Many people have heard the story of Corrie Ten Boom, as best narrated through her book The Hiding Place and the film with the same title. Corrie was a Dutch Christian who, along with her father and sister, provided their watchmaking shop and home as a hideout for Jews trying to escape from the Nazis during World War II.
Corrie’s story is one of courageous faith, not only to hide people despite risk of her own inprisonment, but also to continue to rely on and see God at work in the most evil aspects of humanity in concentration camps. She and her sister saw their suffering as a sign that they were imitating Christ, and in their confinement were able to be witnesses of peace and faith to other inmates and even guards.
Corrie was released from Ravensbruck concentration camp due to a clerical error–the following week, all the women of her age at the camp were killed. Her sister died just days before, but in her dying days, envisioned Corrie starting a community of healing for people who had been in concentration camps as well as turning a camp into a place of healing for guards and soliders. Though Betsie did not live to see this vision, Corrie began telling the story of their incarceration and soon after, did in fact begin such a community.
Corrie died April 15, 1983, but her spirit of courageous hospitality is as necessary today as ever. The work for justice for the homeless, immigrants, and refugees in the 21st century is a calling on the Church to welcome the stranger as Christ once again. We pray that our little effort here to live in the spirit of not only Corrie but so many others is an encouragement and example for the wider church.