Sr. Maite Sanz joined the MSOLA in 1981. She has worked in Malawi, Tanzania, Poland and Mexico. At present she is in Uganda . She has worked mainly with the youth, in vocation and missionary animation and in formation of future religious missionaries.
She shares with us about being a missionary and missionary life.
For you, who is a missionary?
Sr. Maite: Every baptized person, by the fact that he/she belongs to the Church of Christ is called by Him to be a Missionary; that is, called to announce the Good News of the Love of God for humanity expressed in the self-gift of Jesus Christ.
Now, some are called to be missionaries at home, others to go beyond frontiers to reach out to others who may be in great need of this Good News through a loving presence and a helpful hand.
We, Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa, who leave our family, our country, and, together as sisters living in intercultural communities wish to answer God’s call to reach out to people living in the peripheries of society.
These people may have heard of Jesus but we want to live in solidarity and close to them, in every day relations, contact, friendship, to express the love of Christ and his desire for every person to live in dignity.
How can a person recognize that she/he is called to be a missionary?
Sr. Maite: In order to recognize the call to be a missionary, a person needs to give herself or himself time to listen to the Lord. Time for prayer and silence is important so that one can listen to God and oneself.
The desire to share the gift of faith one has received is a sign of this call; the movement of the Holy Spirit within, drawing the person towards the direction of becoming a missionary. The joy and peace within, that accompany this desire are also signs that God may be calling the person to engage in the task of collaborating with God in the missionary field.
It may not be easy to recognize the call. When we are young we have many noises around us, many invitations, desires and dreams. It is important to be able to express these calls and desires and the feelings that go with them with someone who can help, so that one can clarify them and see which ones give real meaning to one’s life.
How did you discover your missionary vocation?
Sr. Maite: I became aware of the great gift of faith I had received at home. I saw it was a gift that others had not received or acknowledged; I asked myself: Why?
I experienced an immense love from God who called me into life, I was filled with deep gratitude both for the LOVE and for the FAITH.
I asked God, not why did I receive these gifts but, what did He want me to use them for. How and where did He want me to use them and share them?
I told God that I wanted my life to be thanksgiving for the gift of His great love for me and that I needed Him to show me the way to do it.
As the poet says: “there is no road readymade, we make the road as we walk”, so I walked, I planned, I dreamt, I prayed and I listened; both to the reality around me and to what was inside of my heart. “If God loves me as I have experienced, he also loves everyone else in the world, but not everyone knows it”.
And when I met the Missionary Sisters of our Lady of Africa, I knew in my heart that it was with them that God wanted me to share my Gifts. They lived a life of self-gift to God; they lived in international and intercultural communities; dedicated to Africa; 3 pillars of life that were precious to me.
The result was that whenever I thought of becoming one of them, I became so joyful, so happy and full of peace in my heart, I felt as if I had reached “Home”.
Interviewed by Sr. Magdalena Orczykowska