The Beginning of Faith and Light
In 1968, Camille & Gerard Profit, a French couple with 2 sons who have severe mental & physical disabilities, wanted to join the diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes. They were refused on grounds that their children would be a disturbance to other pilgrims. Despite the rejection, the family still decided to go to Lourdes on their own. In Lourdes, they were ostracized. Hotels & Inns rejected them, locals & pilgrims gave them rude and unwelcoming stares. Even the hotel that took them in insisted that their children be kept out of sight and their meals were to be served strictly in their rooms.
After their pilgrimage, Camille & Gerard shared their painful experiences with Marie-Helene Matthieu & Jean Vamier. They then decided to organize a pilgrimage especially for such intellectually disabled persons with their families and friends.
In Easter 1971, 12,000 people from 18 different countries journeyed to Lourdes as one big caring community. The experience was so awe-inspiring that Marie-Helene, Jean and the leaders felt that this big caring community spirit must continue in their own countries.
Faith & Light was thus born out of the experience in Lourdes. Today, there are more than 1,350 communities across more than 75 countries and is still growing. Each community meets regularly and celebrates the gift of himself/herself to one another. In doing so, each of us becomes a little light to one another, centred around the faith of the community.
The Faith and Light Story (Singapore)
The intellectually disabled are special people loved by God. However, society and even Churches may not always welcome them. Parents of these special persons may also become isolated from the community at large. They too need encouragement and a listening ear.
Faith and Light is an international Church-centered community that reaches out to intellectually handicapped people and their families. Singapore established its first Faith and Light community at Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in 2001. Soon after the Faith and Light community for West District at Blessed Sacrament Church was established.
We believe that each person, however profoundly he or she may be handicapped, is called to be a source of grace and peace for the whole community, for the Church and for all humanity. There is a need to let these families realise that everyone is a gift from God and that they are warmly welcomed and accepted in the Church.
Through regular meetings with the Faith and Light community, we become signs of God's love for one another - as we share each other's burdens, encourage and respond to the needs of each one.