Letter 11

Posted April 13, 2022

Ubá January 2022

Father Gailhac, my friend!

Our friendship began in 1994. Before that, I had never heard of Béziers nor of Madame Cure, Monsieur Eugène, Père Martin, Monseigneur Thibault, Bayssan, Le Refuge, Abbé Jean… not a thing! Little by little, as I got to know you, I added all these places and people to my universe, and  without even realizing it, my spirituality was being shaped, irrevocably.  

You know, My Friend, at the beginning of our friendship, what caught my attention the most was your “sense of urgency” towards the needy. I was hooked. It soon became clear to me that you were not just another theorist of social vulnerability, but a servant of God whose practical faith, rooted in the French School of Spirituality, had understood that Life, threatened everywhere, requires from us more than analysis and diagnosis. 

You have been the leaven in my dough ever since. You have helped me to untie knots, to find courage, to take initiatives. Just like you, I have also made mistakes, I have had   to go back, and start again, to correct my course. Every initiative in favor of Life is not necessarily appropriate and effective, as you well know. But nothing justifies inertia, and this is the greatest lesson that your testimony   taught me. 

In 1855, when this expression did not   yet exist, you were   “finished”. You had faced this kind of ordeal before, but it seems that this time the blow was stronger: the blows followed after another. It was even said that this was the end of your apostolate and that you would never recover from this fall. A shower of fake news fell on your name and splashed your entourage. I can imagine your disappointment, your anxiety, your moments of solitude. 

The persecutions you have faced   make you more human in my eyes; they do not make me retreat an inch in my conviction of your holiness: it is precisely because nothing human is foreign to you that I perceive all that is divine in you. When things do not go as I had planned, or when I do not feel understood in my objectives, it is in you that I project myself… I row slowly in the fog. 

I don’t have many friends, but the ones I have are good ones. Confident in our friendship, for some years now I have begun to pray, asking for your precious intercession. In my faith, I am sure that countless people have already helped me, and I thank you. As I know that friendship is a path that disappears if it is not constantly followed, I always think of you and I don’t miss a single opportunity to talk about you to other people. I   don’t keep you selfishly for myself. 

By the way, thanks for the grace regarding my wife. The doctor couldn’t believe it when she saw the new tests. Apprehension gave way to elation. And I know, in my heart, that you had a hand in that. I hope to repay you by being a friend who honours you and  whom you are not ashamed of   I know I won’t always succeed, but I will try. Stay with God. I know you don’t rest. You are not given time to do so. You have many friends around here!

With friendship and affection,

Evandro Albuquerque de Andrade

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