25 Years of Life And Mission In Cuba (1996-2021)
On 22 March 2021 we celebrate 25 years of the living presence of the Missionary Servants of the Holy Spirit among the Cuban people. To celebrate the jubilee year is to celebrate a year of grace, joy and our experience lived in this land. This soil and people have enriched us and helped us to be better missionaries to carry out our work with greater dedication.
We raise our gratitude to the Triune God for the 25 of his guidance and presence with us. It is good to look back, recognizing and thanking all the sisters who have been part of the history of this event. Until today threre have been 29 SSpS sisters set foot on Cuban soil, 3 of whom are still working from heaven and 12 of us continue to share life and mission here. We have shared life with sisters from Germany, Austria, Korea, Chile, Philippines, India, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Mexico and Cuba. Every day I am invited to live the interculturality and communion, richness of our Trinitarian Spirituality of the Congregation.
At the begining we were supported by the provinces of Chile, Argentina and Mexico. With the passage of time and with more experience, we bacme a Region in 2013. New sisters have arrived, others have returned, we have also been blessed with a Sister from Cuba. I want to highlight the thought of our founder St. Arnold Janssen “The proclamation of the Gospel is the first and greatest work of love for our neighbor”. Indeed we have been loving our Cuban people throughout our 25 years of evangelization. We feel great satisfaction for the welcome given to us by them. We have had natural disasters, needs, illnesses, but we continue to accompany them with great fervor.
Sharing life and mission is the motto of our jubilee year. It is great to see and hear, how every sister who has passed through Cuba has shared and continue to share our gifts, talents, riches, spirituality and charism at all levels of pastoral catechesis: with children, adolescents, youth, groups of adults in preparation for the sacraments, families, formation of leaders, biblical reflection, workshops on life and prayer, group of Association of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit and Young Missionaries of the Most Holy Trinity, health ministry, and spiritual accompaniment of the sick and elderly.
At the social level, we have reached out to children with Down Syndrome, teaching handicrafts to children and adults, caring for and working with people with HIV/AIDS, sympathizing and helping the sick and needy. This work we are able to do thanks to the generosity of benefactors who have supported us in different social projects that have allowed us to improve their human conditions. We also feed the most vulnerable and the elderly, for whom we created a dining room, reflecting the mercy of God and the immense love of each one of us to our beloved Cuban people. Also the hurricanes and cyclones that have hit the place hard have involved us more with them and we feel that the price of our dedication and service is to be instruments of God. That is why the magnificat of each SSpS in Cuba is “My soul glorifies the Lord, because he has done wonders throughout 25 years of our presence in Cuba, which we consider our homeland.”
The desire and prayer that accompanies me in these moments is to be able to celebrate with a grateful heart to the Triune God for our 25 years of missionary presence here in Cuba, that we do not remain only celebrating the past but contemplating the present, and looking forward to the future. Today we are faced with new challenges, the Covid pandemic, the new modifications at the level of the country, the closer link with the consecrated life here in Cuba, however our presence is: to be incarnated in the midst of the people as signs of the presence of God, the ability to overcome obstacles and persevere in the proclamation of the Gospel through our life and mission.
Sr. Rani Sahaya M.A. SSpS – Cuba