This morning in my prayer I heard : « advance out into the deep »….
I wanted to respond: “It’s unreasonable that you ask me this Lord, I’m 81 years old!”
Weird …, as this sounds like distant history. It was in September 1869. Nearly 150 years ago! Eight young women from Brittany arrived in Algiers. They heard a call from Mgr. Lavigerie transmitted by Abbé Le Mauff: “bring me at least four postulants, young, brave, ready for everything and able to be the four cornerstones of their congregation. In their hearts they had heard “advance into the deep” … They left family; home, village, country, personal projects; to go to Africa. To love like Jesus, to love strangers, strangers who have become brothers, sisters, children, fathers, mothers. Loving Africans by working with them and for them. Following them, many young people, in all countries, have lived and live this challenge of love: their name: Missionary Sisters of our Lady of Africa
It was 60 years ago that I heard in my heart: “Do you want to go far away to share all the love and joy that you received in your family; your country? ” And I left to go into the unknown, to strangers. The God of love who had shown himself to me through the life of my parents, my large family, opened me to new horizons. He simply invited me to live his life, to show his love to all those to whom he was sending me. And day after day, I discovered that this was my path of happiness. This path continues here at Eureka, in the mundane daily life.
Almost three months that I live now in a home – a retirement home – with an amazing name: Campus Eureka. This gives us the illusion of being on a University Campus!! Many people find me too well physically, possibly mentally, to go into a home. At their questions, I answer “for me, the time has come.
An interior call to ” let go “.
Let go of what ? Of “doing”, a missionary life well filled , in order to allow “being”. You can do this anywhere, without entering a home….Yes, it’s true. But for me the internal call was confirmed by external events. With all my heart, I said “yes”. Letting go is an enormous task, a desire of each instant. To decide, by oneself, to “let go” is easier than when it is imposed from the outside
In our Eureka Campus, so many names to remember, faces to discover, those of the caregivers and residents, and this when my memory is declining. So much suffering to listen to, to re-listen to, at times the same; day after day; and this when I’m no specialist in the field of listening. So much misery encountered when one has neither attraction, nor any experience in a hospital milieu. Not easy to love when nothing attracts, and so we must go beyond appearances. Yes, a huge space opens before me, new horizons, of incredible possibilities I had never thought of. Little by little, caregivers and residents find place in my heart and prayer. Like so many others throughout my missionary life in Africa.
Sister Patricia Massart, community Eureka, Brussels, Belgium