Since 1987, the Saint-Jean Espérance Association has opened three houses for young men and women aged between 18 and 35 who suffer from addictions, especially drug addictions, and who want to find meaning in their lives again.
When the poor cry out to God, their cry pierces the clouds!
In 1987 some young drug addicts asked Fr Jean-Philippe, a Brother of Saint John, to open a house for them where they could regain their physical, mental and spiritual health. Some of them also wanted the opportunity to experience and discover that God is our Father.
Fr Jean-Philippe came across a Marian Shrine in a small village in Berry, near the town of Châteauroux, called Pellevoisin, dedicated to ‘Mary, Mother most merciful’. This was the title under which Our Lady had appeared fifteen times in 1876 to a poor dying servant named Estelle Faguette. Our Lady had said to Estelle, ‘I choose the small and weak to make known my glory.’ Fr Jean-Philippe was struck by the light Our Lady’s message shed on what he was being asked to do, and he entrusted the house he had recently opened to Our Lady, so that she herself might welcome the poor who came to live there. Originally started by a religious at the request of those young people addicted to drugs, Saint-Jean Espérance has, since its very early days, been a joint work between religious and laypeople.
In each house, a small, fraternal, Christian community lives together. It is made up of Brothers and laypeople, either volunteers or employees. They are helped by local support groups, the Sisters and Oblates of Saint John, as well as friends. What they live and the structure they follow has much in common with other houses of a similar kind: personal accompaniment, the opportunity to receive psychological help, a common life together, a strict schedule, all kinds of work, help with living once more as a member of society, etc.