Perpetual profession
Perpetual profession with the Dominican Sisters of Bethany
February 2, 2022
Sr. Henri-Dominique Berthier
Henri-Dominique Berthier
February 27, 2022

Just now I had a bizarre experience: I stood in the crowd and enthusiastically shouted "Alaaf!". Well, normally that wouldn't be so special, I live near Cologne and it's Weiberfastnacht, in any other year that would be perfectly normal. But this year? Really now?

A few days ago I was still thinking: I won't let them ban me from Carnival, there's always some crisis! And anyway: don't we have this discussion every year? "Is it still allowed to celebrate while something bad is happening somewhere in the world right now?" Then I always have to remember that it didn't take the people of Cologne long after the Second World War until dat Trömmelsche jing again. In 1948, the first provisional children's parade took place, followed by the first official Shrove Monday parade in 1949 - by then, not all the rubble had been cleared away. The carnival is just originally above all a laughter against seriousness, need and repression. According to the defiant motto: "If the church demands that we fast for 40 days, then we'll really go for it beforehand - Alaaf!

Today everything is different

Now, of course, everything is a bit different today, and I have to admit: I don't feel like celebrating. We haven't decorated, we're not dressed up as usual, we haven't put on any music. For me it's a normal working day, no "Alaaf!". It was not until 2:00 p.m. that a dance group announced itself in the Children's Village, "De Pänz us dem ahle Kölle". They actually come to our Children's Village meeting every year, and I find them particularly endearing. It's quite a mixed group from relatively young children to young adults, in the majority girls, but also a few boys and men. This year, of course, our session is cancelled - like so many others. That's why "De Pänz" had asked if they could just dance for us on our church square. Of course, we gladly agreed, and when the bus came and made proper music, the mood came up quickly. Well, we set the mood. Because we quickly agreed on this: all of us adults were not in the mood to celebrate - but after all, it's about the children. It's bad enough that the meeting has to be cancelled because of Corona. But now to cancel the open-air party because of Mr. Putin? How would our princesses, ladybugs, dancing girls, foxes, Indians and policemen understand that? No, they all got fries and happily left for their homes after the performance, where they are probably continuing to party now. And even "De Pänz", some of whom are already older, didn't train all year long to sit around at home in a state of distress. Who would benefit from that?

And us?

And us? We sisters will continue as before, doing our work and increasing our prayers for peace. We have also invited the Children's Village to light a candle when the bell rings or to say the prayer for peace. At the same time, we are aware that God leaves us free to decide against Him as well. So our prayer will not change God's actions, nor Mr. Putin's - only ours. But maybe that is exactly what matters. Maybe peace starts with us and with the question of how we deal with each other today and tomorrow, in this or another crisis.


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