Sr. Petra Bigge, On the streets of Nuremberg

During my street retreat in Nuremberg I went one afternoon to the prison neighbouring our house. Several of the participants had already told of it. I wanted only to look, and let me address by the walls.

When I approached it, I saw from far the door of the reception room open. Some people sat under shady trees and found there refreshment in the summer heat. I sat down likewise under those trees on the small wall, and observed the coming and going. Women and men came out and talked with each other: Frustrated, excited, exhausted and tired. An older gentleman attracted my attention. He was dressed completely in white. He went to and fro before the large gate. Suddenly he was called in. After a short time he came out again.

I observed also that many officials went in and out. Change of shifts. This meant well-earned closing time for these and beginning of service for those people. I observed their faces, where they went and with which vehicles they left the work.

I made up my mind to go nearer to the reception room. When I rose, the gentleman dressed completely in white came and asked me, for whom I waited. I answered, „I am looking for God.“

He said, „I just ransomed my son expensively. If you wait still forty minutes, then he will come. You can come along to us. Food and lodging are free. You can cooperate in my restaurant. I will show you everything.“

I said I had time tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. He meant this was too short. I should stay half a year, and see whether it would please me by him or not.

Only while telling it in the community of the Combonis it became clear to me that God had spoken in that encounter. Also today the words are still resounding in my ear:

I ransomed expensively my son. In forty minutes he will come. – And looking at the clock I noticed that in forty minutes our service should begin.

He wants to come also in this Advent to everyone of us. We too are ransomed, expensively ransomed, free children of God.

SR. Petra Bigge – 2003