A missionary’s story: Sr. Nelisia Rodrigues de Jesus

     Africa, our Dear MotherR.J.N. 115




” Go and tell the Good News ” (Mt 28,19)

Sr. Nelísia Rodrigues de Jesus,   smic

I have the pleasure to share in a general way, a bit of my missionary experience in Malanje / Angola.

This was my first Missionary experience in a land other than my own.

Africa has many similarities to some of our states in the northeast of Brazil, principally in Bahia, my native land.

When I arrived I didn’t feel much of a difference; the similarity that existed facilitated my adaptation to this country.

The SMIC Mission is located in the Katepa Parish of the Archdiocese of Malange.   It is administered by the OFM Friars who are almost all Brazilians.  This contributed to a good relationship and development of pastoral work.

As soon as we arrived here we were presented to the Parishioners of the Parish of Uganda Martyrs during the Sunday Liturgy  which was very nice.  There was great joy both on our side and on the side of the people.  They are happy and welcoming!  They love to sing and dance.  On that day, we perceived a ray of joy in the look of each one.  This profoundly moved me.  It expressed what was deep down in my heart, “I am Angolan, I was born in Brazil but now God brought me to my home!”.


And it happened that the time passed and the journey continued.  I  welcomed  the happenings and the reality, serving and learning from those most in need.  “The poor are our best teachers”. (Sr. Teresa of Calcutta).  Today, after five years of this journey with our Angolan brothers I learned much from them, principally the joy and gift of welcoming.  I confess with all sincerity that this was one of the deepest experiences in pastoral work that I ever experienced in my Consecrated Life. I consider it a second vocational call; the first was when I had the courage to leave my parents’ home and go to the Convent.  The second was here in Angola, this great gift from God.


Life with Missionaries:  In the Katepa parish where we live, there is daily Eucharist with the recitation of Laudes by the Missionaries and the whole assembly.  Besides the specific work of each one, forming teams for pastoral work with Sisters of other Congregations enriched us and helped us tremendously.


Life with the students of the St. Anthony School:  Besides parochial works that were asked of me during these five years which included animating the people in the villages, I assumed the Direction of the St. anthony School which is a Catholic mission school of Katepa constructed by the OFM Friars.


This experience was very good!  I liked it very much and I dedicated myself totally to the bettering the students. The students that study there are children of farmers and the majority are not able to read or write.  The students are disciplined and welcoming, really needy of all.  They merit our love and support; all that we did in benefit of them is still only little.

Life with the Teachers:  The teachers who work at the School   are all young and have children, as needy as the students.  They receive a low salary and often this come late.  But even so, work with joy and together with the School administration try to meet the goals set.


Life with the students’ parents:  The parents of the students really have been a great support for our educational work.  When we ask their help, they are present and with a good disposition.


Life with the faithful of the villages:       When we visit the villages for religious celebrations, we are received as in a feast.  All the people come singing and dancing to great the missionaries.  The African music with its sounds and rhythm is contagious to our hearts.  There are sad and joyful songs, bitter and full of humor singing about work, life and hope.


Conclusion: finally, I want to first thank God and the Congregation which gave me this opportunity!

Besides being among a people who are victims of poverty experiencing all types of need, hunger, affection, education and principally hunger for the Word of God, the mission was very gratifying and enriching.  It was not burdensome or suffering but a font which satisfies.

For this I confess that it was worth it!  The mission nourishes, strengthens even with its difficulties.

May our Blessed Mother, the great missionary of God teach us to be faithful to our missionary commitments in defense of life.