“I will sail, in the waters of this sea… only love, I will seek my place/no doubt, without fear of dreaming!”
With a mixture of sadness and hope, the CLM of Brazil communicate the death of our CLM Guilherma Vicenti.
Guilherma brought at the beginning of her name what she always was: a warrior! She was a woman of faith and fight, and wherever she went on mission she left a mark of her service and missionary giving. Even today we can hear in the testimony of the people who lived with her, the affection and the gratitude for her presence.
Careful and attentive, she always prepared with profound care the welcome of those who arrived, to stay or simply to visit.
We believe that God, in his infinite goodness and mercy, will prepare with redoubled affection the welcome of our dear Gui in His Kingdom, together with all the missionary community already there, thus becoming part of the group of those who, from the side of the Father, intercede for all missionaries.
With deep gratitude to God for the opportunity to live and learn from her, we place ourselves in prayer and solidarity with her family and friends at this time.
on behalf of each and every CLM in Brazil.
Tribute to Guilherma Vicente – Brazilian CLM who left for the Father’s House on June 10, 2020 – This is how we will remember Gui!
One of his missionary presences was in Maputo, with young people and women to whom she taught industrial cutting and sewing. This video was prepared to honour her at the Missionary Exhibition of St. Amelia’s Parish in 2017 for her membership of the Comboni Family.
It has been a year since I arrived at the Mission of Carapira, in the north of Mozambique. But at times there are moments when it feels that I just arrived and that I am still taking my first steps, like a beginner. There are times when I feel that the trip from Portugal to Mozambique was not the longest journey I ever did, even though the geographical distance suggests otherwise. The longest and greatest journeys are those where I have to travel from my mind to my heart, getting out of myself and stand next to whoever is at my side and, at times, seems to be so far away. The truth is that mission is not a physical place. It is first of all a place that cannot be circumscribed and that requires a constant attitude of humility, audacity, willpower. Mission is also a school of love, a place where one learns and re-learns how to love. Here I have gotten to know a lot of missionaries and volunteers. These are people who come with a desire to do well, but who progressively also discover their vulnerability.
The deepest experience we can have consists in loving and feeling loved. But when everything around us seems unknown, this apprenticeship becomes tiring. Because to learn to love means learning to accept who I am, with my desires, my faith, but also with my difficulties, my compulsions, my need to be right. But, in the encounters and in daily life quickly we discovered the fragility of our texture. Nevertheless, I hold for myself that, as we go discovering it, perhaps we may be able to see the vulnerability of Jesus and love it.
It is also a school where we learn the different proportion of things. But we do not learn to measure things (especially not patience). The space is large, and it is easy to get lost.
Time morphs into my time. Everything, literally, happens in a rather singular rhythm with a soft, very soft, compass. Therefore, there is time for what we truly want to do, because the slow pace teaches us to go beyond our rigidity, beyond what would simply be functional and useful.
But it is in these moments that authentic experiences are born. We do not turn on your GPS to know how long it will take to go from here to there, even because the “from here to there” is so immense that it has not been captured and deciphered by satellite maps – we get into the car and come what may. If the number of flats is reasonable, and the car does not break down, we will get there faster.
And even if it may be true that Mozambique does not have gorgeous sceneries, it is also true that those within each person are the most incredible and precious. I have had the pleasure of getting to know people who teach me a lot. Simple people and able to be trustful even in poverty. They look at tomorrow with the hope that all will be well, Inshallah [God willing, as we get used to hear]. At times I ask myself: trust, in what? Why? Trust. Trust in life. These are the people who teach me faith. They trust in God’s protection and are very grateful. They have such a surplus of trust that invites me to look at life with added serenity.
This is a school where one also learn to look in the eyes of those who look at us. Because, truly, it is when we observe that we begin to see. Often, when I look around me, I may feel that I am not ready to see all that I meet. But even in this and for this, God has enabled me.
One learns also to see God in small things. I remember very well that, before coming, I had plan to write more: I wanted to have a diary or, at least, to jot down more regularly what was happening, how I felt… And also to share about our mission in order to keep close (to “feel united,” as we like to say).Often I ask myself: what should I write about? It is much easier to do it about extraordinary things. It is clear that I did not do what I had planned. Because, among other things, when I was planned it I thought that in mission there would have been a million extraordinary things to talk about. In reality, mission happens every moment and in an ordinary way. Extraordinary events may be more colorful and exotic, but it is the ordinary that more closely is the foundation of our life. These, the simple and ordinary moments, those we meet in our service and in our dealing with the people give meaning and make mission something special, without waiting for the extraordinary days, to ask for commitment and oblation.
Mission is a daily map deciphering and knowing. That is why, I constantly feel that I beginning a new time, not in the calendar, but in the opportunities of life and of salvation that can happen any time God visits us in the smallest and most insignificant things.
I arrived in Mozambique a year ago. But I keep on beginning to walk to the Lord of daily blessings.
It was almost Christmas Eve when I realized how close it was, while I was about to start praying on my own and I was going through the liturgies of Advent. I know that, if I weren’t here, everything around me would remind me of Christmas. The proliferation of Christmas advertising would have pointed me in the direction of these celebrations practically starting from the year’s third quarter in an astute and gradual game.
Between the lighting, the external and internal decorations, suggestions for the menus always more exquisite and the dress code for the Holy Night and the Christmas dinner, the magic aura one feels in the city streets, the typical Christmas carols (…) between one dinner or another with friends and groups from here and there, nothing would distract us, not even the most absent minded, from “what is about to happen…”
Here there is absolutely nothing of the sort. In the city one may see some “imported” signs of Christmas. But not here. The senses are not overwhelmed by this avalanche of stimulations. There is no cold weather and fogged up windows showing flickering lights. One does not hear seasonal songs. One does not feel, or want to join, the frenetic glut of shopping and gifts – and even less the last minute shopping and needs. You do not watch things alone at home on TV. The heat is too intense to even think of changing from your slippers, skirts, shorts and light shirt into heavier clothing. There is no yearning for salted cod and extra-virgin oil. There is no king cake, French toast, walnut cookies or sweets of this or that kind. There are no dreams of toys or promises of instant and quickly passing paradises.
I must confess that, on Christmas week, I was a little apprehensive for being my first Christmas in mission, for missing my family, for everything being so different from what I was used to, and even for not having had electricity or water, making communications difficult and stunting my creativity…
But, this year the Baby Jesus has taught me this much: Christmas is not an ornament. It may look like Christmas all around us, but it will not be if it does not exist within our own self. Christmas is also movement, journeying. We must constantly be moving in order to find it. If we want to see the ‘great light,’ we must get up and go out; we must go meet the mangers where there is human suffering; we must return to the stable of simplicity; we must return to the manger where God’s hope and human hope meet – but always trusting that, between the silence and the word we are looking for, a star will always guide us.
Christmas, I believe, wakes us up to bring us back to our roots, up to the original dream that God has for each one of us. The childhood of God is also our childhood. That is why, after a long wait, we find peace when, finally, we rest in God.
An interesting fact…
After independence, Mozambique became a lay state. However, December 25 was preserved as a feast day, not because it was Christmas, but as the Day of the Family. Thus, on this day, independently of one’s religion, families get together to celebrate the gift of Family (naturally, for the Christian community, this day means much more, because it is the day of Jesus’ birth, when Salvation and true Peace descended on earth). This way, quite deservedly, they get together to celebrate and gain energy for the year that is about to come – but, after all, is not Christmas also this? On Christmas, each time we celebrate hope we end up saying in our hearts that “there is a future for Humankind.”
I will leave you with part of a poem by José Tolentino Mendonça (“We are the manger”) that has resonated with me over the last few weeks:
We are the manger
It is within us that Jesus is born
Within each age and status
Within each discovery and each loss
Within what grown and what falls apart
Within stone and flight
Within whatever in us puts us through water or fire
Within the journey and the path that seem without an escape Hoping you had a good Christmas,
Well, how should I start this witness? Words fail me to describe the whirlwind of emotions I felt, and the homesickness that is already pervading my heart. I waited days and even weeks to start writing this witness, at times out of fear, at times out of nostalgia. Each day I spend away from that land, I feel pain, but above all I feel homesick. It is something that come over me without asking to be allowed in, and determines how I feel, up to the point of dictating my dreams when I go to bed. I can’t describe what I lived, shared, loved, and above all what I have received. I loved and still love these folks as if they were family. Sincerely, how could I not? I was adopted and cuddled by all those who crossed my path, even though we were not speaking the same language, but this did not stand in the way of constant signs of love. In one of the visits to the barrio near the mission house I met a woman who immediately invited me to “mata-bichar” (have breakfast with them. When I realized it, I was surrounded by people who were watching me with great kindness trying to teach me their customs. My heart was shaken daily by the hospitality and love I felt, and by how we looked at one another and embraced with passion. I was at home.
I feel and think as I did when I stepped on that land for the first time and I cannot hold back my tears. The excitement to start, to know, to be, to help was such that the following Monday, two days after our arrival, I showed up to work at the ITIC. The night before I had hardly slept because of fear. I was wondering whether I would be able to deal with the kids who would show up in the infirmary to ask for help, whether all that I learned at the university would actually work, and whether I could adapt to the means at hand. There were many “Ifs,” insecurities, but of one thing I was sure, that I would give the best of myself from morning to evening.
I organized papers, reorganized the prescriptions shelves, but above all I dealt with the students in all their needs. I gave myself without fear, I remained after hours in that cubicle within those four walls, and filled my heart. I was always surprised when the students would look for me just to say Hi, to “give me a happy day,” as they would say.
The way I connected with those boys was indescribable, as if with a simple gaze we had established a pact of mutual protection. I felt intensely the illnesses and worries of each one, and dealt with each one as if they were the only ones, with all the love I could hold in my breast. Many times, when some of them were sick and had to sleep in the infirmary, it cost me to go home. I couldn’t think of anything else except of ways to make them get better rapidly. Very often I spent afternoons with them, playing games on the cold floor of the infirmary, taking their temperature every 30 minutes, or simply watching them sleep.
Some days were easier than others, but all of them were a constant challenge. Each day He helped me survive and realize that our obstacles only exist in our head. Very often I felt disoriented and knelt before Him, and He spoke to my heart showing me how he would overcome my difficulties.
One of the many situations I lived was the first time I saw the faces of those girls I was going to help in their studies. Each gaze entered my heart so intensely that I will never forget them. They were trying to learn by themselves, without books or anyone explaining things. They were motivated by an indescribable interior strength for wanting to be more, to reach a better future. Each one carried in her eyes stories and experiences that I will never forget, but always with a contagious joy and love.
I had the opportunity to help in the community clinic and there I understood that I belong to those people. I went for too much time avoiding to confront the health situation of the Makua and the pain it would give me. But in the end I rolled up my sleeves and went. I simply went. I covered all the branches, from the HIV patients, to the women patients with still undisclosed diseases, the maternity, the pediatric ward, ending with the TB department. I knew I was placing my health at risk, but I was sure of one thing, He was watching over me, and so I would not let this fear interfere with my helping people.
Endless lines would form at the entrance of the center, the screams of the children filled the corridors, and everyone awaited their turn. At times, language was a barrier in explaining how to take a prescription and the care that was needed, but I always made an effort to convey the message. I thank God who gave me strength daily in order to be able to help those people in need, and because a feeling of powerlessness never took over me.
With each passing day, the ties were growing stronger and my anxiety about returning home was constant. I knew that my place was there, that I belonged to them. This is the family God chose for my mission. And I loved them more every day, so that it was impossible to say good-bye without promising that I would return. With all my heart I am grateful for how they received me and for the love they gave me.
The best of this mission was not only the people I met, the smiles I saw, and the tears I shed, but also how God took over my heart daily without my knowing it. The need to talk daily with Him, was an intrinsic part of my routine, and the kind way He answered me was beyond description. I am sure that, without Him, I could not put up with my weaknesses or avoid my anxieties. How beautiful it was to discover God in this way!
Este sitio web utiliza cookies para mejorar su experiencia. Si continúa navegando consideramos que acepta el uso de cookies, pero puede optar por lo contrario si lo desea.
Politica y privacidad de Cookies - Privacy & Cookies Policy