Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Most Beautiful Woman in the World

An old, old, fairy tale from Russia tells the story of a young boy (or sometimes told from the point of view of a young girl) who was lost. He couldn't find his mother.

Villagers who wanted to help asked the child, “What does your mother look like?” Tell us, so that we can help you find her.” The little boy answered, “My mother is the most beautiful woman in the world.”

The villagers were very happy with his reply. They now knew that the mother would be easy to find.

So they went far and wide with the little boy, searching for her. Each time they found a very beautiful woman, they were disappointed. It was not his mother.

Finally, they came across a wrinkled, weather-beaten woman with a scarf on her head. The little boy ran to her with great joy. Beaming, he turned to those who had been helping for so long and said, “See, I told you she was the most beautiful woman in the world!”

At Casa Juan Diego they identify with this story because so often the person who seeks them appears dirty from a journey or bent and lined with age by suffering and worry and work that is too hard for them. When they ask the age of a new guest, they are often very surprised to find that they are 20 years younger than they appear to be.

When their guests have had a chance to shower and put on clean clothes and know that they have a place to stay for a time, their appearance changes. They are more beautiful or handsome. But, as in the story of the little boy and his mother, the beauty is so often on the inside. Sometimes it takes a little while for them to speak and share their stories, and sometimes it takes time to get to see the beauty.

Even when people who do not fit into middle-class values, even when people who do very irritating things, even when self-esteem has been very damaged by life experiences, the beauty shines through, even if it is the humiliated and disfigured face of the suffering Christ.

Casa Juan Diego Houston Catholic Worker, Vol. XXVII, No. 6, November-December 2007.

What is Casa Juan Diego?

Casa Juan Diego was founded in 1980, following the Catholic Worker model of Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, to serve immigrants and refugees and the poor. From one small house it has grown to ten houses. Casa Juan Diego publishes a newspaper, the Houston Catholic Worker, six times a year to share the values of the Catholic Worker movement and the stories of the immigrants and refugees uprooted by the realities of the global economy.

  • Central office for donations of food or clothing: 4818 Rose, Houston, TX 77007. To send a check: P. O. Box 70113, Houston, TX 77270.
  • Women's House of Hospitality: Hospitality and services for 50 immigrant women and children, especially serving pregnant or physically battered women and their children.
  • Assistance to paralyzed or seriously ill immigrants living in the community.
  • Padre Jack Davis Men's House: Hospitality for immigrant men new to the country.
  • Casa Don Bosco for sick and wounded men.
  • English classes for guests of the houses.
  • Casa Maria Social Service Center and Medical Clinic, 6101 Edgemoor 77081
  • Dorothy Day Medical Clinic.
  • Food and clothing centers: 4811 Lillian (Tuesdays at 6:30 a.m.) and 6101 Edgemoor (Fridays at 8:00 a.m.). For 500 families weekly (open to the public).
  • Liturgy in Spanish Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.

Funding: Casa Juan Diego is funded by voluntary contributions.

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin