Out of the Comfort Zone:

St. Drogo, Sister Frances & Andrew Greystone

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Drogo was born into a noble family in Northern France but lived in humility and austerity as a shepherd. A penitential pilgrim, he visited various sacred shrines, suffering hunger, thirst and physical discomfort.

Drogo contracted a debilitating and disfiguring disease. Because his deformities scared those he met he lived in a cell attached to a church. Through a small window he received meagre rations of food; people came seeking his advice and prayers.

Drogo is the patron saint of unattractive people, those who others find repulsive.

Last night’s episode of ‘Call the Midwife’ saw Sister Frances helping a fearful Indian patient in the final weeks of her pregnancy. She decides to hold pre-natal classes for Indian women, isolated from medical care because of language and cultural barriers.

Sister Frances’ determination to understand personal situations and national customs is successful. Through her enthusiasm and compassion there’s growing understanding and trust. An Anglican nun works with a Hindu family. Difficulties are overcome.

Following the 2019 mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, Andrew Graystone stood outside his local mosque in Manchester with the placard: You are my friends. I will watch while you pray.

I’m reading his ‘Faith Hope and Mischief’: ‘I decided early on that I want to live amongst people who are not like me… hang out with people who challenge me, and make me feel uncomfortable and even a bit scared.’

Out of his depth as a church youth worker in an ex-pit village in County Durham young people came to Andrew’s home: ‘They hung out, taught me about their lives, ate crisps and fought on our sofa. I learnt to love the smell of teenager mixed with cigarette smoke and honesty. They made me into a youth worker and showed me the love of Jesus. God knows what I showed them.’

Our world emphasises security and comfort obtained through money, possessions, good looks and popularity; St. Drogo, Sister Frances and Andrew Greystone point to an alternative.

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