Witnesses of Compassion: Testimony of Brother Jacques AMBEC,OP

Subtitle: 
Witnesses of Compassion: A Series on the Vocation of Cooperator Brothers in the Order
Picture: 
Brother Jacques AMBEC, OP
Body: 

The vocation of the Cooperator brothers in the Order remains a vital part of our preaching mission. In a bid to promote this Vocation, we will be featuring the works of different Cooperator brothers from different parts of the world. We invite you to follow this series on the website of the Order (www.op.org) and on IDI.

This month, we are featuring:

Testimony of Brother Jacques AMBEC, a Dominican in the convent of Toulouse, responsible for the service of the gatehouse, for the pastoral care of the sick and elderly in the parish, for the service of the Gospel of the sick people and for SELF =  Sida, Espérance, Lumière et Foi (SELF = Aids, Hope, Light and faith).

According Bro. Jacques;

It was in 1990 that Jacques one of my close friends came into direct contact with AIDS, the deadly virus that gradually degrades the body and makes infected persons vulnerable, persons with no immunity against other diseases. By regularly and faithful visits to Jacques at the hospital, I realised the distress and lowliness of other infected persons like him. Loneliness is the worst disease and that is not an understatement. We know our sick brothers and sisters need to be accompanied, respected, cherished and loved.

Jacques told me that he could fight if he was not alone and that is the reason for this battle that we have fought together, his wife, his children, his parents and his friends to accompany him to the end, sometimes in the midst of great difficulties, but we kept going because we were united with the power of prayer. I call it the sentiments of gentle compassion, that is, presence, patience, sharing and prayer (4 P). Jacques died of AIDS on the 4th of March 1994 in Toulouse. As he wished, we have published his testimony into a book: Jacques, le combat de la Vie, St Paul, Paris 1996.

A prayer group was born at his medical office where his wife was a general practitioner, a prayer group called, “Saint Dominic” and a second group was created and continues today, the group called “Saint Martin de Porres”. This group has continued to support our work with the 22 persons who are infected with AIDS that we accompany today in the metropolitan city of Toulouse, to show them that love is stronger and bigger than their disease and that they can rely on SELF and on us. We work with other non-denominational groups in Toulouse and we participate in actions aimed at prevention among students in Catholic schools to awaken the sense of responsibility and sharing.

We also support humanitarian projects related to religious communities in Asia, in Togo and in Kenya with the nuns of Mother Teresa who help sick people often without care and proper medication.

In conclusion, I leave you with this message that I received three years ago from a young Muslim who was abandoned by his community. A few days before his death he left me these words which I will never forget; "Brother Jacques, we walk together towards the same light".  I think he is in the light of the Lord.

I believe that it is our vocation as Cooperator brothers to be witnesses of compassion.  We do not need to be priests to answer this mission of mercy, but we can work together with all our brothers. This is the holy preaching.

fr Jacques AMBEC

 

(16 November 2015)