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air 001Mission to Jataì

air 011Meeting with the families of the nursery school on the theme of violence"Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what the will of God is, what good and pleasing and perfect". (Rm 12: 2)

As a Franciscan Sister of the Poor, I affirm that since my entry into this family, there have been many possibilities for change.

By taking a retrospective of my life since 2012, it becomes impossible not to recognize the wonders that God has accomplished in me, allowing different experiences in the last five years, which undoubtedly was God's grace preparing me to live in a very distant country.

air 010Training meetingIn this period, in addition to being kindled by the flame of Divine love, by our community living, by acting in the Associates in the Brazilian Area, team working at diocesan level with youth and with the Nucleus of Religious, participating in our international events in Assisi, Rome and Aachen in 2016, these experiences were fundamental in my life before I left for the Philippines and my professional work in Councils of Rights and missions.

The professional exercise in the Social Works of the Diocese of Jataí, a philanthropic Institution of social assistance with preponderance in education and action in municipal councils, gave me a new look before the social reality, thus increasing the sense of responsibility, cooperation and human rights advocacy, things which contribute to the common good.

air 03With teenagers for the project against violenceAll this has made me more convinced that we should offer the best of us on behalf of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters, the favorites of Jesus, Saint Francis and Blessed Frances.

Acting in the missions of the parish of St. Jude Thaddeus in Jataí for two years was an opportunity to feel that, with dedication and some cooperation among different pastoral and Church movements, it is possible to announce the Risen Christ and to reap fruits such as: people who faced serious illnesses with confidence and serenity; others who claimed to have changed their lives in their family; a young man who quit his drug addiction and people who felt blessed with my visits and joined the support group.

air 04food program, health care and reference services for childrenAll this shows how much we can transform and be transformed when we open ourselves to the action of the Holy Spirit.

The mission in the Philippines as a possibility to learn English inserted in the life of community and ministries was a desire of mine, but when it was fulfilled I was surrounded by a mixture of fear of the new, but also of happiness and trust, because despite the unknown and the distance, I was sure that I was going to be in the middle of my family.

air 05food program, health care and reference services for childrenDumaguete City, in the Philippines, was the place where I made strong experiences of:

Encounter with myself and a personal confrontation, for in a very different context from the usual, I discovered my abilities and limitations in dealing with new realities.

Encountering with one another and with God, in this experience it is necessary to look at people as God's image and likeness to better understand and accept the differences.

In receiving and sharing daily life and my talents, although not always completely comprehending the reality, the generosity of the affiliates, of lay people, and also the desire and effort with which each sister gives the best of themselves in the service of the community and ministries was visible.

air 07Young people of the scholarships for higher education programJoy and celebration. I was enchanted with the special way in which the many public feasts were organized, whether they were large or small.  Within the most distressed realities, people could sing, be warm and smiling.

I witnessed to unfair situations, but also contemplated what is beautiful. While being impacted by the stark social contrast between the rich and the poor, fruits of socioeconomic injustice, the natural beauty of the island was able to surprise us, renew us and lead us to contemplate the wonders of God present in his creatures.

Many learnings. Faced with the challenges of the language barrier, a limited understanding of reality in its multicultural diversity, I realized how important it is to be grateful, persistent, patient, merciful and humble, and so I was able to recognize and value the riches that such differences have provided.

air 06Service in the female prisonSeeing our Healing Charism as a transformation inside and out. I believe that we are able to change ourselves when we contribute to the lives of those we meet, work and serve so that they take a different direction, such as:

Young Filipinos who have transformed their lives and their families' lives after getting in contact with our Sisters and having been benefited by the program of scholarships for higher education we have offered to them;

Children in situations of social vulnerability going from the streets to school thanks to our food program, health care and reference services;  

The rekindled desire for a new life in freedom for the imprisoned women we assist, resulting from the work done by our Sisters along with our Associates and some other lay friends;

Homeless people who are bing helped by our Sisters, being fed and receiving help in emergency situations, thus alleviating their suffering.

Anyway, after these experiences I cannot continue to be the same person I was before. These realities brought me a new insight of myself, of others and the whole world around me.

For all these experiences I have lived through these years, I am grateful to God, to our Congregational Minister and Councilors, to the members of the Community of Hope, to every Sister, friend and Associate in the different areas who prayed for me and send me messages of support.

Sr. Thalyta Pereira Lima,sfp
Published: January 9, 2017