Abstracts from THE MALTESE MISSIONARY EXPERIENCE – 07
by Fr John Caruana
In the early 80s, the Congregation opened its first house in Lubumbashi (then Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in Africa. In 1988 they stepped for the first time on Asian soil – they opened a house in India, in Cochin in Kerala State. Eventually, in 1989, they also moved to the Philippines.
From the year 2005 to 2009 a small community gave its service in Roccaporena di Cascia in Italy where St Rita was born and lived before she entered the Augustinian Monastery in Cascia. Here pilgrims from all over the world come to express their devotion.
In all these places, as in any other country, the nuns work to serve the people and in order that God’s Kingdom will grow in the hearts of men and women, within their families and the whole of society. In the last years of the 20th century and the beginning of the third millennium, the nuns’ work kept intensifying. Every sector of the congregation kept on developing in the best way possible.
The zeal for evangelisation led the Augustinian Sisters to go to Brazil. From 1972 to date, houses were opened in Parananaiba, Innocencia, Sao Paulo, Nova Londrina and Rio de Janeiro. They followed the Maltese Augustinian Friars. The first five nuns were: Emiliana Agius, Eugenia Agius, Antida Pace, Laura Cassia and Eugenia Sammut – they arrived in Brazil on the 2nd December 1972. They moved on to Mato Grosso and their first commitment was in Paranaiba and in the parish of Innocencia. They opened a Formation House, run a Kindergarten and a Primary School. They gave Music lessons as well as Lessons in English in State and Private Schools.
A small Community of four nuns was founded in Sao Paulo in January 1986.The pastoral work was divided among the four sisters, catering for all secretarial work, dealing with family problems, the organisation of conferences for all sections of society, the pastoral work of over 300 youth boys and girls, including evangelisation, preparation for future careers, private lessons that prepare them for their exams, counselling to youths coming from broken families, to drug addicts, to those who just come out of prison, children of single parents; and finally helping poor families by distributing clothes, food and medicine.
In Nova Londrina in the state of Parana, they dedicated themselves to direct pastoral service in the parish – directing prayer groups, pastoral work for vocations, the parish liturgy, participating on Family Radio, catechism classes, distribution of the Eucharist, counselling and home visits.
In Rio de Janeiro, a House was founded on 8th December 1990 and was dedicated to the foundress. Madre Maria Teresa Spinelli. The hose was refurbished and re-inaugurated on July 30th 2000 on the 150th anniversary of the death of Mother Foundress. The community of nuns helped the parish from the spiritual, economic and social point of view. The Parish is extensive, consisting of 24 chapels. Each community demands its proper care at the expense of much sacrifices and dedication. When the Parish is without a parish priest, the nuns do their best to respond to the various needs created by this void. But Thanks to the Good Lord of the Harvest, every trouble and problem arising, finds the nuns’ spirit ready to lend a hand.
Dun Gwann Caruana – firstname.lastname@example.org