Three young Comboni Sisters talk about their missionary experience.
My name is Sr. Carla Mora from Costa Rica. I have been in Mozambique for almost fifteen years. I have to say that embracing the missionary life has not been easy, because it implies renunciation, adherence, fidelity and, above all, much faith in the One who has called you.
Today I live my vocation in total availability to Jesus Christ, despite my frailties and weaknesses, letting myself be guided by what he wants from me.It is an inner strength that is difficult to explain, but that helps me, every day, to give myself generously with joy and love.
The fulfillment of my vocation as a Comboni Missionary in Mozambique has been marked by several moments, some good, some not so good. I currently work at Mangunde Hospital, in the centre of the country, not far from the coastal city of Beira. I also collaborate in the parish, accompanying the young students of a college.
I am a nurse and a trained midwife. Through my profession, I can go where I never imagined going and do things, I never thought I could do. Helping other people makes me happy, especially the patients I meet every day. In them, I see the hope and resilience of these people.
Every day, I discover how great and wonderful Mozambicans are. I admire their strength, their tenacity and their ability to face life, which in these lands is not easy, and I recognize in them the presence of God. The work I do focuses, in most cases, on accompanying women during pregnancy and, above all, during childbirth, so that their babies can be born in the best possible conditions.
Sometimes we witness real miracles! In our hospital, we do not have the medical facilities to help all the children and their mothers and sometimes the situations become dramatic.
Because of the coronavirus, in the last two years, we have been busy with all the Covid patients coming here to the hospital but also with conducting a vast hygiene awareness campaign that involved visiting a number of villages.
That was an impressive experience and I must say that seeing so many women whom I had helped to give birth at the hospital and their children growing up healthy, gives a new meaning to my missionary life. Life is beautiful and it is worth living it helping the poorest and most abandoned.
There was still something missing
I am Sr. Anita C. Concepcion from Binmaley, Pangasinan in the Philippines. I believe God began to form me and slowly plant in my heart the seeds of the religious life long before I was aware of it.
From primary school, I was attracted by the beauty of the church and the singing of the choirs. I joined the Children of Mary, then the Legion of Mary in my Parish.
After I became a midwife, I applied for work in the United Arab Emirates in 1989, first in Abu Dhabi, then in Ras Al Khaimah. The latter is about 115 km. from Dubai where the community of Comboni Missionary Sisters is located. I was happy working abroad and helping my family but I felt something was still missing in my life.
A friend who wanted to become a Comboni Sister invited me to accompany her to the convent of the Comboni Missionary Sisters.
I cannot forget the peace and joy I felt the moment I entered the convent for the first time.
While I was waiting for my friend, a Sister gave me a book about the experiences of the Comboni Sisters in Sudan during the Islamic Fundamentalist Mahdi uprising.
I was touched by the fidelity of the Sisters in that difficult situation. The book also inspired me to learn more about God’s merciful love and the desire to dedicate my life to the mission.
After my experience of discernment, I left my work as a midwife. I was sent to Jerusalem to do my first year of religious formation then to Rome for the second year. I continued my Novitiate for two years in Brescia (Italy) and made my first religious profession on 14th September 2003.
My first mission was in Amman (Jordan) after which I went to Virginia (USA) and then to Uganda, Africa from 2008 to February 2021. I worked as a Health Tutor at the Matany School of Nursing and Midwifery in Karamoja (Uganda). I felt fortunate to be training future optimal health care staff. Through these years, I have come to believe that my call to religious life is a gift that calls me to be more open to the mission.
Saying “yes” to God is not always easy but with His Grace everything is possible. With this awareness, I look towards the future with a willing spirit, believing that God will always be with me especially in my new assignment as I go back to the Middle East.
To find what is truly necessary.
My name is Sr Beatriz Galán Domingo from Spain. I have been living in Talawakelle in the Central Province of Sri Lanka for five years. The majority of our population depend on the tea industry, either for harvesting or further processing.
Behind every cup enjoyed in the Western world are the lives of thousands of women. Sunburned and anaemic, women bear the brunt of the tea plantation work under the scorching sun. Humidity favours the presence of animals. Simply out of greed for profit, the tea industry pays three Euros at best for twelve kilos of tea leaves.
With eyes wide open to that reality in which life, especially that of women, is exploited, our mission unfolds. We share the joy of working in a diocesan school where Christians and Hindus (students and teachers) try to form good people and honest citizens.
Education is the most powerful tool to break the cycle of poverty and the stigma of slavery. In addition, it is the appropriate place to discover that ethnic and religious differences, rather than being a threat, can be a mirror of the wealth and plurality of the country.
The other pillar of our presence is the parish. More than 1,500 Christian families spread over 60 communities belong to the parish of St. Patrick. There is a variety of groups: more than 300 kids in catechesis; the Legion of Mary; the Divine Mercy group; the group of San José Vaz; and a group of youngsters.
We work in collaboration with two diocesan priests of our parish, and with the Sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux. Our Christian community looks like a mustard seed.
Despite being the smallest of the religious presences in the country, it has within itself the vocation and the strength to become a tree capable of providing shelter and bearing good fruit.
I thank God and our people. The constant prayer of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Christians has strengthened my prayer life. The priority accorded to the family in Sri Lankan society has made me value my own even more. The simplicity and poverty with which my neighbours live have led me to try to find what is truly necessary.
The solemnity of some celebrations, the symbolism, the colours, and the smells have made me understand infinite Beauty. The serene joy of seeing the shyness that quickly turns to confidence and many chats with a thousand questions have taught me to appreciate the importance of stopping and talking with people. The life of suffering endured by these people who were once slaves reinforces the promise of Christ: “I have come so that they may have life, and have it in abundance.”
The unshakeable faith of a minority, sometimes persecuted or even massacred, confirms that the Church is mother and body; that she is called to come out of the temples and break the barriers of fear and privilege; that even if it is persecuted, is called to be the announcement of the fullness of Life in Christ. (C.C.)