Come Dance With Me!
I was 8 years old when I was placed in the institution in Portage la Prairie. I lived there for 10 years. I didn’t like it too much. There were lots of people, I think over 1,000. In 1973, I met a woman who was coming for weekly visits at the institution – Sr. Marie. I waited for her visit every Tuesday, by the barb wire fence. I knew her car, a Pinto, and her licence plate number. After a few visits, she invited me to come and live with her in Winnipeg, in a place called L’Arche. I said yes!
My shoes were tattered runners, and I really wanted new shoes. A few days after arriving at L’Arche, Sr. Marie took me shopping and we found a special pair of shoes for my feet. Supper that night was very festive. During the prayer after the meal, I gave thanks for my new shoes and said “Sister Marie, I can dance now. Come dance with me!” – Hazel
In 1976, I was in the institution at Portage la Prairie. I was 17 years old. I noticed a woman who would come to visit people in the institution. I realized that some of the people she was visiting would leave with her, and not come back. So after that, every time she would come, I would try to make eye contact with her; and when I had eye contact with her, I would point to myself and say “pick me, pick me!” Eventually, Sr. Marie did pick me and I was able to leave the institution and come to live at L’Arche Winnipeg in December 1976. I have been in L’Arche for 35 years now, and I am still very happy that Sr. Marie picked me in 1976! – Ross