St. Augustine Province of Africa

Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God

Bro. Philippe Patayodi

11Philippe.png‘No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ Giving one’s life; that is what I felt called to do, to give my life to the poorest of the poor, the sick and the needy. My life in the Hospitaller Community in the pursuit of this common cause was, and remains, my deepest desire to give myself totally to God following the compassionate and merciful Christ at the service of my poor and sick brothers and sisters.

My pathway in this Hospitaller Family has been an experience full of positive and negative aspects in each stage of my formation which enrich me to face my day-to-day life. Mindful that without God I can do nothing, every morning I am enriched by the celebration of Mass at which I nurture myself on the Word of God and on the body and blood of Christ who enlivens me throughout the whole day in my relations with my Brothers and sisters. This love and this constant desire for the presence of God in my daily life have made me reach out towards my Brothers and sisters, to hear them and to share their pain and their joy; to receive and to accept everyone, without any discrimination based on language, culture, nationality or race. This also sends me out to show the suffering of my sick and abandoned brothers and sisters who have no one to take care of them.

My Hospitaller experience in this Scholasticate community can be summed up as my heartfelt readiness to accept everyone, whoever they may be, despising no one in their weakness, because for me every person is poor, sick, or abandoned in one way or another in the course of their lives. And the sick, despised or abandoned people closest to me are my Confrères and Co-workers with whom I live. As I meditate on the life of our Father St John of God I find myself embraced by God’s mercy, that is, I sense the greatness of God’s love for the world and for my own unworthy self, which motivates me to give the best of myself to my neighbour and to those around me. Clear-sightedly, in my community, my outreach to all my Brothers and Co-workers determines my hospitality. Convinced, as I am, that one of the greatest elements that is never missing from a community, and particularly a community of young people, is a lack of understanding of others, I rejoice in Christ, because He reads everyone’s heart, and the feedback I receive from my fellow Brothers becomes a challenge to review the way I express my love for my Brothers in the community. My straightforward and sincere relationship with our Co-workers expresses my hospitality as a Brother of St John of God by listening to them and by encouraging them. One person told me that he could not go to anyone else because I listened to everyone. Even though he knew who he could turn to, he always came to me; by referring him to the right person I assured him that I would act on his behalf and without anyone noticing it I would discreetly helped him back to normal life. This is one of the actions of the Holy Spirit working through me: for left to myself, I cannot do anything to positively mark anyone because of my own human frailties. Mindful of this weakness, I threw myself every day into the Love of the Father by constantly seeking to live in His presence in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, Reconciliation and His Word. This is what strengthens me and enlightens my day. The spirit of Hospitality also leads me to reach out to everyone in a simple, human relationship with them, particularly towards my colleagues in the School of the sick, to visit them and to support them with my prayers. And I also use my pocket money to help the most needy people I come across in my life