A significant moment at Chamartin

The Sacred Heart welcomes those who come
into Chamartin (Madrid, Spain).
You can see the school wing on the right of the photo.
There are 1570 students, girls and boys from the ages of 3 to 18.
On the left you can see the community wing.
We are 47 in number, with only four of us under 80.
You can see through the cross arches to the play area, where the buildings continue, with the school on the right and the community on the left. It is like an echo: prayer from one side, asking for the success of the work of education, and on the other, the interest and respect for the "elders”.
Each year groups of students come to talk with us and get to know us a little better as part of their training for volunteer work. We share our experience and talk about faith, while they share what they can, and they sometimes sing for us.
This term we have a module called "Memories." Six students, 15–16 years old, come each week, led by the mother of one of them. (The mother is a Psychology teacher). They offer various exercises: recording a recipe (this was very successful, and took up a few sessions); sharing some significant event, past or recent, that we can recall; some poetry; some prayers. At other times we have exercises that focus on attention and precision.
Here are some responses from the participants when they were asked about the module:

Do you enjoy coming to this module?  Why?

-  I am really happy to come, because I see how much the Sisters enjoy it.  
-  They are happy when we listen to their stories.
-  They know a lot that we don’t know.
-  I am happy inside, knowing that I am doing something lovely for these older people.
-  We have a lot to be thankful for in the school, and these Sisters worked hard for other children.
-  Helping them to have a good time is a way of thanking them.
-  I feel that although they are old they understand us, and are close to us.

It is very nice that you enjoy helping the Sisters to have a good time.  Are you learning something from this activity?  Is this doing something positive for you?

-  I am learning humility and obedience, because they pay more attention to us than we sometimos do to our teachers.
-  They told us that they can be asked to change house, and they obey without complaining, which must be very difficult to do.
-  They do the homework we give to them.
-  I am learning that there is another way to live.
-  They are content, and I see that they are happy.
-  I believe they don’t have things they don’t need, and that makes me think.
-  They have given me ideas for entertaining my grandmother.

One of the fathers accompanies them (because the girls are minors, and the activity is done outside the school premises), and he was asked: Does it not upset your timetable, accompanying these girls for two hours once a week?

"On the contrary, it is an important time, and I look forward to it. Education for respect, for taking an interest in others, for those who are weaker, is a fundamental element in the education that we want for our children. I enjoy seeing what goes on, how they look for different ways to entertain the Sisters. It is a little bit of heaven for me in the midst of my working day; when I leave here I go back into a much more arid environment. This brings joy and happiness. My mother, my wife, my sisters, they are all former pupils. Can you imagine the debt of gratitude we owe to the Sacred Heart?"

Rosario Mendez rscj
Community of Chamartin
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