Sunday, July 06, 2008


Have you noticed today’s date? It is 06.07.08. Interesting and unique!

This afternoon, wandering around the Imperial War Museum, an amazing place that is well worth a visit, but which cannot be seen in one day, I was struck by an unusual video, so moving that there was a lump in my throat as I watched.

The video screen was set in a pile of rubble in the middle of a bombed street, with ruined buildings reaching high on either side of the road and stretching into the distance. The film was actual footage of people ‘making do’ immediately after a bombing raid, homeless and helping each other to emerge from shelters or make their way to safety.

Unknown to me at the time was that, slightly to the rear, was the display of some of the ‘memorabilia’ of Buchenvald. Most of it is kept on a separate floor dedicated to the Holocaust.

However, as I stood, watching the video in the ruined street, the music of ‘Pie Jesus’ filled the air. Could it have ever been more appropriate?

How did the people in the bombed street regard that particular day? How did the prisoners in Buchenvald face their own situation? Did they all know hope or despair, sadness or joy, tranquillity or turmoil as they faced an uncertain future? For sure, those in Buchenvald knew they were probably soon to meet their Maker, but not all died. Some survived.

However, the poignancy was not all war-related.

The Imperial War Museum is housed in the building that, many years ago, was the dreaded Bethlehem Hospital, the lunatic asylum that gave birth to the word ‘bedlam’. In those days, a pleasant Sunday afternoon’s occupation was to visit the hospital in order to watch the lunatics. Of course, in those days, there was not the medication that can now so readily treat those who are suffering from mental illness.

…but those occupants of Bethlehem, how were their days? One imagines that, for those who had some awareness of their situation, there must have been an interminable horror. Fortunately, now, all are at peace and can no longer be disturbed by horrific surroundings and curious onlookers.

06.07.8. How has your day been? How will it be? May God grant that there have been hours of peace, with no fear, no illness, no cruelty…and may we pray for those for whom today has been a nightmare.

God bless,
Sr. Janet