Just few days after I write these lines I will be going back to the European noviciate community, near Paris, to ﬁnish the second year of my noviciate, after spending three months with the St Aidan community in Newcastle. It was a wonderful experience, that allowed me to meet many new people and try many different new activities, some more challenging than others !
In Hexham Avenue I have shared quarters with Myra, Joseph and Rugile, three international Assumption Volunteers working full time at Kids Kabin. I have also joined them at Kids Kabin, where I worked for three afternoons a week and helped run a school project together with Will, the manager of the project. In addition to that, following a request from Fr David, our parish priest, I gave some introductory French lessons to the children at St Alban’s Primary, the parish primary school.
Both children and teachers at St Alban’s were very kind and welcoming. The teachers were really supportive and glad to get some help with foreign language teaching ; the children were deﬁnitely keen and curious, and better behaved than the ones I was used to in France !
The atmosphere was quite different at Kids Kabin ; the work was more challenging, especially at the beginning. Lots
of new practical skills to learn (sawing, drilling...) and, most of all, coping with the behaviour of some of the children. I think the most important challenge there was to get their trust in order to be able to get to know them, and eventually start building a relationship with them. For me, it has been a matter of not getting upset, or judging them too quickly, but rather trying to have a welcoming and listening attitude. They often made me think of St. Marie Eugénie’s words : “do not clip their wings, but try and direct their ﬂight” - which can be exhausting at times !
I feel that one thing in common, that I found both in St Alban’s and Kids Kabin, is the presence of committed educators, putting their expertise at the service of the community doing their best to educate the children, enhance their opportunities and develop in the healthiest possible way.
The community life was great as well. Different in many ways from life in the noviciate, due, among other things, to the different mission of the community and to the dissimilar demographics. I think that the most important thing I learned from the experience is that the Assumption charism and way of life can be lived at any age, in any culture and in any social environment, with the same joy and the same enthusiasm.
Sr Francesca Filiaci