Claude Paradis thought he was lost forever. For, he was rejected by all and hated by all. He was a drug addict who lived in the streets of Montreal, Canada. Alcohol and drugs caused him to stoop into the abyss of miseries and poverty. In desperation, once he had even considered to end his life.
“I started doing cocaine and then crack,” Paradis recalled. In a letter posted on the website of La Victoire de l’Amour (the Victory of Love), Fr. Paradis tells the story of his encounter with the Lord:
“I had the privilege of meeting God just at the moment I was doubting Him. On a little back street in Montreal, abandoned by people, there was nobody there. Passing by the old church, impelled by I don’t know what instinct, I turned back in there. At that moment, he had a deep and intense encounter with God. He realized he did not want to die, but rather wanted to become “a man of the Church.”
The light of Christ pierced the darkness that had pervaded his soul. The amazing grace lifted him from the tomb of his miseries. He walked back to life – life in abundance. Today he is a priest who dedicates his time to the service of the physical and spiritual needs of those trapped in poverty, prison and prostitution.
Paradis learned the teachings of the Church, and was fascinated by the beauty of Christian life. He was enamored by the priesthood and eventually became a priest of Christ. But he did not choose to stay in the cozy life, instead he went back to the street to serve the miserable and redeem the lost.
“The street brought me to the Church and the Church in the end brought me back to the street,” he says about his decision. Later, as a sign of his closeness and solidarity with the homeless, Fr. Paradis decided to sleep on the street for the whole month, to care for the homeless people there with solidarity and charity.
His hope was that he could accompany people in a difficult situation while also making the citizens of Montreal aware of the harsh reality faced by those living on the street. He later founded an institution called Notre-Dame-de-la-rue (Our Lady of the Street). Every night, he goes out to bring food and shelter to those living on the streets and administers the sacraments, celebrates the Eucharist and presides at funerals. He is accompanied by one of his co-workers, Kevin Cardin, a drug addict convert.
Fr. Paradis, who is now 57-year-old, says that he has dedicated the rest of his life to serving the poor. “On the street is where I want to be, until I die” he signs off with a determined smile.
മരിയന് ടൈംസില് പ്രസിദ്ധീകരിക്കുന്ന വാര്ത്തകളും ലേഖനങ്ങളും വീഡിയോകളും മരിയന് ടൈംസിന്റെ മൊബൈല് ആപ്പിലൂടെ നിങ്ങള്ക്ക് നേരിട്ട് ലഭിക്കും.