MISSION

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read More

SOCIAL JUSTICE

embrace-1-610451_960x332

Social Justice Issues

we are all brothers and sisters  ? 

 

A necessary act for justice in our own back yard

  1.   With ever greater reason to engage in a social revolution to communicate with a political system that presents a contradiction of ethical and just rights of its citizens,  the Missionary Sisters took part in a public demonstration held on January 21st , the day after the presidential  transition to power.   The demonstration organized by two octogenerians  to support the national women’s march took place in northern New Jersey.  Intended for perhaps a group of 50, several hundred were standing strong at the noon hour to silently announce  their message to passer-byes.

     20170121_110457

    Sisters Shelia, Eleanor, Kate and Janice joined hundreds of women, children and some men on the Women’s March programmed throughout the country and actually supported by many other nations, in support of the many issues now presenting great concern for the protection of human rights.   Led by women, this march proclaimed as its Equality, ecology, immigration,  racism, employment, freedom of expression (journalism reporting) were only some of the areas focus witnessed by millions of co-marchers and media reporters.

 

Together we pray along with Pope Francis who sent this message  to President Trump

“At a time when our human family is beset by grave humanitarian crises demanding far-sighted and united political responses, I pray that your decisions will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people and your nation’s commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide,” – the Message reads – “Under your leadership, may America’s stature continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door.”

 

 

 

 

2.  Human Trafficking

 “Therefore, we declare on each and every one of our creeds that modern slavery, in terms of human trafficking, forced labor and prostitution, and organ trafficking, is a crime against humanity…”

                                              read Pope Francis’ reflection

                                               join Sisters efforts

Regional Sisters’ Leadership (LCWR-Region III)  plans to make visible efforts to make aware human trafficking in the USA at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA.  July 25-27, 2016

                             

                                        

2. Ecology

  This year, Pope Francis directs us to honor the 35th year of  Francis of Assisi as the Patron of Ecology.  Why do we honor this Saint who  holds everything in  passionate and sensory love of all creation as God’s handiwork?  Because of St. Francis’ ability to see that all is one. Let us learn to become the same.

         1.  connect with this Franciscan site   or

         2. the Catholic Climate Movement  

         3.  we list a few ideas about how to pray during your 1 hour time slots:

                            http://catholicclimatemovement.global/pray4cop21/resources/ 

          4.  enjoy the beauty of this inspirational  short video on “the world of wonder”

                                       

The Penobscot Tribal Nation in Maine with longstanding  water rights issue                          

 

Prayer requested by Pope Francis for inspiration to take up the commitment to creation set before us by the Gospel:

cited in Laudato Si

 

Prayer for Our Earth

 

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe

and in the smallest of your creatures.

You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.

Pour out upon us the power of your love,

that we may protect life and beauty.

Fill us with peace,that we may live

as brothers and sisters, harming no one.

O God of the poor,

help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth

so precious in your eyes.

Bring healing to our lives,

that we may protect the world and not prey on it.

that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction

touch the hearts

of those who look only for gain

at the expense of the poor and the earth.

Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,

to be filled with awe and contemplation,

to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature

as we journey toward your infinite light.

We thank you for being with us each day.

Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.

        

                                              

                                              

 

Read More