On World Mission Day, Rachel Paquin, on mission in Honduras, but on leave in Trois Rivières for a few days, reflected on the Gospel of this Sunday, October 28, in the chapel at Kermaria. She reminded us that we are all missionaries wherever we are.
In this Gospel Jesus clearly defines what ‘mission’ is all about, its foundation and every missionary’s journey. He points out the attitudes that identify a missionary. To summarize we could say that mission is a call, a sending forth to serve and give one’s life in the name of Jesus. The mission is therefore based on the level of BEING more so than on DOING.
Servants of that which is good and beautiful
We are all missionaries regardless of where we are and what we do. We are missionaries. We are called to be Servants…. seers of the goodness and beauty of life and to foster its growth. To be a missionary according to Jesus Christ is to be in a state of service whether in good health or in sickness.
To lay down one’s life
Each one of us has been given assignments, in various places for different services; however, we are always on mission: we are missionaries personally and as a community, as a Congregation. Our charism TO HONOR THE SACRED HUMANITY OF THE SON OF GOD aptly defines our mission as Daughters of Jesus.
You have gone beyond the boundaries of Trois-Rivières, or Quebec or even of Canada to serve elsewhere, to give your life.
A departure, a letting go
As for me, in 1974, I left for Honduras at the age of 29. It was a letting-go: family, work, university studies, places and people known and loved. What motivated me then was similar to what motivated me in Quebec and still motivates me: to serve and give my life in the midst of a people in greater need.
It was for me:
- A new birth.
- An incarnation.
- An embodiment in another culture, another language, other customs, other habits.
- A total renewal of life, interiorly and exteriorly
For 28 years I worked in les aldeas, small mountain villages. I would leave for 4 or 5 days weekly, by bus, on foot or on horseback to reach the people and be with them. My faithful companion: the Bible, the Word of God.
It has been a school of growth in simplicity and humility
As a teacher I was able to teach, to speak in public, etc…. Here, I had to learn a foreign language which demanded a lot of listening, of attention, in order to feel from deep within, to count to ten before speaking… in a stammering way, to pay attention to the verbal, the non-verbal, the meaning of words and gestures.
Along with three companions I am currently assuring a welcoming presence at our home in the capital city, Tegucigalpa. I also collaborate at l’Arche de Jean Vanier to accompany and train the two directors and assistants. I assure a pastoral presence at a clinic for mentally disabled (be with, listen, pray and play games). I also chair the Conference of Religious in our area and collaborate in pastoral activities in vocation promotion for the Daughters of Jesus.
Taking on a new stance
My mission in Honduras and 6 years in Colombia changed a lot of things in my life and taught me to put things into perspective:
- To assume a slower pace of life
- To take my true place as a servant to promote life
- To become aware of our differences
- To give way to the young Honduran, Colombian and Chilean Sisters
- To have a greater faith in the God who acts in history.
The greatest support I received was from the Honduran people themselves, their unconditional acceptance and from you dear Sisters, your prayerful support. To be there among the people is for me a source of life, of dynamism, of gratitude towards God and the people. I am very grateful to my Vice-Province that gave me this blessing and continues to support me.
Rachel Paquin, Honduras, Province of Latin America