Sr. Sophia Marie from the N.A. Eastern Province, who ministers for a time as missionary in the Uruguay-Argentina Region, renewed her temporary vows in Montevideo. Here are some photos from the celebration:
Primera Profesión de la Hna. Sophia Marie
Primera Profesión de la Hna. Sophia Marie
"Let's Bring Jesus to the Heart of the Paople"
After months of prayer and spiritual deeds of love and sacrifice, deciding on a motto, planning, organizing, fundraisers, food and clothing drives, students putting together catechetical material for kids, teens and parents, and shipping boxes of donations and supplies, with great excitement and enthusiasm, 96 missionaries gave a week of their winter vacation and left Buenos Aires at 7pm on Friday evening, July 17, in two coach buses, heading 11 hours northeast towards the province of Corrientes.
During the sendoff Mass, we were given a wooden Missionary cross that was to symbolize our motto “Let Us Bring Jesus to the Hearts of the People”. For the next week we would be going at the invitation of the Bishop of Corrientes, to an area served by Fr. Daniel, who is in charge of two parishes and 25 Chapels.
We were assigned four separate rural locations with their Chapels as our field of mission: Casualidad, Gobernador Martinez, Cafarrenio and Yatay Ti Calle. The local schools of these four places would become our home, as classrooms were transformed into dining rooms and bedrooms, packed with air mattresses and sleeping bags.
After we arrived at our destination, and as my bags were leaving in a van towards Cafarrenio, there was a last minute need and I was asked to change and stay with the group in Yatay Ti Calle.
Once we had swept, mopped and made ourselves comfortable in our new home, we divided ourselves into 5 groups who would take turns throughout the week. Daily in the mornings between 9am and 1pm, four groups would walk to the homes, introduce themselves, pray for and with the families, and invite the children, youth and parents to join us daily for evening Mass or a Communion Service. Then from 4-7pm we had games, catechesis, fellowship and refreshments.The fifth group would stay home in the mornings and make breakfast, clean, and prepare lunch; and a different group in the afternoons would prepare hot chocolate and snacks for the kids, as well as our evening meal.
It was so touching to experience the gratitude and tears of the people as we would come to their homes to visit and pray with them, to give them a blessing, but most importantly, to listen to them and their life story. What a privilege having been allowed to share this sacred space, to see these kids’transformation throughout the week as they came out of their shells and shyness, and hear the beautiful sound of joyful laughter as they played soccer, jumped rope, eagerly awaited their snack or learned about the love of God during their catechesis!
To know that at least during the week we were there, Mass would be celebrated and the sacrament of reconciliation offered more than just the usual once a month if at all, was worth any sacrifice we could have faced. All priceless gifts of grace !
What an amazing week of blessings it was to have the possibility of experiencing Jesus together “in the heart of the people”, not only with the 22 missionaries that were in my small community; but with so many beautiful people in Yatay Ti Calle. We were received into their homes as if we were family and over a sip of “mate” shared not only their joys, struggles, hopes and fears, but also the very essence of who they are. And like the Widow’s mite, they shared all they had to offer.
Pope Francis said: “Go, do not be afraid, and serve. Follow these three words: Go, do not be afraid, and serve. If you follow these three ideas, you will experience that the one who evangelizes is evangelized; the one who transmits the joy of faith receives joy. Person-to-person apostolate means spending time on our neighbor, and its strength is nothing other than prayer, charity-filled patience, understanding, friendship and love for freedom. It means coming out of ourselves to be concerned about others and share with them the truest and most beautiful thing we have: our Christian vocation.”
Thank you Yatay Ti Calle
Misión Mallinckrodt 2015
On Thursday, July 16th, two coach busses with 113 missionaries left ColegioMallinckrodt in Martinez, Buenos Aires for the Province of Cordoba and arrived to thepueblo, Tuclame, in time for lunch on Friday afternoon.
We spent one week missioning in 8 pueblos. Our home base was Tuclame, where an Agricultural boarding school gave us the opportunity of bunk beds for the students, as wellas a dining hall large enough for over 100 people. Sister Maria Graciela and I slept on thefloor in the Principal’s office, which conveniently had a bathroom attached. The studentswere divided into groups, and each morning they left for their respective pueblos. Somestudents spent the day with the children who came to the town school. They played andhad lunch together. Later they went to the town chapel for catechism lessons. Otherstudents would break up into groups of four or five, and they would visit houses, prayingwith the people and evangelizing. With one group I went to a town called Santa Ana. Mostpeople were happy to have us, they welcomed us into their homes, and sometimes offeredus something to drink. There we spoke with them, and also prayed for and with the family.There are only 2 priests assigned to an area of 29 chapels, in sometimes very obscure andisolated villages, and so the people were very grateful to have somebody to pray withthem.
This year, the missionaries had the grace of having Mass every day. Father JuanIgnacio, a priest from Buenos Aires accompanied us. Every morning, before we left for thevarious towns, we would pray the Angelus together, and Father would give us his blessing.The day ended in the same way. We had supper around 9 or 10 PM, followed by groupprayers and Father’s blessing. Each morning and evening we invoked our 5 patrons: St.Joseph, St. Therese, St. Francis Xavier, Bl. Cura Brochero, and Bl. Pauline. We also turned a classroom into a chapel, where we could have the Blessed Sacrament present.
With Father Juani and 3 missionaries, we visited the sick in Tuclame, where Fathergave them the Sacraments. The girls also sang for some of the sick. We gave them a holycard of Mother Pauline which they hung on the wall.
On two opportunities, we visited two families and had Mass at their houses. Becausethey live so far from civilization, they rarely go out to town. Some people only have Massonce a year. For this reason we went to them. In the first house, the family had images of
Our Lady and the Sacred Heart all over the walls. They also had written on their walls, Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in you. In the second home, the family had not been expectingus, as there was no way to contact them. When we arrived, the elderly man worried that hishouse was not presentable enough for us to enter. He brought the kitchen chairs outsidefor us. He told Father, that his house was not clean, and in no condition to have the Massthere. However, Father told him, “There is nothing to worry about. Don’t you rememberwhere Jesus was born? There is no place too humble that our Lord will not enter. Yourhouse will serve perfectly for the Mass.” We had Mass, using the kitchen table as an altar,the only blessed candle that the family had, and their small wooden crucifix served as well. The floor, as in most of the homes, was cement, and unfinished. Because the climate is veryarid, the dirt goes everywhere and on everything. What was most moving for me, was kneeling in that tiny kitchen on a dirty cement floor, next to the family who had such faithand reverence for Jesus who had come into their home.
Group of Lay Associates in Montevideo with the Sisters María del Socorro, Myriam, Marisol y María Isabel
This craft work were made by Companions of Pauline and some women of the hospital where Sr. Mary Ann Eultgen serves as part-time chaplain.
Craft for the Poor in Uruguay
Craft for the Poor in Uruguay