St. Augustine Province of Africa

Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God

Bro. Parfait Tchaou

bro-parfait-tchaouThe desire to consecrate myself to God arose as a result of a meeting with a community of Marist Brothers who ran my secondary school. Their commitment to the service of educating young people and their community lifestyle greatly attracted me and I longed to become one of them. I therefore decided to join a vocations group to discover this desire and think it through, and to have someone to accompany me. I then discovered that God wanted me to place myself at His service by caring for my suffering brothers and sisters.

My first contact with the Brothers of St John of God left a deep mark on me. It was in Tanguiéta, at the St John of God Hospital where I spent time gaining experience to discover the life of the Brothers and their apostolate by the bedside of the suffering. And there I discovered a different world from the one I had come from, a world geared to relieving human suffering, giving meaning to human suffering, a world of compassion. Through small acts of service, but above all by a silent presence, sometimes amusing and evangelising at the bedside of certain sick people, I was able to ease their suffering and bring them comfort. That encouraged me to persevere in this new direction I had just discovered. At the end of this experience, I felt an interior joy at my experiences of community prayer and above all I felt satisfied that I had been able to take part in easing the suffering of the sick following Christ’s example.

The Hospitaller life taught me to be concerned at all times about my neighbour’s welfare. Confronted with a suffering person I tried to ease his suffering, and that was painful to me because I was incapable of doing so. In my human powerlessness I put in trust my neighbours’ suffering to our Lord in compassionate silence. At my university I am currently studying in the mental health centre where I sometimes lend a hand to care for, and visit, the sick, endeavouring to be attentive and in readiness to meet the demands of the suffering and needy people by providing them with the small services that I am able to render as far as I am able to.

Community life is where I recharge my batteries and find comfort and support, sharing joys and sufferings. It enables me at all times to refocus my life on Christ through our liturgical celebrations and other community activities.