By Rev. Thierry de Roucy, Founder of Heart’s Home
For decades, New York has been one of the most attractive cities in the world. Is that because of its king-size proportions? The quality of its museums? Its unique location? The diversity of its inhabitants and their colorful patchwork of cultures?
Since its inception in 1990, Heart’s Home, too, felt this universal appeal of the “Big Apple.” Not for the same reasons, though. It was rather because Mother Teresa baptized New York City the “capital of compassion,” and John Paul II called it “the capital of the world,” because of the presence of the UN, the immense loneliness drilling so many New Yorkers’ hearts, and because of the need to deeply evangelize this American culture which is constantly being exported to most of the world’s countries.
Strong as the calling was, it was only thirteen years after the foundation of Heart’s Home that Providence allowed us to open a house in the Bronx. This was ten years ago. To tell the truth, the decade-long experience gained from all around the world, embracing all kinds of suffering, was not useless. You need to be well-seasoned to live in New York. You also have to deserve living in New York.
To an unparalleled degree, New York is the city of extremes. It fills us with awe, and yet sometimes it appalls us. It is a city where the greatest joys meet the deepest sorrows. It is a stage for the sweetest dances and the most awful crimes. It’s a place where you can have extraordinary encounters, and yet have very few faithful friends. It is the city in which you would love to dwell forever, and yet you often dream you could quickly run away.
Ten years ago, Heart’s Home cast its anchor in the Hudson Bay. There have been painful delusions and bitter tears wept over the hard-heartedness of the city. We have shared in horrible agonies. However, we never regretted coming to the United States. Heart’s Home is at home in New York and in Spokane. I wish it were in many more cities throughout the country. We have recruited and sent many American volunteers and have watched them flower as they discovered the charism of compassion. They acquired a fresh gaze on the world, a more profound experience of what it means to be human, genuine concern for others.
And the horizon is expansive. We don’t fear tomorrow! Rather, there is plenty of room for dreaming.”Dreaming that our Heart’s Home family may keep growing. Dreaming of new centers opening here and there, in cities and universities, all over the States, in response to the consuming loneliness of so many! Dreaming that the United States might be better known for the quality of the heart of its people, and less for the ups and downs of Wall Street.