Who is this woman? Where has she come from?
I am Sr. Aleta Dube from Zimbabwe, studying in Rome. Isn’t it ironic that every year we commemorate the death of Mary Ward, yet we feel her presence within and among us?
I have no doubt that Mary Ward is alive among us and the people we serve in Zimbabwe. Although she never set foot in Zimbabwe, yet her desire to help the needy is fulfilled in us. The majority of us did not physically encounter Mary Ward, yet her legacy, desires, and commitment to serve lives on in us. The fact that her influence lives on today makes our foundress exceptional. In Zimbabwe, we are few in numbers and yet our service is paramount. We are like a well spring of water in the desert. Many people flock to our two clinics from distant places to seek medical attention. The distance they walk makes us feel inadequate. Our Children’s Home, the feeding scheme and schools are the living testimonies of what Mary Ward desired: to bring the gospel of love to the poor and vulnerable. Economic hardships prevent us from doing all that we could do and yet with the gratitude, joy and resilience like that of Mary Ward, we endure and soldier on with even greater desire and focus. Our Becoming One gives me consolation from within as we fulfill Mary Ward’s desire.
I am Sr. Basilisa Mmbone Materu, a Kenyan working in Tanzania. I love my work as a teacher. I am humbled to say that I am following in the footsteps of Mary Ward. I serve, with love, the people of God whom I encounter with gratitude to God for the success of our mission in Tanzania. The school girls, the people and the community give me joy to carry on in spite of the challenges in my service. It gives me great joy when I hear the voices of Loreto Girls Secondary School with almost 800 girls. I further delight in the voices of little children at Loreto Convent School, seeking to learn.
Many parents look for the chance to get a place for their children in our already full schools. This makes the presence of Mary Ward in Tanzania real and, without a doubt, her voice is real. As I reflect on the love of God keeping the steps of Mary Ward from faltering, I realize how it influences my life. This makes me hopeful, optimistic and helps me to remain focused on God who called me. I strongly believe that I am going in the right direction, focusing on Christ with His people in Tanzania. The loving teachers and students bring joy to everyone and this has kept me soaring on and on in my service to the school.
Where is Mary Ward leading me today? Where is she leading us today? What keeps me focused and moving on even when I am faced with challenges in life?
What makes you (us) different from other workers in our apostolates? Do people wonder: “Who are these women?” when they encounter us?
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