Robert Lalonde, ACN Canada
Translated by Amanda Bridget Griffin
Last Saturday May 11th, the students of the Institut de formation humaine intégrale de Montréal (IFHIM), organized, for a second time in 5 weeks, an evening of performances dedicated to peace.
IFHIM is an international center of formation which seeks to put everything to bring forth love and peace in the world. In order to realize this ambitious objective, IFHIM offers a formation which places the emphasis on personal development issuing from personal experiences with an objective of acquiring a sense of increased autonomy and a greater openness to their environment and to others. This formation also has an aim to teach their students to collaborate with others that they may provoke changes that bring with them more peace and more life to the people in diverse milieus. 
En route for Peace
Though I knew the departure time of the PAXIBUS on which boarded that night, I was oblivious to the journey we would be taking. I knew even less about the destination, but that, is another story. Once on board such a voyage, it is joy that slides beneath our feet and on which we want to surf… for all eternity.
As it began, the animator, Angéline – a Malian Carmelite Missionary, guided us as would an angel – how would she do otherwise with such a name? – To Martine, the driver of the PAXIBUS, a French sister of the Community of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary who were to assure our comfort along the trek. After explaining to us the safety instructions, Martine invited us to install ourselves carefully and to put on our seatbelts and ready ourselves to be en route for Peace.
First station: “We are the same “
We have barely left the station and already we have found ourselves at the first bridge of peace connecting Haiti to Madagascar. As Kind Organisers who participate in the life of and activities of the village, a choir formed of forty or so students assembled on the scene to sing the Hymn of Peace in Creole: 40 voices, 23 nationalities, men and women in unison. A propelling beginning!
After which, the PAXIBUS continued on its way than making the trip to Madagascar where a troop of dancers awaited us formed by 6 students, 4 women, 2 men, all Madagascan. Music, colour, and joy invaded our hearts which began to beat to the rhythms of the motor.
Once the PAXIBUS arrived at its first station, the driver, as if to protect against the enemies of peace, told us a story of the last conflict having taken place on board the PAXIBUS. By way of a small skit, fifteen or so students simulated the most significant scourges leading to an inevitable quarrel: contempt, scorn, greed, prestige, and anger, as was the thirst for power… these were the stars of this scene divided into three acts where chaos reigned.
Therefore in order to diffuse the various conflicts, the “peace attendants”, ambulance drivers and first aid workers, came running to the battlefield. Well equipped with the necessary gear needed to awaken one’s conscience, they managed, together, to break through prejudice along with the walls that separate. This space created allowed us to participate in a scene of reconciliation whose secret belongs only to love. The neighbour no longer belonged to a religion, to a social class or to another race – but simply… just another person, just the same. The unknown now and forever crossed and emancipated.
Second station: “You are my brother”
Travelling back to Haiti, we had the pleasure of appreciating a festive dance to a song no less delightful than the first, which expressed a wish for unity among all the countries of the world. From there, we crossed another bridge of peace, this one bringing us to various African countries.
Traditional songs accompanied the rhythms of Cameroon, Congo, Senegal and Ivory Coast, each dancer garbed with an ivory smile in the midst of an ebony visage, shimmied in their multicoloured costumes. If felt as though we were in the middle of an outback, surrounded by supernatural forces. The dance of only about 10 minutes we could have watched go on forever! What a pure delight!
Third station: “True riches are found within each person”
Once out of the African jungle, the PAXIBUS committed itself to a very long bridge of peace, this one was meant to bring us all the way to Latin America. During this long course, we were invited to go within ourselves while listening to the spiritual songs inspired by the writings of Isaiah.
The first, Here I am Lord, like an exhortation to the servants of God to carry the people of earth, thanks to the help of the Lord who changes darkness into light, and hearts of stone into hearts filled with love – invited us into contemplation. The second, Ne crains rien (Fear Nothing) was an encouragement from God to his witnesses to go always towards all the people of the earth in order to build bridges of peace, lighting a flame of compassion within us.
As if by chance, dovetailed to this song, a Latin American dance entitled: “La cadena”. This dance expressed the construction of the bridges of peace and was at the very conclusion of a long “uninterrupted chain of encounters” creating throughout the entire room an ambiance marrying unity and complicity; and where the verb ‘to be’ was conjugated with the verb ‘to Love’. Little builders of bridges for peace will surely be born through the intimacy of this union.
Next station: “You are our Hope”
Are you coming aboard?
IFHIM is one of many formation projects supported by Aid to the Church in Need benefactors. If you would like to support this kind of project, please communicate with one of the persons below:
Amanda Griffin, (514) 932-0552 Ext 221
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/35471368/MARD–CHANT%20CR%C3%89OLE%20MVI_0771.MOVRobert Lalonde, (514) 932-0552 Ext 224
We would like to invite you to view, beginning tomorrow and for the whole week until Sunday inclusively, on our blog – video extracts of the performance.
Tomorrow : Song in Creole, a hymn for Peace.