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The eagle and the poppy

June 2023 – A young core member of L’Arche in Cuise-La-Motte, Marie Proust agreed to open us to her inner life by answering our questionnaire… A “Proustian” questionnaire, obviously !

Marie, what’s your main character trait?
I’m sensitive. For example, when there are problems, fights, arguments, shouting, it affects me. That’s when I pick up on everyone’s emotions.

What happens then?
Sometimes I cry, sometimes I start shouting.

What do you appreciate most about your friends?
I really appreciate their help, I really appreciate their smile. And I appreciate everything they offer me: they offer me lots of things. I like having friends.

What’s your main flaw?
(She remains silent)

Do you have a flaw?
No, I don’t.

What’s your favourite past-time?
I like dancing, I like drawing and I like singing. The activity that does me the most good is dancing. I’ve been doing it for 8 years, and then I had to stop, due to a teacher who thought I was too disabled to dance. But now I’m back doing it again at the ESAT Centre.

What are you like after dancing?
I smile more, I’m in better spirits, I feel better, and that’s good for me.

What is your dream of happiness?
My dream is… It’s going to be a bit… (She hesitates for a moment)
It’s to have a boyfriend, and to get married.

Do you mind if I write that down?
No, I wouldn’t mind at all.

What would be your greatest misfortune?
To have a fight with someone.

Where would you like to live?
New York. I saw that city in a film and it made me want to live there. I haven’t yet visited New York, but I’d love to.

What’s your favourite colour?
Pink glitter. I don’t have any, but I’m going to ask for some for my birthday. They’re a kind of felt-tip, it’s like paint, and I can put glitter on it.

What’s your favourite flower?
The poppy.

What’s your favourite bird?
A golden eagle. Because it’s actually white, and I like the colour white.

What is the gift of nature that you would like to have?
What does that mean?

Gifts are things like being able to draw well, or dance well, or speak well, be a good speech-giver, or even write…
I like writing. I write a lot of things, I write my feelings. As soon as I come to the end of a week, I write down my feelings for the week. I do that at home, I have a notebook for that. I don’t show it, it’s just for me.

So if you had a magic wand, what gift would you have?
I’d be very good at dancing.

Do you know how you’d like to die?
Well, in a coffin. Just like everyone else!

How are you feeling at the moment?
I feel great. It’s good to talk. When I’m not feeling well, it’s not easy at first, but in the end, after talking with someone, it’s like I feel better about myself.

What is the gift you often give?
Drawings, letters. I write letters to my friends.

When do you like to draw?
All day long.

Do you like music?
I love music.

What kind of music gets you high?
What does “getting high” mean?

Music that makes you fly, like a plane or a bird?
I like gentle music.

Do you believe in God?

Who is God for you?
He’s someone who is there to help me feel better.

Do you feel he’s there?
Yes, I feel that he helps me, for example when there are arguments, I often think of him, so that he’ll try to help me, so that things can get better.

Does that work?
It certainly does!


Is there a question you’d like to ask God?
I don’t really have an idea for a question, but what I could say to him is… would… No, I don’t know.

Perhaps you’d prefer to say something directly to him, not to me?
Yes. For example, sometimes when I think of mum, I think of him too. Sometimes I tell him to help mum, because it’s not easy at the moment. And it works.

And what does God want to say to you, yourself?
I suppose he wants me to make an effort. That I make progress. He wants me to learn to do a lot of things. At work, for example.

If you went for a walk with God, where would it be?
In the forest.

Do you pray?

How do you like to pray? Aloud, quietly, alone, with people?
On my own, listening to music, listening to hymns of praise.

Do you pray with other people?
When I was little, I prayed with my whole family. We used to say prayers just about every evening, when mum was well. And that helped me a lot.

Do you talk about your spiritual life, your relationship with God, with other people?
I don’t talk about it. It’s not easy to share it with my friends.

Do your friends believe in God?
I don’t know.

You’ve never asked them?

What makes you cry?
People who argue.

What makes you angry?
When people lie to me or are rude to me.

Has this happened to you recently?
No. Not at the ESAT Centre anyway.

What makes you laugh?
I laugh at everything! I like to laugh, especially with my friends: sometimes my girlfriends play jokes on me and I laugh with them.

If you had one hour left to live, what would you want to do?
To stay with people who like me.

Marie Proust

Interview conducted by Paul de Vulpillières for La Ferme

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