This verse of Palm 126: 5 was resounding in my heart and mind while boarding the airplane bound to Tanzania-Africa. It describes exactly my feelings and determination to reach the place where our Almighty God calls me to go. And precisely, after my first three years of missionary service proceeding for my vacation, the joy (Psalm 126:6) in my heart to return and share my experiences was long lasting until the time I and writing this article. In deed God’s project for each one of us is ever a call to live our lives fully. And I will forever sing His Praise and Glory for the gift of my parents and my big family, my friends and relatives, for the gift of my sisters in the Congregation, for the gift of my faith, the gift our Beloved Congregation of the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of the Holy Family where my life is nurtured since I joined in the congregation until this stage of middle adulthood.
It is really beautiful to gaze back and see a life lived full of colors of lights and shades, ups and downs, rise and falls but as whole I could contemplate a beautiful work of God in me through His constant Love, Mercy and Providence. With Mary our mother, I sing the Magnificat in every evening prayer with my community and the faithful people who joins our mission.
As a Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of the Holy Family, I just understood at he very first contact with our first missionary sisters to the Philippines, that to be a Capuchin Tertiary Sister is to be a missionary outside my home country. From the life testimony of our sisters, I learned that to be a missionary is to share the most ordinary day to day life in the spirit of prayer, community life and in the specific service of the congregation. To offer our service to the people in our Franciscan-Amigonian spirituality. Although we must understand that missionary life should be lived wherever we are whether within or outside our home country.
Briefly my life’s journey in Tanzania started in 1st January, 1998 until this year 2022 with two years pause in the year 2010-2011 for higher studies and still on service in mission until this time. All throughout my stay in Tanzania I served and currently serving in the field of Education. How’s my experience? I say it’s Great and Wonderful! Joyfully lived with all my imperfections, setbacks, failures and successes.
Tanzania is now my second home country, just like other countries it has its own riches and unique culture. The Catholic Faith expression specifically in liturgy is vibrant and long. They have a very deep sense of solidarity. They are a people with extended family in the literal sense. They celebrate and mourn in the spirit of unity marked by serous ceremonial program. They are joyful, hospitable, loving and beautiful people. Tanzania is geographically beautiful, rich with natural parks and mostly known for having the famous majestic Kilimanjaro Mountain. The children and young people are respectful and generally characterized with strong endurance in facing the common the challenges of their life. These are the few descriptions I could share and I invite my sisters to come and see the beauty of Tanzania. I thank and love Tanzanian for teaching me in many ways.
As a religious serving in the field of education, the central message of all my effort big or small is to simply share the liberating message of the Gospel of Jesus in the ordinary and routinary activities of a religious life. I translate this Liberating Gospel message firstly by acknowledging at the beginning of each day in prayer that each day is a gift from God and nothing good can come out of that gift without his grace. Prayer Life is above all because it is there where I draw my strength and inspiration to go out to meet people, the students and school staff, parents and neighbors in order to serve. Secondly, I try to be in union with my community in all its daily activities, prayers, meals, recreation and work and try I in my best ability to be in communication and dialogue with my sisters in the community and the people I serve and work with. I testify that walking together with my sisters in the congregation is a beautiful gift to treasure in the heart with all its challenges and difficulties. And thirdly, the service without reservation is what gives meaning to my prayers and living with my community. For without reaching out to the people who needs my time and talents everything is non sense. To sum up those are my ways of living a happy and contented life as a Capuchin Tertiary Sister of the Holy Family.
This year 2022, is the 24th year of my life outside my native country. Perhaps I have not done great things but what is important the totality of my self-offering and following Our Lod Jesus in Religious Life and with that I am truly happy and I feel that 24 years have passed just like yesterday. I PRAISE AND GLORIFY JESUS OUR LOVING GOD AND SAVIOUR!
Hna. Nida Galera, TC