What does it mean to be a Missionary Sister today?
Some of our sisters share, in their own words:
Rooted in a sustaining relationship with Jesus Christ we engage our present reality with hope, joy and courage. We try to put our faith in action as Mother Cabrini did in her times through our presence and works of charity.
Grounded in God’s love we are committed to making this love visible by engaging in various services for the benefit of humankind. Together with our lay brothers and sisters we strive to meet underserved needs by providing education, health care, social services, missionary presence and evangelization, spiritual ministries and faith formation. With others of goodwill we reach out to the margins of society because of poverty, injustice and ignorance. We celebrate and share our passion and leadership for the mission of Jesus with our lay brothers and sisters in the church who have been inspired to missionary outreach serving new immigrants, elders and youth.
The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus today are actively ministering in sixteen countries in the world. In north, central and south America, we serve in the United States, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina. In Africa, we minister in Ethiopia, Swaziland and Uganda. In Europe, our missions are in Italy, Switzerland, Spain, England and Russia. We are also in Australia. In these various countries, we strive to carry out the mission and charism of Mother Cabrini who continues to inspire us for evangelization, education, health care, working with the poor and underprivileged, with people of all colors, nationalities and language, in first world and third world situations. We seek to respond to the local needs of children, youth, men and women, and the elderly. We work actively with the dedicated laity who serve with us Cabrini Lay Missionaries, and Cabrini Companions and lay collaborators in our institutional ministries.
For me, this means a personal encounter with Christ that impels me to “go beyond” the norm, to stretch myself when I don’t want to be stretched, and to be a loving and compassionate person who makes other people feel that they are special and loved by God. This is not limited to geographical locations, but is a world-wide commitment, even though I may be in only one part of that world. This is my – our – missionary identity.
I believe that no matter where you are or what you are doing that you are being “missionary” because you are carrying that love of Christ with you as you go about your daily work. It means that my day does not end when I leave my “work,” but that it continues in my community, in my neighborhood and in the people whom I meet on the street.
As Pope Francis so aptly puts it “we are to welcome all to the table” with a loving and compassionate heart. It means being advocates for the undocumented, the immigrants, those trafficked, and of the elderly. As Missionaries, we must have great trust and faith that Jesus always walks with us no matter what the circumstances might be and what might be asked of us daily. God never asks more of you that you can give, but sometimes, I think He might push a little so that we go beyond our comfort zone.
Our mission embraces the whole world by teaching and listening, welcoming and healing. Our source of zeal and energy is the personal and communal relationship with the Lord and found in scripture.We minister as Mother Cabrini did to those most in need – the immigrant and those most vulnerable with the love and compassion of the heart of Christ.
As a community, we gathered and concluded that we continue directing our prayers, our energies, and our commitment to the needs of the immigrant, especially unaccompanied youth, victims of trafficking and all those in need of our love, compassion, and an understanding heart as a reflection of the love of the heart of Jesus. At St. Frances Cabrini Shrine, NYC, we have the opportunity to hear the stories of many immigrants as we pray with them for the resolutions of their many problems.