From Kwale to Mombasa, the story of “Sister HIC SUM”
Sister Joan’s testimony: a missionary spreading the Works of Mercy
From experience to sharing
Having returned from Italy to my country in Kenya, I spent a month’s vacation with my family, and on October 01, 2023, I went directly to Kwale to my community where two days later, that is, on October 03, I had the opportunity to talk about the Works of Mercy and the HIC SUM project to our 22 novices in preparation for mission in different places.
They were curious to know more about the Works of Mercy and I explained to them how they are practiced in Italy and how we too can live them more consciously in our living and working environments starting from our religious communities. I invited them once they arrived at their destination, to try to do more than what they already do during formation, to commit themselves to really live the Gospel of the Works of Mercy and also to look for volunteers to whom they could give specific training on the Works by doing, more with concrete deeds, practicing them together in their daily lives than with words.
The community gymnasium of the Works of Mercy
I also explained to them that it is not easy to get to practice all the 14 corporal and spiritual Works of Mercy, but that we can still commit to living them a little at a time. I encouraged them to start doing at least one of them and they were very happy and full of enthusiasm. They promised me that they would start practicing their apostolate right away and since I live with them in the same community, I told them that also the following Sunday in the afternoon we would divide into groups, go for a walk here in Kwale and greet people by stopping with them to listen to their problems and questions of a spiritual nature thus putting into practice one of the Works of Spiritual Mercy namely “counseling the doubters.”
On October 7, our Superior General, Mother Jane, asked me to take part in a meeting in one of our regions where more than 40 sisters were gathered to celebrate Mother’s Day and asked me to go and talk to them about the Works of Mercy and the HIC SUM project. I found them curious as well as the novices. I explained that we have to live the Works of Mercy starting in our communities and then spread them to our workplaces. I was very happy because Mother Superior also said we have to embrace these works as a congregation, she invited them to support me and with me also the Spadoni Space, to become Ambassadors of the Works of Mercy.
At the end of the presentation and dialogue some sisters nicknamed me “Sister HIC SUM” and others followed me saying that they would go and start the dissemination of the Works in their workplaces.
On October 14 to my surprise, Mother Superior called me to attend another meeting, this time at the Generalate House in the Mombasa region. Again to talk about the Works of Mercy, as I had done with the others. Mother herself then reiterated the importance of living the Works. At the end of the meeting they all promised to go and live the Works in their apostolate. I must say that, I am looking forward to going to the remaining two regions, one in Nairobi and the other in Tanzania and I am waiting for Sr. Milia, to return from Italy, so that we can go together. I like to end this brief testimony of mine with the words of the song of the humble 1sam 2: “I will not be able to keep silent my Lord the benefits of your love”.
Sister Joan Chemeli Langat