Living Lent in an attitude of merciful welcome

As the sisters of Cali, Puerto Mallarino, in Colombia, we would like to share some experiences that have given a deeper meaning to our mission, especially in this Lenten season.

 

Reconciliation in a religious context

 

As the inhabitants of Puerto Mallarino will themselves testify, this is a neighborhood where all areas of life have been marked by waves of violence. Many young people have died. Most of its inhabitants live a mixture of fetishist rites and have little in the way of faith. Most of the people are indifferent to any religious context, they are not Catholics, nor do they belong to religious sects.

 

 

A group of Catholics however, have lived this Lenten period in a very particular way. They are mostly adults who seek God in the Sunday Eucharist. They live their mission in this context, visit some of the lonely old people who cannot leave their homes, help the victims of the winter and participate in the “Houses of the Word” where they pray and share as a community.

 

 

Close to the poor

 

As Daughters of Jesus, we have also lived this mission during Lent and contributed to these pastoral initiatives. We have sought to encourage with words of love and welcome, above all for those who suffer – those whose rights have been infringed, migrants, drug addicts, people hungry for the Word of God and also for the material bread of every day. They seek in us comfort and hope for a better world.

 

With a particular tenderness for the poorest we are attentive to :

 

  • young people at high risk of drug addiction, a frequent phenomenon here.
  • migrants, especially Venezuelans who are desperately looking for work, because they live in difficult situations and have to pay the rent that will not wait.
  • university students, who open their hearts to us and share their dreams of life. In this context, the presence of a student sister is significant.
  • young people of college age, who periodically meet around the theme “meaning of life”. This intercongregational experience opens us to other horizons and allows us to offer them other horizons in theeir lives.
  • The elderly, who receive food in the community soup kitchen, where we have the good fortune to help as volunteers.

 

The extended community

 

With them, we have walked during this Lenten season in the direction of Easter. It has been a time of interiorization, of forgiveness and acceptance of each one as he or she is is. Our mission and our lives have been strengthened by daily prayer, reconciliation between us and the celebration of the Eucharist. We feel that this in turn has given us the confidence and strength to continue on our way towards Easter, in an environment where there are signs of life in the midst of death.

Hma Herminda Gonzáles Arévalo HJK

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