After a few years of presence of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa in Mexico, the time to leave this country has arrived and the sisters who lived there share with us their experience.
With the people of the parish we lived a consoling missionary presence. They greatly appreciated our presence among them. For some, it was the first time they had direct contact with religious sisters and that meant a lot to them and their families. They were very free to share with us what they lived, so that we felt as united to them as they were with us. We will always cherish the many experiences we have had with them.
Presence among the poor
To accompany the sick was a rewarding experience, as well as meeting women in the street in a situation of prostitution. They said:
“Thank you for being a sister with whom we can share what we are living and for being a shoulder on which we can count whenever we are depressed”. Their emotional anguish can be very strong. It’s often worse than physical pain, as if their hearts were torn! How to relieve such pain?
Although we found that sharing the silence of sick people could be very comforting, we realized that embracing the silence together required a change of mentality: To go from doing something for the sick to being with them. It took courage and made us feel open and vulnerable.
This is how we tried to relieve suffering through silence and an active, comforting and consoling presence. The only tool we had to live these moments with the sick and the people we accompanied in different ways was being ourselves, just being present.
Sister Amalia shares with us:
“For more than 15 years in Morelia, I have been part of a self-help group with people living with HIV / AIDS. Many of them, because of the stigma that this disease always carries, must hide it with the painful consequences that this entails.
In the group, each person is welcomed, listened to with respect and supported by the experience of others who live the same reality. I share with them their sufferings, their struggles, their hopes, their legitimate aspirations to be recognized and respected in their dignity as persons. We are one big family. We also accompany the families of the sick to help them better understand and support their loved ones instead of rejecting them.”
Ministry of the Word
“During these long years, I lived very beautiful experiences especially in the two groups of adults that I accompanied in the ministry of the Word and Mercy.
In the Bible group I was touched by what the Lord does in the hearts of people who, through the Word, seek to know Him better, to love and serve Him more. I had the joy of witnessing people ‘s journey towards greater freedom and a faith lived with greater depth, commitment and consistency.” Sister Amalia.
Know how to leave
When the news was announced that we were leaving Mexico, people were sorry. Some came to share their feelings about our departure. Listening to them, we were really grateful for those years in Mexico. It was an experience of mixed feelings: happiness, sadness, but also a call to pitch our tent elsewhere!
We entrusted the apostolic activities to the laity who collaborated with us, to ensure continuity after our departure. It was time to pack our bags in Mexico … for a new call in Africa!
Srs Linah, Amalia and Michelle, Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa who lived in Mexico