Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I forgot to mention that last weekend I was able to get a ticket to the canonization (where the Catholic Church officially acknowledges someone as a "Saint"; there has to be a certain amount of miracles performed by the person and some other details as well). Anyways, I was able to witness 5 people become Saints including Father Damien from Molokai...now St. Damien. This was special for me because I had always admired St. Damiens courage to travel from Belgium all the way to Hawaii to serve the poor. He then volunteered to serve the leper community on the island of Molokai all by himself where he later ended up dying of leprosy. He not only helped them in their pain of their disease but helped educate them, started up community events such as music lessons other things. His misisonary heart has really inspired me. So as this photo shows I was able to get pretty close at the canonization mass in St. Peters and when you're close to any children you can guarantee that the Pope will stop so sure enough he did and got a great shot.
Also last weekend I was able to attend a prayer service for Africa. We all gathered together and prayed the rosary united as a people of God and in certain African countries represented. So for one decade of the rosary the t.v. screen would show Kenyans praying the same rosary together with us in a church with their Bishop and in their language; then for the next decade it would show the people in Democratic Republic of Congo, then South Africa, then Egypt, and Malawi all of which was "live." It was really powerful and moving. I felt united with these people through our prayers and singing together and it stirred more joy and excitement to be with these people on my mission in the Congo.
We had one Sister come and talk to us about her experience in Africa, in particular the town of Aru. She has spent 38 years as a misisonary in Africa and the way she spoke and told her stories you could tell nothing seemed to stir or upset her. She told us a story of how one mother cursed this pregnant woman and said that her preganancy was going to be torturous and that her child would be disabled, and sure enough it was! Her child had a terribly large head and the mother suffered greatly. My face was saddened and upset when I heard this story, but Sister Severina just spoke it as it was without any sign of pain. I think after you spent 38 years amongst people who suffer greatly every day, you begin to accept and take it in stride. Well, I am sure I won't be like her after one year but I do hope that I will be able to handle the suffering that I will encounter there. For one thing, cursing someone can actually kill a person and words spoken with negative energy and evil are extremely powerful in the hands of the Devil.
She of course shared wonderful stories. She summed up the Congolese people as Passionate, Joyful, Creative, and Fighters (in that they never give up on things). She said the people there are all youthful and young and full of energy; they love to dance, to talk and share their life stories, sing and play. I think I will really enjoy my experience.