On March 22 of this year, we will celebrate with gratitude the Jubilee Year. To celebrate the jubilee, is to celebrate a year of grace. It is to celebrate the joy and our lived experiences in this land from which we have received a welcome, so as to be able to carry out our work in it with greater dedication, sharing life and mission.
We express our gratitude to the Holy Triune God for the 25 years of the presence of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit among our Cuban people. It is good to look back, to acknowledge, and to thank all the Sisters who have been part of the history of this event. Up to this day, there have been twenty-nine SSpS Sisters who have set foot on Cuban soil. Three of them are now working from heaven. Twelve of us continue to share life and mission here in Cuba. During these years, we have shared with Sisters from Germany, Austria, Korea, Chile, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Mexico and Cuba. Every day we are invited to share interculturality and communion, the richness of the Trinitarian Spirituality, and the internationality of the Congregation.
During the years of our history here in Cuba, we belonged to and were supported by the S.Sp.S. Provinces of Chile, Argentina and Mexico. With the passage of time and with more experience, in 2013 we became a Region under the guidance of the General Administration. New Sisters have arrived, others have returned to their home Province of Region. We have all been blessed with a Cuban vocation.
I want to highlight a thought of our founder, Saint Arnold Janssen: “The proclamation of the Gospel is the first and greatest work of love for neighbor.” We have indeed been living among and loving our Cuban people throughout our 25 years of evangelizing. We feel, with great appreciation, the welcome that the Cuban people have extended to us, and a people whom we love and among whom we feel a part. The openness we have experienced has been immense. We have gone through natural disasters, needs, diseases, but we continue to accompany the Cuban people with much fervor.
“Sharing Life and Mission” is the motto of our jubilee year. It is wonderful how each S.Sp.S. Sister who has passed through Cuba has shared generously. We continue to share our gifts, talents, riches, spirituality, and charism at all levels of catechetical / pastoral care: children, adolescents, youth; groups of adults in preparation for the sacraments, families, formation of leaders, Biblical reflection, life and prayer workshops, the members of the Association of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit and the Young Missionaries of the Holy Trinity; health and pastoral care, spiritual accompaniment of the sick and the elderly.
Through social service, we shared life with children with Down’s syndrome. We taught crafts to children and adults, cared for and worked with people with HIV / AIDS, sympathized and helped the sick and those most in need. We are able to do this work thanks to the generosity of the benefactors who have supported us in different social projects, making it possible to improve the human conditions of those we serve. We also feed the most vulnerable and elderly. For them we created a dining room, reflecting the mercy of God and the immense love of each one of us for our beloved Cuban people. The strong hurricanes and cyclones that have hit the island of Cuba have involved us more with the people. We feel with gratitude for our safety in all this, we are to serve others as an instrument of God. That is why the magnificat of each SSpS in Cuba is “My soul glorifies the Lord, because he has done wonders throughout the 25 years of our presence in this land, which we consider our homeland.”
The desire and prayer that accompany me in these moments is to be able to celebrate by offering a grateful heart to God the One and Triune for our 25 years of missionary presence here in Cuba. We cannot remain simply celebrating the past but need to contemplate the present while projecting ourselves towards the future. Today we are faced with new challenges different now from those in the beginning: today there is the COVID pandemic, the new modifications at the country level, the closer link with members of the consecrated life here in Cuba. Thus, the sign of our presence is: being incarnated in the midst of the people as a sign of the presence of God, with the ability to overcome obstacles and persevere in the announcement of the evangelical message that is our life and mission.
Sr. Rani Sahaya M. A., SSpS, graduated in journalism, is from the South India Province and has been in Cuba since 2007, dedicating herself to proclaiming the gospel through socio-pastoral, administrative and communication activities.
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