Without this meeting, Sophie, a young woman with Down syndrome, would not have been able to go to WYD.

Without this meeting, Sophie, a young woman with Down syndrome, would not have been able to go to WYD.

Under a cloudy sky, unusual for hot Bordeaux summers, they walk in the park adjoining Sophie’s parents’ house in Talence. The brush that invades it seems to guide Pauline’s thoughts. “Do you have good shoes?” she asks Sophie. “Don’t worry, my mom went on sale!” “And the flip flops for the shower? Sunscreen too, and a hat?” “Yes, yes I have everything it takes! “.

To hear them, who would believe that Sophie and Pauline met for the first time barely two months ago?

They are both 21 years old, are Catholics and each want to participate in World Youth Days (WYD). But Sophie has Down’s syndrome and going to Portugal is an obstacle course for her. Seeing her two sisters prepare for their epic trip to Lisbon, the young woman, a fan of Pope Francis, has only one thing in mind: to take part in the adventure.. Sophie’s mother, in front of her daughter’s will, scoured all the telephone numbers of the diocese: without an attendant, it was impossible to let Sophie go. A need that Sophie admits after mischievously attempting a parry: “It’s to reassure Mom!“. Time passes and she has no return.

On the other side of Bordeaux, in Eysines, Pauline has been planning her trip for several months and has joined a group of young people from Talence, where a friend has signed up. During a preparation day organized in the spring by the parish, the organizers ask students to accompany people with disabilities. Pauline’s hand suddenly stretches out towards the sky. “I hadn’t expected that, it was like a force outside of my will pushing me. My arm went up by itself! ” still moves the young woman.

The next day, the priest of Talence meets Sophie’s mother ” We found a volunteer! “. An immense relief invades his family. And marks the beginning of the adventure.

The haste to leave is visible in the two accomplices. “I love those moments when everything has to be done and built!“, launches Pauline when Sophie, all excited, adds: “I want to let loose at WYD!“. The sentence comes up regularly during the conversation. Since June 1, they have met several times and have been able to get to know each other. Pauline has even taken Sophie climbing with her friends. “She was unstoppable!“, laughs the first. The height of chance: they discover that their fathers participated in the same pilgrimage just two weeks ago and therefore know each other.

But their commonalities end here. It is even the big gap between them in terms of centers of interest. “I’m football! Ronaldo is my idol!“, ignites Sophie, adding that she reads The Team, SoFoot and all possible magazines on this sport. “Well, you’re going to teach me things!“, rebounds Pauline without being able to say more about Kylian Mbappé or Ronaldo. Her hobby? Sewing. The student in fashion design and model making has dreamed since childhood of making it her job and her path seems well drawn. In the meantime, he there are the studies and the internships, the sewing lessons that she already gives, the climbing that she has practiced for a long time, the friends.

It is up to her to be her landmark and a benevolent ear in case of a slack. No fear invades the young woman, who has already frequented people with disabilities. Except when she sees the size of the bag that Sophie is about to wear in two days: “I warn you, I will not carry your bag!“ launches the one who had anticipated everything … except accompanying Sophie during the WYD.

In Portugal, both yearn for celebration, singing and dancing. But not only. “I realize that accompanying Sophie to help her in what she has to live there makes me want to leave even more “, observes Pauline. Her approach is imbued with a deep desire. “I don’t see anything but comfort at these World Youth Days. For me it is an opportunity to take stock of my inner life. And to readjust the shot if necessary”.

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