Renée K. is a 26-year-old dancer, a very gifted clothing designer, and an excellent cook too (I especially recommend her lemon-cheesecake). She is leaving with Heart’s Home for an 18-month mission in India. For a long time, she has felt a strong desire to taste and see the hugeness of God in a radical way through the challenge of a different lifestyle. By committing abroad, somewhere she has nothing to be attached to, Renee feels she will have no choice left but to experience abandon and to offer herself fully to her mission.
As she lives in Brooklyn, the community of Heart’s Home John Paul II is lucky to see Renée pass by, smiling, joking... or even, sometimes, being anxious about her mission. These exchanges are always a great opportunity to share more with her on Compassion, being a presence and Heart’s Home’s charism.
Through teaching dance and making unique clothing, Renée already tries in her daily work to underline human dignity and make people feel beautiful and worthy of love. The designing of clothes, the choice of the fabric, listening to her students... every minute of her life is led by the strong desire to lift people up. As an artist, she is animated by the quest for beauty, in everyone and in each encounter. But as such, she is also faced with the classic struggle of being at the same time an artist and a Catholic. Meeting Heart’s Home gave her the satisfaction to reconcile these two fundamental strengths in her life. Being an artist and a Catholic are often considered contradictory, whereas, according to Renée «God is the ultimate creator, so to return to that source could only allow for growth and enhancement of who I am called to be as an artist... Heart’s Home corresponds to this vision. By promoting Art as a teacher of Compassion, Heart’s Home brought my two worlds together» .
Still, joining Heart’s Home was certainly not an easy decision to make, especially when you are so gifted. I can, however, hear Sister Regine -Heart’s Home USA Recruitment Director- asking with a great, encouraging smile «But... did you really expect life would be easy?». In fact, Renée could have fulfilled many concrete purposes in choosing an overseas mission: educating, dancing, sewing... She decided instead that she would above all be a presence, adhering thus to Rev. Thierry’s intuition that «To be is enough to change the world because to love is enough».
Instead of creating an agenda to be imposed on the people they serve, Heart’s Home seeks to make a difference by starting with the desire of hearts. Its mission consists in loving the hearts of the people, looking at them first, recognizing their hunger and thirst and identifying then how these can be satisfied. Such a love is certainly demanding. And in a way, it echoes to Leonardo di Vinci’s statement «Art lives from constraints», just as Renée affirms «by starting with the heart of the human being, the creative outlets of our work are even more rewarding and distinguishable».
Renée will not be alone in this challenging mission. She will now be living within a Heart’s Home community in India and her work will be followed and encouraged by her sponsors and friends. Though she has been used to reach goals by herself, Renée knows that community life is necessary for such a mission and support is highly needed.
Some work you cannot achieve on your own, especially when it comes to showing the unconditional love of God.
Note that Renée K. will perfom a Heart’s Home Dance Concert in NY “Be the One”- July 19 to gain support for her mission.