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Centro Social Monsenhor Jessé: - The suffering of life on the streets, a challenging reality

"I have come that all may have life, and have it to the full!" Jn 10:10

Working with people living on the streets is much more complex and challenging than simply offering food. Loneliness is a facet of suffering on the streets that cannot be underestimated, as well as the lack of material resources and the health of these people.

Many homeless people face social isolation, without an emotional support network to turn to. The feeling of being forgotten and abandoned by society increases psychological distress, leading to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

The lack of prospects and opportunities creates a cycle of hopelessness and helplessness in the face of circumstances, and with limited access to education, employment and resources to overcome their situation, it is difficult to envision a better future.

However, it is important to recognize the resilience and dignity of those who struggle to survive on the streets. Many find creative ways to adapt to hostile conditions, form bonds of solidarity with other members of the community and show perseverance in the face of hardship.

Rescuing Dignity

The Monsignor Jessé Social Center (CSMJ) is a pastoral ministry of the Archdiocese of Feira de Santana, in Bahia, which has been working with homeless and socially vulnerable people since 2010.

The result of God's desire in the heart of Sister Mary Sinor Agbavobor, a regent of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary, to have a place to care for and welcome those children who suffer in the squares and on the sidewalks, the CSMJ was born with the aim of conveying to each of these marginalized lives how important they are and how much they are loved by Jesus.

From a small space that offered meals and personal hygiene with dignity, the CSMJ has evolved, grown and become a pastoral ministry of reference in the city. This doesn't mean greater status, but rather a greater commitment to attending with mercy and love to every life that knocks on the door in search of help.

Among all the services offered, what makes the most difference to each life cared for by the CSMJ is the way they are treated. With love, affection and respect, the reality of fear, suffering and loneliness gives way to hope and communion. Holy Communion takes place daily at the CSMJ table.

Just as Jesus did not choose the perfect to be with him, the Pastoral of the Street People welcomes, without distinction, all those who are despised, ignored and made invisible by indifference and aporophobia (aversion to the poor).

In this way, as a sign of an outgoing church, the CSMJ continues its mission of recognizing and welcoming the Poor Christ, crucified daily in the streets and alleys of Feira de Santana, Bahia.

To end the suffering of living on the streets, it is essential to address the structural causes of homelessness, such as poverty, social inequality and unemployment, and to promote public policies that go beyond welfare, defending the rights of those living on the streets, fighting social stigma and offering meaningful opportunities for reintegration into society.

Recognizing and confronting the suffering of this section of the population requires a lot of love and compassion from everyone. And only through mutual support, empathy and solidarity can we build a world where everyone has a decent place to call HOME.

Text, photos and video: CSMJ Communication and ABMTHS

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