Three hundred and three quite ordinary French men and women are about to get a check for about 2,000 Euros each. When octogenarian Jeanine Vromant died almost three years ago, she had no family to leave her nest egg of 280,000 Euros to. Instead, in her hand-written will, she left her estate to all the people with whom she crossed paths regularly who had showed her a little kindness. Nurses, grocery store clerks, bus drivers – many of whom were described by the circumstances of their acquaintanceship, rather than by name – these were the people singled out for remembrance. All of them have finally been traced by her diligent lawyer and the checks are in the mail.
Today’s expression, charité bien ordonnée commence par soi-même, (sharitee beN ordoneay comonse par swah mem), literally means “well-ordered charity begins with oneself,” or “charity begins at home.” I think it’s charming how Jeanine Fromant was charitable to those near her who had been charitable in their dealings with an old lady. It was a virtuous circle.