Famille Chrétienne: "This former Lazarus pilgrim lives the miracles of Providence".

19 February 2024 Press review
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On a three-month begging pilgrimage, after eight years working for the Lazare association, Sibylle de Malet bears witness to Providence at work.



"When I was 18, I said to the Lord: 'I'm letting go of control of my life and I'm giving it to You', and since then, everything I've experienced has been crazy," says Sibylle de Malet, speaking by videotape from Medjugorje, where she has just arrived and feels "free and happy". Three months earlier, the thirty-something had left Nantes, where she had worked for eight years as international development manager for the Lazare association, which brings together homeless exiles and young working people under the same roof. Sibylle set off with her backpack and no money, hitchhiking and walking to the Bosnian shrine from Vézelay. A pilgrimage placed in the hands of Providence, which she continued to experience en route, as she had before in her work. An occasion for gratitude.

"During my journey, I had the impression of reliving for myself what I had experienced so many times in Lazarus: in an impossible situation, doing everything I could to get out of it, and finally receiving everything from God, just when I was tempted to give up," says the pilgrim. The young woman recounts the day when, after being refused nothing but a hitchhike, as night fell, she was about to sleep in the street... when a Franciscan community opened its door to her. " I found myself surrounded by fifteen friars, for a hearty dinner washed down with champagne! she laughs. That's what Providence is all about: not being afraid to take the plunge, asking God for guidance, working hard and trusting Him completely. Then He gives us not only what we need, but often much more than we hoped for!

Sibylle already knew that Providence was generous. "When I arrived as a trainee at Lazare, after three weeks, I was asked to open a shared flat in Lille. I had no money and didn't know anyone, but I said to the Lord, 'Here are my five loaves and two fishes' - in other words, my good will. Six months later, a Polish craftsman had done all the work free of charge on a house that had been made available, a friend had helped us find furniture, and two volunteers had arrived to welcome the first homeless people," she marvels to this day. A "miracle" that the young woman has seen happen in five different countries. "In Belgium, we needed 5 million euros. Investors were wide-eyed when they saw me arrive at the age of 27. In the end, I got 11 million! Providence doesn't take away the difficulties, but it sometimes leads us into situations we'd never have imagined."

As a child, Sibylle saw herself as a nurse, "married at 24" and with three children. "In the end, I lived in several countries, met the Pope, the Queen of Belgium, millionaires and extremely poor friends whom I taught to read at 35." And what's next? "I don't know what lies ahead. I left Lazare to avoid settling into a comfortable life, because I'd achieved all my goals, so I'm looking for a new job. I'd also like to start a family. But, whatever happens, I know it's bound to be better than I expected!"

This phrase from the Gospel she loves: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Mt 16:24). These words have been with me for many years, because they are the story of my life. I've come to understand that, even in difficult times, when carried with the Lord, the cross becomes lighter. I don't know where God is leading me, but I'm following Him.

Read the article on www.famillechré

By Anne-Françoise de Taillandier

February 19, 2024

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