The French writer, philanthropist and friend of Mother Teresa, continues to fight against poverty in India. He is helped by his wife, who is asking the whole world for help and prayers
Domenico Agasso jr Taken from Vatican Insider
Dominique Lapierre has been challenging poverty in India for 33 years. The author of “The City of Joy” – the best-seller which inspired the homonymous movie starring Patrick Swayze Â – began in 1981: from that “conversion” he contributed to the recovery of thousands of leper children and millions of patients in Calcutta and in the delta of the Ganges, he built hospitals and clinics, digging wells, launching four boat-dispensaries and made many other interventions in favor of those people left behind by India, who from the third world are running fast towards the first.
Since June 10, 2012 Lapierre has also been fighting illness. A traumatic brain injury after a fall stopped him on the street in Ramatuelle, in the south of France, close to the colors and sounds of Saint-Tropez. There were concerns for his life: but he came through, he made extraordinary progress, walking again with the aid of a walking cane, speaking, moving independently. He still undergoes rehabilitation, but he has found the flashes of irony, with those glances and words that have made him likeable and amiable throughout the world.
He always has his wife Dominique beside him, the “great Dominique”, as he says, “Tatou”, as he has always called her, even now when he does not see or hear her for more than a few minutes. Dominique Conchon Lapierre was by his side when it came to changing his life and dedicating it to India. “It is God who sends you”, Mother Teresa of Calcutta said to them one morning, seeing them arrive with money in hand and the desire to help the underprivileged in India. Since then Tatou was the organizer of the whole extraordinary charitable activity which for over thirty years has involved the two Lapierre, their friends, the readers of books by Dominique in aid of the “City of Joy”, the places with the greatest poverty on earth.
Today she continues maintain relations with the reality created there, thanks to copyrights and the help of readers around the world. They never wanted collaborators because they would have to be paid, thereby subtracting money from India. Always the two of them, even today. The “big sister” Dominique “Didi” is in constant contact with the Indian collaborators who run their activity. She was there last November, for ten days, to check that everything is working well, as they did at least a couple of times a year, she and Dominique “Dada”, the “big brother”. There are still many problems, thousands of emergencies and urgencies to deal with, less offers arrive due to the crisis, but also because since 10 June 2012 Dominique Lapierre has no longer attended conference, nor write new books. While waiting to do so, his wife invites friends to pray always, without stopping, for Dominique to heal completely. And he calls for financial help in order to continue to help India.
The prayers for the health of Dominique Lapierre have already gained what she calls “the miracle of love, which allowed for his seemingly impossible healing”. Now all his readers and friends around the world are called to mobilize: to maintain the dream of the “City of Joy” standing there is need for money, lots of money.
Lapierre’s last trip (for now) was in December 2011, as noted in the book “The last shall be first” (Rizzoli, 2012): “It’s the sound of an ardent Happy Birthday to our beloved dada!, Happy Birthday dear brother, sung by twelve thousand students of the three schools that I have opened in the small town of Bhangar, in Bengal, I just celebrated my 80th birthday and thirty years of my crusade to serve the poor in that unfortunate region in an India that suffers, it’s appropriate to say, for the enormous number of its inhabitants. A huge cake decorated with eighty candles and a bouquet of just as many balloons ready to take flight are waiting for me for the most memorable party of my life”.
The challenge of Dominique with poverty continues. He, who has not spared himself to help others, now needs everyone more than ever. Prayers for his full and permanent recovery, money to fight poverty in India. Knowing that “saving a child means saving the world”. He has already saved many but not enough. He insists on reminding us that “anything that is not donated is lost”. There is still so much in need of Dominique Lapierre. Not only in India.*
(It is possible to collaborate with Lapierre’s humanitarian initiatives by sending offers to the ASSOCIATION FOR CHILDREN OF LEPERS OF CALCUTTA Onlus, Via Guicciardini, 15-50125 Florence. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org . POSTAL ACCOUNT 10043503. CREDEM BANK – IBAN: IT 24 T 03032 02801 01000 0003 389)