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cristina di noccoSister Cristina Di Nocco sfp

A few days after December 17, 2011, the day that Typhoon Sendong dramatically hit Dumaguete City causing death and destruction, I awoke with these questions:

• What is the Lord trying to tell humanity through the innumerable tragedies that occur on our planet?

• What is the Lord trying to tell us -- as Franciscan Sisters of the Poor?

• How are we called to intervene with our Healing Charism? 

2A family is left with only this corner of their home

It is always very difficult to answer such questions. Though feeling overwhelmed and without any answer before the images of destruction I had seen days before, I went downstairs to the chapel, trying to entrust everything to the Lord, and to listen for some words of comfort and a possible answer from God. 

That is when I heard again within me the words of Fr. Anthony Gittins, CSSp:
“You are Christians, and therefore people who live, who exude and who heal with hope.  It is an essential component of your healing charism.  Your hope is rooted and grounded in God’s promises never to abandon those who love…”      
3aDesolation after the typhoon
These thoughts were energizing for me and a springboard to begin again with renewed courage and enthusiasm all that God, the only Healer, puts before me each day. Loving, listening, and offering what I can to each poor person, each mother who comes with her baby in her arms, even after having saved him from the violent river who engulfed her house – this is my only opportunity to give hope and give them a new strength and trust in life.
The Joy of True Healing . . . My Experience
I have experienced many times the alive and tangible presence of God who walks with me to protect and lead me to green and safe pastures. I remember experiencing a difficult time of darkness and a deep sense of abandonment and loneliness. The only thing sustaining me was prayer and the certainty that Jesus was with me -- even if I was groping to find Him. After a while, thanks to some people who welcomed, listened and loved me without judging, I found peace and the strength to begin anew. And I experienced the joy of true healing and abundant fruits.
4aThis is where three houses used to stand before they were buried by the river
To Heal with Hope . . . One Woman’s Story
A few years ago, part of my ministry was visiting elderly people who lived and felt alone. Most of them were not financially poor, but lived as if they were abandoned and often felt depressed. One day a woman told me her life story and the desperation she felt  -- sometimes to the point of wanting to die. I sat by her, trying to listen with all my heart. At the same time I prayed, asking Jesus to console and support her. What else could I do before her great pain and sense that life was useless? After she cried in anguish, she felt better; gave me a hug and said, “Today you gave me ten years of my life. You have been my psychiatrist, my light and have given me the strength I need to go on!”  She wanted to conclude our visit with some chocolates and a good gelato! Thanks to Jesus, the only healer and help of the weak, that lady is still alive and telephones me, though I now live far away in the Philippines.
5aThe woman I used to visit

 
Again, I discover that I am “consecrated to the Lord” with my only desire: to continue to follow Him. Ours is a unique “gift” that springs forth from this consecration. 

Sister Cristina Di Nocco sfp