandre during the launching of the French translations of four of her books: Bautizados con fuego, Dame a conocer tu nombre, Las Puertas de la Tarde, y Contar un Jesús. For more information (in French), click here.