Belgian Choir Of Elderly People With Dementia Witnesses To Dignity Of Life

Solène Tadié

Fifteen elderly people with Alzheimer’s disease from Bonheiden, Belgium, came to Rome for a five-day pilgrimage with Cardinal Jozef De Kesel, archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, on April 2. All of them are part of the “Rainbow Choir” at a home for the elderly in Bonheiden.

The group met the Holy Father before his April 3 general audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI audience hall. “I think your song is made more precious by your vulnerability,” said Pope Francis to the senior singers, highlighting the consoling power of singing together in bearing the burden of the disease.

Some representatives of the home as well as family members of the choir took part in the trip, which was hallmarked by encouragement and support from the Holy Father.

A ‘Rainbow’ of Imperfection

“I think that the fact of putting together our frailties and mutually accepting them is the most beautiful ‘hymn,’ the harmony most pleasing to God, a ‘rainbow’ — not of perfections, but of imperfections!” the Pope said.

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