I had only known Louise in the three and a half years as a volunteer at JRS but she had taught me so, so much. The best compliment I heard in my early months was someone saying, ‘Louise will give a limb for a refugee!’
The words from Matthew 25:31-46 keep coming to mind and I am sure Jesus is saying now to dear Louise: “Well done good and faithful servant. Receive the reward prepared for you since the foundation of the world… in so far as you did this to one of the least of sisters and brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
Allow me to add my tribute to Louise.
I was a refugee and you saw me as a fellow human being, refugee being only one aspect of my life at this moment.
I was confused and did not know what to do and you helped me in whatever way you can or referred me to others when you could not.
I needed someone to listen and you were always there when I knocked on your door, giving me all the time I needed.
I was in pain mentally, physically, psychologically, and you understood though I had no idea how you were also suffering from your deteriorating illness.
I was homeless and vulnerable and you offered me refuge in the spare room in your home, not only to me but to others too.
I had no family here but when your home needed new doors etc you arranged for me to stay with your blood sister.
I was in despair and you gave me courage to continue hoping against hope.
I was angry and your gentle presence calmed me down.
I was marginalised and felt sometimes no one cared anymore and you gave me back some self respect by all you did and implemented at JRS.
I was a professional person back in my own country before I fled and you understood being a lawyer yourself and yet you never flagged that.
I had no voice and no power to do anything, and you spoke to all who would listen about my plight and that of my fellow refugees.
I had self pity and days I cannot drag myself to come out, and how many were the times you still came to work despite your sickness.
I had no family here to look after and wonder how you managed to juggle with your elderly father in a nursing home and work full time and going the second and third mile.
I had no or very little idea of your life even as I shared mine.
But God knows you more than anyone can and now had called you home.
Come Louise, you whom my Father has blessed, come to Me for your work on earth is done. St Francis on his death bed said to his brothers, ‘I had done what I had to do. May God teach you what is yours.’ May others be inspired by you Louise and continue now. Teach us to live NOW for we know not the day or hour. Come and join your husband, your dad, your loved ones in my kingdom. And all refugees will be there to welcome you. Pray for us now Louise as we pray for you and with you. Amen!
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